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How to Tally Cross-Country

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Cross-Country is a wonderful sport, but most people don’t know how the scoring works.

Although the number of top runners and a few other things can vary, a typical cross-country race is described in the following:

Each team enters seven runners into the race. As each runner finishes the race, they are given a number according to what place they finish and that number is their score for the team. For instance, if you finish 1st, you have a score of 1 point. If you finish 24th, you have a score of 24.

A team’s first five runners (doesn’t matter which runners, just the first five that finish) are counted toward the team’s total score. If the first five runners come in 2nd, 7th, 8th, 12th, and 18th, then the team’s score is 47 (which is relatively low in a competitive race). So, the lower your score, the better.

But, that’s not all. The other two runners (who come in after the first five runners on the team) do not count toward their team’s score, but they can still help their team by making another team’s score higher. If the seventh runner comes in before one or some of the first five from another team, then the other team’s score becomes higher because their runners have bigger finishing scores. Remember, you want your score to be low.

A sweep is where the first five runners come in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th giving them the lowest score possible of 15. Cross-Country races can also draw a huge number of participants, holding hundreds of runners.

RobbinsSports.com, an online provider for Track and Field equipment and uniforms