Middle Schools running down in elementary races
09/25/2014 12:51:34 PM
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With the state meet coming up in about a month I have a question about the grade groupings. We are fairly new to cross country. This is our third year having a team. The state meet is our culminating event. Why are we competing against middle schools at the elementary level? I have asked several other coaches and have yet gotten a logical answer as to why 6th grade runners are allowed to compete down against 5th grade runners. Middle school runners are training and competing at longer distances the entire year and 6th grade runners are physically more capable then their 5th grade counterparts. Why are 6-8th grade schools allowed to compete against our elementary runners at the Meet of Champions?
With the state meet coming up in about a month I have a question about the grade groupings. We are fairly new to cross country. This is our third year having a team. The state meet is our culminating event. Why are we competing against middle schools at the elementary level? I have asked several other coaches and have yet gotten a logical answer as to why 6th grade runners are allowed to compete down against 5th grade runners. Middle school runners are training and competing at longer distances the entire year and 6th grade runners are physically more capable then their 5th grade counterparts. Why are 6-8th grade schools allowed to compete against our elementary runners at the Meet of Champions?
09/25/2014 3:29:28 PM
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@CoachConroy It has to do with the fact that "elementary" and "middle school" mean different things in different areas of the state. In some areas, elementary is 1-5 and middle school is 6-8. In other areas, it's 1-6 and 7-8 form the "junior high." There are also other variations where a middle school might have 5-8 or 7-9. There's even some places where the high school houses 8-12. Given all of this, the KTCCCA has done the best it can to draw appropriate (if not perfect) divisions. Personally, I agree with erring on the side of inclusion of those 6th-graders that attend an elementary school, even if it means that other 6th-grader who attend a "middle school" also get to run. If you cut it at 5th grade, then there are schools with 6th-graders training with elementary teams that have to then run up. Unfortunately, there just is no perfect solution.
@CoachConroy

It has to do with the fact that "elementary" and "middle school" mean different things in different areas of the state. In some areas, elementary is 1-5 and middle school is 6-8. In other areas, it's 1-6 and 7-8 form the "junior high." There are also other variations where a middle school might have 5-8 or 7-9. There's even some places where the high school houses 8-12. Given all of this, the KTCCCA has done the best it can to draw appropriate (if not perfect) divisions. Personally, I agree with erring on the side of inclusion of those 6th-graders that attend an elementary school, even if it means that other 6th-grader who attend a "middle school" also get to run. If you cut it at 5th grade, then there are schools with 6th-graders training with elementary teams that have to then run up. Unfortunately, there just is no perfect solution.
09/26/2014 8:19:26 AM
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@BCrumbo I will add that some of the coaches from Area 3 (Louisville) have made a proposal to the KTCCCA to change the state meet in 2015 to a "Middle School Championship (6-8)" and an "Elementary School Championship (5th and under)" and a 3rd and under race. In my experience the vast majority of school systems are either Elementary (5th and under) and Middle (6-8) or K-8/K-12. My experience most K-8 schools still consider a separation between 5/6 grade as well. I know that there are some parts of KY that have a different break line between elementary and middle, but that is pretty rare. At my last conversation the proposal was under consideration. It will likely be a point of discussion at the annual meeting in January.
@BCrumbo

I will add that some of the coaches from Area 3 (Louisville) have made a proposal to the KTCCCA to change the state meet in 2015 to a "Middle School Championship (6-8)" and an "Elementary School Championship (5th and under)" and a 3rd and under race.

In my experience the vast majority of school systems are either Elementary (5th and under) and Middle (6-8) or K-8/K-12. My experience most K-8 schools still consider a separation between 5/6 grade as well. I know that there are some parts of KY that have a different break line between elementary and middle, but that is pretty rare.

At my last conversation the proposal was under consideration. It will likely be a point of discussion at the annual meeting in January.
09/26/2014 11:16:22 AM
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@theMike [b]My experience most K-8 schools still consider a separation between 5/6 grade as well.[/b][b][/b] I do not believe the the above statement is a correct assumption. Here are the numbers the committee came up with. [b]There are a total of 34 Elementary schools that end before 5th grade, 499 schools that end with 5th grade, 116 that end with 6th grade, 5 end with 7th grade, 305 end with 8th grade and 207 that end with 12th grade. [/b] Looking at this overall, 533 schools are 5th grade(or lower) and below. 633 do not. Assuming that those K-8 or K-12 would gravitate toward 5th grade split would seem to be just that, a convenient assumption without actual evidence. 46% are 5th grade and lower, not the majority. The Meet of Champions is set up as a middle school championship, a sixth grade & under championship, and a 4th grade and under championship, based on physical differences between the ages similar to USATF, AAU, and CCCNYC two year age groups.
@theMike
My experience most K-8 schools still consider a separation between 5/6 grade as well.
I do not believe the the above statement is a correct assumption. Here are the numbers the committee came up with.

There are a total of 34 Elementary schools that end before 5th grade, 499 schools that end with 5th grade, 116 that end with 6th grade, 5 end with 7th grade, 305 end with 8th grade and 207 that end with 12th grade.

Looking at this overall, 533 schools are 5th grade(or lower) and below. 633 do not. Assuming that those K-8 or K-12 would gravitate toward 5th grade split would seem to be just that, a convenient assumption without actual evidence. 46% are 5th grade and lower, not the majority.
The Meet of Champions is set up as a middle school championship, a sixth grade & under championship, and a 4th grade and under championship, based on physical differences between the ages similar to USATF, AAU, and CCCNYC two year age groups.
09/26/2014 11:21:15 AM
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@official One other consideration that is being ignored are the middle schools that enter teams in both the middle school and 6th & under races. Are they in favor of eliminating their sixth grade runs from championship races?
@official
One other consideration that is being ignored are the middle schools that enter teams in both the middle school and 6th & under races. Are they in favor of eliminating their sixth grade runs from championship races?
09/26/2014 1:29:43 PM
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@official I attended a K-8 school for 6-8th grade. At that school there was a separate hallway for the middle school students (6-8) and the elementary school students (K-5). I expect for quite a few of the parochial schools there is a similar distinction. If we looked at the numbers you presented a different way we might ignore the schools that make no distinction between elementary and middle school (ie: the K-8 and K-12 schools) and only look at the schools that make a Middle School/Elementary School Split. There are 654 schools that make that distinction and of those schools 76% make the split between 5th and 6th grade. Only 18% make the split between 6th and 7th. I have not looked at the race data to know exactly what it looks like from last year. However, at the actual meet, most of the schools that compete near the front in the 5-6th grade race include either only 5th and under or only 6th graders. Most Elementary schools "hold" their 5th graders, as opposed to running them up with the feeder middle school. They do this for lots of really good reasons (school pride, consistency throughout the season, etc.), but it just seems like an odd "championship" race to me and many others.
@official

I attended a K-8 school for 6-8th grade. At that school there was a separate hallway for the middle school students (6-8) and the elementary school students (K-5). I expect for quite a few of the parochial schools there is a similar distinction.

If we looked at the numbers you presented a different way we might ignore the schools that make no distinction between elementary and middle school (ie: the K-8 and K-12 schools) and only look at the schools that make a Middle School/Elementary School Split. There are 654 schools that make that distinction and of those schools 76% make the split between 5th and 6th grade. Only 18% make the split between 6th and 7th.

I have not looked at the race data to know exactly what it looks like from last year. However, at the actual meet, most of the schools that compete near the front in the 5-6th grade race include either only 5th and under or only 6th graders. Most Elementary schools "hold" their 5th graders, as opposed to running them up with the feeder middle school. They do this for lots of really good reasons (school pride, consistency throughout the season, etc.), but it just seems like an odd "championship" race to me and many others.
09/26/2014 8:26:12 PM
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@theMike No offense, but your logic is straight out of Fox and Friends. You ignored over 400 schools to make a 45% minority in to a 76% majority which now has become the "Majority". Again your next statement said that most of the bottom teams in the 6th grade race are 5th & under schools. That statement was made without any basis of fact. Check the team results for 6th & under from last year. The bottom 20 boys teams out of about 40 teams scoring has only 4 schools that are 5th & under that I can determine. Out of 32 girls teams, in the bottom sixteen, less than four are 5th & under. Boys winner and runner-up were 5th & under schools and in the girls team race #2,3, and 6 were 5th & under. (That is more teams than were in the bottom half). Check with Steve Douchy and Brian Kilmeade. They will back you!
@theMike
No offense, but your logic is straight out of Fox and Friends. You ignored over 400 schools to make a 45% minority in to a 76% majority which now has become the "Majority". Again your next statement said that most of the bottom teams in the 6th grade race are 5th & under schools. That statement was made without any basis of fact. Check the team results for 6th & under from last year. The bottom 20 boys teams out of about 40 teams scoring has only 4 schools that are 5th & under that I can determine. Out of 32 girls teams, in the bottom sixteen, less than four are 5th & under. Boys winner and runner-up were 5th & under schools and in the girls team race #2,3, and 6 were 5th & under. (That is more teams than were in the bottom half).
Check with Steve Douchy and Brian Kilmeade. They will back you!
09/26/2014 10:40:21 PM
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Only in the world of message boards can a seemingly benign discussion be turned into a political statement. Geez.
Only in the world of message boards can a seemingly benign discussion be turned into a political statement. Geez.
09/27/2014 12:57:17 AM
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[quote=official]@official One other consideration that is being ignored are the middle schools that enter teams in both the middle school and 6th & under races. Are they in favor of eliminating their sixth grade runs from championship races?[/quote] @official That was kind of the point of my question about grade groupings. Middle schools, 6-8, should not be in the elementary races. I would argue that k-8 and k-12 schools should also run their 6th graders in the middle school championship. I can understand k-6 schools running their 6th graders in the elementary as they actually attend and elementary school. But the others do not.
fficial wrote:
@official
One other consideration that is being ignored are the middle schools that enter teams in both the middle school and 6th & under races. Are they in favor of eliminating their sixth grade runs from championship races?


@official

That was kind of the point of my question about grade groupings. Middle schools, 6-8, should not be in the elementary races. I would argue that k-8 and k-12 schools should also run their 6th graders in the middle school championship. I can understand k-6 schools running their 6th graders in the elementary as they actually attend and elementary school. But the others do not.
09/27/2014 10:33:34 AM
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fyi The divisions for all Catholic School Sports in Louisville (including Cross Country)are 7/8th grade: 5/6th grade: 3/4th grade and 1/2nd grade:
fyi The divisions for all Catholic School Sports in Louisville (including Cross Country)are 7/8th grade: 5/6th grade: 3/4th grade and 1/2nd grade:
09/29/2014 3:14:37 PM
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@official @CoachKenny First I have great respect for @official and I certainly understand the current set-up, but I think this is a worthwhile dialogue to have. I'd love to hear more opinions. But my thoughts are that the KTCCCA has made significant strides in the last several years to make this a genuine school-based championship, like the HS state meet. In light of that and in my opinion, the team awards should be divided into school-based groupings. The three common school levels are High School, Middle School, and Elementary School. Many schools include only 1 of these levels while some schools elect to be all three levels or a combination of two. They are electing to combine elementary and middle school (and sometimes high school) into 1 school. You suggest that I am "ignoring" all of these K-8 and K-12 schools and manipulating the statistics, I disagree. To them the division could happen anywhere, because all of the elementary and all of the middle school students are in the same school. I'm not suggesting that they wouldn't have a preference for where the split happens but I am suggesting that there is no level of advantage/disadvantage to those schools no matter where the split happens. What the statistics make very clear is that in Kentucky when schools make a distinction between elementary and middle school that the division happens the vast majority of the time between 5th and 6th grade. To me (and others) it just seems intuitive to have an elementary championship and a middle school championship. There is clearly already a middle school championship. Right now there isn't really an elementary championship. The 5-6th race is split (half middle and half elementary aged) and the 4th and under often doesn't even include the best 4th graders who may run up to help their 5-6th grade team. I'd love to hear what other elementary coaches think.
@official @CoachKenny

First I have great respect for @official and I certainly understand the current set-up, but I think this is a worthwhile dialogue to have. I'd love to hear more opinions.

But my thoughts are that the KTCCCA has made significant strides in the last several years to make this a genuine school-based championship, like the HS state meet. In light of that and in my opinion, the team awards should be divided into school-based groupings.

The three common school levels are High School, Middle School, and Elementary School. Many schools include only 1 of these levels while some schools elect to be all three levels or a combination of two. They are electing to combine elementary and middle school (and sometimes high school) into 1 school.

You suggest that I am "ignoring" all of these K-8 and K-12 schools and manipulating the statistics, I disagree. To them the division could happen anywhere, because all of the elementary and all of the middle school students are in the same school. I'm not suggesting that they wouldn't have a preference for where the split happens but I am suggesting that there is no level of advantage/disadvantage to those schools no matter where the split happens.

What the statistics make very clear is that in Kentucky when schools make a distinction between elementary and middle school that the division happens the vast majority of the time between 5th and 6th grade.

To me (and others) it just seems intuitive to have an elementary championship and a middle school championship. There is clearly already a middle school championship. Right now there isn't really an elementary championship. The 5-6th race is split (half middle and half elementary aged) and the 4th and under often doesn't even include the best 4th graders who may run up to help their 5-6th grade team.

I'd love to hear what other elementary coaches think.
09/29/2014 4:08:19 PM
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I would not have a problem with a true "Elementary Championship Race". I'm pretty sure the Elementary schools in Oldham County end at 5th grade anyway. A race with 4th and 5th graders could make for some great competition. I'm all for it. Why not try it next year and see how it works out. Could be better for everyone.
I would not have a problem with a true "Elementary Championship Race". I'm pretty sure the Elementary schools in Oldham County end at 5th grade anyway. A race with 4th and 5th graders could make for some great competition. I'm all for it. Why not try it next year and see how it works out. Could be better for everyone.
09/29/2014 8:59:37 PM
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I do agree that it is really tough for K-5 schools to divide teams up every year at the MOC. It is really unfair to the 5th grader s to suffer in the team results, if you don’t run kids up. I think it is really challenging for the 4th and under to have to run up and do a 3K instead of the 2K race. Have we ever thought about a 3rd grade & under 2K championship, 5th grade & under 3K championship, 6th grade only 3K championship, and middle school 4K championship. Just a thought, that way neither side is being punished.
I do agree that it is really tough for K-5 schools to divide teams up every year at the MOC. It is really unfair to the 5th grader s to suffer in the team results, if you don't run kids up. I think it is really challenging for the 4th and under to have to run up and do a 3K instead of the 2K race. Have we ever thought about a 3rd grade & under 2K championship, 5th grade & under 3K championship, 6th grade only 3K championship, and middle school 4K championship. Just a thought, that way neither side is being punished.
09/29/2014 9:54:59 PM
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In my school district we now have our elementary schools end at 4th grade. We have an intermediate school of 5th and 6th and then a Junior High of 7th and 8th grade. I know of at least one other school district like ours. It gets real confusing. Districts are always changing things.
In my school district we now have our elementary schools end at 4th grade. We have an intermediate school of 5th and 6th and then a Junior High of 7th and 8th grade. I know of at least one other school district like ours. It gets real confusing. Districts are always changing things.
09/30/2014 6:58:03 AM
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This post is a comment from one of our assistant coaches who works in the medical field. The 5th/6th grade topic has concerned me for several years. It tends to benefit the rural counties that still consider 6th grade as elementary and the parochial schools that don’t have middle school. In comparison, it tends to negatively impact the great many more public schools in the state that consider elementary k-5. For both boys and girls the additional year in age from 5th to 6th grade tends to see a great lengthening of the skeletal system and an accumulation in the athlete of more muscle mass. In my opinion that creates an unfair bias against the 5th grade runner as length and lean muscle tend to be associated with speed. I would like to see the 6th grade either have their own race or race with 7-8th grade. Additionally, I don’t agree when a middle school will run 6th graders who train at the middle school level and race them at an elementary meet. It happens all the time, and I fail to see where that is the right decision.
This post is a comment from one of our assistant coaches who works in the medical field.

The 5th/6th grade topic has concerned me for several years. It tends to benefit the rural counties that still consider 6th grade as elementary and the parochial schools that don't have middle school. In comparison, it tends to negatively impact the great many more public schools in the state that consider elementary k-5. For both boys and girls the additional year in age from 5th to 6th grade tends to see a great lengthening of the skeletal system and an accumulation in the athlete of more muscle mass. In my opinion that creates an unfair bias against the 5th grade runner as length and lean muscle tend to be associated with speed. I would like to see the 6th grade either have their own race or race with 7-8th grade. Additionally, I don't agree when a middle school will run 6th graders who train at the middle school level and race them at an elementary meet. It happens all the time, and I fail to see where that is the right decision.
09/30/2014 9:12:28 AM
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[quote=theMike] To me (and others) it just seems intuitive to have an elementary championship and a middle school championship. There is clearly already a middle school championship. Right now there isn't really an elementary championship.[/quote] @theMike Do we actually need an Elementary Championship? I see absolutely no point in such a championship and would much rather see an elementary race with K-6 that gives awards to the top finishers, finisher ribbons to everyone else, and no team championship at all.
heMike wrote:

To me (and others) it just seems intuitive to have an elementary championship and a middle school championship. There is clearly already a middle school championship. Right now there isn't really an elementary championship.


@theMike
Do we actually need an Elementary Championship? I see absolutely no point in such a championship and would much rather see an elementary race with K-6 that gives awards to the top finishers, finisher ribbons to everyone else, and no team championship at all.
09/30/2014 9:23:19 AM
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@Coach_Darrell It's one thing to disagree with the rule, but to it another to have a problem with coaches who enter 6th graders in 6th grade and under races within the rules of the meet. As coaches we always have to consider what is in the best interest of our athletes.
@Coach_Darrell
It's one thing to disagree with the rule, but to it another to have a problem with coaches who enter 6th graders in 6th grade and under races within the rules of the meet. As coaches we always have to consider what is in the best interest of our athletes.
09/30/2014 9:35:39 AM
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@georgevanmeter OK I did not expect that kind of response. We simply disagree with the rule. My coaching staff and I do not have a problem with any coach who decides to place a runner in a meet within the rules. It's an opinion and I'm sorry if you got offended.
@georgevanmeter
OK I did not expect that kind of response.
We simply disagree with the rule. My coaching staff and I do not have a problem with any coach who decides to place a runner in a meet within the rules. It's an opinion and I'm sorry if you got offended.
09/30/2014 11:59:24 AM
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@Coach_Darrell I wasn't offended and agree with almost everything you said. Just felt like you were saying that middle school coaches who put sixth graders in a race that includes sixth graders were making the wrong decision and acting unfairly.
@Coach_Darrell
I wasn't offended and agree with almost everything you said. Just felt like you were saying that middle school coaches who put sixth graders in a race that includes sixth graders were making the wrong decision and acting unfairly.
09/30/2014 12:31:56 PM
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@professor I agree. I don't think we need an elementary state championship, either. I also want to point out that this is a discussion of something the kids themselves care little about. These types of debates are almost always more about the adults involved than the kids. If you ask the actual elementary runners, they likely don't even care who is in their race. In my experience, they just want to go out, run their race, and then go play on the playground or get something to eat! Their fun is in being with their friends and running the race. Once the race is over, they're done with it and on to the next thing. The vast majority of them don't know or care which individuals or teams won. Only the adults pay attention to that stuff. It validates us as parents and/or coaches to win a championship. Just be sure to ask yourself in this type of discussion: who am I advocating for? Is it for the kids or for myself?
@professor

I agree. I don't think we need an elementary state championship, either.

I also want to point out that this is a discussion of something the kids themselves care little about. These types of debates are almost always more about the adults involved than the kids. If you ask the actual elementary runners, they likely don't even care who is in their race. In my experience, they just want to go out, run their race, and then go play on the playground or get something to eat! Their fun is in being with their friends and running the race. Once the race is over, they're done with it and on to the next thing. The vast majority of them don't know or care which individuals or teams won. Only the adults pay attention to that stuff. It validates us as parents and/or coaches to win a championship. Just be sure to ask yourself in this type of discussion: who am I advocating for? Is it for the kids or for myself?

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