(Note, since the making of the video above the changes have been approved as an official pilot program for Spring 2018)
A proposal to change the advancement to the Meet of Champions was approved by the NJSIAA this past November. Adjustments involving automatic qualifiers, wild cards, and relay numbers were made. This was all put together during a special committee meeting involving coaches from schools in both large and small group sizes, public and non-public.
Let's take a look at those changes and the new road to New Jersey's season ending championship.
The New Advancement Rules
Individual Events - Both Track and Field
The individual competition will reduce from 42 to 30 athletes who qualify out of Group Championships.
- There will be 30 athletes who advance in each individual event.
- Place Advancement: The top two finishers in each individual event from each group, making 12 automatic qualifiers.
- Wild Cards: The combined top nine next best performances from each Group meet location, making 18 wild cards.
The relays will reduce from 42 teams to 24 in total, this will save a lot of time on meet day.
- 24 teams will advance in each relay event.
- Place Advancement: The top two finishers in each Group, forming 12 automatic qualifiers.
- Wild Cards: The combined next six best times from each Group meet location, forming 12 wildcards.
Note that the wildcards were split between each Group Championship location to account for different weather conditions. If one site had a weather or wind advantage it won't take up all of the wildcards.
One of the goals presented by the committee had the health of the sport in mind in terms of time involved, attempting to drop from around seven and a half hours to five hours in length. Which is good for the athletes competing, the crowd in the stands, and everyone else involved on meet day as well. They also wanted to develop a higher quality meet in terms of focus and competitive fields where the very best the state has to offer are better showcased.
Outside of the advancement details there was also discussion of adding awards for the most outstanding male and female track and field athletes as well as an awards stage for the medal winners ceremony.
Results and Coverage from the Outdoor Meet of Champions 1996-2017