No compromise wrote:
You all do realize that the NXN era has seen the rise of ever more powerful teams and much greater depth among high school runners. I like Footlocker, but it's done far, far less for the overall depth and health of the sport than NXN has. Far, far less.
I think this is correct. FL is a great meet and always will be, but since the onset of NXN we've seen a real boom in the depth of HS running that is translating to growth at every level. Instead of one or two kids in a program having serious post-season goals, the entire program does, and the consequences are clear. After a few years, other teams in the state have to improve if they want a shot at hanging with an NXN-quality program at their state meet.
I think we saw a comparable effect in the NCAA when regionals came onto the scene, rather than direct time qualification. Kids with no realistic expectation of making a final at Nationals can first have the goal of making regionals. Then the next year, making the final, etc, etc. Look at the progression of NCAA times for the 5000 since then, for example.
The decision to hold a national HS championship for teams is a no-brainer. The only thing to be sorted out is scheduling the FL regionals so that top kids on top teams can do both. Or, as suggested by someone already, let the top 10 at NXN run FL. (The NXN meet would be a lot harder qualifying race than any of FL regional meets. Consider that the 3 Montana girls at FL West went 4,5,6 in their NXN regional, one of nine regions, and then went 1,4,6 at FL west, one of only 4 regions. Of course they were probably more focused on the FL meet, but you see the point...)