Florida Middle School Track & Field State Championship

  • Jason Byrne
    Site Admin
    Insider
    jason Edited
    We are once again planning to host a middle school state championship for track & field this spring--this year with a twist. This year\'s meet will be more authentic state championship than open race, as athletes must qualify in one of two ways for the meet: through finishing top four at their regional meet or by hitting the automatic qualifying standard at a middle school regional qualifier OR at an FHSAA district or regional meet (if they are competing for a high school team and therefore could not make the ms regional qualifier).

    This plan, Dan Dearing and I feel, will not only add to the authenticity and competitiveness but also will appeal to and bring attention to the state championship series on localized levels. Our middle school track programs around the state are scattered and isolated, we hope to help bridge this gap by offering regional races leading to the state championship.

    I am looking at ways to divide the state into four to six regions. If you are interested in directing a regional meet (great fund raiser for your school or club), please let me know. Also I would like some feedback on which counties have organized middle school programs and/or lots of club participation--this will help when splitting up the regions, which will be based as much on participation as geography.

    Thank you all for your support in building up our middle school programs in the state of Florida!

    **EDITED**
    Note: After my post, Dan and I discussed tweaking the qualifying process. The performance hitting the qualifying standard MUST either come at the regional qualifier OR if they are unable to participate due to competing for a high school team the time can be achieved at the FHSAA district or regional meet.
  • User
    fblparent
    Where can a parent of a Middle School track runner find out what the qualifying times are? We have our District meet tomorrow night. In particular, for the girl\'s 800 meter.

    Thanks!
  • Jason Byrne
    Site Admin
    Insider
    jason
    District meet tomorrow night? We\'re talking about track & field, not cross country.

    We haven\'t set the qualifying standards yet, but we intend to have everything 100% solidified including standards and regional sites by January 1. Right now we are just looking for feedback and parties who would be interested in potentially hosting a regional qualifier.
  • Pat Crandall
    Coach
    Insider
    gpc3
    problem: the qualifying is too restrictive. There are many reasons why a MSer (who can\'t drive) can\'t get to one of the qual meets. Then they MUST do it at districts (how many MSers do you really expect to get through to Regionals?). Well, a) they might be great mSers, but not in the top 4 in that event on their team (happens to us and we are a small school). And even if they are, b) they are now faced with a 1-shot chance to qualify? Too hard. Off-day, illness, short-term injury? You\'re out. Just go to straight qualifying marks. Go ahead and have the qual meets (another chance to get the mark) and allow anyone in top 3, regardless of mark, into the Big Meet.
  • Jason Byrne
    Site Admin
    Insider
    jason Edited
    Quoted from above \"if they are unable to participate due to competing for a high school team the time can be achieved at the FHSAA district or regional meet.\"

    FHSAA district/region or regional qualifying meet to hit standard or top four at regional qualifying meet. This is much more forgiving than the high school counterpart which is certainly a one-shot-deal. We want to encourage participation in the regional meets and also want to ensure the \"legitness\" of the marks... so that we don\'t have a 10.2 100 meter entry like that reported last year (according to Dan) in a Jacksonville paper.

    Also... of course middle schoolers can\'t drive, but if their parents aren\'t going to drive them to their regional meet, they certainly aren\'t going to drive them to the state meet..so that argument doesn\'t really hold up to me.
  • Jason Byrne
    Site Admin
    Insider
    jason Edited
    gp3--Sorry I am rereading your message trying to figure out exactly what you are suggesting. I\'m not sure. We might actually be saying the same thing.

    How to qualify:
    1. Finish in the top four at a regional qualifier
    2. Hit qualifying mark at regional qualifier
    3. Hit qualifying mark at FHSAA district
    4. Hit qualifying mark at FHSAA regional

    So basically you will have at least four from each regional qualifying meet, more in strong regions because anyone who goes under the mark makes it.
  • Keith Weiss
    User
    pbrunner26
    This isnt the greatest idea because alot of middle schools like the one i went to didn\'t have district or regional meets. We Had 5 races a year and we were done. I know that If you were to do this then
    alot of talent would be left out of the meet due to the way their county does track.
  • Pat Crandall
    Coach
    Insider
    gpc3
    Yes, I see your desire to get people to your qual meets, but perhaps you could designate \'legit\' meets from you calendar that can fulfill the same purpose. Since we all have a problem with the FHSAA qualing, perhaps we can show them how to do it. Like the NCAA, you can qual thru the region meet, but you can also qual all season long at \'legit\' meets, which we can easily define, either through the necessity of FAT, or \'reputation\'. Just looking for broadest possible inclusivity. [btw - I hope you recovered well from the scathing whupping I put on you for doubting my support before]
  • Jason Byrne
    Site Admin
    Insider
    jason
    pbrunner--You don\'t have to go to the district and regional meet of FHSAA, the only reason we have that is for kids who compete at schools where middle schoolers compete for high school teams and thus wouldn\'t be able to go to a middle school regional qualifying meet. Soo... the others would go to the qualifying meet.

    Trying to explain this as clearly as possible.
  • Dan Dearing
    Coach
    Insider
    dddd
    You all have seemed to have missed the boat here. We are offering a reprieve to those athletes who, due to varsity conflicts (postseason obligations for those schools that allow MS athletes to run Varsity) cannot make it to a regional qualifying meet. There will be 4-6 of these meets around the state. If a middle school athlete cannot make it important enough to come to their regional meet otherwise, then we are not going to bend over backwards to advance them to the state meet. If the athlete has a \"bad day\" at their Regional, then they were not one of the top performers when it mattered and they will not advance. This is a concept that Florida Runners need to get used to as they will see it throughout High School. We are willing to go a step further than the FHSAA and recognize that there may be a region that has 6 of the top 10 athletes in an event. If that is the case, then those not in the top 4 will probably have met the Standard and get to advance anyway.
    If you want to have a conversation about the imperfections of any advancement system, please relate them to the FHSAA system and recognize this as an improvement. This system will allow for more Middle School athletes to compete in the MS State Series and for the State meet to be truly a showcase of the State\'s elite MS athletes.

    Dan Dearing
  • Pat Crandall
    Coach
    Insider
    gpc3
    well, I see I have already lost the debate, but here\'s where I\'m coming from - middle school athletes are NOT high school athletes. Developmentally speaking, we do NOT need to throw them to the wolves with a HS/college model. There\'s plenty of time for them to learn the \'harsh realities\' of REAL competition next year when the EIGHTH graders are FRESHMEN. The quickest way to burn out a young athlete is to turn up the fires of competition before he has even really gotten started. Our fields last year were not out of control, but we should have made it clear that the State Championships should not have been the very first time you had ever tried the event, which happened in the jumps in some cases.
  • Dan Dearing
    Coach
    Insider
    dddd Edited
    I would be open to accepting other FAT times earned throughout this coming track season. There are not a lot of opportunities for MS athletes to run FAT times, but I refuse to accept some of the hand time marks I have seen from MS (and some HS) coaches. (GPC3- remember Cedrick McBurroughs 10.2 in the 100m two years ago as reported in the Times Union?)

    Would that be more acceptible? I believe that Bob Hayes has FAT races for MS athletes and certainly there must be a few more around the state.
  • Pat Crandall
    Coach
    Insider
    gpc3
    yes, exactly. FAT is becoming more and more available (heck, we even have a system). And yes, hand times in the events below the 400 are worthless (but 400 and above are good enough). Field events marks at small meets can be suspect also, which is why we would need to designate a certain number of meets as \'qualifiers\', before the fact. Thank you.
  • User
    NotStanfordGrad
    Not that anybody asked my opinion, but the qualification system for MS athletes is patently exclusive - not inclusive. It does not surprise me to see that FHSAA meets are marks based on the fact that the only people that would make these qualifications legaly would be athletes that run on FHSAA sanctioned teams such as the majority of private schools.

    1. Mixing MS that compete at HS with MS that does not compete at HS is one way to compete. I don\'t think its a good way to compete because of huge differentials in training availability and quality. I often point out to my runners that I don\'t love them as much as private school parents love their children, else I would have insured that they got the very best possible. How competitive is running a MS athlete that is already an FHSAA champion at the HS level among MS tykes? If they already run on an FHSAA sanctioned HS team they already have a designated championship competition.

    2. Age group records for little kids is for s*it, and it ought to be against the rules (or at least common sense rules) that age group records are maintained for prepubescents. It places too much stress on a meaningless time based plateau (you must get this good by the time you\'re 11 or else you\'re a failure) that has no real bearing to continued training.

    3. Middle school competition should be as inclusive as possible based on eligibility. At some places around the state private schools can\'t compete against public middle schools. I don\'t know the reason for that, but it doesn\'t seem like a good idea in a general sense. I have a problem with MS on HS teams competing against MS on MS teams, not in general competition among MS kids.

    4. Does it matter to be on a HS team (like XC) in the fall and then be competing as a MS athlete in the spring? Yes it does.
  • Pat Crandall
    Coach
    Insider
    gpc3 Edited
    Dear NSG,

    a. my condolences for your lack of foresight in choosing your institution of higher learning

    b. the only point I gathered from your post is that MSers who run for their HS should NOT be eligible for the MS CHampionships (or perhaps your point was that there should NOT be a MS Championships at all). In any case I\'m sure you\'re aware that it\'s not the students\' fault that they have the opportunity to compete for a HS. I doubt we should penalize them for that. It is OPEN to any MSer, so it CAN be inclusive. As you correctly point out, the objective is to PARTICIPATE; the outcome is not the most important thing here. Who wins, who loses, will be irrelevant as they move up in HS, where the \'real\' competition is. So why would be want to EXCLUDE people from participating? Or worse yet, not even give them the opportunity.

    gpc3
    SG
  • Jason Byrne
    Site Admin
    Insider
    jason
    While I don\'t want to get into a MS at HS level debate, they may have a training advantage but perhaps so do kids running on club teams. That\'s life, some people are always going to have a head start on you.

    Our number one goal is to encourage the growth of middle school programs in the state of Florida. Middle school runners are like third rate citizens in this sport. Sure the mentality and maturity of a middle schooler is different than that of a high schooler, but competitiveness is part of this sport and middle schoolers know what it means to compete and win just the same. Inclusiveness and fun definitely do not need to be left out... the regional meets will bring together a large number of athletes at varying levels from 4-6 areas of the state. There will be no limits of how many per team or who can or can\'t compete--inclusive.

    The state championship is a goal for the competitive of these athletes to shoot for, a reward for hard work. I know it will fill a void and bring together the state\'s best middle school athletes.
  • User
    NotStanfordGrad
    So why would be want to EXCLUDE people from participating? Or worse yet, not even give them the opportunity.

    Dear gpc3,

    Let me break it down for you. When someone chooses to attend private school it is a personal choice of exclusion that they consciously make. I am not aware of anyone that is forced to attend a private school over a public school. It is a choice that they and their parents make - that we in public schools are not good enough for some reason and they choose to seperate from us (or as I like to think of it as secede from everyday reality and join the kings of industry training track.) It will no doubt indoctrinate later feelings of superiority, and exclusion from general rule following since rules are for those that don\'t know how to subvert them. (for examples please view the criminal punishment of white collar workers over the punishment of the blue collar and minorities).

    Secondly, participation in on a FHSAA sanctioned team is not mandatory. Another clear choice that the student, the coach and the parent make - another self exclusion (i.e. \"I don\'t want to associate with MS athletes and make the MS system stronger. Rather, I\'d like to participate in FHSAA teams so that I can receive the shiny bling that FHSAA gives out.\" This is akin to the NCAA rules regarding receiving valuables while in the sanctioning authority; if you take valuables no one stops you from competing - you just can\'t compete in the conference any longer.

    Thirdly, I have observed that private school teams get to compete the entire FHSAA season, while most MS teams compete 3-4 meets with no postseason. What\'s your point? That the customary FHSAA season (including summer training and competitions) is not enough, and to crush the public school MS athletes would truly determine the \"MIDDLE SCHOOL\" champion? It is my OPINION that mixing FHSAA class athletes with MS athletes is NOT competitive, and is in fact a vicious disregard of true MS athletes - those that are LIMITED by the restrictive FHSAA participation rules and train under much more limited conditions.

    But, that\'s just one unsolicited opinion, so carry on.
  • Pat Crandall
    Coach
    Insider
    gpc3
    to rebut
    1. Of course it is NOT the child\'s choice to go to private school. It is the parents\' choice.
    2. ???? Of course they CHOOSE to run track! That\'s the only part of this equation they DO have a choice in.
    3. The schedule is not their choice either. They just compete as they are allowed.

    Your idea of exclusivity befuddles me. If our goal is Inclusivity, then we do not EXCLUDE people whose ONLY option is that they MAY run if they wish.

    Since you are addressing me, please feel free to e-mail me at gpc3@comcast.net to continue this off-line.
  • User
    NotStanfordGrad
    Your idea of exclusivity befuddles me. If our goal is Inclusivity, then we do not EXCLUDE people whose ONLY option is that they MAY run if they wish.

    This started as a forum post, where Jason asked for feedback, but qualified it with a predermined scheme of qualifications that seem to favor private school athletes. That\'s why I offered an opinion.

    In response to your inclusion/exclusion question it\'s pretty simple. In my initial post, 3rd paragraph, I qualified it to include \"eligible\" athletes. There\'s no way to enforce eligibility here other then self-determination and self-policing. It matters to me because if private schools hold themselves up as examples of fine learning, I (for one) expect them to spend some time on the concepts of morals or empathy (but I don\'t know for a fact that those are in the curriculum).

    My \"exclusion\" of FHSAA class MS athletes is based on the same principle of why we exclude drug enhanced runners from competing with the general runner base. The competitive and training advantages to MS athletes that compete at the FHSAA level in comparison to plain vanilla MS runners is (to me) similar to including drug enhanced athletes into the running competition and asking us to accept them at face value as being equal. We have no issues excluding drug enhanced athletes because we know that they took a shortcut to greatness, we know that we are fundamentally not competitive with them, and that their participation taints the competitive nature and outcome of the race. Even the MOST competive public school MS runner (excluding a few small public schools) will not have seven attempts at the state series. Joe Franklin was very competitive at Flrunners MS race, but he is LIMITED to four (4) go\'s at the state series (the shiny bling). Not so for FHSAA MS athletes - they get seven chances at the series. I\'d suggest that they take those seven chances that they get and realize the real value of what their parents and coaches have given them. Opportunity.

    Just an opinion and I\'m sure that the FLrunners MS championships will be a success whatever the qualification and eligibility process.

    I am available for offtopic discussions at wsobchak@gmail.com
  • Jason Byrne
    Site Admin
    Insider
    jason
    Just a note: The middle school championships and regional qualifiers will be USATF sanctioned and therefore technically no athletes may officially run for an FHSAA team. Of course we know how that works: take off your school uniform, put on a white shirt, and you\'re good to go.
  • User
    george232
    to NSG: I think what\'s great about the FLRunners.com forum is that runners and fans of varying interest and talent can post thoughts and ideas about running.
    What isn\'t great about this forum is that every once in a while I come across moronic opinions like yours. Because your idea that training harder is like taking drugs is so ignorant, I assume that it was a joke and that you will thus not be offended when I say that you are a moron. Anyway, I\'ve got some free time on my hands...

    I sense a lot of resentment... a rudimentary psychologial analysis might reveal that you never were able to obtain that private school education, and you continued to rue the night of your conception into a world where you could not run in high school races while still in middle school. After months or perhaps even years of facing this tremendous envy, perhaps you were able to convince yourself that private school was nothing more than a playground for the elite rich, a yacht club of the powerful. God could not have wrought such a devastating existence where such a runner as yourself would be denied acceptance! Perhaps Satan in all his awful fiery might has plagued o\'er the earth the evil with money, leaving them content to play their games and burn in hell.
    The rich of the earth want nothing more than to live off the toil of the poor, to recline while their slaves sweat in the fields. Capitalism does not change this, it simply restructures the racism and subjugation.
    Which brings us to the case of Not Stanford Graduate v. FLRunners. Not Stanford Graduate, a humble middle school runner who could not run because he was not on an elite team, striking up against the elite society that cast him into obscurity.

    Fight on, Not Stanford Graduate! Fight on against all the overachievers who have come back to reap their harvest of youthful glory! Fight on against the machine that has condemned you before you or your parents were even born, the machine that has already imprisoned your children and your children\'s children!

    Anyone can be a winner so long as he competes against losers.
    -Plato

    Nah, I\'m just kidding, Plato wasn\'t a moron.

    Please comment if you didn\'t understand anything from the above post, I\'m dying to read it.