KEEPING TRACK - Team State Championship

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KEEPING TRACK - Team State Championship

Written by Rod O'Donnell on 24 May 2018.

The Minnesota State Track Coaches’ Association conducts a True Team State Championship each spring, in addition to the traditional state meet sponsored by the governing body that regulates high school athletes (MSHAL).

This unique idea promotes the TEAM concept, which our sport desperately needs to do in order to remain relevant, and attract more spectators, thus creating more interest and support. In 49 states, championships are won many times by a few elite athletes, and, in some instances, one or two outstanding performers. For example, in Ohio, titles captured by one male or female athlete occurred in 1998, 1991, 1971, 1964, and 1954 (boys) and 1996, 1984, and 1983 (girls.) In several other years, only three or four young men or women led their track teams to the top of the podium.

In 1987, the coaches in Minnesota, decided to add a different format; here is their philosophy on why they developed this concept:


“1. Because of many Minnesota track and field coaches who were dissatisfied with the existing system

       which did not determine a true team champion.

   2. To recognize overall team strength.

   3. To discount the possibility of a championship where only 2, 3, or 4 individuals score all the points.

   4. To encourage more participation through 3 divisions through the state which were determined

        through school enrollment.

   5. To provide fans with a more exciting format and scoring system in which to determine a Team State


   6. To encourage teams to develop all events and therefore greater participation.” (Source: Minnesota

        State Track Coaches’ Association website.)


One week prior to the True Team Championship, teams compete in eight sections, with the winner and four at-large teams advancing to the meet the following week. This format is followed in three classes, based on school enrollment. In the AAA Division, three individuals and one relay are allowed to enter. Every entry places, and that entry is scored according to the order of finish. As an example, in the 2018 championship meet, with 12 schools participating, first place is worth 36 points, and last place is worth one point. In 2015, with only nine schools qualifying, the winning boys’ team (Wazata) scored 927.5 points. For more information, go to the Minnesota State Track Coaches’ Association website, and click True Team. The coaches of the North Star state should be commended for their innovative thinking and hard work for implementing this idea to help promote our sport. We, as track coaches, sometimes become complacent. With the increasing number of opportunities for participation in high school athletics,  we must constantly be considering new and creative ways to keep track and field interesting and relevant.


Yours in track,

Rod O’Donnell


Read more of Coach O'Donnell articles on :




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Can we do anything else to alienate sports fans -

Keeping Track - National Governing Body for High School Sports (NFHS)  - 

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Keeping Track - Frank Shorter -

KEEPING TRACK, Two Iconic Coaches-

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KEEPING TRACK - Furman Elite Training Group -

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KEEPING TRACK - Football and Track Athletes -

 The Ohio High School Athletic Association State Cross-Country Championships -

Cross Country -

 Track Faces Challenges that could have adverse effects thus causing severe damage -

Marketing Track & Field -

Student Athlete’s Questions -

The Need to Speak Up -

A new book by John McDonnell -

KEEPING TRACK - From September-October 2013 print RUNOHIO -

Random Thoughts -

Another Division I institution has dropped its men’s track program -

 Ohio University Athletic Department's Worst Decision -

Life Lessons from Cross Country -

Ten Pledges for Cross Country Coaches -

London Olympics -

 Improving as a Coach –

You Only Go Around Once -

Dear Jesse Owens –

West Virginia State Cross Country Championship –

SPIRE Institute -

Why is the OHSAA Treating Cross Country Different than All of the Other Sponsored Sports?








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