Team scoring question


As with most conferences and other meets, the Greater Metro Conference allows 8 runners to run in the varsity race. However, when I saw the team scoring, they counted the #8 runners from each team in the official scoring, meaning those runners acted as displacers and affected the scoring. I thought a mistake was made in the scoring, but was told this is in the GMC bylaws to count the 8th place runners. I have been following cross country closely for many, many years and I have never heard of runners not in the top 7 being able to displace other runners.

It is not really that big of a deal, but I was just wondering if anyone knew why the GMC did this and if other meets or conferences also do this. Obviously this benefits teams like Marquette that have so much depth and can put their 8th runner in front of many teams fourth or fifth runners. At the GMC meet, this scoring didn’t change the winner of the meet, but it did make it closer. The final score was Brookfield Central 61, Marquette 62. If you take the 8th place runners out, then the score is Brookfield Central 60, Marquette 62. With a close meet, a ruling like this could potentially change the winner of the meet.


I’ve never heard of anyone doing this either. However, I coach a D3 school and we never even run 8 in varsity races anyway so I don’t have a lot of experience with it. My guess is that the conference can do just about whatever they want. Not sure though.


Different conferences can have different by-laws. The GMC is not unique in the fact that they have a quirky rule for their conference meet. :wink:

Obviously that all changes this weekend when only 7 can run.


I guess I am just wondering why the GMC would change the rules like that. Cross country is pretty simple; five guys make up your score and the 6th and 7th runners can act as displacers and a deep team can push back other teams scores. However, letting another person also affect the score seems comparable to letting another person on the basketball court or football field. With cross country it is easy to let that other person (8 runners per team) run the race, so coaches can continue to figure out their varsity early in the year, but then take that person out of the scoring.

In the GMC example, had the 8th Marquette runner placed in front of two BC runners, the score would have been tied instead of BC winning by two. That is not how cross country is supposed to be scored. It really doesn’t matter to me either way, just wondering if anyone has an idea why they do it this way.


You will get no arguement out of me on that. I agree completely.



Actually we do not have this backwards in the slightest. I have been following cross country for 35 years and have never seen a meet where the 8th runners could act as displacers or “pushers”. I even went back to results from the 70’s and 80’s and could not find one instance where the 8th runners were counted in the official scoring. 8 has NEVER been the traditional number for high school or college. The rules are pretty simple, five runners score, 6th and 7th runners act as displacers and if you choose to go against the ‘traditional” rules of running only 7 runners, those other runners are taken out of the scoring.

Here is a link to the NCAA web site explaining this on page 119:
It says “Only the first seven runners on any one team may be used in scoring places. An order for team-finish placing is established by REMOVING all runners behind the top seven finishers on each team”.

For the WIAA web site they provide a link to the NFHS web site for cross country rules, but the link is broken. I can get to the web site, but not the cross country rules. I think you have to be a member, which I am not. I did find several other state web sites that do have the rule listed and I am providing a link to one of them, which is Florida. page 5.
It says “During the regular season (non-state series) meet directors/managers will have the option to allow up to 10 runners in a varsity race. Any team member beyond 7 shall be DISREGARDED and shall not displace any opposing runner.

You ask “why run 8 if the 8th doesn’t matter?” There are so many reasons for running that 8th runner and it does matter, even if they don’t count in the team scoring. The most obvious one is that deciding on your varsity team for the championship season is a difficult one for coaches. Allowing 8 runners in the early season meets and conference allows more time for the coach to settle on his 7 runners in the sectional and state meet, where the traditional cross country rules of only running 7are followed. More runners can gain experience in a varsity race and the 6th, 7th and 8th runners that are battling for the last two varsity spots can actually compete against each other in the same race. In addition, nobody knows who will be the top five or top 7 runners before the race begins. That borderline 8th runner that was allowed to run conference may just end up as the 5th runner that day. Who knows?

Depth still matters and a team having 8 or more strong runners will still be at a big advantage, even without going against cross country rules and letting those extra runners count in the scoring. First of all, as has been mentioned, nobody knows ahead of time which of those 8 runners will count in the team scoring. What an advantage to go to the starting line knowing you have 8 different runners that might score for you or be the 6th or 7th runner and push other runners back. And you can bet those 8 runners are pushing each other and helping each other to go faster. Also, having more team depth is great because someone could get injured during the year.

My simple question is why would a conference go against what the high school and college rule is, to only count 7 runners in the scoring? It would seem to me that if a team lost out on a conference championship because their conference scores the meet differently than how it is supposed to be scored, there would be some controversy.


D1 college coach for 25 of them, former state record holder at 1600m in Wisconsin.


I think you meant to say, “I wasn’t aware of that. That is really interesting.” Or you could just not have said anything.


Not sure what the harshness is for in your post. I for one enjoy discussing issues with track and cross country and enjoy a good debate, but can do without the insults or put downs. With that said, I am very confident that scoring 8 runners was never the traditional way. You feel confident it is, but have given no facts, no links, and no basis for your opinion. You said it wouldn‘t make sense to have 8 runners compete if they didn’t count in the scoring; I gave you many examples of why it would make sense, even if they don’t count in the scoring. The meet results that I looked at were from some of my own meets, where I have kept results from all those years ago. I am able to count the runners on each team and see if they were factored into the scoring if they had 8 runners. I also ran in those meets and distinctly remember it being discussed by our coach how the 8th runner on the team wouldn‘t count in the scoring. Our team was pretty good and it was frequently talked about in our race strategy to get our 6th and 7th runners in front of other teams top five runners, knowing our 8th guy wouldn‘t be able to officially do so. We still took great pride if we got 8 in front of some teams top five, even if the score didn’t reflect it. Some of our invites we could run with 8 people, some we couldn’t. So far I have not been able to find one race result in college or high school where the 8th runner actually was able to displace other runners. Is it possible? Absolutely and I am sure someone can come up with a result that shows this. Is it common or has it ever been? No, in my opinion it hasn’t been.

I welcome you to come up with some evidence that I am wrong on this. Believe me, I have been wrong before in my life and can readily admit it if I have been proven wrong. With all of that said, I did come up with evidence that the CURRENT rule is to only count 7 runners in the scoring and my original question was why the GMC deviates from the CURRENT rule. I never asked for a history lesson and as of now, neither of has been able to definitively prove how meets were scored in the past anyway.


Someone should just ask Kearney since he has been around forever and part of that conference.


Good idea. I know several coaches post on here, but I am not sure if any GMC coaches do and I am sure Coach Kearney does not. I would respect what coach Kearney has to say since he is about as knowledgeable as anyone in regards to cross country and track. I am guessing this was discussed at a GMC coaches meeting and it was decided to count the 8th runners in the official scoring. My whole reason for the post was just to see what the reasoning was, since it isn’t what the current rules indicate.

Even though I am more interested in today’s scoring rules, I did take some time and look through the season results booklet that my high school coach had put together. This was back in the 70’s. At conference, regionals, sectionals, state and all the dual or triangular meets we were only allowed to run seven on varsity. In most of the bigger invitational’s we were allowed to run 8 runners. Out of 11 meets that year, four of them allowed 8 runners and the rest only 7, so it certainly wasn’t common back then to run more than 7 runners, but it definitely did happen. I still can’t find a situation where those #8 runners counted in the scoring, but I would be interested to see if someone can find some results that do.




Thanks JRCFP for the additonal information. I appreciate it and certainly respect what Coach Rymer has to say. It would be nice to know the years he was talking about when they did 7 and then later went to 8. My experience with high school was the late 70’s and we usually were only able to run 7 runners in most of the meets, with 8 in a few invites. In the 80’s and later my experience was collegiately and we were never able to count the 8th runners or above as pushers, in those meets where we could run more than 7.

Whether those 8th runners should currently count as pushers or not is strictly a matter of opinion and I can certainly see your point, but I still think it makes sense to keep the scoring the same as the championship meets, which has always been 7, even according to coach Rymer. I can’t think of any other sport where the scoring is different for regular season games and then changed during the championship season.


By the way, I posted this question on the board just to get some national perspective and because letsrun always has honest answers, lol. There were mixed responses, sort of like on here. Some remember it like I do that #8 runners never acted as pushers and at least one other remembers it like JRCFP and Coach Rymer remember it, with the 8th acting as pushers. My main reason for the initial post was to find out why a conference would do it differently than the current rules state, but learning the history of our sport is always interesting to me.

My guess for some of the differences has to do with what decade we are talking about, what region of the country or state, college or high school, etc. Personally I learned something from this thread. Here is a link to the thread.