Photo By Sophia Perigo
Story By J.D. McKay
As this track season has gone by, I have been grinding every day. The hard work has shown. This year, I have increased my personal record (PR), and have been very close to breaking it several times. I won the Corydon Stargazer Invite where I PRed. But I was always just waiting for the inevitable. Waiting for my competition season to end and the start of my practice to be an alternate season to begin.
I am happy to say that senior Cam Sturgeon will be all-state and could win state, and senior Austin Gootee is finally hitting the throws he should be and has a shot to get to state as well. But I am kind of frustrated.
In Indiana, track sectionals allows for two athletes in each event. That basically makes it sound like the little schools have a chance against the big schools. In track, the top eight score in each event. First place gets 10, second 8, third 6, fourth 5, until eighth gets 1 point. In practice they really do not have a chance but in theory they do. This gives the appearance of even competition because if each school has the same number of athletes entered, anyone could win. But, the school with the biggest athlete pool always wins. The top four from each sectional advance to regionals.
So now that the rules have been explained, I will explain my problem. I am the third discus thrower on my team, so I cannot throw in sectionals. However, I am the also the third best thrower in our sectional. Meaning that we could get first, second, and third in discus at sectional and send three throwers to regionals. I even have a low chance of going to state. However, I will not get that chance.
Here are a couple of solutions to my problem. First, set a cut off mark for all events. If the athlete hits that mark at any meet, he or she is in sectionals. If a school only has one athlete at that mark then they can have a second athlete in that event. That would allow for all qualified athletes to get their chance to advance into the state tournament. However, that solution would make it less even between big and small schools. To even out the competition, only allow two athletes to score from each school in each event. Basically, if I got third behind Sturgeon and Gootee, I would still go to regionals, but I would not score points for the team.
Track is both an individual and team sport. So changing the rules should not make the team part uneven. However, since it is also an individual sport, all athletes that are qualified to compete in the biggest meets of the year should get the chance. I believe my suggestion could allow for both.