What is Cross Country?

What is Cross Country?

Cross Country is a team running sport that takes place in the fall on a measured 5 kilometer (3.1) loop over varied surfaces and terrain.  Most cross-country meets are held on dirt trails, park grounds, and golf courses.

How Cross Country is Scored

A cross country meet is scored by each team adding up the places of its top 5 finishers.  As in golf, the low score wins.  For example, a team that scores 26 points places ahead of a team that scores 29 points, as follows:

EAST                                                       KENNEDY
1                                                                   2
4                                                                   3
5                                                                   7
6                                                                   8
10                                                                 9
26                                                                29

A team’s 6th and 7th finishers can also figure in the scoring if they place ahead of other teams’ top 5 finishers.  when that is the case, they become “pushers” by pushing up their opponents’ score.

EAST                                                      KENNEDY
2                                                                 1
3                                                                 4
6                                                                 5
8                                                                 7
9 (10) (11)                                                 12
28                                                               29

Only a team’s 6th and 7th finishers can be pushers, regardless of how many of its runners may finish ahead of an opposing team’s top 5 finishers

As these examples make clear, each runner on the team, #1 through #7, can be the deciding factor in a team’s overall place– all seven runners are equally important.l

Levels of Competition/Participation

The typical cross country meet includes separate races for varsity and junior varsity athletes:
Girls’ Varsity
Boys’ Varsity
Girls’ Junior Varsity
Boys’ Junior Varsity
Boys’ Freshman/Sophomore (on occasion)

Varsity races are limited to 7 entries per team, while junior varsity races allow unlimited numbers of entrants per team.  In cross-country there is no “bench” and each athlete has the opportunity to compete in every meet.