Parents of some cross country runners at schools in the Southwest Wake Athletic 4A are circulating a petition requesting that the league change its cross country format.
The league this year requires runners to participate in at least two of three specified conference meets in order to be considered for all-conference.
In recent years, the top runners at state powers such as Green Hope, Cary and Apex have not competed in some mid-week meets, but have represented their schools in invitationals on the weekends.
Schools can enter no more than 15 boys and 15 girls in the conference meets so there are large numbers of runners who will have no or limited opportunities to run in those meets. Green Hope, the 2012 N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A champion, has more than 250 students in its program.
The system also sets up a scenario where a runner who missed some early meets could win the conference championship race, but not be on the all-conference team.
“All-conference has always been determined by one race,” said Apex coach Roy Cooper. “The runners train to do their best at the end of the season.”
The schools are free to have smaller meets during the season where all of the runners can participate in addition to the three conference-wide meets.
The online petition can be found at tinyurl.com/SWACPetition.
Nationally, cross country is the sixth most popular sports for boys and girls in the United States with 201,000 girls and 239,000 boys.