The landscape for the Outdoor Meet of Champions may be a lot different this spring. It was reported today that the NJSIAA has unanimously approved the initial phase a pilot program that will make major changes to the advancement out of Group Championships. There will be one more read through of the details during a meeting in early November to make the changes a reality.
With a focus not only on speeding up what was becoming a very long meet but to also make sure high quality fields were represented while still allowing each Group size to advance their way in. The goal, time wise, was to bring it down from a seven and a half hour meet to at most five hours in length. That drop in time benefits the athletes involved, the coaches, meet management, and the crowd in attendance.
The proposal, which again needs one more meeting to be fully approved, was put together during a special committee meeting in early August which included coaches from schools in both large and small group sizes. There was long discussion as well as statistical data crunching to come up with the revisions. The changes below would be implemented as a pilot program starting the spring of 2018.
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.
- The top two finishers in each individual event from each group, making 12 automatic qualifiers.
- The combined top nine next best performances from each Group meet location, making 18 wildcards.
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.
- The top two finishers in each Group, forming 12 automatic qualifiers.
- 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.
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. The goal of the meeting and changes was to develop a higher quality meet for both the student athletes and fans in the stands.
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Results and Coverage from the Outdoor Meet of Champions 1996-2017