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Runner ineligible because of changing high schools

toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,970 Senior Member
edited August 2011 in Athletic Recruits
My son decided to change high schools this year, his junior year. Part of the decison was because he wanted to go from a small school to a large school. According to our state's rules, it looks like he's ineligble. He is o.k with it and is still allowed to practice with the team. I'm worried that college coaches won't see any times for him during his junior year, but his high school coach claims that senior year times are more important. That could be true for cross country, but track times will be too late for college coaches. Any words of wisdom? Has anyone sat out a year? Should he enter every community 5K race he can find?
Post edited by toledo on

Replies to: Runner ineligible because of changing high schools

  • vlinesvlines Registered User Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    That sounds so punitive. With people moving frequently right now because of the economy/ jobs/ foreclosures, I am surprised they are enforcing this type of rule.
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,970 Senior Member
    If you move into a school district, eligibility isn't a problem. My son wants to go from a small public high school to a large private high school.
  • vlinesvlines Registered User Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    Yea, I hear what you are saying, and I understand the basic premise for the policy. It just seems like it would be really punitive for some students that do not have a choice based on economic reasons out of their control. Sorry I do not have any other answers for the real question you are asking though.
  • TheGFGTheGFG Registered User Posts: 6,219 Senior Member
    I feel your pain! Our state has this rule as well, and frankly it was what kept us from moving our student to another school with a better running program.

    In my opinion, junior year times are important. This is especially the case for boys, as their slower physical development schedule means that many of them are still pretty scrawny the first two years of high school. Unlike many girls who get slower as they mature, boys are almost always faster when they're juniors and seniors. Sophomore times, if very good, are certainly helpful for recruiting and could be used if no junior times were available. But races run too far in the past can't give the college coach the assurance he wants that the athlete is still healthy, still motivated to train hard, and that his/her body has adjusted to the maturation process without a loss of speed.

    My x-c and track runner took all but one of her official visits in Sept. and Oct. of senior year before any important races had been run yet. These visits were set up after the July 1 date when coaches starting calling. So her recruiting was based entirely on junior year times. However, she mostly looked at Ivies who recruit early. While the other Div. 1 schools were also calling in July and August, the earliest NLI signing day for track is in February of senior year, so that will give your son the chance to have run his entire senior x-c season as well as a few good indoor track meets before that. So your coach is correct that his senior times can be used, but the wait could put him at a disadvantage compared to others.

    The good news for your son is that at least in our area, we are seeing more and more high school runners abandoning their school teams in order to run for clubs. This has been going on for a while for sports like soccer, but is a relatively new phenomenon here for track. While this means the athletes are ineligible to run any conference or state-sanctioned meets, they can still run some college invitationals and meets like Footlocker Regionals and Nationals, and New Balance Nationals. Your son could enter meets like these in junior year as an "unattached" competitor. They are high level and high profile meets and will have the respect and attention of college coaches.

    Good luck!
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,970 Senior Member
    Thanks, GFG. That was exactly the type of info I was hoping to get. How would I go about finding a high school running club? How do I know what college invitationals would allow a high school student to run? My son has run in some of the indoor track college invitationals in the winter, but are there cross country invitationals in the fall?
  • Runners2Runners2 Registered User Posts: 308 Member
    In addition to researching club teams, you might search a race calendar (available on dyestat.com or some other sites) and see if there are some races that will allow runners to compete unattached to a school - that will vary from meet to meet (most probably will not), so it would require you to contact race directors individually to see (race directors will be noted on the website).

    In college, some coaches will allow red-shirted athletes (usually freshman) to compete unattached just to get some experience of racing, even though their times don't count. I don't know if that phenomenon occurs in high school. It might be worth asking the coach at your new school.

    Our system has the same rule about being ineligible if you transfer from one school to another within the school district - it's to avoid having all the good athletes cluster together to form one powerhouse team. However, there are some loopholes in our system - for example, if you transfer for an academic reason (e.g. to take an unusual foreign language or to participate in an IB program not available at your original school) - so you might see if your athlete would qualify for those exceptions?

    I agree that junior year times are important for recruiting, so I would try to help your son compete as much as possible. Good luck to you and to him!
  • TheGFGTheGFG Registered User Posts: 6,219 Senior Member
    You can look on the USATF and AAU websites for your state to find a list of track clubs. Then I would contact the head coach personally. Some clubs only have really young kids. Sometimes they only get high school kids to come out in June and July once the high school season is over. However, we noticed that many smaller high schools don't offer winter track, and with budget cuts even some larger schools have ceased to offer the sport. Your son might be able to find a local club that takes in these "orphaned" athletes for the winter.

    I really don't know how to get a high school athlete into a college race other than by contacting the meet director. However, I can tell you that Stanford has x-c and track invitationals that are excellent and that bring in some of the best high school runners. Go to the Stanford team webpage for meet info. The same would likely hold true for colleges in your area. Just go to the team site for links to their invitationals webpages.
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,970 Senior Member
    Thanks for all the great advice. Now I know where to start looking.
  • riverrunnerriverrunner Registered User Posts: 2,715 Senior Member
    toledo, I would also suggest you talk with your son's new coach. We have the same kinds of rules, but kids who move can run JV XC and track. Basically, they can run at all meets during the regular season, but cannot score points for Varsity at meets, and can't run in the post season. They CAN train with the XC and track teams, and then enter races as the GFG suggests. (Hey, hi GFG! Very generous posts you have going here!)

    Your new high school coach has probably dealt with this before and will know exactly what is permitted in your area.
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,970 Senior Member
    My son is currently training with his new high school and the coach has mentioned JV, but I'm sure he'd win every JV race. It isn't in the coaches' best interest to refer a runner to a club team. Do they even post JV scores online? I don't think I've seen any. I am trying to figure out a way to get good competition and to get noticed by college coaches.
  • riverrunnerriverrunner Registered User Posts: 2,715 Senior Member
    toledo, Dyestat runs the performance list for XC and track. College coaches look at Dyestat to find talent and keep up with national races like Footlocker and NXN.

    http://rise.espn.go.com/track-and-xc/index.aspx

    You or your son can submit his times if he runs faster than the minimums for the Dyestat performance lists. They don't care what race it was in as long as the distances and times are reported accurately. I don't know what your community's high school races are like, but in many places, smaller races blend the JV and Varsity so he would get to run against the top talent, just not score for varsity. Again, asking the coach would be the way to go.

    I AM a fan of club running for high schoolers, and your son should be able to do a bit of both over the next two years.

    Most distance coaches really do have the athlete's best interest at heart. The HS coach won't necessarily want to keep your son on JV and away from club races. It shouldn't be too hard to pick a mix of appropriate high school and club/college/open races for him. I'm sure the coach is hoping to bring him along this year so he can join varsity as a senior and be the wild card surprise!
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,970 Senior Member
    Yay! Just got invited to our first "college" invitational. The college coach said he couldn't allow S to run with the high schoolers due to eligibility, but he would put him in the college open race. Guess we'll be diving into those 8Ks now.

    Still no luck on finding a club in our area. Would clubs allow you to join if you didn't practice much with them?

    We'll follow up with our new high school school coach, as riverrunner suggested.

    Thanks, everyone!
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