I just spoke to a coach from the DeKalb Sectional who will remain anonymous. His team is returning to DeKalb to complete the suspended Sectional.
Here is the story.
The F.A.T. system was run by Sycamore H.S. and had been efficient and trustworthy in the past. When the first race was completed, the video of the finish could not be captured. The IHSA official ruled that Huntley and McHenry had finished 1-2 and would qualify for state. However, since there was no official time, Huntley and McHenry would be seeded as N.T. (no time) next week.
The casualty was Crystal Lake South who had a hand time of 7:56.80, good enough to qualify for state. However, with no “official F.A.T.”, the rules state that only the first and second place teams qualify. Reportedly an IHSA official stated “Life isn’t fair.” (And he’s right.)
The slow heat of the 4×1 was completed without issue.
The fast heat of the 4×1 was another epic failure of technology.
The coach I spoke to used an app on his phone to record a near-perfect FAT time. The times of the top four teams would have qualified for state.
- DeKalb 41.7
- Huntley 42.2 or Auburn 42.2
- Grant 42.4
However, since the FAT video was not captured and 2nd place was in doubt, everything was up for grabs. The coaches totally agreed that four teams had run qualifying time but that doesn’t matter.
The slow heat of the 3200 was on the track for 90 minutes as coaches and officials tried to sort things out. The rule is clear. Without FAT, only two teams qualify. The IHSA ruling was correct. Without knowing the 2nd place finisher, the race is lost.
The meet resumes today at 10:00 AM. Can you imagine?
The 4×8 will feature Crystal Lake South trying to qualify in the 4×8 without the Huntley and McHenry. Huntley and McHenry have already qualified. It is possible other teams could choose not to run. It is conceivable that Crystal Lake South could run the 4×8 alone.
The slow heat of the 4×1 will be re-run, even though FAT worked for that heat.
The fast heat of the 4×1 will feature four of the state’s fastest teams. All four ran qualifying time last night but may not today. A baton could be dropped.
The FAT today will be a new system. Again, the system will be run by a high school … or multiple systems by multiple high schools.
I’m not fan of the IHSA but Ron McGraw is not to blame here. Technology is to blame.
Neuqua Valley paid $2000 to have the best FAT outfit in the midwest. No problems at the Neuqua Sectional. Chris Arnold of Endurance Race Timing is the best money can buy.
The coach I spoke to made a great comment. The FAT rules disallowing hand-held times and common sense qualifications are in place because coaches have cheated at Sectionals for 20 years. In the past, we’d see those Sectionals where everyone qualifies with gaudy times. Those fictitious times didn’t hold up at the state meet.
Technology is a monster in this Orwellian world.
Good luck to those 4×1 teams today. Good luck to the 4×8 team from Crystal Lake South. The track & field world will be pulling for you.
Thank God the weather is good.
Update Sunday May 23 –
Crystal Lake South did not run qualifying 4×8 time on Saturday. There was talk of submitting a video to the IHSA. On Twitter, the hashtag #letCLSrun was trending. Two years ago, the IHSA allowed two girls 4×8 teams (Rock Falls and Kaneland) to qualify for state after placing 3rd and 4th at the Freeport Sectional, despite FAT failure.
Crystal Lake South has WON their appeal and will complete at the state meet. I repeat, CLS won their appeal. The IHSA will let the CLS 4×8 run at state.
If Crystal Lake South is allowed to compete at the state meet, how about the 4×1 teams?
DeKalb reportedly ran 41.70 on Friday night and there is video from the stands. 41.70 would rank #3 in the state, ahead of my team, Plainfield North 41.72. DeKalb would be granted the top seed (lane-5) in heat-2 at the state prelims. However, DeKalb ran 42.49 Saturday. The FAT time from day #2 of the Sectional will result in a lane-3 situation for DeKalb with my team in lane-5. Since CLS won their appeal, does DeKalb win too?
And how about Auburn and Grant who reportedly qualified in the 4×1 on Friday but failed on Saturday? Do they win their appeal? If there is video from the stands, do we have all the evidence we need?
Maybe DeKalb, Auburn, and Grant will never make an appeal. I’ve seen no hashtags trending on Twitter.
The precedent of letting Crystal Lake South run will have ripple effects for years to come.
No track meet is allowed to use video from the stands, even if “common sense” is involved. Has this changed?
The FAT rule is perfectly clear … no FAT, only two advance. Is this still the rule? Is there now an addendum to the rule … “In the case of FAT failure, video can be submitted to the IHSA to prove qualifying times.”
I commend the IHSA for siding with kids. I love common sense decisions. I’m not big on written rules and written consequences. I wish common sense would have been used when the IHSA disqualified Zion Mason back in 2013. See Tribute to Zion.
The one lesson we can all learn, spend the money and get reliable FAT.