Exactly. The xc nationals in December used to decide who would represent the USA. Kennedy, Williams, Guistio would line up against Hauser, Goucher, etc. When the tally was in they would go race worlds fitting it in their track pre-season training.
I understand the thinking of a feb. race, have the trials closer to worlds. But it killed it. Pros don't care and college no longer fits it in their schedule.
I do agree that the 12k / 4k split at the same time was awful.
I think a national schedule and series of races is definitely possible in xc if done right. But first bring back December nationals and put xc back in the Olympics!
Heck, make it like xc skiing with different events. Team, pruisuit, time trial, maybe a combined time of 4 races in 5 days like a mini tour. Xc is the heart and sole of our sport. Don't let it die.