What is Cross Country? The Sport of Cross Country is a competitive team sport offered in the fall. Training and optional group runs starts in late spring to early summer. Teams consist of five or more runners who all race together at the same time with other teams. The top five finishers from each team are scored and their finishing places are added up for the team score. The lowest score wins. High school races are 2.93 to 3.1 miles long.

The courses are mostly run across grassy fields, wooded paths, and have a mixture of hills. A great thing about cross country (abbreviated XC) is that everyone competes! Everyone runs the same course, and although the first 7 runners to finish are considered the scoring team, at every meet ALL (long as they make the racing team) athletes get to participate. There are no cuts, and no bench to sit on and watch while others play!

Our philosophy is fairly simple:
• Everyone is important, unique, and contributes
• To strive for excellence is as worthy as achieving it
• Everyone can reach for their personal best
• We can have fun, train hard, and race well
• We want to inspire a love of running

A Cross Country meet is scored by each team adding up the places of its top 5 finishers. As in golf, the low score wins. For example, a team that scores 26 points places ahead of a team that scores 29 points, as follows:

El Toro: 1, 4, 5, 6, 10 = 26
Visitor: 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 = 29…. El Toro wins!!

A team’s 6th and 7th place finishers can also figure in the scoring if they place ahead of the other teams’ top 5 finishers. When that is the case, they become “pushers” by pushing up their opponents’ scores. Only a team’s 6th and 7th finishers can be “pushers”, regardless of how many of its runners may finish ahead of an opposing team’s top 5. In a tie, 6th place runner will break the tie. For example, if both teams score 28 pts, highest placed 6th runner’s team will win.

Cross Country Vocabulary

– INVITATIONAL MEET…a multi-team meet by invitation only
– TOP 7…the scoring members of a Cross Country Team
– COURSE…the marked and measured route of the race (2.93 to 3.1 miles)
– STARTING BOX…designated area to which a team is assigned on the starting line
– FALSE START…leaving the starting line before the gun sounds
– FINISH CHUTE…a rope bordered funnel past the finish line that moves runners into their single file order of finish.
– PACE…running speed over a particular distance
– SURGE…a tactical increase in pace during the race
– KICK…a burst of speed at the finish of the race
– PACK…a group of runners in close proximity
– PERSONAL RECORD (PR)…best ever performance on a given course.
– RACING FLATS…special, lightweight shoes designed for racing, rather than daily training.
– TRAINERS…running shoes designed for long wear in daily training
– WARM-UP…a running and stretching routine that gradually warms up the body for intense running.
– COOL-DOWN…a jogging/walking routine that allows the muscles to purge themselves of waste product and the body to gradually lower its temperature to normal.
– WORKOUT…a daily training session

Categories: Information