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  • USA National Championships B Final?

    This has come up in a discussion on Twitter... has there ever been a B final of the 10k at USAs or the Olympic Trials?

    There are already a large number of women qualified for the 10k, and my guess is that with the new shoes on the market we will see more this spring.

    Normally they would just adjust the standards, but Rose told me a few weeks ago that she doesn't want to do that, because they don't want to force previously qualified athletes to have to compete more during the middle of a pandemic if they weren't planning to.

    B final seems like the best solution if the field becomes way too large to run all at once. That would be safer, both in terms of being able to run a clean race, and in terms of athletes having to breathe in each others' faces.

    Has it been done before?
    Last edited by polevaultpower; 02-21-2021, 07:15 PM.

  • #2
    Just make lapped runners drop out.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bruce Kritzler View Post
      Just make lapped runners drop out.
      Too harsh for the OT.

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      • #4
        PVP - its been awhile now (back in 1985-86) but when we did the book on the USA National Championships 1876-1985, I don't recall anything like a B final.

        Richard Hymans may be able to speak better to the Olympic Trials, but back in 1984-88, Scott Davis and I did small booklets on the Olympic Trials for TAC and Pete Cava and I looked up the old results for the Trials for the booklet (top 8 only unlike Richard's book with complete results). Also don't recall anything like a B final in any event.

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        • #5
          Wouldn't it be fairer to have an additional round added for the event? Seems to be to be the least objectionable alternative.

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          • #6
            I think an additional round would be more objectionable to the athletes, although spectators might prefer it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KevinR View Post
              Wouldn't it be fairer to have an additional round added for the event? Seems to be to be the least objectionable alternative.
              For the 10k? Totally screws up the schedule and the plans of athletes who want to double with the 5k.

              Also, any changes would have to go through the USOPC's legal department. I don't see a change that dramatic happening this close to Trials... based on how long it is taking to get the qualifying widow posted (which was decided back in December), it would probably take several months to sort that out.

              How many athletes can you fit on the track in a 10k? They have done 37 before, but we already have 35 women qualified, with surely quite a few more to come.

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              • #8
                I certainly did not think mine was a good solution. But telling people who have been told they have a ticket punched they are out, will not go over well. And three dozen plus athletes on the track simultaneously is far from ideal. In the end, we will find a solution with which everyone is equally unhappy.

                Hopefully, barring any further quantum leaps in average levels of performance, problems of this sort will not become frequent.

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                • #9
                  One problem with a "B" final is that you might have an athlete who was much better than her qualifying time indicated (someone who ran just hard enough to get the standard). In this case, somebody is put at a disadvantage by not getting to race head to head.

                  It could well be the people in the A final who have that disadvantage. I saw this happen at the South Atlantic Conference championship men's 5000 a few years ago. Some top-level 1500 guys were entered in the 5000 with "nt" as their qualifying mark, and were seeded in the slower section. But they were capable of running with the leaders.

                  Same thing happened in high school cross country at the state level this year. With championship races limited to 50 runners, Sectional and State meets were divided into sections, and top runners were often split it. (I think that happened to Hobbs Kessler at his State Meet).

                  Perhaps, if the field were too unwieldy, the solution would be a trip back in time to the "Semi-Final" Olympic trials, with the field divided into 2-3 semi-final races held maybe a month before the Trials to whittle the field down to a size that would be acceptable for a true championship. Such a race wouldn't be too difficult for the top contenders, although it does provide one more opportunity for something to go wrong.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KevinR View Post
                    I certainly did not think mine was a good solution. But telling people who have been told they have a ticket punched they are out, will not go over well. And three dozen plus athletes on the track simultaneously is far from ideal. In the end, we will find a solution with which everyone is equally unhappy.

                    Hopefully, barring any further quantum leaps in average levels of performance, problems of this sort will not become frequent.
                    I think shoe tech has the potential to make this problem happen again, but a simple solution is to jack the auto standard way up in events that may be impacted.

                    This year is just weird, Trials has always used a longer window than USAs, and everything getting delayed a year expanded the window further. These standards were decided in 2019, when the effect of shoe tech was unclear for these distances.

                    Perhaps if I find some extra energy I will work on lists for the men's 10k as well. I'm sure other events are impacted, but those are easier to deal with since they have rounds.

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                    • #11
                      I have no idea how they would sort an A and B final. It can't be by seed time because some athletes may have barely tried to qualify without stressing themselves as much as possible while others may have run much faster in a completely different circumstance.

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                      • #12
                        As the Olympics and World Champs have a straight final nowadays it would be rather odd for the US Trials to have 2 rounds. Haven't the trials often mimicked the Olympics themselves in terms of scheduling (at least in terms of what days the rounds are held if not the actual time of day).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by polevaultpower View Post
                          This has come up in a discussion on Twitter... has there ever been a B final of the 10k at USAs or the Olympic Trials?

                          There are already a large number of women qualified for the 10k, and my guess is that with the new shoes on the market we will see more this spring.

                          Normally they would just adjust the standards, but Rose told me a few weeks ago that she doesn't want to do that, because they don't want to force previously qualified athletes to have to compete more during the middle of a pandemic if they weren't planning to.

                          B final seems like the best solution if the field becomes way too large to run all at once. That would be safer, both in terms of being able to run a clean race, and in terms of athletes having to breathe in each others' faces.

                          Has it been done before?
                          Starting in 1972 until at least 1988...there were 2 rounds in the 10,000 in the Trials and Olympics....there has never been a B heat.
                          Last edited by Conor Dary; 02-22-2021, 08:15 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by polevaultpower View Post

                            I think shoe tech has the potential to make this problem happen again, but a simple solution is to jack the auto standard way up in events that may be impacted.

                            This year is just weird, Trials has always used a longer window than USAs, and everything getting delayed a year expanded the window further. These standards were decided in 2019, when the effect of shoe tech was unclear for these distances.

                            Perhaps if I find some extra energy I will work on lists for the men's 10k as well. I'm sure other events are impacted, but those are easier to deal with since they have rounds.
                            The men's 10K has only 15 qualified right now, I believe.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post

                              Starting in 1972 until at least 1988...there were 2 rounds in the 10,000 in the Trials and Olympics....there has never been a B heat.
                              Thanks, that is helpful.

                              And yes, in response to a different question, the Trials tries to mimic the schedule of the Olympic Games. The women's 10k is currently scheduled for day 1 of the trials. Adding rounds is nearly impossible, for many reasons.

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