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High schoolers older than they used to be?

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  • High schoolers older than they used to be?

    My U-T colleague Mark Zeigler wrote a great story about how parents are holding back their kids in elementary and middle school to give them an age advantage when they enter high school -- and compete in sports.

    Check this out:
    http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/ ... ?uniontrib

    Question for this board:

    Are high school tracksters, and especially record-setters, trending older in recent years? In other words, are we seeing more 19-year-olds as HS seniors than the traditional 18-year-olds?

    I graduated from high school in 1972 at age 17. (I turned 18 a month later, in June 1972). I always wonder whether I could have won a scholarship had I entered college a year later.

    I ran 14.4 in the 120 highs. OK for a senior. But how would I have been perceived after running 14.4 as a junior?

    K E N
    K E N

  • #2
    It is very common around here for boys to either start kindergarten at 6 (a year later than usual). or switch schools in MS and repeat a year. I did the latter with my son and it worked fabulously.

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    • #3
      this has been going on for decades, it is well known kids (especially football players in texas) have been purposely held back to give them a better chance to get a scholarship. it happens in other sports too, blair high school in new jersey always has an excellent wrestling team, as a prep school one of the things they offer is a chance to get a de-facto extra red shirt year as team members can still train and participate in tournaments even 1 year after graduation.
      blair high schools wrestling team that gets top talent from all over the country has been so successful that they are not allowed to compete for new jersey state titles even though they are in new jersey and new jersey is an excellent state for high school wrestling.

      at one of the top college wrestling programs in the nation, 2 recruits both incoming freshmen in the same same year, were born nearly 3 years apart, i figured i know about holding a kid back a year to have an athletic advantage goes on but 2 or 3? i figured the kid must not have had good grades, wrong the kid excelled in academics straight a's in both high school and college, the reason was he was small for his age and had he started college on schedule even with a redshirt year he may have been to small even for the lowest weight of 125 pounds, but having his first match in college as a 22 year old redshirt freshmen he was big enough to be a 3 time all american.

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      • #4
        The catch is, of course, that in most states, you cannot compete for your HS after you reach 19y, 6m. Prep schools in NE don't follow that rule, which is why most public schools don't schedule them at all.

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        • #5
          Re: High schoolers older than they used to be?

          Originally posted by TrackCEO
          I ran 14.4 in the 120 highs. OK for a senior. But how would I have been perceived after running 14.4 as a junior?
          Yeah, but you would have had less training under your belt at the same age, so maybe you go faster than 14.4 as a senior, but I don't think that time was just a result of the physical maturity of a 17 year old.

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          • #6
            Re: High schoolers older than they used to be?

            Originally posted by skyin' brian
            Yeah, but you would have had less training under your belt at the same age, so maybe you go faster than 14.4 as a senior, but I don't think that time was just a result of the physical maturity of a 17 year old.
            Don't be so surprised. Every stinkin' year I get boys who come back to track after a lapse of 8 months and within a week are setting monster PRs with virtually no technical progress yet.

            Last year my boy JM hurdled 16.9, 44.2, HJed 5-6, and TJed 36'

            This year he hurdled 15.7, 40.8, HJed 6-5 and TJed (in 2 meets) 41-7.

            My 11' PV boy of last year, jumped 13' after 2 weeks of practice.

            Testosterone is the best PED of all.

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            • #7
              Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, touches on this subject. He cites Canadian elite hockey teams at various age levels and notes that almost everyone on the rosters was born early in the year (Jan-April) and almost no one was born from July-Dec.

              He concludes that with age group cut-offs on Jan. 1st, the oldest, most physically developed kids get the most playing time and are least likely to get cut from teams and have the best chance to become elite players, while the younger kids never get the same opportunities to develop. Same would seem to apply to grade level competitions in team sports, although with track and field kids do not usually get cut from teams for physical reasons.

              Is a kid a lot better at 19 than at 18? No guarantees that is true, but it would usually be the case. Used to be the rule in California that a student-athlete had to be 18 when school started to be eligible for the year. I guess that is still the rule?

              An example is Jimmy Clausen, the current Notre Dame QB, who barely made the birthday limit at Oaks Christian HS after being held back along the way by his family's desire to maximize his football fortunes. It paid off for him in high school, but the jury is still out at the college level.

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