Automatic Qualifying marks for state
05/14/2014 2:03:35 PM
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I know it is that time of the year when this discussion will be started as all of us have kids that qualify or don't qualify that might not of in a different district. I am just curious what the main argument is against having automatic qualifying standards for the state meet. Other states do it and it works just fine, why can't Missouri? It might cause the state to make both meets a 3 day meet but if we truly want all the best kids running, jumping, or throwing for the title then it just makes sense. Thoughts?
I know it is that time of the year when this discussion will be started as all of us have kids that qualify or don't qualify that might not of in a different district. I am just curious what the main argument is against having automatic qualifying standards for the state meet. Other states do it and it works just fine, why can't Missouri? It might cause the state to make both meets a 3 day meet but if we truly want all the best kids running, jumping, or throwing for the title then it just makes sense. Thoughts?
05/14/2014 8:04:22 PM
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I'm all for adding a time/distance/hight qualification standard... could be based on the average mark for making finals over the last x years or something similar. But that would be no reason for the state meet to go to 2 days. For goodness sake, the meet currently doesn't start till noon. There's no reason we couldn't run the meet more efficiently and have a couple more heats if necessary! -Michelle
I'm all for adding a time/distance/hight qualification standard... could be based on the average mark for making finals over the last x years or something similar. But that would be no reason for the state meet to go to 2 days. For goodness sake, the meet currently doesn't start till noon. There's no reason we couldn't run the meet more efficiently and have a couple more heats if necessary!

-Michelle
05/15/2014 9:42:47 AM
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MSHSAA's solution to allowing more athletes the opportunity to experience the state meet was adding the 5th class. More kids will make it to the state meet, but it waters down the competition. My vote, eliminate either the district or sectional meet and create an automatic qualifying time. Give the kids something to compete for aside from "just finish in the top 4"!
MSHSAA's solution to allowing more athletes the opportunity to experience the state meet was adding the 5th class.

More kids will make it to the state meet, but it waters down the competition.

My vote, eliminate either the district or sectional meet and create an automatic qualifying time. Give the kids something to compete for aside from "just finish in the top 4"!
05/15/2014 9:52:57 AM
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I definitely think making State 3 days would be better. 48 hours 24 hour rest period is not sufficient recovery time for what is high level racing for most these kids. You could also add DMR race.
I definitely think making State 3 days would be better. 48 hours 24 hour rest period is not sufficient recovery time for what is high level racing for most these kids. You could also add DMR race.
05/15/2014 11:03:27 AM
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@coachinhillsboro I'm suprised
@coachinhillsboro
I'm suprised
05/15/2014 1:22:42 PM
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Food for thought: From 2008-2013, there have been 57 state boys champions that did not meet an automatic qualifying time/distance at the sectional meet. Two-thirds of those, 38 of the 57, happened in just four events – the 800, 4X8, 1600 and 3200. Four of the last six Class 4 boys state champs in the 1600 and five of the last six Class 3 boys state champs in the 3200 are among those 38. There have been 13 boys state champions that finished fourth at sectionals during that same time period.
Food for thought: From 2008-2013, there have been 57 state boys champions that did not meet an automatic qualifying time/distance at the sectional meet. Two-thirds of those, 38 of the 57, happened in just four events -- the 800, 4X8, 1600 and 3200. Four of the last six Class 4 boys state champs in the 1600 and five of the last six Class 3 boys state champs in the 3200 are among those 38.
There have been 13 boys state champions that finished fourth at sectionals during that same time period.
05/15/2014 1:35:49 PM
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@Hays I knew you would come through with some info Dean. I hope all is well and look forward to seeing you at the state meet. Genge
@Hays I knew you would come through with some info Dean. I hope all is well and look forward to seeing you at the state meet. Genge
05/15/2014 2:11:46 PM
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@coachinhillsboro Everything comes with a price and I would hate to lose state champ kids in an effort to find what is, in some reality, the fifth best kid in an event.
@coachinhillsboro
Everything comes with a price and I would hate to lose state champ kids in an effort to find what is, in some reality, the fifth best kid in an event.
05/15/2014 2:13:14 PM
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I am not really a big fan of the extra classification. I don't think that it will solve the issue of some of the top athletes not making it to state because they are in a loaded district/sectional. Now we will just have a 5th class in which it can happen. I also don't like the idea of a qualifying standard that could be achieved at any meet during the season. It just brings in issues of FAT vs hand held timing, schools that don't have FAT at their meet start having a hard time drawing schools, weather conditions affecting performance, etc. I just don't think that it is neccessary to scrap the whole system to fix one flaw. Besides, I personally would hate to lose the excitement and suspense at the district and sectional meets. I really feel like the proposal that was voted down was the best solution. It was my hope that it would pass, and then at some point in the future it would be modified to allow 5th place finishers from districts to qualify for sectionals if they met the qualifying standard. Another option that I think would work would be to change to a "super district" / "super sectional" system. Make the 4 current sectionals that are being used into 4 district meets where the top 8 finishers qualify for one of two sectional meets. You would have 16 participants in each event at sectionals, and the top 8 would qualify for state. At least this way, if an athlete or relay team is ranked in the top 8 in their event they should still make it to state. Obviously at districts you would have multiple heats of most events, and would have to decide whether to run prelims/finals or heats against time. You may also have some field events with large fields. Surely somebody (smarther than me) could figure out how to make it work though.
I am not really a big fan of the extra classification. I don't think that it will solve the issue of some of the top athletes not making it to state because they are in a loaded district/sectional. Now we will just have a 5th class in which it can happen. I also don't like the idea of a qualifying standard that could be achieved at any meet during the season. It just brings in issues of FAT vs hand held timing, schools that don't have FAT at their meet start having a hard time drawing schools, weather conditions affecting performance, etc. I just don't think that it is neccessary to scrap the whole system to fix one flaw. Besides, I personally would hate to lose the excitement and suspense at the district and sectional meets. I really feel like the proposal that was voted down was the best solution. It was my hope that it would pass, and then at some point in the future it would be modified to allow 5th place finishers from districts to qualify for sectionals if they met the qualifying standard. Another option that I think would work would be to change to a "super district" / "super sectional" system. Make the 4 current sectionals that are being used into 4 district meets where the top 8 finishers qualify for one of two sectional meets. You would have 16 participants in each event at sectionals, and the top 8 would qualify for state. At least this way, if an athlete or relay team is ranked in the top 8 in their event they should still make it to state. Obviously at districts you would have multiple heats of most events, and would have to decide whether to run prelims/finals or heats against time. You may also have some field events with large fields. Surely somebody (smarther than me) could figure out how to make it work though.
05/15/2014 2:30:09 PM
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[quote=coachinhillsboro]I am just curious what the main argument is against having automatic qualifying standards for the state meet.[/quote] @coachinhillsboro MSHSAA has made it very clear in the past that having the top performers in the state be at the state meet is NOT the goal. There have been countless proposals over the years that would have gotten us closer to having the very best in the state on the line at the state meet. Each of those proposals has died a quick death. MSHSAA's goal is to have top performers from the four quadrants of the state compete against one another. If that means four or five of the best athletes in the state don't make it there, that's just the way it goes. Coach Banta's sectional plus proposal was the closest we have come to changing the current system.
coachinhillsboro wrote:
I am just curious what the main argument is against having automatic qualifying standards for the state meet.


@coachinhillsboro

MSHSAA has made it very clear in the past that having the top performers in the state be at the state meet is NOT the goal. There have been countless proposals over the years that would have gotten us closer to having the very best in the state on the line at the state meet. Each of those proposals has died a quick death. MSHSAA's goal is to have top performers from the four quadrants of the state compete against one another. If that means four or five of the best athletes in the state don't make it there, that's just the way it goes. Coach Banta's sectional plus proposal was the closest we have come to changing the current system.
05/15/2014 2:37:29 PM
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@Hays What you can't quantify with numbers is kids who did not make it out of districts or sectionals that could have medaled or placed. I don't mean, we factor in what their time/distance was, but kids who if they made it on as they should have imo, would have been in the best shape of their year and risen to the occasion. It happens all of the time. A lot of kids that medal or PR at state do so because they had the opportunity to make that happen and take advantage of it. I'm not going to cite instance after instance where someone had one of the best times in the state in an event and didn't make it through. So with the example that was used, what about the kids in 5th or 6th by fractions of a second or a few seconds in a mile o two mile with great times that would have "peaked" at sectionals or state given the chance. Those are the people who aren't getting the opportunity who should be imo. Just b/c it is unquantifiable doesn't mean that it doesn't matter.
@Hays

What you can't quantify with numbers is kids who did not make it out of districts or sectionals that could have medaled or placed.

I don't mean, we factor in what their time/distance was, but kids who if they made it on as they should have imo, would have been in the best shape of their year and risen to the occasion. It happens all of the time.

A lot of kids that medal or PR at state do so because they had the opportunity to make that happen and take advantage of it.

I'm not going to cite instance after instance where someone had one of the best times in the state in an event and didn't make it through.

So with the example that was used, what about the kids in 5th or 6th by fractions of a second or a few seconds in a mile o two mile with great times that would have "peaked" at sectionals or state given the chance.

Those are the people who aren't getting the opportunity who should be imo.

Just b/c it is unquantifiable doesn't mean that it doesn't matter.
05/15/2014 3:19:46 PM
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@Hays "There have been 13 boys state champions that finished fourth at sectionals during that same time period". This statement partly supports my concern. If I have a guy who can clearly potentially win state, why would I make him exert himself in districts or sectionals. My advice COULD BE, "just finish in the top 4. No matter what your time is, just hang in for 4th". Or take the kids who can count during the race, if he/she can see that they are out of top 4 contention, what drive do they have to continue. Maybe some will shoot for a PR, others may just give up. I am completely in agreement with Coach Banta's district plus proposal!
@Hays "There have been 13 boys state champions that finished fourth at sectionals during that same time period".

This statement partly supports my concern. If I have a guy who can clearly potentially win state, why would I make him exert himself in districts or sectionals. My advice COULD BE, "just finish in the top 4. No matter what your time is, just hang in for 4th".

Or take the kids who can count during the race, if he/she can see that they are out of top 4 contention, what drive do they have to continue. Maybe some will shoot for a PR, others may just give up.

I am completely in agreement with Coach Banta's district plus proposal!
05/15/2014 3:34:38 PM
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Or the (50.0-51.5) 400 runner that a coach decides not to even enter in the 400 because there are 5-7 guys running 48.5-49.3. That 50.0 400 guy would qualify in every other district. The system is geared for regional equality of representation at the state meet and I get it...but you can still allow your top 4 guys and accept other qualifiers who hit a time at the DISTRICT or SECTIONAL meet.
Or the (50.0-51.5) 400 runner that a coach decides not to even enter in the 400 because there are 5-7 guys running 48.5-49.3. That 50.0 400 guy would qualify in every other district.

The system is geared for regional equality of representation at the state meet and I get it...but you can still allow your top 4 guys and accept other qualifiers who hit a time at the DISTRICT or SECTIONAL meet.
05/15/2014 3:37:56 PM
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@mutiger31 I have to quantify. There are 23 times from 2008-2012 in boys and girls in the 800, 4X8, 1600 and 3200 where a team/individual finishing below the top 4 in an event at the sectional meet met the qualifying time. Got practice, so I cannot quantify farther, but I would agree that more than one of those may have placed at the state meet. Anybody that wants the EXCEL file I am deriving my stuff is free to have it. Just email me.
@mutiger31
I have to quantify.
There are 23 times from 2008-2012 in boys and girls in the 800, 4X8, 1600 and 3200 where a team/individual finishing below the top 4 in an event at the sectional meet met the qualifying time.
Got practice, so I cannot quantify farther, but I would agree that more than one of those may have placed at the state meet.
Anybody that wants the EXCEL file I am deriving my stuff is free to have it. Just email me.
05/15/2014 3:49:10 PM
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@Hays Agreed, your numbers and knowledge are legendary on these boards. Just making the point that Btripp just did. Having come from a state with standards, I felt the competition at Sectionals (there was no district, just one round with placing and standards) was even more intense as people knew what they were going for. As Btripp said, there is a lot of sandbagging at times in our system, not that I blame top athletes or people in multiple events, they are playing the game as laid out. I use sandbagging b/c when some kids are seemingly out of it (the top 4) they purposefully cruise by choice or coach mandate (again intelligently in our system) to conserve for other events. Wouldn't it be nice (imo) to see kids busting their tale the whole way b/c a standard was in reach.
@Hays
Agreed, your numbers and knowledge are legendary on these boards.

Just making the point that Btripp just did.

Having come from a state with standards, I felt the competition at Sectionals (there was no district, just one round with placing and standards) was even more intense as people knew what they were going for.

As Btripp said, there is a lot of sandbagging at times in our system, not that I blame top athletes or people in multiple events, they are playing the game as laid out.

I use sandbagging b/c when some kids are seemingly out of it (the top 4) they purposefully cruise by choice or coach mandate (again intelligently in our system) to conserve for other events.

Wouldn't it be nice (imo) to see kids busting their tale the whole way b/c a standard was in reach.
05/15/2014 6:53:26 PM
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@mutiger31 For small school coaches in Missouri, it was over a 15 year process to get a sectional meet. With your background, what do you think would be best: Top 2 from each of 8 districts and then qualifying times for however many or top 4 from each of 4 sectionals? One of the reasons that Coach Banta's proposal was not passed was small school coaches, like myself, knew we had far more to lose if we lost the sectional meet because once you go to auto qualifying marks, there was no longer a valid reason to have sectionals. They would be gone. We did not want to lose the sectional because evidence shows (for the lower 3 classes but not at Class 4) it balanced things out. In simple terms, we felt the third and fourth place finishers at a sectional meet against the same weather conditions at the same site was a more valid process to pick state competitors than those whose performances were enhanced by those same conditions. In the west part of the state last Saturday, weather conditions were not ideal in the afternoon and it effected performances at our district meet. This was the first time in 35 years we skirted around wall clouds to get our kids home safe and the site we were at, Marshall, had 100 MPH winds an hour after the meet. I do not think the folks in the east part of the state had the same concerns at their meets.
@mutiger31
For small school coaches in Missouri, it was over a 15 year process to get a sectional meet. With your background, what do you think would be best: Top 2 from each of 8 districts and then qualifying times for however many or top 4 from each of 4 sectionals?
One of the reasons that Coach Banta's proposal was not passed was small school coaches, like myself, knew we had far more to lose if we lost the sectional meet because once you go to auto qualifying marks, there was no longer a valid reason to have sectionals. They would be gone. We did not want to lose the sectional because evidence shows (for the lower 3 classes but not at Class 4) it balanced things out.
In simple terms, we felt the third and fourth place finishers at a sectional meet against the same weather conditions at the same site was a more valid process to pick state competitors than those whose performances were enhanced by those same conditions.
In the west part of the state last Saturday, weather conditions were not ideal in the afternoon and it effected performances at our district meet. This was the first time in 35 years we skirted around wall clouds to get our kids home safe and the site we were at, Marshall, had 100 MPH winds an hour after the meet. I do not think the folks in the east part of the state had the same concerns at their meets.
05/15/2014 8:39:37 PM
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@Hays We are all to a degree slaves to what we know, so I am partial to the Illinois system that I came from with two auto qualifiers from each sectional (the number doesn't matter to me let's say two to four) and a standard based on past years data that can be adjusted every (x) amount of years. There were very few complaints and at that time Illinois was only two classes for the whole state. It has gone to three in recent years. The weather in one part of the state can vary, that is a valid concern. I never heard it discussed as an ongoing concern during my time there. That is an uncontrollable factor, but worth the positives in my opinion. Heck one time we had a kid in the 200 and a spot rain storm blew in that affected two of the heats, but not the others as they paused after it got harder during one of the heats that was running. It did hurt those kids, but not much could be done. Weather around the state to me is like that. At times it could be an issue, but not enough imo to not go to standards. I haven't done an extensive study on other states, but have looked at the use of standards in a few and many seem superior to what we have. I did like and was in favor of Banta's proposal. You got qualifiers and geographic representation. I also can't speak to the plight of the small schools like you can. I've never had experience at one. I'm not sure how five classes in a state our size was the way to go though. I just think the standard allows you to better train your kids and there is no question as to whether they should have been there or not with the exception of weather at times. If the 4 x 800 is 8:03 and you don't hit it, you just weren't good enough that year. That requires no explanation. But, when you see that you ran faster than others and they go, that doesn't sit well with many coaches, kids, or parents especially when some districts or sectionals seem to be perennially stacked. Again I think the sandbagging comes into play and can skew 5th place and beyond finishes at least on the track. I had one of my kids do it last year in the mile. Someone on the message boards used her as an example in the argument for standards last year of another more deserving kid missing out on a spot and mine getting to go. She had run much faster prior to sectionals but there was no one close and she had another race, had run one before, and it was incredibly hot so I said cruise. She finished 9th at state literally .5s from medaling. Point being she was a lean from all state, and there are other kids in stacked dist/sectionals equal to and much better than she was each year that never get a shot at state. Many shut it down when top four is out of reach down the stretch or earlier. If it was the top 2 and a standard I couldn't and wouldn't have told her to cruise b/c she wouldn't have had that luxury. She would have had to compete harder. Lots of kids would have to and I think you would see even better performances at Sectionals. I also think not having two qualifying weeks in a row would with the Sectional only model with place and performance did yield better performances from what I saw in Illinois. There is no perfect system however, and I have to respect the concerns of the smaller schools and many of the small school coaches who don't like the idea. I just don't think the status quo takes care of the larger percentage of accomplished athletes at any level and five classes doesn't seem to do anything for making the meet more competitive while giving increased opportunity as many feel the standard would. Good talk though and good luck in the post season. I'm sure the topic will continue to rear its head each year and we'll be here typing long arguments for and against again soon. Lol
@Hays
We are all to a degree slaves to what we know, so I am partial to the Illinois system that I came from with two auto qualifiers from each sectional (the number doesn't matter to me let's say two to four) and a standard based on past years data that can be adjusted every (x) amount of years.

There were very few complaints and at that time Illinois was only two classes for the whole state. It has gone to three in recent years.

The weather in one part of the state can vary, that is a valid concern. I never heard it discussed as an ongoing concern during my time there. That is an uncontrollable factor, but worth the positives in my opinion. Heck one time we had a kid in the 200 and a spot rain storm blew in that affected two of the heats, but not the others as they paused after it got harder during one of the heats that was running. It did hurt those kids, but not much could be done. Weather around the state to me is like that. At times it could be an issue, but not enough imo to not go to standards.

I haven't done an extensive study on other states, but have looked at the use of standards in a few and many seem superior to what we have.

I did like and was in favor of Banta's proposal. You got qualifiers and geographic representation.

I also can't speak to the plight of the small schools like you can. I've never had experience at one. I'm not sure how five classes in a state our size was the way to go though.

I just think the standard allows you to better train your kids and there is no question as to whether they should have been there or not with the exception of weather at times.

If the 4 x 800 is 8:03 and you don't hit it, you just weren't good enough that year. That requires no explanation. But, when you see that you ran faster than others and they go, that doesn't sit well with many coaches, kids, or parents especially when some districts or sectionals seem to be perennially stacked.

Again I think the sandbagging comes into play and can skew 5th place and beyond finishes at least on the track. I had one of my kids do it last year in the mile. Someone on the message boards used her as an example in the argument for standards last year of another more deserving kid missing out on a spot and mine getting to go. She had run much faster prior to sectionals but there was no one close and she had another race, had run one before, and it was incredibly hot so I said cruise.

She finished 9th at state literally .5s from medaling. Point being she was a lean from all state, and there are other kids in stacked dist/sectionals equal to and much better than she was each year that never get a shot at state. Many shut it down when top four is out of reach down the stretch or earlier. If it was the top 2 and a standard I couldn't and wouldn't have told her to cruise b/c she wouldn't have had that luxury. She would have had to compete harder. Lots of kids would have to and I think you would see even better performances at Sectionals. I also think not having two qualifying weeks in a row would with the Sectional only model with place and performance did yield better performances from what I saw in Illinois.

There is no perfect system however, and I have to respect the concerns of the smaller schools and many of the small school coaches who don't like the idea. I just don't think the status quo takes care of the larger percentage of accomplished athletes at any level and five classes doesn't seem to do anything for making the meet more competitive while giving increased opportunity as many feel the standard would.

Good talk though and good luck in the post season. I'm sure the topic will continue to rear its head each year and we'll be here typing long arguments for and against again soon. Lol
05/15/2014 8:45:02 PM
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Hays you do remember my plan had us running at sections and making that performance at sectionals???? The proposal I put in place got 62% of the vote. In a presidential election that would be a landslide. However, they want 66% I felt we got close but there was a lot of work being done at regional mshsaa meetings speaking out against it mostly due to ignorance. I have ran the numbers and the regions for the new classes and I can tell you class four St. Louis sectionals will be worse then some of the class five sectionals. If you look at the suburban south and west conference you will see that size is not the real issue. Instead it is good coaching and talent these tend to be concentrated in certain regions. Sadly, everyone benefits from this systems but in different ways. For example relays in North County or Pole Vault in the center of the state or the 4x800 in sectional 1. Every area has this problem.
Hays you do remember my plan had us running at sections and making that performance at sectionals???? The proposal I put in place got 62% of the vote. In a presidential election that would be a landslide. However, they want 66% I felt we got close but there was a lot of work being done at regional mshsaa meetings speaking out against it mostly due to ignorance. I have ran the numbers and the regions for the new classes and I can tell you class four St. Louis sectionals will be worse then some of the class five sectionals. If you look at the suburban south and west conference you will see that size is not the real issue. Instead it is good coaching and talent these tend to be concentrated in certain regions. Sadly, everyone benefits from this systems but in different ways. For example relays in North County or Pole Vault in the center of the state or the 4x800 in sectional 1. Every area has this problem.
05/15/2014 9:33:39 PM
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@mutiger31 I too am an Illinois guy! My senior year in high school, (with a District + type of model) ALL 8 Sectional Finalist in the 100 meter dash qualified for state. We actually went into the state meet with 8 of the top 10 times in the state. 6 of us from our sectional qualified for the state final. The fastest guys in the state that year all had an opportunity to compete, so what if we were from the same sectional! Like you said, there were only 2 classes back then (in a much less diverse state: Chicago vs. Southern Illinois lol), talk about lack of representation....This is a new day!
@mutiger31
I too am an Illinois guy!

My senior year in high school, (with a District + type of model) ALL 8 Sectional Finalist in the 100 meter dash qualified for state. We actually went into the state meet with 8 of the top 10 times in the state. 6 of us from our sectional qualified for the state final. The fastest guys in the state that year all had an opportunity to compete, so what if we were from the same sectional!

Like you said, there were only 2 classes back then (in a much less diverse state: Chicago vs. Southern Illinois lol), talk about lack of representation....This is a new day!
05/15/2014 10:38:13 PM
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Ryan, when all is said and done I think your proposal was a great idea and I gave you all the supporting info I could. However, as an ex-administrator I went to a school board meeting every month for 5 years and was faced with the question, “How can we do more with less?” My answer would be, as MSHSAA’s should be with AQ, we no longer need to have a sectional meet. Sectionals are something us small school guys fought a long time to have and it is of far greater benefit to us than AQ. Trust me, while your proposal did not ask for elimination of sectionals, it was going to happen. Sooner than later because there is not a state in the nation with AQ that has a two-tier qualifying system.
Ryan, when all is said and done I think your proposal was a great idea and I gave you all the supporting info I could. However, as an ex-administrator I went to a school board meeting every month for 5 years and was faced with the question, "How can we do more with less?" My answer would be, as MSHSAA's should be with AQ, we no longer need to have a sectional meet. Sectionals are something us small school guys fought a long time to have and it is of far greater benefit to us than AQ. Trust me, while your proposal did not ask for elimination of sectionals, it was going to happen. Sooner than later because there is not a state in the nation with AQ that has a two-tier qualifying system.

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