Cross Country Explanation

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Cross Country Explanation

Allen Catour, Writer

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Cross country can be very confusing to the regular sports fan. I’d like to give people a better understanding of the sport and what it’s all about.

A lot of people don’t know much about cross country. Educating yourself on the sport makes it more fun to participate in and also makes it more fun to watch. The sport has an individual and a team aspect to it. Just because you are not your team’s top runner doesn’t mean you don’t contribute.

A typical cross country meet consists of a course made up of 3 miles. Runners get to experience many different sceneries and terrains while they run. The location of these courses includes parks, golf courses, cemeteries, and schools. A team is made of up 7 runners although usually during the season your whole team is allowed to run. 

The scoring system is unique in cross country in that the lowest score wins. This is similar to golf. Everyone who finishes the race, and is one of the team’s top 5 gets scored. The faster a runner finishes a race, the less points they gain for their team. The slower a runner finishes a race the more points they gain for their team. Points are all based on a runner’s placing when they finish. A team only scores its top 5 runners. Runners 6 and up don’t officially score for the team. They instead have a different task. Their goal is to finish before the other team’s top 5 runners. By doing so they now made their runners gain more points by finishing behind them. They may have not officially scored for their own team, but they prevented the other team’s top 5 runners from finishing higher. Also, in the event of a tie, the 6 and 7 runners act as tiebreakers.

A good example of the importance of the 6 and up runners would be at a conference race. Going into the race most teams know who they have to beat in order to give them a chance at winning the conference title. The team race is expected to be close which puts some pressure on the last two runners. Everyone has to run a good race otherwise the whole team doesn’t succeed. 

Cross country isn’t everyone’s favorite sport to participate in or watch.  Having a better understanding of the points system makes it more exciting and helps push everyone regardless of how you finish.  The saying “every point matters” holds true in this sport.

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