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:
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.
9 (10) (11) 12
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’ 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.