Week 6 Highlights: State Qualifying, Frank Horton, McCallie

Qualifying Changes

Up until this year, if you wanted qualify as an individual for the State Championship in Cross Country you had to be in the Top 10. Period. How did this look in practice? Consider these results from last year's Large Region 6 Championship:

 TSSAA Region 6: Large Schools - 10/27/2020            
             Sanders Ferry Pkwy, Hendersonville, TN              

                  Varsity Girls 5000 Meter Run                   
    Name                  Yr Team                      Time   Pts
  1 Leigh Walters         12 Fred J. Page High Sc 17:59.55      1
  2 Jayne Halterman        9 Independence High Sc 18:09.33      2
  3 Kaitlyn Vanderkolk    12 Brentwood High Schoo 18:09.34      3
  4 Julia Halterman       11 Independence High Sc 18:23.62      4
  5 Brooke Tyll           10 Brentwood High Schoo 18:34.34      5
  6 Searcy Mooney          9 Nolensville High Sch 19:01.97      6
  7 Madison Lanai         12 Franklin High School 19:16.12      7
  8 Eden Mittelsdorf      12 Brentwood High Schoo 19:25.81      8
  9 Emma Norman           12 Franklin High School 19:31.48      9
 10 Emma Wilson           12 Independence High Sc 19:34.03     10
 11 Delaney Mulick        11 Centennial High Scho 19:37.23     11
 12 Veronica Beech        10 Franklin High School 19:38.40     12
 13 Virginia Hunt         11 Hume-Fogg Academic M 19:45.30     13
 14 Hayley Stegall        10 Nolensville High Sch 19:48.94     14
 15 Ayers Leggett         12 Franklin High School 19:56.12     15

Brentwood, Independence, and Franklin all qualified as a team and make up eight of the top ten places. Only two runners beyond that, Leigh Walters (1st) and Searcy Mooney (6th), qualified for the state meet.

This year the qualifying changed. The Top 3 teams still qualify AND the Top 5 runners after you omit team qualifiers. Applying these rules to the new parameters would yield these results.

Team QualifiersIndividual Qualifiers

Leigh Walters

IndependenceSearcy Mooney
FranklinDelaney Mulick
Virginia Hunt

Hayley Stegall

Region 8 AAA

Without going back in the archives, I think it's safe to say that on average the number of runners that are not part of Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, or Houston that have qualified for state from Region 8 is less than 1 per year on average. So as it pertains to my observations at Horton, I identified two runners that are likely to break raise that average with the new qualifying standards in place.

Earlier this summer, I highlighted White Station Sophomore Jarryn Lowe's 800m performance at AAU Nationals. On Friday, he placed 20th overall with a time of 16:36. This currently ranks 12th in the region. Assuming everyone finishes in that current order, Jarryn would qualify for the state meet as an individual and be the first White Station runner to do so since 2017.

On the girl's side, Whitehaven's Danielle Booker, who placed 17th at Horton with a time of 20:01, currently ranks 10th in the region. It's very possible she would've qualified for state under the old rules but with the new, she has a little more wiggle room. She would be the first female runner to represent Whitehaven at the State Cross Country Championship since 1992 when they qualified as a team.

Danielle Booker's time on Saturday was a School Record for Whitehaven which she already owned.

While it's entirely possible that without these two runners in Region 8, the school that got 4th could ultimately bring 5 runners to Hendersonville and score as a team without qualifying as a team, I still think the expansion is good for the sport.