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  • Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

    What would be the positives/negatives of a 4k CC NCAA Championship in conjunction with the 10K. I would like to see it. I believe it would allow runners like Grant Robinson, Nick Willis, etc. (even some 800m runners) to compete in the fall while maintaining training more specific to their 1500m specialties.

  • #2
    Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

    Great idea. Since the international competition now recognizes two distances why don't we prepare our collegians to compete on the world scale by offering both distances at the collegiate level?

    In track collegiate runners compete at all international distances why not cc?

    This may also help to avoid some of the problems facing middle distance runners as they attempt to prepare for and seriously compete at 10K cross.

    The only downside would be that schools likely couldn't afford two highly competitive teams (scholarships limited). However, this would give more walk-ons a chance to compete.

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    • #3
      Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

      call me unimaginative, call me old fashioned, call me against change, but:

      What I LIKE about Cross Country is its marked contrasts to its Big Brother, Track. One team, one race, one distance. Not the lovable hodge-podge of Track, but a separate and distinct sport.

      Leave it alone.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

        <<The only downside would be that schools
        likely couldn't afford two highly competitive
        teams (scholarships limited). However, this would
        give more walk-ons a chance to compete.>>

        It would be nice if the NCAA and member schools be a nice to the non-revenue sports they are to football and basketball. Currrently, scholarships limits for football are set at 85, which is close at least twice the necessary number to filed a competitive team (24 starters + regularily used subs). Basketball's limit is 13 (for men), which again is almost twice the necessary numbers (5 starters + a few regularily used subs).

        However, track and CC is allowed only 12.6 scholarships, combined! And, these 12.6 scholarships must be distributed amongst a minimum of 7 CC/distance runners and a couple dozen sprinters and field events-only athletes. I'm not saying that track and CC should be fully funded (although it would be nice), but the numbers could surely be increased to better meet the needs of the program and the student-athletes.

        Some ideas...

        1. Separate track and CC scholarships: Allow 7 scholarships for CC and 12 or more scholarships for track. Of course, the 7 CC runners would also run track, leaving all of the track scholarships for sprinters and field-events.

        The upside to point #1? Coaches would be able to award scholarships in a way that allows for a balanced program.

        2. Keep the limits at their current levels, but allow for exemptions. In particular, allow schools to exceed the limits by a set number as long as the extra scholarships are awarded to athletes who have strong academic credentials. As an example, a schools could award 12 scholarships to anyone they want, regardless of academic standing/potential. Or, they could award maybe 16-18 scholarships as long as half met much stricter academic standards.

        An upside to point #2? Not only are track and CC programs upgraded, but student-athletes are rewared for academic excellence.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

          >Great idea. Since the international competition
          >now recognizes two distances why don't we prepare
          >our collegians to compete on the world scale by
          >offering both distances at the collegiate
          >level?>

          Didn't you just spend about two weeks arguing against middle distance runners running XC?

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          • #6
            Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

            Didn't you just spend
            >about two weeks arguing against middle distance
            >runners running XC?

            Not really. My point was missed. El Supremo suggested the short course idea the "Webb Washed Up" thread. I agreed that it would be a good idea. I'm not against cross country. I'm against overtraining and overracing for middle and distance runners. I'm against kids being asked to compete in competitions which, in the long-term, may be detrimental to their development as a middle distance runner. I believe in many cases cc feeds the overtraining/overracing cycle.

            Long course cross also encourages longer miles during the preparation phase which, I BELIEVE, is detrimental to middle distance runners.

            A well thought out long-term development plan for middle distance runners can include a few well placed 4k xc races. However, if the athlete is a serious and talented middle distance competitor these races should be seen for what they are - fun competitions to measure training progress and help the athlete prepare for track.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

              It's a bad idea on all fronts. The short course race at World Cross has been a total flop. The only person who's ever been remembered as winning is Bekele, and that's only because he doubled.

              I don't know any international cross fans who regularly attends World Cross who think it's a good idea. It's diluded the event. Now that they only score 4, it's not as much of a team race.

              The IAAF instituted the 4K hoping it'd attract the Morceli and El G types. It hasn't and it never will. It'll be domintated by the Kenyan 15/3K types forever (Bekele excepted), who used to run the 12K anyway.

              Were the NCAA to establish a 4K, it'd be even worse. Allow Robison to concentrate on 1500 training? Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the reason he was able to PR so late in the summer was BECAUSE he had such a strong cross base?

              I'm just about the biggest cross fan out there and I would hate to see a 4K at the NCAA level. I don't see any possible benefits. For one, it would weaken American middle-distance running even more. Milers would run even less mileage outside of the track season.

              And what would they do for the women (since the NCAA demands parity). Have an 8K and a 4K? Talk about weak races...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                Dan,

                We at the United States Track Coaches Association think it is a great idea. It would allow the half miler/miler type to be able to race competitively and it would make a more enjoyable race for the fans; i.e. both races score and count toward team title. Each team can race three or four in both.

                Strategy would make for very interesting team competitions.

                Also, most 10k courses are not fan friendly. Maybe if we added a short race, the fans could actually see something happen

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                  "Long course cross also encourages longer miles during the preparation phase which, I BELIEVE, is detrimental to middle distance runners."

                  This is my belief as well. During my college CC career, I did not see many milers/800m guys seriously training for CC anyway - they would either try to up their miles and end up dulling their speed, or more commonly just "do their best" but half-ass the season. A shorter course format would be a plus to these types, since at least they could scratch their competitive itch without racing for 30 minutes.

                  As an example, note that R. Myers from Ohio State ran about 9th in an early season meet over 5 miles. He ran 3:58 earlier this year, but does running and training for a 30 minute race really benefit his career? Pity even more Grant Robinson, whose team will be vying for a national title. Does he train for a 30 minute race and risk his 3:35 1500m speed? Likely he will, and it will not help his chances for the Athens team when guys like Krum, Webb, Lunn, etc. will be targeting the trials - Robinson will be resting in Dec., then playing catchup through the winter.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                    Did running 12K World Cross hurt the mile speed of the following ?:

                    Rod Dixon - 3rd, 1973
                    John Walker - 4th, 1975 (you know what he did the following year)
                    Wilfred Kirochi - 3rd, 1989 (2nd in Worlds 1500 in '91)
                    Stephen Kipkorir - 14th, 1996 (won Olympic bronze at 1500 same year).

                    I would posit that one of the big reasons Europeans are not as much of a factor at 1500 and up as they used to be is because they're getting away from their cross country roots.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                      An example of one is not a good sample size, but let's go with Rob Myers as an example. He ran his best race of the year, a 3:58 mile, in February. He failed to make the NCAA meet (finishing 8th at the Midwes Regional) and was only 6th at Big 10. His fastest time outdoors was only 3:48! Now do you think it was a lack of speed that caused him to fade at the end of the season? (Caveat: I have no idea if he had injuries outdoors or not).

                      He should run MORE cross!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                        El Supremo-

                        Let us not forget about a promising middle distance runner named Alan Webb who got sucked up in the longer miles required to run competitive "long-course" cross.

                        Do some really believe that 8/15 guys should be putting in the kind of long summer miles collegiate cross-country guys commonly log? And, by not putting in these kind of miles the middle distance runners will actually be worse off come spring track season?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                          If a 10K is lousy for spectators, a 4K would only provide 40% as much viewing?!?!?!

                          If NCAA cross courses are bad for spectators, change the courses, not the event. Mandate a 2K loop or smaller. Get a big screen so that fans can watch the action when athletes are out of sight.

                          I watched the Brussels Cross Cup 10.5K in '95. The course was a 1500m loop. You could watch virtually the entire race from one spot. And the course was not boring, either. I ran in the people's race and it was great. A long grassy start/finish, short hill in back, some zig-zags through the trees. Fantastic stuff. They get thousands of spectators every year. They'll get more than that for World Cross in March.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                            YES middle distance runners NEED the base they get from running XC. Some 800 runners may be better off not running 10ks but only the ones who are more sprinter/400 types. I think many can gain alot from it. Tell me, when you run the 1500 is it anaerobic or aeorobic? Its aerobic except for the last couple hundred meters. Middle distance runners need to work on developing their aerobic system and building a base during the fall. YOU DO NOT LOSE SPEED by doing high mileage. Also, another big point here is that coaches like Lydiard who stressed high mileage for aerobic development said that speed work should still be done most of the year. But there is a difference between SPEED work and ANEROBIC intervals. I think Dan brought up a good point about Robison PRing so late in the summer. He was able to do that because he had such a large base from XC. I also think that is why schools like Stanford and Arkansas have so many guys who can run good times all the way from the 1500 to the 5/10k. They all run XC. Look at Regina Jacobs, in my opinion she peaked in February when she ran 3:59. She probably started doing too much anaerobic work way too soon in the season. Someone who runs that fast in February isn't going to be a huge factor at Worlds in late August. I think Lydiard pretty much figured it out a long time ago but everybody is always trying to find an easier way to do things. But there is no way around doing mileage. Anways, I could go on for a long time about how important an aerobic base is.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                              Dan,
                              Rob Meyers is a great example and fine athlete. He faded at the end, Regionals & Big Ten, because he had an injury and couldn't train properly.

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