Citrus Valley sophomore Claire Graves, above, talks about how she and her cross country got the final spot into CIF-SS Division 2 Finals, but it would not have been under a different tiebreaker
It has not been as much of an issue before, but it certainly is now. In cross country, every division (boys and girls) required a tiebreaker to decide the final spot from CIF-SS Prelims to CIF-SS Finals.
A brief explanation: The number of prelims heats, 2, 3 or 4, depends on the number of automatic entries for prelims. From those heats, there are 16 teams that qualify for CIF-SS Finals.
In years past, many divisions had either 2 or 4 heats, which made it easy to have top eight in each heat in two-heat division and top four in each heat for four-heat divisions.
In the instances where there were three heats the top five in those heats would advance automatically, and the final qualifier would be the sixth-place team with the best team time.
This year, with the realignment of the divisions, every division had three heats and requires a tiebreaker. And that’s how Citrus Valley girls advanced to CIF-SS Finals, but it’s not necessarily the best way.
An alternative tiebreaker, that I heard from Rich Gonzalez of PrepCalTrack.com, is to take the times (down to the fractions) of runners from the top six teams in each heat, merge them together and re-score. The best score among those sixth-place teams would advance. Rich Gonzalez reports that he did that in Citrus Valley’s division and Newport Harbor would’ve been the team advancing instead.
Above, Citrus Valley’s Claire Graves talks after winning the Citrus Belt League title
The CIF-SS cross country prelims heat sheets are out, and while they are of critical importance to some competitors and a foregone conclusion for others, there are some intriguing matchups for Saturday’s races at Mt. San Antonio College.
The third Division 2 girls heat is one of those intriguing matchups.
Not only are Jurupa Hills, Redlands East Valley and Sunkist League champion Jennifer Sandoval of Summit running in that heat, but the top runner in the county, Claire Graves (who will be running with her Citrus Valley teammates) and the top team in the county, Serrano (ranked No. 3 in the division) will be in that 8:55 a.m. race.
TX Body: Later, at 10:29 a.m., is the first Division 2 boys heat, which will include Bloomington, Citrus Valley, Jurupa Hills, Serrano and Silverado. Jurupa Hills was the state champion last year in Division 3 and is ranked No. 1 in Division 2 in the CIF-SS this year. Bloomington is coached by Lun Son, who was the Jurupa Hills coach and started the Spartans on their journey towards a state championship before temporarily leaving the area for his wife’s career.
The top five teams in each race will qualify for finals, plus the sixth-place team from the three heats with the fastest team time. If a runner’s team does not qualify for finals, that runner could finish among the top eight places to make it to finals as an individual.
Rich Gonzalez of prepcaltrack.com, who does the rankings and is involved in the heat sheets, says that new enrollment breakdowns by CIF State have caused the divisions to be more evenly distributed with teams and it’s just how it turned out that there would be 3 heats per division. If more or less teams qualified in those divisions, there could have been only two heats or as many as four.