We just finished up our high school track season in Colorado this weekend and I'm not sure I care for the way things are done here anymore. Here's the format for our state championships:
5 classifications 1A - 5A so we have 10 "state champions" boys and girls every year in each event. I have to admit I'm getting a little weary of seeing state champions getting crowned in 1A and 2A that would be on the JV squad of most of the bigger schools in the state. Is that too elitist? Then again most of our state champions at the bigger schools wouldn't make the state championships in California or Texas so it's all relative I guess.
Top 18 qualify in each classification in each event. Marks can be from any state qualifying meet which must have FAT, wind guages, 3 officials etc. We are only allowed 11 regular season meets and nearly all meets are state qualifying meets these days. So they've turned our entire track season into a series of time trials for kids constantly trying to stay in the top 18 in their classification. Most of our regular season meets are large invitationals now where they only allow 3 athletes per event per school. Dual and Triangular meets are largely gone now as no school wants to waste one of their precious 11 meets on a non-qualifying meet.
Our state meet is run on a 9 lane track so they run two heats for all sprints and take 9 kids to finals, and one heat of each distance event for each classification with 18 kids in it, so yes, they run 10 3200m runs and 10 1600m runs in the 3 days of the state meet. Thank god they don't run all 10 3200s in a row, they are scattered around Thursday and Friday, but it's still a little brutal to sit through.
The state meet goes from Thursday to Saturday so they end up running some of the finals on Thursday and Friday which kind of sucks, there aren't nearly as many people in the stands on Thursday and Friday. The only distance race on Saturday is the 1600m and for some classifications the 3200m finals are run first thing in the morning on Thursday or Friday so there is no one there to watch. Same deal with all the field events, many of the field events are on Thursday and Friday because they only have one discus ring, one high jump pit etc and 5 classifications of girls and boys to get through in 3 days, so not many spectators there to watch during the week days.
I'm curious to hear what other states do and what people think is the best format for a high school state championship? The Colorado association is never going to change so this is mostly me just venting, but every year we go through this and I'm left thinking there's got to be a better way...