Also, I'd be curious to hear from current high school runners and their thoughts on it. Is anyone on here a high school kid who has an opinion on the at large bids and qualification system?
I like taking the top two from each region, but I think the at-large bids really skip over some of the more underrated regions, like Heartland and Midwest. I also don't think so much weight should be put on resume–especially out of Heartland, where you have Minnesota and Section of Death teams so dominant.
With teams like Edina, Wayzata, Minnetonka, Hopkins, Eden Prairie, and Minneapolis Washburn, who are all in the same section and who have all put in top 4 team finishes at NXR in the past five years, it's incredibly difficult to get the same kind of dominating resume that teams in other regions have. For the girls in Heartland this year, for example, third place Minneapolis Washburn (to Wayzata and Edina, their in-section rivals) didn't even make it to state (in fact, placed fourth at their section meet to Edina, Wayzata, and Minnetonka, a stellar girls program who had an off-day at Regionals to place 10th), but had a huge chance to surprise people at NXN with a major lowstick in Roy Griak champ Emily Covert and a #2 runner under 18:00 in the 5K, but were totally overlooked for a bid. Sure, the underperformance of some of these teams at Griak, particularly the Edina girls, who placed 8th, and Washburn, who finished 9th despite Covert's dominating performance, contributed this year to the crushing underestimation of HL girls teams, but it seems harsh to give a bid to NY again…especially considering Saratoga's underwhelming season. In a bit of a different direction, after going on and on about the depth of the Midwest on the girls' side this year, it's also a serious blow to then not follow through on that hype and deliver a bid to the MW girls. And out of the South, Lewisville Hebron had a great case, by NXN's own criteria.
Two quick questions:
1. What do you mean when you say the Midwest is underrated and as a result get skipped over for at large bids? Midwest has had more at-large bids than any region aside from California on the boys side, and is now tied with Southwest for third most on the girls side.
2. Who, with any connection to NXN, was hyping up the Midwest girls this year? I realize that milesplit talked about how absurdly deep that region was, and do agree it was a deep region, but I'm really not sure it was the deepest and the way it turned out, the third place team wasn't all that strong (not a great resume, not a great performance at NXR, and not competitive with the best teams they raced)... but more importantly, milesplit is just a media outlet. Milesplit have nothing to do with the NXN selection committee, so it's hard to see the relevance in their hype with regards to the NXN At-Large selections.
Using your logic, it's not difficult to see why Saratoga was given a bid. They know how to peak and have often finished on the podium. Third place in NY often has been top 5 in the nation.