State Meet Improvements

EuclidandViren

Well-known member
Interested in stirring up a conversation on how to make 'our' state meet better. I like to hear ideas from other coaches, hear their preferences and their ideas.
 
 
1.) Widen the course. It’s unnecessarily narrow in so many places. They could double or even triple the width of the course out in the fields. Look how wide courses like Terre Haute are. No need to draw the lines so close together. Too much pushing and shoving around the turns.

2.) Give the fans more access to the course. Fence off the course and let the fans run around the field if you have to. It’s so sad how much of the course is just empty and quiet. Go watch NCAAs or other state meets, there are fans everywhere. Electric atmospheres. Not the case for the OHSAA.

3.) I’d consider handing out a trophy for 3rd and maybe even 4th place teams. Most states have more than 2.

4.) Fewer officials. Save some money. Invest it in something else or lower the ticket price.
 
I whole-heartedly agree with all of your points. My biggest wish would be for timing mats at every kilometer (similar to Terre Haute). I think this would be great for both athletes and coaches.
 
No on number 3. First and runners up is enough.

The fencing so far away from the course is just absurd. Been an issue for years. Rope it off 10' from the course. Not a single issue at District and Regional meets.

Aren't NCAA courses 9 meters wide or something close to that ? Only issue I saw was at the 90 degree turn in the stadium.

Just let the fans get closer. I have noticed much less student cheering sections since moving to Obetz. Where can they even go and be anywhere near the course?

I go from grandstand to out at the hill... back and forth. No atmosphere for the rowdy kids like there used to be at SD or even NT. I agree that needs addressed. Very Sterile. The outside loops should be packed during the race and there is just no way to do that with prison fencing 30 meters away from the course.
 
Overall, the state meet is a wonderful meet.

A few ideas (some echoing others above):
1. More coaching bibs. An individual qualifers has been surrounded by a team and multiple coaches all year long. Many people beyond the head coach have contributed to that person's success. Perhaps, like the indoor state meet (and I understand we're talking two different entities in charge here), every coach who is a member of the OATCCC gets a coaching bib for course access.

2. I agree that the fencing that limits access also holds down the atmosphere and excitement of the meet. Line the course with snow fencing, and let fans be out there cheering.

3. My athletes mentioned the wideness of the course several times. No reason it can't be wider in many places.

4. As has been discussed in many threads recently, Finishtiming's move to the milesplit platform for results feels like a BIG step backward.

5. While I'm not on board with the "participation trophy" concept generally, I could get on board with a third-place (maybe even a fourth-place?) team trophy. NCAA gives four.

Really, No. 2 is my main issue.
 
The tightness of the course is my biggest gripe.

I 100% agree with the tightness of the course. The races have gone out substantially faster at Obetz than the racetrack for teams trying to 'get out.'

There is no need on the outer loops to make it 4 meters wide in some spots. I would like to see it 8 meters wide for the first 1.5 miles if not more. I would also like the state committee to think about doing the outer loop first which would give the field more straightaway and time to stretch out before the first 180-degree turn back into the stadium.


With 20 teams x 7 members + individuals that equals 150+ in each race. Which is too many with this course. It is almost to the level of danger in the boy's races. I believe the girls' races are spread out more and are not a problem necessarily because the top-to-bottom girls have a 4+ minute gap. The boys finish all within 2-3 minutes.
 
A little off topic, but it is clear why there are different divisions. The difference between D1 and D3 athletes is amazing. You can tell what division you are watching just by the kids on the course.

Other States that are using Milesplit don't seem to have the issues we are having in Ohio. Something else that does not make any sense.
 
A little off topic, but it is clear why there are different divisions. The difference between D1 and D3 athletes is amazing. You can tell what division you are watching just by the kids on the course.

Other States that are using Milesplit don't seem to have the issues we are having in Ohio. Something else that does not make any sense.

I was thinking this when I saw the boys DI mile splits at state. Something like 50+ under 4:50. A kid could be running 15:00 pace and not be in the top 50.

Using Woodridge as an example: Add 60 boys (2 classrooms) to their enrollment making them DI and we would think of them as a 'good' program instead of their current 'outstanding' program. And subtract 60 boys (2 classrooms) from their enrollment making them DIII and they would likely be the far and away the most successful boys program in history, winning more years than not. A swing of 2 classrooms can be the difference between 'okay' and 'incredibly dominant'.
 
Another thought:

In the good old days, we did all three girls races then all three boys races (or vice versa). Now we group both genders by division.

The disadvantage of our current schedule is to coaches who work with both genders in the same division. Very hard to offer your full attention to the girls race while also being available to your athletes preparing for the boys race. Even another fifteen minutes between girls and boys race would help alleviate some of that.
 
Another thought:

In the good old days, we did all three girls races then all three boys races (or vice versa). Now we group both genders by division.

The disadvantage of our current schedule is to coaches who work with both genders in the same division. Very hard to offer your full attention to the girls race while also being available to your athletes preparing for the boys race. Even another fifteen minutes between girls and boys race would help alleviate some of that.
One of my recommendations was going to be to cut down the time schedule. Too much time between races and between divisions for me.

Each change in venue has resulted in worse race visibility for fans. More fans and kids and less energetic atmosphere. I do not like not being able to see the start. I have not figured out a good way to watch the race how I like to. The big problem is I can't run anymore. When it was at SD I could run all over the place. That's on me for getting old. But I don't see the kids all painted up running all over the place either. You would know the race started because the clock started, but no real excitement anticipating the gun going off. Then seeing the sea of runners.

Maybe the announcers going through the teams and starting positions one by one. Just missing something with the start. Don't know how to fix that. Video for the fans could have been better, but for the runners, it would be nice to have the roar of the crowd.
 
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One of my recommendations was going to be to cut down the time schedule. Too much time between races and between divisions for me.

Each change in venue has resulted in worse race visibility for fans. More fans and kids and less energetic atmosphere. I do not like not being able to see the start. I have not figured out a good way to watch the race how I like to. The big problem is I can't run anymore. When it was at SD I could run all over the place. That's on me for getting old. But I don't see the kids all painted up running all over the place either. You would know the race started because the clock started, but no real excitement anticipating the gun going off. Then seeing the see of runners.

Maybe the announcers going through the teams and starting positions one by one. Just missing something with the start. Don't know how to fix that. Video for the fans could have been better, but for the runners, it would be nice to have the roar of the crowd.
I agree a tighter schedule would be better for most everyone in the stadium. If memory serves, we went to these gaps in the divisions during Covid, and they've stuck, I suspect, to aid in clearing out the parking lot for the next group.

My complaint about the closeness of races really only affects the coaches of the small handful of teams with kids in both races.
 
1.) Widen the course. It’s unnecessarily narrow in so many places. They could double or even triple the width of the course out in the fields. Look how wide courses like Terre Haute are. No need to draw the lines so close together. Too much pushing and shoving around the turns.
Agreed. ‭The kids need the space. Also, I would add from a spectator's perspective, when you have people saving the few spots along the fence so a family can get a GLIMPSE of their athlete for a second or two (which we saw happening Sat.)... you have a course problem.
2.) Give the fans more access to the course. Fence off the course and let the fans run around the field if you have to. It’s so sad how much of the course is just empty and quiet. Go watch NCAAs or other state meets, there are fans everywhere. Electric atmospheres. Not the case for the OHSAA.
Absolutely my biggest complaint. Every meet you race in, including the OHSAA sponsored District and Regional Meets, the crowd is RIGHT there. Somehow, the sport suddenly becomes "unsafe" in the biggest meet of the year - what changed??? NOTHING. My gosh let people get close. That's one of the great things about the sport in every meet... except one.
3.) I’d consider handing out a trophy for 3rd and maybe even 4th place teams. Most states have more than 2.
NCAA does that. Doesn't detract from the atmosphere at all. The Olympics think 3 places is a thing, too.
4.) Fewer officials. Save some money. Invest it in something else or lower the ticket price.
Yeah, you don't allow people on the course, so... why so many? Looking for fouls between athletes? When is that EVER called?

Also, I like the idea of having the first loop outside the stadium, but don't think the course is wide enough there? So a little widening, perhaps. Before someone complains about the mile mark being outside the stadium, it was at Scioto Downs, too.

I'll throw in a few more:

***Teams shouldn't be allowed to lash their tents to the fence where are camps are. It's one of the very, very few places a fan can get close to the course (10-12 ft) to really cheer. Give the fence a 20 or 30 foot zone with no tents, let people have another place to cheer.

***We saw a number of kids struggle with the mats coming into/out of the stadium. Some serious ankle rolling, really made an impression. Work on placing the mats with an eye for preventing this.

***We need to get away from the "Prison Vibe". Those 10 foot high fences are excessive. Are we trying for a Shawshank kind of feeling here?
I'm ok with the snow fence idea. The bike style fences on the south side of the course are fine, too.

***The scoreboards difficult to read, and I was right there. Cant imagine what it was like in the stands. Maybe take one board for the times... and one for the video?

***Obetz may want to rethink that parking plan. We talked to teams (particularly D. 1) that had difficulty getting in.

Like many of you, I've been to multiple State and NCAA 1-2-3 championships over the last 40+ (!) years. I've had a daughter run in the D.3 Nationals with a team, and the atmosphere was just amazing - rowdy, high energy, anyone that's been to one understands. Crowd is RIGHT there. Minimal fencing. Maybe it's time we remember who we are. When I was a senior and the State Meet was at Woody Hayes, I took the picture attached below. That's about 50 meters out from the finish, and the crowd - about 3-4 deep on the side I was on - extended down easily 200 meters. Again, minimal fencing. The only restraint was the rope you see. We need that again.

Some of you veterans might recognize that young man in the picture...;)

With a little work, this can be a truly outstanding athlete and spectator experience. I want to give a special shout out to long time veteran coach Dugan Hill, our meet manager - Dugan was asking our kids on Friday as they were running strides to the finish if the last turn was too tight - and adjusting the cones. That kind of attention to detail is going to do nothing but make this a better meet, so THANK YOU.


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While we're spitballing ideas...

Why are we married to places with giant grandstands as hosts? We get through districts and regionals without permanent seating. A place like Cedarville would be a fantastic venue for the state meet. The course itself is plenty wide. The layout is very spectator friendly. You can be right on top of the athletes and cheer. The course is in immaculate shape all of the time. Parking is probably a problem; although it accomodates 30ish teams per division and their fans for district meets.

I watched a video of the Illinois state meet at the storied Detweiller Park. Lots of wide open spaces with fans running back and forth. Fans right on top of the race, yelling and screaming and cheering. It looks like some combination of ropes/snow fencing was used to maintain some barrier between fans/racers, but it felt like a cross country meet. It looks like MAYBE they brought in some portable grandstands by the finish. They've been doing it there for decades. Why can't we find something that maximizes the experience for athlete and fan? Obetz does neither.
 
While we're spitballing ideas...

Why are we married to places with giant grandstands as hosts? We get through districts and regionals without permanent seating. A place like Cedarville would be a fantastic venue for the state meet. The course itself is plenty wide. The layout is very spectator friendly. You can be right on top of the athletes and cheer. The course is in immaculate shape all of the time. Parking is probably a problem; although it accomodates 30ish teams per division and their fans for district meets.

I watched a video of the Illinois state meet at the storied Detweiller Park. Lots of wide open spaces with fans running back and forth. Fans right on top of the race, yelling and screaming and cheering. It looks like some combination of ropes/snow fencing was used to maintain some barrier between fans/racers, but it felt like a cross country meet. It looks like MAYBE they brought in some portable grandstands by the finish. They've been doing it there for decades. Why can't we find something that maximizes the experience for athlete and fan? Obetz does neither.
Love the course for XC but doubt it would happen because OHSAA needs to be able to get their gate revenue so Cedarville would be very hard to that plus parking/traffic would be very hard.

What is done with all these ideas? Is there someone with power or influence that will actually review and consider them?
 
Love the course for XC but doubt it would happen because OHSAA needs to be able to get their gate revenue so Cedarville would be very hard to that plus parking/traffic would be very hard.

What is done with all these ideas? Is there someone with power or influence that will actually review and consider them?
BGSU then. Plenty of parking and easier to control who gets in and right off of I75.
 
BGSU then. Plenty of parking and easier to control who gets in and right off of I75.
Besides not being centrally located, what box doesn't BGSU check?
They'd have to bring in some seating along the finish line.
It's a dedicated college XC course, with a permanent structure finish line. Very wide course since it's on an old golf course, and no "goofy" sharp turns. Lots of restrooms and concessions with the stadium next to the course.
 
Besides not being centrally located, what box doesn't BGSU check?
They'd have to bring in some seating along the finish line.
It's a dedicated college XC course, with a permanent structure finish line. Very wide course since it's on an old golf course, and no "goofy" sharp turns. Lots of restrooms and concessions with the stadium next to the course.
It's BGSU and and BGSU sucks. Until they bring men's track and field back, that place should rot in hell. I'm against a single dime being spent there. Otherwise it would be a great place.
 
Does anyone know the length of agreement between Obetz and OHSAA? Who helps select a new site if/when the time comes? Does the OATCCC have any voice in the process?

Are there any other dedicated cross country courses in the state besides Cedarville and BGSU? Any other really sweet parks that regularly host big XC meets? Again, going back to Illinois, I believe Detweiller Park is just a county park that someone, at some point decades ago, figured out how to host a big XC meet in. A space like that has to exist in Ohio.
 
Does anyone know the length of agreement between Obetz and OHSAA? Who helps select a new site if/when the time comes? Does the OATCCC have any voice in the process?

Are there any other dedicated cross country courses in the state besides Cedarville and BGSU? Any other really sweet parks that regularly host big XC meets? Again, going back to Illinois, I believe Detweiller Park is just a county park that someone, at some point decades ago, figured out how to host a big XC meet in. A space like that has to exist in Ohio.
We just need a wealthy cross-country super-fan to buy a farm in outside Columbus and build Ohio’s Terre Haute.
 
Does anyone know the length of agreement between Obetz and OHSAA? Who helps select a new site if/when the time comes? Does the OATCCC have any voice in the process?

Are there any other dedicated cross country courses in the state besides Cedarville and BGSU? Any other really sweet parks that regularly host big XC meets? Again, going back to Illinois, I believe Detweiller Park is just a county park that someone, at some point decades ago, figured out how to host a big XC meet in. A space like that has to exist in Ohio.
There is one in Norton - Silver Creek metro park. Some leagues use it and U of Akron, but nowhere near enough parking.
 
There is one in Norton - Silver Creek metro park. Some leagues use it and U of Akron, but nowhere near enough parking.
I know YSU recently opened a dedicated course somewhere. However, I assume the same issues as Silver Creek exist with regards to the lack of infrastructure necessary to host the state meet in a way that most are used to (parking, electricity, running water, concessions, grandstand seating, etc). Incidentally, Silver Creek is hosting the NCAA D3 regional this weekend (John Carroll has chosen that venue as the host school) and is also scheduled to host the NCAA D1 regional next year.
 
I know YSU recently opened a dedicated course somewhere. However, I assume the same issues as Silver Creek exist with regards to the lack of infrastructure necessary to host the state meet in a way that most are used to (parking, electricity, running water, concessions, grandstand seating, etc). Incidentally, Silver Creek is hosting the NCAA D3 regional this weekend (John Carroll has chosen that venue as the host school) and is also scheduled to host the NCAA D1 regional next year.
Kings Island golf course in Mason once hosted the NCAA D3 championship. 2014. Plenty of parking and infrastructure there with the tennis center. Not a very central location.
 
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