In cross-country it takes five good runners to win, but seven runners make the team great! The team score is the top five places added together for a team score. The team with the lowest score wins.
- Team A: 2-4-5-7-9= 27
- Team B: 1-3-6-8-10= 28
The #6 and #7 runners do not add their place into the team score. They can affect the other team scores if they place ahead of any of the opponent’s top 5. When this happens, they effectively displace the other teams scoring runners, and increasing their score.
Teams that have a tie score have it broken by awarding the victory to the team having the highest 6th place finisher. In the case below, Team A’s #6 runner is not only a displacing runner, he/she is a tie-breaker and wins the meet for Team A.
- Team A: 3-4-5-7-9 (10) = 28
- Team B: 1-2-6-8-11 (12) = 28
Often there are cases where competitors may not be part of a “full team” (at least 5 runners). If a school doesn’t have at least 5 runners, then they are running as individuals and don’t count for team scores. This is often the case in championship races and invitational meets. Therefore, when scoring, there are two sets of places for runners.
The individual placing, which includes all runners, and the team placing, which ranks only those runners that are part of a complete team.
- 1st place – A (From Team A)
- 2nd Place – B (From Team B)
- 3rd Place – C (Not a Complete Team)
- 4th Place – D (From Team A)
- 5th Place – E (Not a Complete Team
- 6th Place – F (From Team B)
- 7th Place – G (From Team B)
- 8th Place – H (From Team B)
- 9th Place – I (From Team A)
- 10th Place – J (From Team A)
- 11th Place – K (From Team B)
- 12th Place – L (From Team A)
- Team A: 1-3-7-8-10 = 29
- Team B: 2-4-5-6-9 = 26 (winning team)
A score of 15 points is the equivalent of a shut-out in other sports. If team A places runners in 1st-5th place, they will score 15 points. In a dual meet team A has all 7 in before Team B, then the score would be 15-50.
Source: Cross Country Coaches Handbook: A guide for new coaches and volunteers by the Washington State XC Coaches Assn.