Recommendations for cross country state meet?

mathking

Active member
I think psychodad is correct, watching the races from one spot was just easier. Without the Christmas display you could watch the start, cut over and see them run in front of the grandstands and go up the hill and see most of the race (albeit from a distance). It's funny, because as a coach I find it much easier to watch here than at SD, and it is certainly better than the regional at Pickerington. But without a bib to get you in the middle, it is not a great spectator experience.

The Big Ten meet highlighted for me one of the problems of not having grandstands or at least a big slope. Far, far fewer spectators and the final straight was still packed several rows deep, making it almost impossible to watch the finish. In any event, the course they used for the Big Ten meet would not be big enough for the field in the state meet races. (Plus parking issues)

Back on discussing NT, it seemed like the traffic flow problems were not as bad as in the past. There was still waiting, but they got vehicles moving without too much waiting. We built in an extra hour for traffic and really only used about 15 minutes of that. In spite of the Christmas display taking up so much of the parking.

I was actually pretty happy with the condition of the course. After seeing it Thursday I was very worried, but it was fine on Saturday.
 
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CatchKokopelli

New member
Am I thinking track? I could have sworn that when the last financials came out, people said it showed a loss.

Here are my suggestions. More concession trailers away from the grand stands a bit. 3 different announcers. 1 for awards. 1 for setting up the next race and 1 for sort of a play by play during the races. Get some women involved with that too. 1k, 2k, 3k 4k and finish live results.
Those are too progressive of requests for the OHSAA to accommodate...
 

XCFan98

Member
No need for grandstands, that is flawed thinking. It is cross country, not a ball sport. If you really want some, rent a few for the finish area.
The check-in procedure is silly. Took us nearly 10 minutes, no need for all of this. Chips, bibs, uniforms, check. Okay, go run!
100 officials for 5000 meters is a bit much. About 90 too many. Save $1000s and tell them to stay home. They are not doing anything. 20+ gators and golf carts is overkill.
A figure 8 course is great for athletes, and spectators. Or like Laverne Gibson, a course that snakes back on itself. You can see them 6-8 times with little effort.
Allow the fans to get closer, put up roping, it is easy to do. Every other meet does it all year, including the NCAA and the Big Tens.
 

Rohbino

Well-known member
Does anyone know if Andy Cox at Worthington has been made aware of the suggestions in this thread?

When, if ever, is the OATCCC and the OHSAA going to sit down and talk about these issues?
 

Supertramp

New member
No need for grandstands, that is flawed thinking. It is cross country, not a ball sport. If you really want some, rent a few for the finish area.
The check-in procedure is silly. Took us nearly 10 minutes, no need for all of this. Chips, bibs, uniforms, check. Okay, go run!
100 officials for 5000 meters is a bit much. About 90 too many. Save $1000s and tell them to stay home. They are not doing anything. 20+ gators and golf carts is overkill.
A figure 8 course is great for athletes, and spectators. Or like Laverne Gibson, a course that snakes back on itself. You can see them 6-8 times with little effort.
Allow the fans to get closer, put up roping, it is easy to do. Every other meet does it all year, including the NCAA and the Big Tens.
I agree with all of this, but namely the note about officials and check-in.

The check-in procedure takes way too long and it totally unnecessary in the first place. What other Cross-Country meet has you check-in like this? The officials try too hard to make jokes and talk to the athletes. They are minutes away from the biggest race of their lives. Leave them alone.

And yes, very similar to the state track meet, way too many officials. The OHSAA/OATCCC complains about making money, but they will pay just about any official under the sun to show up and be grumpy for the State Championship. If you don't have a vital role, pay admission and sit in the stands, or stay home.

Too many good old boys. Time for some changes.
 

ENA2

Member
Unfortunately, Grandstands ARE needed at the State Meet if they want to draw the crowds that we have been getting. True, we are not a ball sport, but those sports draw big crowds into the s-e-a-t-s. Therefore, they make money. Even prior to the christmas decore, about half the people that attend the State Meet sit in the stands (same was true at Scioto Downs). Even if only 1000 people (out of 10,000) sit in stands, at $10 a crack, that $10,000. I would say that 10% is a conservative count for those who enjoy the seats.

The check-in procedure was not much different than our regional or District meets, so I guess it depends what you are used to (or which official you get) Ours was friendly but not too light-hearted. Number of officials? Seems like more than they need, but I'm not sure if some were OHSAA officials or just people who worked for National Trail.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
How about allowing a coach's bib for any coach that is a member of the OATCCC whether they have athletes participating or not, or how about an option for non-participating coaches who are OATCCC members to buy a bib for a small fee? That could put a few more bucks in the OATCCC's war chest as I'm sure some coaches who may not be members would pay for a membership if it gets them course access. Heck, I paid a "rental" fee last year for a bib. Coach wasn't staying for all the races, so I gave him some money to use the bib the rest of the day and returned the bib to him a few days later. It was worth every penny. I'd have gladly given that money to OATCCC for the same purpose.

Before I forget, I do wish to say that I felt Terry Oehrtman/OHSAA did a fine job with what they had to work with this year. Their efforts are appreciated, at least by me. It may not have been perfect, but it was nowhere near being a disaster. I don't know enough to suggest a surefire alternative location that would be an improvement, but I would hope that every effort will be made to not return to NTR since NTR's management made it rather clear this year that they no longer consider Ohio HS cross country to be a valued guest.
 
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Even prior to the christmas decore, about half the people that attend the State Meet sit in the stands.
That's because they really have no other option if they want to view the race for longer than 10-15 seconds total. It's done out of necessity - not choice. Many of those in the stands are high school kids and teammates of the runners. There's no way these kids would be in the stands if they had the option and freedom to be out on all parts of the course.
 

CatchKokopelli

New member
How about allowing a coach's bib for any coach that is a member of the OATCCC whether they have athletes participating or not, or how about an option for non-participating coaches who are OATCCC members to buy a bib for a small fee? That could put a few more bucks in the OATCCC's war chest as I'm sure some coaches who may not be members would pay for a membership if it gets them course access. Heck, I paid a "rental" fee last year for a bib. Coach wasn't staying for all the races, so I gave him some money to use the bib the rest of the day and returned the bib to him a few days later. It was worth every penny. I'd have gladly given that money to OATCCC for the same purpose.

Before I forget, I do wish to say that I felt Terry Oehrtman/OHSAA did a fine job with what they had to work with this year. Their efforts are appreciated, at least by me. It may not have been perfect, but it was nowhere near being a disaster. I don't know enough to suggest a surefire alternative location that would be an improvement, but I would hope that every effort will be made to not return to NTR since NTR's management made it rather clear this year that they no longer consider Ohio HS cross country to be a valued guest.
OATCCC receives zero funds from the State meet. I don't disagree that a coach should be allowed to purchase a coaching bib, but that will be an OHSAA thing. At the very least the A.D. from each school that qualifies should be allowed to submit the number of coaches that are board approved and allow that school to purchase additional coaching bibs so we don't feel like criminals borrowing from buddies in earlier or later races.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
OATCCC receives zero funds from the State meet. I don't disagree that a coach should be allowed to purchase a coaching bib, but that will be an OHSAA thing. At the very least the A.D. from each school that qualifies should be allowed to submit the number of coaches that are board approved and allow that school to purchase additional coaching bibs so we don't feel like criminals borrowing from buddies in earlier or later races.
I can live with that. OHSAA can have all the money or maybe give a couple bucks from every extra bib they sell to OATCCC members. Bottom line is I hate seeing some teams' assistant coaches having to scrounge the team camp area for extra bibs, so that they can get on the course with the kids they've worked with all season long.

Otherwise, one could start posing as a media member or photographer and get course access that way. There seemed to be no shortage of them on the dragstrip, some more legitimate than others among the ones I know locally.
 

CatchKokopelli

New member
I can live with that. OHSAA can have all the money or maybe give a couple bucks from every extra bib they sell to OATCCC members. Bottom line is I hate seeing some teams' assistant coaches having to scrounge the team camp area for extra bibs, so that they can get on the course with the kids they've worked with all season long.

Otherwise, one could start posing as a media member or photographer and get course access that way. There seemed to be no shortage of them on the dragstrip, some more legitimate than others among the ones I know locally.
I don't disagree with your argument at all. We had to find another pass for my assistant coach. The OHSAA and our Association can be a part of the solution or turn their head knowing there is a problem. I think the OATCCC agrees there is a problem, but the OHSAA seems to turn a deaf ear to menial concerns like this. After all getting an entire team and barrage of coaching staff into a basketball game or football game is apples to watermelons.

Ultimately the problem is always going to be those who take advantage of anything we try to do. The last thing we need is a damn circus in the starting area - think of the Regional meets and how many wannabe coach dads, boyfriends/girlfriends are hanging out at the starting box in the way of teams preparing to compete.

It seems we could simply propose a coaching pass sold directly to an Athletic Director for coaching staff members. We live in a pretty wonderful world of communication - assign someone to sell coaches passes to A.D.'s of programs that qualify - give them a password. Mail the bib directly to Athletic Department.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
I don't disagree with your argument at all. We had to find another pass for my assistant coach. The OHSAA and our Association can be a part of the solution or turn their head knowing there is a problem. I think the OATCCC agrees there is a problem, but the OHSAA seems to turn a deaf ear to menial concerns like this. After all getting an entire team and barrage of coaching staff into a basketball game or football game is apples to watermelons.

Ultimately the problem is always going to be those who take advantage of anything we try to do. The last thing we need is a damn circus in the starting area - think of the Regional meets and how many wannabe coach dads, boyfriends/girlfriends are hanging out at the starting box in the way of teams preparing to compete.

It seems we could simply propose a coaching pass sold directly to an Athletic Director for coaching staff members. We live in a pretty wonderful world of communication - assign someone to sell coaches passes to A.D.'s of programs that qualify - give them a password. Mail the bib directly to Athletic Department.
That's why I'd limit this to OATCCC members. That cuts down on the non-coaching personnel right off the bat. As you know, the OATCCC has a membership list and issues cards to members each year. Set up a table next to where coaches claim their team packet. Coaches have to present cards to obtain bibs, name is crossed off the list or membership card is punched, so a card cannot be transferred and used again. It wouldn't be much different than the procedure used to obtain the proper passes at the State Indoor Track and Field Meet. The biggest challenge might be sparing another person to operate the table.
 

ENA2

Member
Slippery, good call on this... Simple, cost efficient and most important, easily doable. I will pass this along to those in the OATCCC., although some there are concerned that there are already more than enough people on the course for the State meet races. I will add that they could be "corralled" to the area coming out of the woods before the 2-mile or outside the ropes there. This may block the vision of those behind the snow fence, but only for a short time. After the final runner passes, they then could move to the drag strip or along the course near the final turn (5-600 meters to go).
That is how I saw some races this year, and it was pretty good and I saw as much of the race as I every did at Scioto Downs as a coach.
 

Run4Life

Member
That's why I'd limit this to OATCCC members. That cuts down on the non-coaching personnel right off the bat. As you know, the OATCCC has a membership list and issues cards to members each year. Set up a table next to where coaches claim their team packet. Coaches have to present cards to obtain bibs, name is crossed off the list or membership card is punched, so a card cannot be transferred and used again. It wouldn't be much different than the procedure used to obtain the proper passes at the State Indoor Track and Field Meet. The biggest challenge might be sparing another person to operate the table.
Not that this doesn't have some merit, but: the OATCCC runs the Indoor State Meet, the OHSAA runs the State CC and Outdoor Meet. I can't see them giving OATCCC members a bib to get out on the course (they just allowed assistant coaches out a few years ago.
 

madman

Active member
Unfortunately, Grandstands ARE needed at the State Meet if they want to draw the crowds that we have been getting. True, we are not a ball sport, but those sports draw big crowds into the s-e-a-t-s. Therefore, they make money. Even prior to the christmas decore, about half the people that attend the State Meet sit in the stands (same was true at Scioto Downs). Even if only 1000 people (out of 10,000) sit in stands, at $10 a crack, that $10,000. I would say that 10% is a conservative count for those who enjoy the seats.

The check-in procedure was not much different than our regional or District meets, so I guess it depends what you are used to (or which official you get) Ours was friendly but not too light-hearted. Number of officials? Seems like more than they need, but I'm not sure if some were OHSAA officials or just people who worked for National Trail.
I don't agree that grandstands are required.

However, we should strive to create a course/setting that enables spectators with vastly different levels of mobility to see and enjoy the race. Grandstands are just one of many methods that can be used to acccomplish this, but it not a required method.

A course with hills can greatly increase the visibility of the race for spectators. If a course is laid out with this in mind and multiple loops that return near a central location are used, even those with low mobility can see a great deal of a race.

Flat courses are almost always horrible for spectators, especially when crowds are large. In such situations grandstands can be helpful, but they are only one tool in the toolbox. Not every tool needs to be used in every situation.

Just because you like using phillips head screwdrivers doesn't mean you should go looking for jobs that require them.
 

XCFan98

Member
Grandstands are not needed. It is XC. People don't go to the State meet because they can sit. They sit because they are there. If they were not there, this would not cause people to not go to the state meet. 1000s of people go to the Tiffin Invite, Gallion Invite, McGowan Invite, Mason Invite, Fairmont, Trinity and others. None of these have grandstands. NCAAs, No grandstands. 1000s go. The grandstand argument is old thinking. Move on.
 

grange45

Member
Grandstands are not needed. It is XC. People don't go to the State meet because they can sit. They sit because they are there. If they were not there, this would not cause people to not go to the state meet. 1000s of people go to the Tiffin Invite, Gallion Invite, McGowan Invite, Mason Invite, Fairmont, Trinity and others. None of these have grandstands. NCAAs, No grandstands. 1000s go. The grandstand argument is old thinking. Move on.
I totally agree. I wish ohsaa thought the same way but they don’t. It’s one of their main things they look at when deciding on a state course.

I wish they would just listen to the oatccc and their proposals. They are the most knowledgeable in the room in these discussions.
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
Grandstands are not needed. It is XC. People don't go to the State meet because they can sit. They sit because they are there. If they were not there, this would not cause people to not go to the state meet. 1000s of people go to the Tiffin Invite, Gallion Invite, McGowan Invite, Mason Invite, Fairmont, Trinity and others. None of these have grandstands. NCAAs, No grandstands. 1000s go. The grandstand argument is old thinking. Move on.
Do 10,000 + go. Nowhere near that at NCAA. I don't think that stands are needed, however I've been to Indiana State and their facility would be hard pressed to host the OHSAA championships with over 10k people without a lot of work.
 

runohio

Member
Not my order, but I think this is what the OHSAA consider important for the State Cross Country Championships:

1. Control entrance to collect money
2. Parking
3. Grandstands
4. Restrooms
5. Concessions
6. Course
 

panott

Member
Grandstands are not needed. It is XC. People don't go to the State meet because they can sit. They sit because they are there. If they were not there, this would not cause people to not go to the state meet. 1000s of people go to the Tiffin Invite, Gallion Invite, McGowan Invite, Mason Invite, Fairmont, Trinity and others. None of these have grandstands. NCAAs, No grandstands. 1000s go. The grandstand argument is old thinking. Move on.
 

panott

Member
NCAA's have no where near the attendance that the OHSAA State Meet gets. While most people don't need stands to sit in they are important to get some fans in the gate. My parents would come to the State Meet every year when they were held at Scioto Downs. They would come to other meets only if they could see the course while sitting in their car. I'm sure that there are some fans that attend only because they can sit and watch. Not everyone that likes Cross Country can get around anymore.
 

SOTT

Active member
People love to throw the 10,000+ number out there quite a bit, but there are not 10,000 people there at the same time. The people that are there at 11:00 AM are not, by in large, the same people that are there at 3:00. There is a lot of turnover throughout the day.
 

ENA2

Member
I would say about 90% of people realize that it is cross country and moving around is better to see more of the race, but what about the ohter 10%?Agree with SOTT that the 10,000 + that have been paid attendence the past few years are not there all at once. However, with the teams, coaches, officials and crew (and those who don't pay to get in) there are probably a thousand more there throughout the day. AND a conservative guess would be about 10% would be like my parents, pannott's parents, many of my athlete's aunts, uncles and grandparent in that they would only go to the State Meet if they can sit down like they do at a Football/Basketball Game. In this society, many spectators will not attend unless there is a location where they can sit throughout. -
Also agree that, if a high point were available (like an ampitheatre) where folks could see some of the race and especially the finish, then gradstands may not be needed, but there better be room for about 500 fold-up chairs or lawn chairs. and that better be advertised or those people would come.
NOTE: I am always surprised by the number of our fans and school administrators who only attend the State Meet.... and not only "older" people. We have had some students who will not go to meets because they only want to sit and watch. they think that is how to best enjoy a sporting event.... by sitting for 3-4 hours (through 2-4) races and getting food in between. They want to be like the "Dawg Pound" or fans at other sports where there is a "cheering section".
 

yj_runfan

Well-known member
I would say about 90% of people realize that it is cross country and moving around is better to see more of the race, but what about the ohter 10%?Agree with SOTT that the 10,000 + that have been paid attendence the past few years are not there all at once. However, with the teams, coaches, officials and crew (and those who don't pay to get in) there are probably a thousand more there throughout the day. AND a conservative guess would be about 10% would be like my parents, pannott's parents, many of my athlete's aunts, uncles and grandparent in that they would only go to the State Meet if they can sit down like they do at a Football/Basketball Game. In this society, many spectators will not attend unless there is a location where they can sit throughout. -
Also agree that, if a high point were available (like an ampitheatre) where folks could see some of the race and especially the finish, then gradstands may not be needed, but there better be room for about 500 fold-up chairs or lawn chairs. and that better be advertised or those people would come.
NOTE: I am always surprised by the number of our fans and school administrators who only attend the State Meet.... and not only "older" people. We have had some students who will not go to meets because they only want to sit and watch. they think that is how to best enjoy a sporting event.... by sitting for 3-4 hours (through 2-4) races and getting food in between. They want to be like the "Dawg Pound" or fans at other sports where there is a "cheering section".
10% of the attendees is not worth having bleachers so high on anyone's priority list. Making a large portion of the course accessible to fans should be way more important than bleachers. That's something that would actually make the meet better for the runners. People in bleachers at a CC meet don't even know what they are watching.
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
I would guess that there are close to that 10k at times.

A few things that I think they should build on and some new things they should implement.

I think they should make the RV / tail gating area more of a advertised thing and bring it closer to the action. CC fans are not adversarial. I think making it more of a gathering place where everyone can interact with each other would be nice. I guess it would take away from the concessions, but make it more of a carnival and gathering.

Have some places where the kids can really run around the course and cheer on their teammates. Allow fans more access to the entire course or at least the majority of the course and let us get just a little closer.

In general..Allow people to cheer and watch a meet more like they are used to all year and allow kids to be kids and allow them to have more fun.

I'm trying to be positive. Driving up the NTR I got all excited. It looked like a state championship cross country meet was about to happen. It's about 75% what it could or should be once you are there. The kids performances do not disappoint like you can have at a football or basketball game. Refs aren't blowing calls or fans upset over this or that. Each race is entertaining and everyone is happy for everyone else and everyone hurts when that kid can't make it to the finish.

They lost out on money from me because lines were too long at concessions. There has to be 5-10 other vendors that would love to set up shop.

I have been to many meets in my life that have open access but still charge to get in. Either as you park or at some sort of gate. I've always paid and I think everyone else would too. Give people more reasons to spend money once they are in too. Make it a real wow experience. Poor kids made banners and hung them on stands where only a vacant lot full of Christmas lights could see them.

I can't run around like I used to at Scioto Downs, but even plopping my butt in a seat could be much better. Cross Country is simple. You need enough parking and a big enough field for the race. Throw in portable toilets and everything else is gravy.
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
It is also my experience that less and less people that I know go to the state meet to watch just to watch. If they don't have family directly involved, they don't go because of the facility and lack of being able to watch the meet. I have some college coaches that I look forward to seeing at the meet each year and nearly none of them come anymore. I see the same ones I see at local stuff up here in the NE, but the out of state recruiters (that I know) just skip it. I've been told by a few that it's just too hard to watch the meet.

That might all be just my circle of friends, but it's not untrue.
 
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