BY: CLAY KALLAM
Track is the only CIF sport without divisional competition — but maybe not much longer
So our track team is really good, but we’re from a small school. When we go to the state meet, we have to compete head-to-head with the biggest schools in the state — but cross country doesn’t. In fact, all of the other statewide sports go by size of school, but not track. Why?
Some of you may have had to sit through a play (or the movie) called “Fiddler on the Roof.” If you did, you remember the old guy singing a song about why things are done the way they’re done — his answer?
After all, the meet will celebrate its centennial (for boys) in 2015, so there is a significant amount of history that would be lost if the state track meet shifted to the five-division format that other sports use.
In addition, there are those who believe that if the meet is split up into divisions, the competition won’t be as strong (let’s say the two best sprinters are in different divisions) so the times won’t be as good — and again, historically, California has set many, many national high school records.
Finally, if division meets were held rather than one grand state meet, it would be a two-day, all- finals event. There would be no preliminaries since, unlike cross country, there are 14 events rather than just one.
Interestingly enough, however, the North Coast Section is considering a new format for its section track meets that would incorporate divisional com- petition. There would still be a Meet of Champions, but instead of having three regional meets that send qualifiers to the MOC, there would be four divisional meets.
On top of that, the plan calls for the MOC to be two week- ends: the first for trials and the second for finals.
The Central Coast Section already does it this way, as does the Southern Section, so it’s clearly the wave of the future — and it also might be the precursor to eventually incorporating some kind of divisional competition at the higher levels of state track.
In the meantime, though, your pretty good small-school track team is still going to have to compete with the big schools.
I agree it doesn’t seem quite fair when all the other state sports are broken up into divisions, but sometimes, as old folks are happy to tell you, life just isn’t all that fair.
On another note, I heard through the grapevine that some De La Salle boosters weren’t that happy with my column on Bob Ladouceur (Issue 71, Aug. 22), perhaps feeling I wasn’t worshipful enough. But by the time I heard that, Ladouceur, being the class guy that he is, had already thanked me via e-mail — and it brought to mind the last time I interviewed him for a story.
Way back in the day, I covered an early De La Salle game against Cal High that ended 3-0, in favor of the Grizzlies, in a game that will not be enshrined in anyone’s hall of fame. This, obviously, was very early in Ladouceur’s career, but when I brought it up, the response was immediate.
“We had three turnovers and a bunch of penalties,” he said, or words to that effect.
And 30 years later, not only did he remember the details, he was still upset.
Clay Kallam is an assistant athletic director and girls varsity basketball coach at Bentley High in Lafayette. To submit a question for Behind the Clipboard, email him at email@example.com
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