Girls participation numbers
10/17/2019 11:26:43 PM
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Looking at the results from around the state, it appears the number of girls running, especially at sub-varsity levels, have gone down the last three years since the institution of the 5k distance. I'm wondering if my impression is correct, especially for the smaller school classes. Does anyone have findings or feedback on this?
Looking at the results from around the state, it appears the number of girls running, especially at sub-varsity levels, have gone down the last three years since the institution of the 5k distance. I'm wondering if my impression is correct, especially for the smaller school classes. Does anyone have findings or feedback on this?
10/18/2019 12:02:49 PM
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@11640937 I think girls participation numbers are down, but I don't think it has anything to do with the distance. There are always kids that say "I couldn't run that far" and those reactions haven't increased due to the 5K for us. I think the answer is much more complex than blaming it on the 5K. I can only state what I observe in Johnson County- we lose a lot of girls to club soccer. Without a doubt, we have another 10 girls that would run, but they cannot make it work with their club soccer schedule. I think those demands have increased during the same time period that the 5K was introduced. I have found that while high school coaches are willing to work with kids and be flexible, the club soccer coaches are not and it puts stress on kids. As a result, some are opting to not participate in high school sports. I also think that schools are offering many more opportunities for kids to be involved in the school community. We have many more clubs, more plays and musicals, more female sports opportunities, more debate opportunities, etc. than we ever have before. Again, I feel like this has been something that has occurred over the last four or five years. We lose kids (boys and girls) to the play, debate, newspaper. The expectations and time demands in those activities has increased, making it difficult for kids to participate in other activities. The academic opportunities have extended beyond the classroom and the school day. Students are feeling pressure to add to their college resume and looking at academic opportunities they think look better than their participation in C team cross country. Our state does not have the type of school sizes that allow for massive participation. it is easy to look at California or Texas participation numbers and wonder why it isn't like that here. However, if we could double or triple our school size, we easily could have 60 - 80 girls out for cross country. Schools in our state are trying to offer the same opportunities that schools with double-triple our size offer. There is nothing wrong with that, but it does drive participation numbers down . I do not believe this has anything to do with the move to the 5K. If there are kids that aren't participating due to that, that is a reflection of the attitude of the coach, not the race distance. Girls are participating at high rates across the United States. To believe that girls in Kansas are not capable of what girls in other states are capable of is an archaic and misogynist opinion. A final note- I am frustrated by the rules that KSHSAA continues to put on high school coaches. The state continues to try to tie the hands of high school coaches in our state which is opening the door even more for club coaches to work with kids. The state's rules are hurting high school participation, not helping. I do not understand why the state would rather kids work with coaches outside of the school system than be under the guidance and direction of teachers. It is mind boggling that there isn't more support from KSHSAA. It is also ridiculous that a band can travel around the world to compete/perform, but we can't go more than 500 miles. The rules are hurting our ability to do what we do in a rapidly changing environment. The drop in participation numbers is due in part to the rules KSHSAA has instituted. They empower club coaches. Again, this is just what I observe in Johnson County.............
@11640937

I think girls participation numbers are down, but I don't think it has anything to do with the distance. There are always kids that say "I couldn't run that far" and those reactions haven't increased due to the 5K for us.

I think the answer is much more complex than blaming it on the 5K. I can only state what I observe in Johnson County- we lose a lot of girls to club soccer. Without a doubt, we have another 10 girls that would run, but they cannot make it work with their club soccer schedule. I think those demands have increased during the same time period that the 5K was introduced. I have found that while high school coaches are willing to work with kids and be flexible, the club soccer coaches are not and it puts stress on kids. As a result, some are opting to not participate in high school sports.

I also think that schools are offering many more opportunities for kids to be involved in the school community. We have many more clubs, more plays and musicals, more female sports opportunities, more debate opportunities, etc. than we ever have before. Again, I feel like this has been something that has occurred over the last four or five years. We lose kids (boys and girls) to the play, debate, newspaper. The expectations and time demands in those activities has increased, making it difficult for kids to participate in other activities. The academic opportunities have extended beyond the classroom and the school day. Students are feeling pressure to add to their college resume and looking at academic opportunities they think look better than their participation in C team cross country.

Our state does not have the type of school sizes that allow for massive participation. it is easy to look at California or Texas participation numbers and wonder why it isn't like that here. However, if we could double or triple our school size, we easily could have 60 - 80 girls out for cross country. Schools in our state are trying to offer the same opportunities that schools with double-triple our size offer. There is nothing wrong with that, but it does drive participation numbers down .

I do not believe this has anything to do with the move to the 5K. If there are kids that aren't participating due to that, that is a reflection of the attitude of the coach, not the race distance. Girls are participating at high rates across the United States. To believe that girls in Kansas are not capable of what girls in other states are capable of is an archaic and misogynist opinion.

A final note- I am frustrated by the rules that KSHSAA continues to put on high school coaches. The state continues to try to tie the hands of high school coaches in our state which is opening the door even more for club coaches to work with kids. The state's rules are hurting high school participation, not helping. I do not understand why the state would rather kids work with coaches outside of the school system than be under the guidance and direction of teachers. It is mind boggling that there isn't more support from KSHSAA. It is also ridiculous that a band can travel around the world to compete/perform, but we can't go more than 500 miles. The rules are hurting our ability to do what we do in a rapidly changing environment. The drop in participation numbers is due in part to the rules KSHSAA has instituted. They empower club coaches.

Again, this is just what I observe in Johnson County.............
10/18/2019 2:55:04 PM
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I am going to completely agree with everything Mac just said. The 5k has been the standard in KS for 5 years now and for the first few years the numbers stayed the same and/or increased. The last 2-3 years is when I've really seen the drop and since McAfee already said so much, I'll just add on that 2-3 years ago was when many club soccer teams / academies started prohibiting kids from participating in school sports. I also would echo that our KS schools do provide so many opportunities similar to our counterparts in other states with substantially larger student populations. At our school of less than 1000 kids we have rugby, field hockey and boys and girls lacrosse in addition to every KSHSAA sport except gymnastics. We are also producing more plays and musicals than we used to and our choirs and bands are becoming more of a commitment than ever before with seemingly endless amounts of concerts and performances. As stated by McAfee, these opportunities are all great for kids but they will come at a cost to some sports participation numbers. That said, I'd argue the level of girls cross country is as good as it's ever been. Our team has a history of being fairly successful and just took 6th place in our own league meet. So I agree with McAfee, it's a far more complicated issue than race distance. And if it were race distance, I don't think girls and coaches who doubt the ability to complete a 5k are good for the sport. FWIW - Our girls numbers took a big jump up this year after a drop last year. Ebbs and flows.
I am going to completely agree with everything Mac just said. The 5k has been the standard in KS for 5 years now and for the first few years the numbers stayed the same and/or increased. The last 2-3 years is when I've really seen the drop and since McAfee already said so much, I'll just add on that 2-3 years ago was when many club soccer teams / academies started prohibiting kids from participating in school sports. I also would echo that our KS schools do provide so many opportunities similar to our counterparts in other states with substantially larger student populations. At our school of less than 1000 kids we have rugby, field hockey and boys and girls lacrosse in addition to every KSHSAA sport except gymnastics. We are also producing more plays and musicals than we used to and our choirs and bands are becoming more of a commitment than ever before with seemingly endless amounts of concerts and performances. As stated by McAfee, these opportunities are all great for kids but they will come at a cost to some sports participation numbers. That said, I'd argue the level of girls cross country is as good as it's ever been. Our team has a history of being fairly successful and just took 6th place in our own league meet. So I agree with McAfee, it's a far more complicated issue than race distance. And if it were race distance, I don't think girls and coaches who doubt the ability to complete a 5k are good for the sport.

FWIW - Our girls numbers took a big jump up this year after a drop last year. Ebbs and flows.
10/18/2019 3:02:12 PM
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I would also note that I coach girls basketball in the winter and have done so for 15 years now. When I started, every school in the johnson county area had a varsity, JV, Sophomore team and usually freshmen A and B squads. Virtually every suburban school had those 5 girls teams. Now most schools only have varsity, JV and either a C-team or a frosh team. So something is going on in girls sports but it's not limited to XC and therefore I'd conjecture that it's not because of the 5k distance.
I would also note that I coach girls basketball in the winter and have done so for 15 years now. When I started, every school in the johnson county area had a varsity, JV, Sophomore team and usually freshmen A and B squads. Virtually every suburban school had those 5 girls teams. Now most schools only have varsity, JV and either a C-team or a frosh team. So something is going on in girls sports but it's not limited to XC and therefore I'd conjecture that it's not because of the 5k distance.
10/18/2019 3:24:27 PM
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Before I take a bite out of this apple . . . . . . Could someone explain to me how the 5K is better than the 2 mile that high school boys ran back in the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and the girls ran back in the '70s, '80s, '90s, and early 2000s? I would like to better understand the argument that says "in high school farther is better". I know that we can race 5K . . . . . We could also race 15K. . . . . . But I don't hear anyone saying that the 15K is better than the 5K. Why is the 5K a magic distance? Just wondering.
Before I take a bite out of this apple . . . . . . Could someone explain to me how the 5K is better than the 2 mile that high school boys ran back in the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and the girls ran back in the '70s, '80s, '90s, and early 2000s? I would like to better understand the argument that says "in high school farther is better". I know that we can race 5K . . . . . We could also race 15K. . . . . . But I don't hear anyone saying that the 15K is better than the 5K. Why is the 5K a magic distance? Just wondering.
10/18/2019 3:34:26 PM
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@330914793 Before I take a bite out of this apple, explain why the 2 mile is better? I guess I don't understand the belief that shorter is better. Why is the 2 mile the magic distance?
@330914793

Before I take a bite out of this apple, explain why the 2 mile is better? I guess I don't understand the belief that shorter is better. Why is the 2 mile the magic distance?
10/18/2019 4:57:03 PM
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I'm still looking at this apple and I'm not yet willing to bite. But . . . Your response seems to confirm that the 5K distance is an arbitrary determination. More-likely-than-not the 2 mile distance was also arbitrary. It just seems to me that if high school is your entry level program into running then the shorter distance will make it easier to bring kids into the program and find success as they learn to compete. Maybe not. I was just looking for a justification for the 5K.
I'm still looking at this apple and I'm not yet willing to bite. But . . . Your response seems to confirm that the 5K distance is an arbitrary determination. More-likely-than-not the 2 mile distance was also arbitrary. It just seems to me that if high school is your entry level program into running then the shorter distance will make it easier to bring kids into the program and find success as they learn to compete. Maybe not. I was just looking for a justification for the 5K.
10/18/2019 7:07:21 PM
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It is my opinion that there is enough evidence now to show that the 5k distance is a good fit for high school cross country. Having made the jump from high school to college and going from 5k to 8k/10k I can tell you that was hard enough as it was. I can imagine the jump being even tougher going from 2 mile up. I am guessing the 2 mile was a good fit for a period of time but it seems to me that we've evolved past that. I would not personally use the argument that "farther is better" because I think it's an oversimplification. I do think the 5k is better but not simply because it is farther. I feel like the 5k is a great distance for high school cross country. The CYO (Athletic system for Catholic feeder schools) starts XC pretty young but does a nice job bringing them along. They run 800m for 3rd and 4th grade. 1 mile for 5th and 6th grade and 1.5 miles for 7th and 8th. I do believe the public middle school system has kids running 1 mile in 7th grade and 2 miles in 8th grade (correct me if I am wrong). Seems to me that both systems appropriately bring the kids up and prepare them for the 5k distance in high school. Though high school is the entry level for some, I do think we're in an era now where the majority of kids have XC experience prior to high school. So that's my opinion on how I justify the 5k distance.
It is my opinion that there is enough evidence now to show that the 5k distance is a good fit for high school cross country. Having made the jump from high school to college and going from 5k to 8k/10k I can tell you that was hard enough as it was. I can imagine the jump being even tougher going from 2 mile up. I am guessing the 2 mile was a good fit for a period of time but it seems to me that we've evolved past that. I would not personally use the argument that "farther is better" because I think it's an oversimplification. I do think the 5k is better but not simply because it is farther.

I feel like the 5k is a great distance for high school cross country. The CYO (Athletic system for Catholic feeder schools) starts XC pretty young but does a nice job bringing them along. They run 800m for 3rd and 4th grade. 1 mile for 5th and 6th grade and 1.5 miles for 7th and 8th. I do believe the public middle school system has kids running 1 mile in 7th grade and 2 miles in 8th grade (correct me if I am wrong). Seems to me that both systems appropriately bring the kids up and prepare them for the 5k distance in high school. Though high school is the entry level for some, I do think we're in an era now where the majority of kids have XC experience prior to high school.

So that's my opinion on how I justify the 5k distance.
10/18/2019 8:12:19 PM
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My only response is this . . . . If you think that the jump from 5K to 8K (a jump of 3000 meters) was hard enough . . . . Imagine coaching in a small community where there isn't a middle school program, a club program or an organized program and then asking a 14 year old, with no running experience, to make the jump from zero meters to 5000 meters. (a jump of 5000 meters) That is a tough sell. I believe that I am going to put the apple back in the basket with just a little nibble taken out. Thanks for the conversation. It was interesting.
My only response is this . . . . If you think that the jump from 5K to 8K (a jump of 3000 meters) was hard enough . . . . Imagine coaching in a small community where there isn't a middle school program, a club program or an organized program and then asking a 14 year old, with no running experience, to make the jump from zero meters to 5000 meters. (a jump of 5000 meters) That is a tough sell. I believe that I am going to put the apple back in the basket with just a little nibble taken out. Thanks for the conversation. It was interesting.
10/18/2019 9:13:17 PM
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@330914793 I think cross country is always a tough sell. I certainly can't imagine coaching in that environment, but can remember coaching before we had middle school cross country. While our schools are larger and we do have some feeder programs, that also presents challenges. To be honest, I envy in some ways that you do not have a feeder program. While it does help get some kids involved, it also turns a lot of kids off that aren't physically mature yet. We definitely miss out on some kids that have potential because they don't think they are good. I coached in a 4A community and now at a 6A school. One of the differences I have noticed is the number of community members that I see running. On any given day, we see lots of people within a mile of our school running- some routine, others rarely. In the 4A community I coached in, seeing someone in the community out for a run was rare. There are kids in my current community that are exposed to running within their families or friend's families in ways that I didn't see at my previous school. I think that helps us a lot and I can only imagine that your community probably doesn't have a lot of people out running each day. As I said, I don't envy your position. We also have a lot of kids that make the jump from zero meters to 5K. We have kids that are making the jump from 1K to 5K and kids that are used to doing some running and being pushed. It may look like we have the ideal position, but everywhere poses it's unique challenges. But, we all have to sell our sport, the experience, etc. I guess I am confused by your point- girls shouldn't run 5K or no one should run 5K. In either instance, I respectfully disagree. Maybe your point was to prove that you are mistreated because of the 5K distance or that others are privileged- I certainly feel bad for you if that is the case. I can only say that the coaches I know work very hard at the craft, they dedicate a tremendous amount of time, and none of us are just lucky. I am sorry if you are upset because of the 5K distance. I am sure you are doing a great job. Your challenge is different than mine, but coaching is a challenge everywhere. We are all working with fickle high school kids, selling a sport that demands hard work in a time when most kids would rather be entertained by technology or avoid hard work. But, we also get to celebrate tremendous individual achievements with kids that do things they never thought was possible. I love that about our sport. Hopefully things get better for you. Best of luck at regionals.
@330914793

I think cross country is always a tough sell. I certainly can't imagine coaching in that environment, but can remember coaching before we had middle school cross country.

While our schools are larger and we do have some feeder programs, that also presents challenges. To be honest, I envy in some ways that you do not have a feeder program. While it does help get some kids involved, it also turns a lot of kids off that aren't physically mature yet. We definitely miss out on some kids that have potential because they don't think they are good.

I coached in a 4A community and now at a 6A school. One of the differences I have noticed is the number of community members that I see running. On any given day, we see lots of people within a mile of our school running- some routine, others rarely. In the 4A community I coached in, seeing someone in the community out for a run was rare. There are kids in my current community that are exposed to running within their families or friend's families in ways that I didn't see at my previous school. I think that helps us a lot and I can only imagine that your community probably doesn't have a lot of people out running each day.

As I said, I don't envy your position. We also have a lot of kids that make the jump from zero meters to 5K. We have kids that are making the jump from 1K to 5K and kids that are used to doing some running and being pushed. It may look like we have the ideal position, but everywhere poses it's unique challenges. But, we all have to sell our sport, the experience, etc.

I guess I am confused by your point- girls shouldn't run 5K or no one should run 5K. In either instance, I respectfully disagree. Maybe your point was to prove that you are mistreated because of the 5K distance or that others are privileged- I certainly feel bad for you if that is the case. I can only say that the coaches I know work very hard at the craft, they dedicate a tremendous amount of time, and none of us are just lucky. I am sorry if you are upset because of the 5K distance.

I am sure you are doing a great job. Your challenge is different than mine, but coaching is a challenge everywhere. We are all working with fickle high school kids, selling a sport that demands hard work in a time when most kids would rather be entertained by technology or avoid hard work. But, we also get to celebrate tremendous individual achievements with kids that do things they never thought was possible. I love that about our sport.

Hopefully things get better for you. Best of luck at regionals.
10/18/2019 10:05:12 PM
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ok . . . here is another shot at "my last thought" First - I'm not trying to throw shade at anyone. Public high school coaches whether in a 6A school or a 1A school are special people. You are right about everyone having their own situation and needing to adjust to it. Until I have evidence otherwise I am going to believe that every person coaching in a Kansas high school is a great person. Second - I agree with everything in your first four paragraphs but somehow you assume that my questioning of the 5K length is a complaint. It's not. I love this sport and I love the kids that come to practice but there are times when I wonder if I wouldn't be sharing the experience with more kids if the racing distance were shorter. And .... I can't quite get a satisfactory explanation of why, in high school, the 5K distance makes for a better experience than something shorter. Finally - I can't imagine the racing distance changing but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't every now and then step back and question. And . . . Though I understand how tough it is to move from 5K to the college 8K there were lots of runners in the decades prior to the high school 5K, that made the jump from 2 miles to 5 miles and they seemed to do alright. I don't think that anything to do with the college distance should be used to justify the high school distance. The vast majority of our kids (I wonder if this goes as well for 6A) never even think about running in college. Enough said. I really am done. Thanks for sharing.
ok . . . here is another shot at "my last thought"

First - I'm not trying to throw shade at anyone. Public high school coaches whether in a 6A school or a 1A school are special people. You are right about everyone having their own situation and needing to adjust to it. Until I have evidence otherwise I am going to believe that every person coaching in a Kansas high school is a great person.

Second - I agree with everything in your first four paragraphs but somehow you assume that my questioning of the 5K length is a complaint. It's not. I love this sport and I love the kids that come to practice but there are times when I wonder if I wouldn't be sharing the experience with more kids if the racing distance were shorter. And .... I can't quite get a satisfactory explanation of why, in high school, the 5K distance makes for a better experience than something shorter.

Finally - I can't imagine the racing distance changing but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't every now and then step back and question. And . . . Though I understand how tough it is to move from 5K to the college 8K there were lots of runners in the decades prior to the high school 5K, that made the jump from 2 miles to 5 miles and they seemed to do alright. I don't think that anything to do with the college distance should be used to justify the high school distance. The vast majority of our kids (I wonder if this goes as well for 6A) never even think about running in college.

Enough said. I really am done. Thanks for sharing.
10/19/2019 5:47:51 PM
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There isn't much more I can add to the conversation but two reasons for high school 5k... 1. Every State in the country runs a 5k (or 3 mile). It would put our kids at a disadvantage for the few that are going to the next level. It would also be difficult/strange when we compete across state lines & it would discourage out of state schools from coming here. 2. 5k's are the MOST common road races for adults & the general public. Its a great distance that is competed at every level, professional to recreational. I've never seen a road 2 mile Our numbers have been down compared to the past few years, but that is the case on both the boys & girls side. I can point to many more factors that are keeping kids away from our sport at the high school level (& it rhymes with "mlub yoccer")
There isn't much more I can add to the conversation but two reasons for high school 5k...

1. Every State in the country runs a 5k (or 3 mile). It would put our kids at a disadvantage for the few that are going to the next level. It would also be difficult/strange when we compete across state lines & it would discourage out of state schools from coming here.

2. 5k's are the MOST common road races for adults & the general public. Its a great distance that is competed at every level, professional to recreational. I've never seen a road 2 mile

Our numbers have been down compared to the past few years, but that is the case on both the boys & girls side. I can point to many more factors that are keeping kids away from our sport at the high school level (& it rhymes with "mlub yoccer")
10/19/2019 11:12:56 PM
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[quote=Wrigs77] I do believe the public middle school system has kids running 1 mile in 7th grade and 2 miles in 8th grade (correct me if I am wrong). [/quote] This is correct for many places, but I see schools going to many different meets where their 7th grade teams will switch back and forth between one mile races or two mile races on different days, but I haven't seen any eight grade distances less than two miles. (Also small schools switch between combined race with both genders or combined races with both grade levels and a single gender, back and forth at different meets)
Wrigs77 wrote:
I do believe the public middle school system has kids running 1 mile in 7th grade and 2 miles in 8th grade (correct me if I am wrong).


This is correct for many places, but I see schools going to many different meets where their 7th grade teams will switch back and forth between one mile races or two mile races on different days, but I haven't seen any eight grade distances less than two miles. (Also small schools switch between combined race with both genders or combined races with both grade levels and a single gender, back and forth at different meets)
10/20/2019 4:04:11 PM
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Still, if you look only at 6A-5A results around the state....on the varsity level 33 percent (or so....three teams each) at the Wichita City League and Centennial League meets failed to finish a full girls team. Only six teams in the Sunflower League finished a scoring girls C team. We are losing girls from our sport, while boys numbers seem steady. While we can say "band, debate, club sports", as coaches I think we need to look at how to increase and attract numbers. With the increase in distance, we have eliminated many sprinters from our track teams who could use XC as conditioning. We also have kids who are now competing in an event that for some is running close to forty-five minutes. That is quite a long time to hurt. I feel we need to be careful that while we are increasing distance for the "elite and college bound", we don't "elite and college bound" ourselves into being KSHSAA gymnastics.....attracting only a diminishing number of hard core purists.
Still, if you look only at 6A-5A results around the state....on the varsity level 33 percent (or so....three teams each) at the Wichita City League and Centennial League meets failed to finish a full girls team. Only six teams in the Sunflower League finished a scoring girls C team. We are losing girls from our sport, while boys numbers seem steady. While we can say "band, debate, club sports", as coaches I think we need to look at how to increase and attract numbers. With the increase in distance, we have eliminated many sprinters from our track teams who could use XC as conditioning. We also have kids who are now competing in an event that for some is running close to forty-five minutes.
That is quite a long time to hurt. I feel we need to be careful that while we are increasing distance for the "elite and college bound", we don't "elite and college bound" ourselves into being KSHSAA gymnastics.....attracting only a diminishing number of hard core purists.
10/20/2019 8:21:46 PM
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[b]Per the NFHS:[/b] Kansas girls XC participation in 2005 (Last year of 2 miles) 2,317 Kansas girls XC participation in 2006 (first year of 4k) 2,432 Kansas girls XC participation in 2014 (last year of 4k) 2,990 Kansas girls XC participation in 2015 (first year of 5k) 3,118 Kansas girls XC participation in 2018 (5k) 2,816 The numbers suggest that Kansas girls participation in cross country increased significantly as the distance increased and only recently declined, most likely for the numerous reasons stated previously.
Per the NFHS:
Kansas girls XC participation in 2005 (Last year of 2 miles) 2,317
Kansas girls XC participation in 2006 (first year of 4k) 2,432
Kansas girls XC participation in 2014 (last year of 4k) 2,990
Kansas girls XC participation in 2015 (first year of 5k) 3,118
Kansas girls XC participation in 2018 (5k) 2,816

The numbers suggest that Kansas girls participation in cross country increased significantly as the distance increased and only recently declined, most likely for the numerous reasons stated previously.
10/20/2019 8:28:24 PM
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For what it's worth, Kansas girls (and boys) teams not fielding full squads is not a new issue. During both the 2 mile and 4k era we frequently attended regional meets with only 5-6 full teams. Also, the issue is not isolated in XC. Girls numbers are dropping in basketball, softball, etc...Something is up, but it's not related to race distance. Other numbers: How is 10 feet the right height for a basketball hoop? Why is a football field 100 yards? Why is center field 400 feet for baseball? Who's to say where these numbers come from but the entire nation runs 5k and it works. At least that's my opinion.
For what it's worth, Kansas girls (and boys) teams not fielding full squads is not a new issue. During both the 2 mile and 4k era we frequently attended regional meets with only 5-6 full teams.

Also, the issue is not isolated in XC. Girls numbers are dropping in basketball, softball, etc...Something is up, but it's not related to race distance.

Other numbers:
How is 10 feet the right height for a basketball hoop? Why is a football field 100 yards? Why is center field 400 feet for baseball? Who's to say where these numbers come from but the entire nation runs 5k and it works. At least that's my opinion.
10/24/2019 3:36:21 PM
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The 5000 meter distance dates back to ancient Greek times in that one of the first races began and ended in a stadium. In order to pass by several statues of various "gods", one of which was Nike, the distance had to be just about 5000 meters. That's where that distance comes from. Go into the future to 2019 and why it's done amongst high school kids is because it's still the most popular road race distance in the world, so I'm guessing the individuals who first decided to have XC be a high school sport probably started off with the idea of doing just 2 miles with the intention of increasing it to a 5K, like they have. Like most high school sports have done, start off a little less than the norm and gradually get it to a manageable quantitative mark. High school XC has done this and very successfully. Also, when we were first talking about moving the girls to a 5K here in Kansas several years ago, I asked a lot of Missouri coaches if their girls' numbers went down when they moved up to the 5K and most of them thought that was a ridiculous question to even ask. In other words, no it didn't hurt their numbers. Lastly, let us be reminded that a woman just ran a 2:14 marathon; another was a double champ in the 1500 and 10,000 at Worlds; and; in a much less known feat, a woman recently was the overall winner in a 250 mile ultramarathon in Tennessee. The second place man "could go no further" as he conceded the race to her. I'm sure each of these women were glad they ran 3.1 miles over 2 miles at an earlier time in their career. As for club soccer, yeah, it's a pain and a dilemma and a hassle and all of my kids have been in it, so I'm a hypocrite. But this is also what they've done: average a 3-5 mile fartlek run most Saturdays and Sundays in the fall and spring along with at least that distance 2-3 times a week from the time they were 8 up through middle school. That's pretty good XC training that I'm sure many of our XC athletes have also done. :)
The 5000 meter distance dates back to ancient Greek times in that one of the first races began and ended in a stadium. In order to pass by several statues of various "gods", one of which was Nike, the distance had to be just about 5000 meters. That's where that distance comes from. Go into the future to 2019 and why it's done amongst high school kids is because it's still the most popular road race distance in the world, so I'm guessing the individuals who first decided to have XC be a high school sport probably started off with the idea of doing just 2 miles with the intention of increasing it to a 5K, like they have. Like most high school sports have done, start off a little less than the norm and gradually get it to a manageable quantitative mark. High school XC has done this and very successfully.
Also, when we were first talking about moving the girls to a 5K here in Kansas several years ago, I asked a lot of Missouri coaches if their girls' numbers went down when they moved up to the 5K and most of them thought that was a ridiculous question to even ask. In other words, no it didn't hurt their numbers.
Lastly, let us be reminded that a woman just ran a 2:14 marathon; another was a double champ in the 1500 and 10,000 at Worlds; and; in a much less known feat, a woman recently was the overall winner in a 250 mile ultramarathon in Tennessee. The second place man "could go no further" as he conceded the race to her. I'm sure each of these women were glad they ran 3.1 miles over 2 miles at an earlier time in their career.
As for club soccer, yeah, it's a pain and a dilemma and a hassle and all of my kids have been in it, so I'm a hypocrite. But this is also what they've done: average a 3-5 mile fartlek run most Saturdays and Sundays in the fall and spring along with at least that distance 2-3 times a week from the time they were 8 up through middle school. That's pretty good XC training that I'm sure many of our XC athletes have also done. :)
11/14/2019 3:39:26 PM
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Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 150
It’s starting well before high school. Girls XC participation numbers have been down - in some cases significantly - in the elementary and middle school levels recently as well.
It's starting well before high school. Girls XC participation numbers have been down - in some cases significantly - in the elementary and middle school levels recently as well.

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