Short version: 4x8 qualified for state, a faster runner coming back from injury didn't run the relay at conference when they qualified, but is ready so I subbed him back in for state. The parents of the kid that I took are upset and think he deserves to run at state because he ran when they qualified.
Long version: We recently qualified our 4x800 boys team for state. Our top runner was out for the season with an injury, our #3 runner missed a week with a minor injury but was nearly in race shape at the time of the conference meet. Our #5 missed conference due to a death in the family. Because of this, our team at conference was our # 2, 7, 4, and 6 runners , in that order, though we almost put our #3 guy in. We came in 2nd, though #6 almost lost a huge lead over the 3rd place team. Later, in heats of the 800, #7 ran faster than #6 has all year. Also in the heats, #3, in his first race back from injury, ran faster than #6 has all year. Because of that, we that #3 will run in place of #6 (who is now 7th best) at state. #6's parents are mad that he is not running at state (he is a senior who has likely run more races for our school than anyone else ever, but never made it to state), and think that he deserves it because he was on the team that qualified. We told them that our job is to field the best team we can and that it does not include him, though he can come as the alternate. They said he will not be coming to state if he won't be running.
This runner (who was on our JH team when I ran there in HS) should have been one of our best runner but senioritis has set in and he has made a habit of not training hard and missing weekend practices this year. I do not think it would set a good precedent for our younger kids (3 sophs and a freshman that are running at state) to show favoritism and pick a senior when there are faster runners than him available. Ideally he wouldn't have even been on the team that qualified, but we just weren't sure if the other runner was ready yet, and we needed to make sure we qualified, knowing we could switch later.