While looking over the NJSIAA end of season committee minutes, released last week, you will find some interesting notes regarding the Meet of Champions advancement procedures.
Overall the pilot program installed last fall for advancement this 2018 season achieved the objectives it was created for. The meet was shorter in time, moved along well, and the competition was representative of the very best track and field athletes our state has to offer. However as a pilot program this was meant to be reviewed closely for continuation.
While it was apparent the program would stay the NJSIAA committee debated adjustments and it was decided afterwards that a third individual automatic qualifier from each group would be approved. Relay qualifiers will remain untouched in the current top two finishers format, wild cards will remain the same as well.
This move was most certainly a nod of good faith toward the smaller school groups who sometimes have an uphill battle jockeying for the wildcard positions against larger schools. As an observation this was probably the most visible concern in our comment sections after the initial drop from six automatic qualifiers to two in each event.
When the topic arose at the meeting it was proposed by Bishop Eustace Prep Coach Chris Threston, with the sentiment and support of many other small school coaches, to add a third automatic qualifier from each group. It was questioned why advancement didn't include gold, silver, and bronze finishers from the start as a natural cutoff. It was also stated that adding a third advancement from each group would make it feel as though each school size was better represented without slowing the meet down too much if at all.
Whether the addition of the third advancer, six more athletes across the board each event, greatly effects the length of the meet or not will remain to be seen till next year.
If you missed it, this past fall the committee had installed a pilot program that totally revamped the road to the Meet of Champions. This included lowering the total advancers to the spring Meet of Champions from 42 to 30 athletes, accepting only the top two finishers from each group in each event. In previous years the top six finishers in each group moved on.
The New "New" Advancement Ruling
Individual Events - Both Track and Field
There will now be 36 individuals who advance from each individual event.
- Automatic Qualifiers: The top three finishers in each individual event from each group, making 18 total. If you secure a gold, silver, or bronze medal as an individual you advance.
- Wild Card Qualifiers: *Remain the same* with the combined next nine best performances from each group location, making 18 total.
The relays will remain the same with 24 total advancers in each relay event.
- Automatic Qualifiers: The top two finishers in each group, forming 12 advancers.
- Wild Card Qualifiers: The combined next six best times from each group meet location, forming 12 wildcards.