Jesuit coach Walt Lange has coached at the same school for over 50 years. During that span, Coach Lange has been in charge of one of the most successful running programs in the nation (That's right, the nation!). Look up their track and field top 10 lists! Among his many accomplishments as a coach, his boys have also won 9 state team cross country titles which ties them for the most ever with the famed McFarland teams.
Coach Lange has also contributed to the California high school cross country and track and field scene in many ways. The latest addition to that long list has been his passioned pursuit for a state meet that will finally feature teams of equal sizes in each division.
Over the past 10 years, the qualifying process for the meet has remained relatively similar. Sections have been given the freedom to set their divisions provided they do not have Division V teams that surpass 600 students. Despite that provision, the Chowchilla HS boys in 2018 were able to compete at the state meet in Division V despite having a current CBED of 1113. Hopefully, that was an outlier.
The problem with that system is that the Southern Section (SS) has twice as many teams as the 2nd largest section, the Sac Joaquin Section. Other sections can't truly match up with the Southern Section which means that the schools from outside the SS end up racing much larger schools at the state meet.
Coach Lange has a very simple solution that would keep the section races just as they have been in recent years. The individual sections will continue to place their schools in the same divisions since the section meets appear to be quite fair at this point.
What would change is the state meet. Once all the teams and individuals qualify for the state meet, the teams would then be placed based on their size. The largest 24 teams (we will use that number for now) would be placed in Division I. The next 24 teams would be placed in Division II and so on until every team is placed in the 5 separate divisions.
Coach Lange was able to post the results from last year as well as the results of last year's meet followed by the fantasy format. In this LINK, you will be able to view last year's results (REALITY) vs the adjusted results (FANTASY). You can see what Division 1 would have looked like last year below on the right if the largest 24 teams were all placed in Division 1.
In the above link, you can see the huge disparity within each division. Such an example is in the Division II boys' race which has the largest team, Loyola with 2480 students competing against schools like Willow Glen (1736 students) and St. Francis, Mt. View (1766 students). I won't include San Luis Obispo in this discussion with their 1523 students since the Central Section uses a competitive equity format to determine their divisions.
The current system of determining divisions by each individual section appears to be quite unique to California. No other state in the nation decides its state champions in this manner. In fact, the one race that most resembles the state meet, the Clovis Invitational, sets up their divisions based purely on size. The meet director ignores the state divisions and reshuffles the races based on the entries.
We would love to hear your thoughts regarding the potential change so please feel free to reach out to us on twitter @MileSplitCA. All questions will be addressed and we look forward to the conversation that could lead to an even better and more equitable state meet.