Class A Cross Country Championships: Towns County, GMC win public school titles; Landmark, Athens Academy win private school crowns

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

For those who chatter about Class A public school champions having a “tainted title” due to this year’s separation of public and private schools in post season competition, forgive those schools and athletes for totally ignoring you.

They are too busy admiring their reflection in the shiny, silver championship trophies they earned Saturday in Macon, on the grounds of the Georgia Children’s Home.

For the first time, Saturday in Macon, on the grounds of the Georgia Children’s Home, the Georgia High School Association awarded four Class A cross country state championships instead of two – public and private school boys and girls team and individual winners. The new system is the result of a vehement protest earlier this year by several Class A public schools that contend that private schools, particularly those in large metro areas, have a distinct advantage in that they are allowed to recruit students and have greater access to key resources.

In the public school races, Georgia Military College in Milledgeville won the boys team title with four runners finishing in the top 20, led by Will Archer who placed third. The individual champion was Baconton Charter senior Bryton Wenzel. Towns County won the girls team championship with five runners in the top 20, including junior Ansley Vardeman, the individual state champion, and her twin sister Taylor Vardeman, who placed sixth.

On the private school side, Landmark Christian won their second consecutive girls title, the War Eagles’ sixth since 2003, as Kathryn Foreman and Lindy Long finished first and second, respectively. Athens Academy won their first boys cross country team title, as three Spartans placed in the top 20, including Henry Dwyer, who finished fourth. Galloway sophomore Reilly Friedman won the individual crown with a course-record time of 15:50.

“The focus needs to be on these kids who just want to have a chance to run and compete,” said Towns head coach Jeannie Ledford. “As a public school we have to coach who comes through the door. These girls gave it their all, public or private. The focus should be on them.”

Vardeman said she likes the big-time atmosphere in Carrollton, where the championships traditionally take place. The other classifications will run there next weekend. She also likes competing against her private school counterparts.

“But I like this [winning], too,” she said, after posting a time of 21:34, a little less than a minute faster than second place finisher Elizabeth Savage of GMC. “We can’t control who was here. We were going to compete no matter who was here.”

“I think the [public-private] split was great,” said GMC assistant coach Jeff Crain. “These guys worked so hard and were so focused. They came and competed today and earned everything they got.”

Meanwhile, most private school runners and coaches said they would rather have been in Carrollton, even Friedman, who set the course record on Saturday.

“I’m really happy with it, but I prefer Carrollton because everybody else is there,” Friedman said. Athens Academy head coach Tom Pee agreed.

“All things being equal, Carrollton is where you have the championship environment with everyone there competing and cheering each other on,” said Pee, who added that if 14 races is too many for one day, the GHSA should consider making the state championships a two-day event in Carrollton.

“I told our guys to not let where we’re running diminish their focus and effort,” Pee said. “They came out and ran as hard as they could and did what they had to do.”

PUBLC SCHOOL BOYS

Individual

1. Bryton Wenzel, Baconton Charter (17:34)

2. Mark Brannen, Jenkins County (18:06)

3. Will Archer, Georgia Military College (18:15)

4. Hayden Bailey, Lincoln County (18:33)

5. Robert Bledsoe, Irwin County (18:34)

Team

1. Georgia Military College

2. Jenkins County

3. Baconton Charter

4. Claxton

5. Treutlen

PUBLIC SCHOOL GIRLS

Individual

1. Ansley Vardeman, Towns County (21:34)

2. Elizabeth Savage, Georgia Military College (22:28)

3. Caitlin Sheffield, Towns County (22:40)

4. Sierra Nichols, Towns County (22:49)

5. Crystal Lee, Trion (23:11)

Team

1. Towns County

2. Gordon Lee

3. Claxton

4. Georgia Military College

5. Trion

PRIVATE SCHOOL BOYS

Individual

1. Reilly Friedman, Galloway (15:50)

2. Joey Carr, Mt. Paran Christian (16:24)

3. John Raville, Our Lady of Mercy (16:26)

4. Henry Dwyer, Athens Academy (16:34)

5. Robby Keough, Whitefield Academy (16:35)

Team

1. Athens Academy

2. Darlington

3. Landmark Christian

4. Mt. Pisgah Christian

5. Galloway

PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRLS

Individual

1. Kathryn Foreman, Landmark Christian (18:18)

2. Lindy Long, Landmark Christian (18:40)

3. Tayler Tuttle, Providence Christian (18:46)

4. Stephanie Murphy, Hebron Christian (19:38)

5. Shannon Fair, Aquinas (19:42)

Team

1. Landmark Christian

2. Providence Christian

3. Darlington

4. Mt. Pisgah Christian

5. Pace Academy

29 comments Add your comment

BehindEnemyLines

November 3rd, 2012
4:42 pm

Of course GMC thinks it’s great, they get a “title” out of it. The reality is that It’s a travesty to award anything more than a participation medal for their performance, which would have placed them 15th in a standard Class A field.

The fastest boys runner in the public bracket today would have finished 25th in a full bracket. Only thirteen public Class A schools fielded a full team on the boys side, just 11 on the girls side.

This is the epitomy of what a joke splitting the class in half can make of a “championship”.

See for yourselves
http://ga.milesplit.com/meets/125834-ghsa-cross-country-state-championshp-class-a

Tom

November 4th, 2012
8:39 am

There’s no travesty anywhere Emeny. And there’s no joke. The truth is that any time a good athlete can be rewarded, it’s great. And the other truth is that smaller private schools in the Atlanta area have a definite advantage over the smaller public schools throughout the state. Your post should be congratulating all the winners, public and private, instead of complaining about the system.

Runner

November 4th, 2012
12:34 pm

CORRECTION – Private School Girls Race Team Placement – Mount Pisgah came in 4th, PACE was 5th. That’s the difference between a podium finish and not.

Champ

November 4th, 2012
12:38 pm

Tom… honestly, the splitting of public and private is mostly hurting the public schools. Even the public schools winning that championship know that it is sort of a joke. They get to watch the 4th place private school go up for their trophy and know full-well that they would have crushed them. No college is going to recruit an athlete from that state championship team, because it is based on time when runners get recruited and they just don’t qualify. A number of the Towns County girls have the opportunity to become very good athletes but they are completely unchallenged by the other schools in their race and thus their times suffer… and time is what really matters in this sport. As for advantage, you can complain about recruiting or whatever but I can tell you that the private schools I know in that race do not recruit their athletes. The only real accusations of recruiting that have proven true in GA recently have all been public schools (i.e. Milton, Rockdale, etc.).
Running is the purest sport. Everyone has to practice, everyone has to run, and everyone should run in the same race. It’s hurting everyone, most primarily the public school athletes. Participation trophies don’t get colleges interested, fast times do. No competition = No improvement. No improvement = No future in the sport. It is a travesty for those kids. Maybe their school gets a banner to put up in the gym, but they are destroying the future of their athletes.

XC Fan

November 4th, 2012
1:39 pm

Mount Pisgah girls took the 4th place podium spot at the state meet.

HS Runner

November 4th, 2012
2:32 pm

Here’s what I don’t understand. The public schools accuse the private schools of recruiting, but at my school we take “whoever walks in the door”. Our school (private) doesn’t have enough money for a track or cross country trails. Granted, we have kids in families that can pay tuition, but we have to work really hard to compete with the other private schools. We didn’t qualify to run yesterday; we have a tough region, but we would have killed all of the public schools. Many private schools are just like us in these matters, but we constantly have to hear about “private schools recruiting” and “private schools having better facilities”. That’s what I don’t like about this conflict

CCFan

November 4th, 2012
2:46 pm

In the Class A Private girls’ race, there were two different versions of the results. The original results had Pace and Mount Pisgah tying, with Pace winning the tie-breaker (6th finisher). The results were revised, and these had Mount Pisgah defeating Pace by 1 point. So unfortunately the original results were ever distributed. If I were Pace’s coach I would be heartbroken.

Public School Parent

November 4th, 2012
3:38 pm

@Enemy:
There is a very valid reason the 1A public schools wanted to split the championship. It’s called equality and fairness. The same reason FCS (1-AA) schools don’t compete against BCS Schools in College. Each of these public schools have the ability to pull athletes from those WITHIN their own county. The private schools pull from their geographic area. Look at the differences in population in those areas. I randomly pulled some 1A public and private schools. Please explain how a school with less than 400 high school students TOTAL in the county can compete with these private schools in larger cities. In the larger cities these kids compete against better competition from rec. leagues up.

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13000.html

**Public**
Echols 4,129
Evans 11,065
Jenkins 8,148
Treutlen 6,825
Towns 10,611
Irwin 9,679

**PRIVATE**
Chatham Co 271,544
Country Day
Calvary
SCPS

Alpharetta 59,397
Mt. Pisgah

Atlanta 1,000,000 +
Galloway
Landmark Ch.

Floyd Co. 95,989
Darlington

Richmond 201,217
Aquinas

Clarke County 117,344
Athens Academy

XC parent

November 4th, 2012
4:23 pm

My Congrats go to Athens Academy Boys on your victory great work
And to Landmark Girls, way to go Kathryn with a very impressive time
and victory!

Seth

November 4th, 2012
5:13 pm

To everybody posting about “tainted titles” and GMC not deserving the title, listen up. I go to GMC and ran in the state meet yesterday. It is very much true that we would not have fared very well at all if we faced the private schools. But you must look at the facts. We are not allowed to recruit. At all. Period, zip, nada. Do you realize how many people we have in the school? We currently have 250 students in the high school. Let’s do some math. Take away fifty because of football, twenty because of cheerleading, fifty from basketball, another fifty from lack of interest and athletic ability, and then yet another fifty because of band (we only have two CC runners that were in band, myself and another senior). That leaves us with about thirty people who can run cross country. In total we have eleven boys (our top runner was injured and was only able to run for the first quarter of the season) and about nine girls. The teams that we would have been competing against post rosters of nearly forty runners PER TEAM. That means about eighty total compared to our twenty. Simply put, having us run against them would be like having them run against Class AAAAA schools.

Runner

November 4th, 2012
5:23 pm

GMC finished first team wise. Jenkins was second. It is listed in the article as vice versa.

CC Coach

November 4th, 2012
5:41 pm

I have coached cross country for nearly 2 decades. I don’t think that my runners thought the trophy they earned with their sweat was a “joke” as someone so “eloquently” put it!
As a matter of fact I take offense at the comment!
The Region we were in before left us only competeing for 4th place evey year- that is the travesty!
When “private school” students in our area have personal trainers, better nutrition, and parents who can “support” them in every way, it does give them an advantage!
I was happy to see every young man and women runner in Class A (public or Private) get a chance to compete against their REAL competitors yesterday!
It was a well run meet!

Once A Runner

November 4th, 2012
6:28 pm

I think the real “travesty” is that these runners don’t get to compete in Carrolton. The fact is 7 classifications is too many for the state of Georgia. Also, if you do the math on state championships in single A in the past ten years, public schools have fared evenly with private schools. Private schools do not recruit, let me repeat this PRIVATE SCHOOLS DO NOT RECRUIT. Especially for cross country. The arguments so far in this comment string include “private school kids parents have money” and “private school have a bigger area to pull from”. Realistically, all the schools are similarly sized. Also, in cross country money doesn’t mean much. You can run 70 miles a week quite cheaply.

BehindEnemyLines

November 4th, 2012
8:54 pm

CC Coach – take offense all you like, it doesn’t change the reality that declaring a state champion for public in XC is akin to claiming the “champion” of the local wrestling promotion that runs once a month at the local VFW on par with the champion of the WWF. It’s offensively silly & borders on tragically delusional.

As for the whole “personal trainer” argument … the private school parents are already burdened with paying an absurd amount toward funding the public facilities AND THEN have to pay every dime for their own as well. I don’t know how much more you can really expect, these schools don’t get to fund their programs at gunpoint, it requires commitment & quite often considerable sacrifice. Those differences sure don’t seem to hold back public schools in several other sports which are at worst competitive & often feature publics as the most consistent powerhouses.

@Seth – I congratulate you on your willingness to compete AND to step into a contentious conversation. I also applaud your honesty about the competitive balance of the two split brackets, _something that most private schools face in reverse in other sports_. That said however, if that 250 figure you cite for enrollment is total used for classification (gr 9-11) then you’re in the upper half of Class A. Even if it’s a 9-12 figure, you’re still right around the median for Class A AND larger than a lot of those who competed & placed in the private bracket.

DH Dec

November 4th, 2012
8:56 pm

1. Private schools don’t recruit for cross country.
2. Advantage in resouces? Parents who can support in all ways? All you need is a pair of shoes and a stretch of road. This isn’t football.
3. After being around cross country for 15 years, and many private school and public school runners, getting a “personal trainer” rarely happens, and I would argue the magic is in the miles, not a “personal trainer”.

I am a Class A state champion who ran upwards of 70 miles per week. I didn’t take a day off for 3 years. It didn’t matter what school I attended. These stats are where championships are won. Not in how much money my parents have, or what part of the state my school is located. How many legs do you have? How many lungs do you have? Two? So does that kid from Athens Academy, so does that girls from Landmark Christian. Everything else is just excuses and you are sadly fooling yourselves.

Champ

November 4th, 2012
9:14 pm

@Once A Runner, I agree with you all the way. It will be a confusing factor when colleges are looking at two different state courses to compare runners. Everyone needs to be in Carrolton. No question.
In response to some of the counter arguments – Most of the single A private schools have 250 or fewer students just like the public school described, and just as many other attractive extracurriculars. The personal trainer/better nutrition argument is just false for the most part. I don’t personally know a single cross country runner who pays for a personal trainer… in other sports (also in running sometimes) a lot of the very tip-top athletes have outside coaches, in public AND private.
In the end, money really is not a deciding factor in how good a cross country team is, especially not a factor that could produce such profound distinction. You might be able to make an argument for football, even track, but not XC.

Seth

November 4th, 2012
11:25 pm

@BehindEnemyLines I feel I need to clarify a little bit more. I did not fully explain everything. Yes, the 250 figure is 9-12. However, we are also a military school, so we have military regulations we are expected to follow. We have formation beginning at 7:38 every morning (meaning students must arrive at school by 7:30 am to be on time) and we do not get out of school until 3:15 (compared to most other schools that start at 8:30 and end at 2:45. We also wear uniforms every day of the week (not just the standard khaki and collared shirt, I’m talking military uniform) and we face disciplinary actions such as 1600 Formation (4:00 formation for those arriving late to school. missing a piece of their uniform the previous day, or arriving at school that morning needing a haircut/shave). We also face “Retraining” (aka “Bullring”) as opposed to detention (Bullring is very physical and lasts a little over an hour every day, meaning students with bullring do not leave until after 4:30). That aside, GMC is a College Prepatory School, meaning our course loads are the equivalent of college classes (we just don’t get college credits except for AP or Dual Enrollment). Also, being a fully functional JROTC unit requires us to field a Color Guard, a Drill Team, a Rifle Team, and a Raider Team in addition to the other sports and activities offered (XC, Football, Band, Track, Soccer, Tennis, One Act Play, Spring Musical, Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Literary, etc). Every person involved in one sport is involved in at least two or three other sports, as this must happen for us to be able to have these teams and activities. I myself run XC, march with the band, run track, and play soccer. That being said, we cannot easily dedicate ourselves to just one sport. Someone also mentioned that anyone could run upwards of seventy miles a week and that the school did not change that. Well, Milledgeville is a small city, and many of us actually do not live within the city limits. That being said, the best place to run around Milledgeville is in downtown, a greenway. So we can only run four to five days a week. In those four to five days (sometimes it is four because we have other events on Friday afternoons, such as football games the band attends), we usually run about 5.5 to 6.6 miles. We have homework that we must complete, so it is hard to stay and run longer. As for trainers, we have none. The Cross Country head coach is actually the ninth grade Health teacher and she also has to coach the middle school team. The assistant coach mentioned in the above article is actually a student attending the local college, GC&SU. He does this strictly as volunteer work even while going to college and not getting paid. Someone also mentioned that private schools are similarly stretched for money. We get no money at all. We use the same uniforms as the track team, uniforms that are at least ten years old. We have no special equipment, no sponsors, etc. Please tell me more about how we are so much better off than the private schools (*sarcasm*)

Public School Parent

November 5th, 2012
8:50 am

For those that are arguing the public title is “tainted”, have you EVER spent time in a 1A public school? Have you ever lived in a county where the only school is a 1A public school? If not, you have no clue what your are talking about. You simply can’t see the real differences. Check the poverty rates for the counties that competed for the public schools http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13000.html then check the poverty rate for your 250-400 students.

@BehindEnemyLines — Let’s use your argument. Maybe the state shouldn’t even split the levels. Especially in Cross Country. Let’s all just compete together 1A-6A. I mean, they are all high schools students all with the same opportunities. Don’t need any money to run. Based on your argument, the 1A Private, 2A, 3A, 4A, and possible 5A states titles are a “joke”. All the public schools are asking it to compete against “LIKE” schools. Like one of the private school parents said at the meet Saturday, wondering why none of the public schools had a tent, “It’s just a different world.”

@Once A Runner: “PRIVATE SCHOOLS DO NOT RECRUIT.” — call it what you want… recruit, sponsors.. I personally know too many kids from my area that have been told, “We sure would like for you to play for us next year. We have a sponsor lined up to pay for your tuition.” But, let the school prove it. Stop competing in GHSA sports, and see how many of those athletes move to a different private school. If the 1A public schools drop a sport, we don’t lose any students.. they just lose an opportunity.

My son has run CC for four years. He competed at state for a 1A public school. He probably wouldn’t have even made the team at a private school. I guess I should just sit

Public School Parent

November 5th, 2012
9:03 am

… (completing previous post)

I guess I should just discourage him from participating. He was in the top 5 on our team. He’s worked hard, and knows he’s not getting a scholarship. He plays sports for the love of the game, not a financial reward. That’s the heart of most of the 1A athlete I know.

For those of you don’t “see” the difference in the big city private schools and a small country public school… maybe one day you’ll have one of those “Secret Millionaire” or “Undercover Boss” experiences where you can see the real differences. The top runner on our team hasn’t had a family member present at any match. They won state last year against private schools in track… never had a family member watch them run. About 8-10 of the CC runners this year never had a family member present, even at a home meet. I’m guessing a lot of the 1A public schools have similar stories.

Public School Parent

November 5th, 2012
9:06 am

@Seth — congratulations on GMC win. Ya’ll ran a good race.
@CC Coach — I agree with you 100%

S. Thomas Coleman

November 5th, 2012
10:46 am

@Runner, @XCFan and @CCFan: The corrections have been made. Thanks!

And congratulations to all of the top 5 finishers, individuals and teams, public and private. XC is one of the most grueling, physically taxing sports around. You are all to be commended for your hard work and dedication!

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Once A Runner

November 5th, 2012
10:56 am

@Public School Parent… I have a light knowledge of private schools in single A and if you think they recruit you are crazy. There has not been one case of recruiting in a Single A private school… I have been on state championship teams, we didn’t go find athletes, we just trained hard…. If your son was a sub 17 runner, wouldn’t you want him to have the opportunity to run against the better competition? In other sports like golf, lacrosse, football, financial resources play a much larger role. In cross country, if you have the resources to get the team to region and state, nothing else matters… For some reason 1A public schools dominate football, yet the 1A private schools don’t complain. If money is this issue in this, then a split makes no sense. It spreads out the teams more and makes travel costs go up.
@Seth If you are not a senior, I would recommend finding a good running plan online (doesn’t cost any money) and follow it throughout the summer. You can easily get up above 50 miles a week during the summer, if you do this, you will find a lot of success in running. Congratulations on your accomplishments, my point isn’t to take anything away from you or anyone else. Just to point out that these races all need to be run in one place because of the atmosphere/ability to watch other runners and meet them.

Buckwheat19

November 5th, 2012
12:28 pm

AJC: Thank you for the coverage of cross country.

Congratulations to all of the winners, medalists, and teams that earned spots on the podium. As the Towns coach said this should be about the kids, their accomplishments should be celebrated. The kids have no say on where they run or how many races are contested or how the classes are divided, they are out there because they enjoy the sport and in most cases want to put forth an honest effort.

The real issue here is that there are far too many classifications in the GHSA in all sports. I would like to see a maximum of three classes across the board. Wouldn’t that make for some great competition?

Public School Parent

November 5th, 2012
12:59 pm

@Once A Runner:
“There has not been one case of recruiting in a Single A private school…” — I will have to assume you are talking about in Cross Country. In other sports, there is recruiting. Unless a coach offering for the athlete to live with a sponsor family and tuition would be paid isn’t recruiting (Nephew had the offer in Savannah for baseball, neighbor had the offer in football.). Unlike in college, private schools don’t have to disclose how many athletes have a “sponsor”.

For some reason 1A public schools dominate football, yet the 1A private schools don’t complain.” — Went back and checked the past couple years. At least half the teams in the quarter finals were private schools… don’t see “dominate”

“If your son was a sub 17 runner, wouldn’t you want him to have the opportunity to run against the better competition?” In the area we live.. I’m sure if he was a sub 17 runner, he would be asked. — Sounds like a good recruiting line. :)

And, if it’s all about the competition, why not just go back to 1-AA? Or compete with the 5A teams in your area? Wouldn’t your runners be better facing that competition?

Public School Parent

November 5th, 2012
1:32 pm

@Buckwheat19 — I agree completely. Each student-athlete on the podium deserved their spot. Each team deserved theirs.

Even being a public school 1A parent, I can agree with you on the 3 classifications. Put each school in the classification from their service area size, not school size. I believe that would be a level playing field.

Once A Runner

November 5th, 2012
2:27 pm

@Public School Parent The top athletes compete against the top athletes regardless of classification throughout the season in cross country. In other words, if my athletes are elite, I put them against the best competition I can find. The team aspect is why size of school matters. It is entirely possible to have a sub 16 runner on a single A team, it is near impossible to get 5 guys sub 17 (what is likely needed to win AAAAAA). If you have 5000 students, you have a much better chance of fielding a more competitive team in any sport than a school of 250. All of the single A schools face the exact same issues when it comes to fielding teams, some don’t have certain sports for this reason. A lot of athletes double up during the spring because of the number of sports offered.

Public School Parent

November 5th, 2012
4:05 pm

Exactly my point. A public school is limited to those 250-400 students because of geography. A private school is not. Those at the 6A-4A school that didn’t quite make the cut for 1st team varsity are still usually very good athletes. They can go to a smaller private school and many times start and may be the star athlete. They may or may not get a sponsor, but they don’t go to the small public schools (although I’ve heard rumors of that happening at a particular school near the border).

” All of the single A schools face the exact same issues when it comes to fielding teams, ” — If you believe that you haven’t been to a 1A rural public school. How many of your athletes that aren’t “sponsored” have problems paying for their uniforms/shoes? How many are running to get in shape for basketball/baseball or track? How many have a problem catching a ride to practice or a meet? How many eat a free lunch at school because of their family income, and quite possibly that’s the best meal they get each day? How many do you have to personally council to keep them out trouble? What percentage of your “non-sponsored” athletes have parents active to help provide (like those nice tents), or even watch?

Before your kids get to High School, they’ve competed against many excellent athletes in rec sports because of the size of the area. In these small communities, they are lucky to get 3-4 teams for each level. We’re arguing this from two different perspectives. I’ve seen and coached these kids since elementary school in various sports. I’m not angry.. I was happy for the private schools athletes that won. I was impressed.with their times. I’m sure you have a whole team committed to running almost year round. I spoke with a 1A private school baseball coach recently. He said he had 50 kids try out for baseball. Our school had 12. Kids at the private school are engaged, parents pushing them. A lot of kids at the small public schools don’t have that. It’s NOT THE SAME ISSUES. Both struggle with money and time. That’s about as close as it gets.

It seems we’ll have to agree to disagree. Our definition of level playing field is different. Yours seems to be number of kids in school. Mine is so much more.

Concerned

November 6th, 2012
2:34 pm

First off, I would like to congratulate all finishers and award winners in Saturday’s races, both public and private. Again, the kids don’t choose who they run against, the GHSA does. The public school runners did what they had to do to be successful and the private school runners did what they had to do. Absolutely no one should be ashamed.

@Public School Parent @Once A Runner — why argue about something that ultimately will not change the results of Saturday’s race. It’s history… If you truly feel this passionate about your opinions, complain to the GHSA.

I would like to leave you all with just a few thoughts though…

Regardless of the size, location, and classification of your school, please understand that cross country is one of the few sports we can honestly say doesn’t require a lot of funding. It doesn’t matter what your situation is financially, running is fairly cheap, especially at the high school level. Don’t make excuses based on the poverty of the people attending your school or the location of your school. Don’t even use the fact that you can’t recruit as an excuse. Guys, playing more than one sport isn’t even an excuse. I know from personal experience that public schools can compete with private schools and private schools can compete with public schools, as long as the athletes (i.e. runners) are willing to make sacrifices to be the best THEY can be. I’m not saying that everyone’s best is winning, I’m saying that if you put in the hard work and give it your best, you will be competitive. But like other things in life, the student must possess a certain level of discipline and perseverance to excel at something. There have been numerous scenarios where kids who grew up in very rural and low-income areas went on to be very successful athletes in college and sometimes at a professional level. It can be done… but making excuses won’t get you there.

How ’bout this, let’s stop feeling sorry for ourselves and make something happen. There is always room for improvement, always.

And for those who are worried about being recruited by college coaches, please understand that one race doesn’t make or break a kids chances. The public and private school runners each did what it took to win titles, that’s all you can ask. For those who have no interest in running in college, fine, but those who do must understand that coaches look at how you compete against the best competition. This can be seen through races during the regular season or in post-season races like Footlocker or NikeCross. Either way, everyone has an opportunity, it’s just what you do with that opportunity that makes the difference.

Public School Parent

November 7th, 2012
11:47 am

@Concerned:
1) I don’t want to change the results. I’m thrilled with them.
2) You’ve converted me. Let’s drop the classifications completely for Cross Country. Any team that has 7 committed runners should be able to compete with any team in the state.

If you think I’m feeling sorry for myself you’re way off. My child was not on the podium in the top 10 public schools. Probably never will be for cross country. But the TEAM was. My kids are in a small public school because that’s where we choose to live and work. In fact, we’re probably like most of the families that go to the private schools. I’ve lived/worked in a larger city.
My whole point (which you’ve missed) is most of these rural public schools are way different than these larger city private schools.

My complaint is with the attitudes in previous posts…
1)”The reality is that It’s a travesty to award anything more than a participation medal for their performance”
2)” the splitting of public and private is mostly hurting the public schools. Even the public schools winning that championship know that it is sort of a joke.”
3)”Many private schools are just like us in these matters, but we constantly have to hear about “private schools recruiting” and “private schools having better facilities”. That’s what I don’t like about this conflict”