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"B Finals" in track and field


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  • #16
    Originally posted by gh
    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the NCAA's brief flirtation with a B-final system.

    Can anybody remember the name of the only guy ever to run the fastest time in the meet (in the finals) and only be awarded 9th place?
    Rob Webster, U. Washington. And, yes, it was in Provo.

    No one has mentioned a much more well-known person who won the "slow" section, and thus a national championship.


    • #17
      David Mack University of Oregon 1:48.00 16
      Jack McIntosh Western Michigan University 1:48.10 13
      Ray Brown University of Virginia 1:48.46 12
      John Trott University of Idaho 1:48.54 11
      Scott Rider Ohio State University 1:48.56 10
      LeRoy Robinson University of Idaho 1:49.06 9
      John Marshall Villanova University 1:49.10 7
      Rob Webster University of Washington 1:47.21 4
      Jerry Fugua Rice University 1:48.51 3
      Herman Brown University of Rhode Island 1:48.76 2
      Richard Hunz University of Portland 1:49.06 1


      • #18
        Originally posted by gh
        A week after Osaka you've got a Golden League payday coming up, with your pay dependent on place. Are you gonna run a meaningless race in Japan or start getting ready for your next cheque?
        Didn't we have a very high profile USA woman who tanked the WC or OG cuz she was 'saving' herself for a Zurich payday?


        • #19
          Originally posted by dj
          No one has mentioned a much more well-known person who won the "slow" section, and thus a national championship.
          You mean Mr. Masback?


          • #20
            Originally posted by dj
            Originally posted by gh
            I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the NCAA's brief flirtation with a B-final system.

            Can anybody remember the name of the only guy ever to run the fastest time in the meet (in the finals) and only be awarded 9th place?
            Rob Webster, U. Washington. And, yes, it was in Provo.

            No one has mentioned a much more well-known person who won the "slow" section, and thus a national championship.
            The mile at the U.S. Indoor Nationals? CM?


            • #21
              I have a better case for you - in the 1985 Polish nationals, there were two series in the men's 5000 and both section winners ran the exact same time (with automatic timing, i.e. 0.01s accuracy) :!: They had to hand out 2 gold medals.
              Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...


              • #22
                Ah yes, the abomination that was the '82 NCAA. Which started us down a slippery slope to the (excuse me while I slip into old-fogey mode here, where everything was always better in the past) quasi-ruination of what used to be about the best meet going. And not just because of the B-finals.

                Our post-meet analysis, from the July '82 edition:

                What Hath The NCAA Wrought?

                The controversial new format of the NCAA Championships produced a meet that was far different from any of the preceding 60 affairs and was met with mixed reaction.

                Because the meet is so very vital to the American track scene, the new format and all its implications have been thoroughly analyzed by Track & Field News. This is a report on the major changes, the results of these changes, the problems they caused and suggestions for overcoming the problems.

                THE WOMEN
                In the meet for the first time, the women just about doubled the amount of competition and thus contributed to the enjoyment. There are some diehards who prefer to keep the women's program separate but they seem to be a small minority. Inclusion of the women added a day to the meet but was not responsible for other changes even though some had blamed them for the necessity of unwanted changes.

                THE SCORING
                The number of scorers per event was stretched from 6 to 12. Even though the minor placings were overlooked by all much of the time, and scoring was made more difficult, the 15 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 system per se was livable.

                Apparently the Rules Committee, which adopted the new format despite overwhelming rejection by the coaches, desired more places in order to make believe that collegiate track programs are more successful than they really are.

                We are told that more coaches now will be able to tell their athletic directors that they scored in the nationals. That is supposed to make the coaches and their athletes look good.

                But are we to believe that the ADs and alumni will really be convinced that a 12th place finish scoring 1 point is any better than the same 12th place performance scoring no points? Still, there is little wrong with this self delusion if that is the way they choose to play the game. What is very wrong are the format changes necessary to implement the new scoring system.

                In the field events and longer runs the 14 qualifiers can compete against one another and place themselves accordingly. But in 1 6 events (42% of the total) the size of the track limits the number of runners to 8 or 9 at a time.

                Thus some system other than the traditional had to be used to determine 9th through 12th. The system mandated by the rules committee involved a "championship" race for places 1 8 and a "consolation" race for 9 12. It was awkward and strange. And it did not work.

                There were seven events in which nobody placed 8th, one without a 7th or 8th place, and two with no 12th.

                One event, the men's 800, saw the consolation winner run almost a second faster than the championship winner yet get only 9th. The result was discomfiting to all.

                Rob Webster knows he ran the fastest 800 of the day but only scored 4 points. Even the vacated

                8th place was denied him. David Mack is history's winner but his proud victory is somewhat tainted, in the minds of many and through no fault of his, by the knowledge that Webster ran faster.

                The consolation race was poorly named and as often as not failed to bring out the competitive fire of the entrants. Many seemed little concerned about 9th to 12th place. Indeed, 11 runners or teams did not even compete in the consolations.

                An arbitrary decision reduced qualifying to one round, thus eliminating the semifinals which have proved satisfactory to this and all other big meets. No official reason was given. Indeed, the Rules Committee did not feel compelled to explain much of anything, but it is believed the rulesmakers felt that with twice as many running events, because the women were added, there was no room on the schedule for semis.

                If this is the reason it is a poor one. TAC, for instance, runs men and women through heats and semis and does it comfortably in just 3 days. Obviously the NCAA could do it in 4.

                Addition of about 30 semifinal races would add just 3 hours to the 15 hours now devoted to running. That would still leave the races occupying only 56% of the 32 hour schedule.

                On the plus side is the fewer races a sprinter must run. On the other hand, it seemed there was more all out running in the heats than before, and one has to wonder how much the elevated levels of performance owed to the altitude, not the system.

                QUALIFYING BY TIME
                Another key decision was to qualify only heat winners by place, with the remaining finalists as many as 12 out of 14—selected on the basis of time. This completely changed the nature of qualifying.

                Head-to-head competition, always the cornerstone of track competition, was out the window.

                An inconsistency was created whereby sprinters qualified by time but scored by beating their opponents no matter what the time.

                Fortunately the selection process worked, in that those who "should" have made the finals usually did so in about the same proportions as before. Unfortunately, this was often a matter of luck, not of the efficacy of the system.

                A vigorous objection to qualifying by time is that the changing weather can upset the formchart. As it turned out, luck again was on the side of the new system.. Whenever there were significant differences in wind readings it seemed it was the better runners who got the advantage while the runners less likely to qualify turned up in the heats less helped by wind.

                Qualifying by time in the longer races offers quite a different means of giving the advantage to some runners. Runners in the last heat were able to note the times of all finishers in the prior heat and then run just fast enough to qualify.

                The faster first heat runners in both the steeple and the men's 5000 averaged about 3 seconds slower in the finals whereas the second heat runners were about 5 seconds faster. This 8 second discrepancy suggests that at least some of the second heat runners were able to save more for the finals.

                Under the new system there are no trials of 3 jumps or throws per person with the leaders getting another 3. Now everyone is given 6 tries, even if they foul the first 3 efforts, a procedure contrary to accepted practice everywhere else. And it is inconsistent with the shorter races where only the first 8 have a chance to win.

                One result is an 84 jump/throw final, with the attendant possibility that a finalist from the first flight could see as many as 54 other throwers between his 3rd and 4th efforts plus warmup throws. It makes for not one but several competitions.

                And one of the competitions, the three final throws of the 7 poorest after 3 rounds, mandates 21 efforts in a row typically of little consequence. Fans quickly become turned off.


                1. Keep the women. They add much to the meet.

                2. Go back to scoring 6 places, eliminating all the problems outlined above. If it is deemed advisable to score more athletes, make it 8 places, which can be decided in one race.

                Or, if it must be 12, change the method of placing 9th through 12th. Eliminate the consolation race for the shorter events. Decide the 9 12 placers on the basis of their finish in the semifinals.

                The highest semifinal finish among those not making the final 8 will earn 9th place, the second highest gets 1 0th, etc. If there is a tie, such as two 5th placers, break the tie on the basis of time. Move up runners when there is a vacancy ahead of them. Always score 12.

                This will eliminate the absurdities of no places and of having losers run faster than winners. It will do away with the unhappy consolation races. It will restore lost luster to the final.

                In the field events, take the 8 highest finishers in the qualifying round to the finals for six more throws. Award places 9 12 to the next best performers in qualifying.

                3. Restore semifinals and go back to advancing to the finals by place. Do away with the unfair selection by time routine.

                There is plenty of time to add semis and the schedule will be shortened by removing the need for consolation races.

                4. Change the schedule so that no more than 3 field events are held at a time when there is no running and no more than 2 field events when there is running. Allow more time between races. All can be done easily without adding any time to the 1982 schedule.

                Taken together, these changes will allow the addition of the women and scoring to as many as 12 places. They will eliminate the problems inherent in qualifying by time and running 2 finals. And it will give the field eventers more places in the sun and please the fans.

                by Bert Nelson & the editorial staff