CIF-State Track Meet Changes For 2013

The below story was originally posted in December of 2012, but with our heavier
website traffic nowadays, we figured it would be a good time to repost.

By Rich Gonzalez
(ARCADIA, Calif.) – It’s going to be even tougher to make the CIF-State Track and Field Championships this spring – and even easier… and about the same.

But once you’re there, just know that it’ll be easier to make it to the finals on Saturday – but only if you’re in the right event.


Don’t worry. We’re here to explain.

Starting in June and then continuing in October, CIF officials released updated competition information pertaining to the 2013 state meet, which is set for May 31st and June 1st at Buchanan High in Clovis.
(Editor's Note: We decided to hold off on this track and field news until after the conclusion of the cross-country postseason crush.)

Ranging from revised state at-large qualifying marks, to revamped automatic-qualifier allotments, to the number of athletes advancing from state prelims to the finals in select events, there’s plenty for coaches, athletes and fans to brush up on.

Here’s the low-down:

First off, the distribution of automatic berths from the section’s qualifying meets to the state meet has changed slightly. For this year, the Southern Section will now be awarded a sixth automatic berth in each event (up from the previous five auto berths) while the North Coast Section loses one (going from four to three).

This change is partly a result of the Southern Section’s success at producing the largest number of “at-large” qualifiers across the events spectrum coupled with the North Coast Section’s occasionally sub-par performances from its auto-qualifiers at the state meet.

“The time was probably right to make the move,” said Hal Harkness in an interview with in October. Harkness, who serves on the sport’s CIF-State Advisory Committee, noted that the proposal originated from a representative in Northern California.

The Southern Section amassed 50 at-large marks from its 2012 Masters Meet (which was actually lower than most years) across the 32 events contested for boys and girls. Using such data, some might kiddingly opine that the CIF-SS already does a nice job of getting an average of more than six berths per event anyway. But dangling a larger carrot for a new sixth automatic qualifier in front of the section’s athletes should only make the battle for that last spot even fiercer for the rest of the field.

Next up, the state office also released the new state meet at-large standards for each event. Any athlete achieving the at-large mark at his/her section’s state-qualifying meet while not earning an auto berth would advance as an at-large entry.

So how do the new numbers look? Well, it depends upon whom you ask. If you ask boys field event athletes and girls hurdlers, it’s tougher. Five of the six boys field events feature a tougher at-large standard in 2013 than in 2012 while both girls hurdling events also toughened up their standards.

If you ask boys distance runners of girls relay team members, however, it’s a bit easier. Both the boys 1600- and 3200-meter at-large standards softened slightly for 2013 while the same could be said for girls’ 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

All in all, 18 of the 32 events have tougher at-large standards this coming spring, 9 have easier standards, and five events have their at-large standards unchanged from this past season.

Which events were affected most in terms of toughness? That’s easy. The girls 800 and the boys shot put.  For the two-lapper, girls must now run 1.52 seconds faster to advance as an at-large entry. In the 800, that’s plenty of time. For the shot put, throwers must achieve a mark 23 inches better than before.

Which athletes benefited the most? Probably the girls 1600-meter runners, who can afford to run about two-thirds of a second slower and still advance as an at-large entry.

Here's the detailed breakdown on the changes and how they compare to 2012:

CIF-State At-Large Qualifying Standards for 2013
2013 Mark
For Girls
to 2012
2013 Mark
For Boys
to 2012
11.89 easier by .01 100m 10.65 tougher by .01
24.50 tougher by .04 200m 21.63 easier by .03
55.93 tougher by .06 400m 48.59 tougher by .06
2:12.10 tougher by 1.52 800m 1:52.92 tougher by .40
4:59.51 easier by .65 1600m 4:16.38 tougher by .59
10:39.88 tougher by 2.69 3200m 9:09.03 easier by .14
14.26 tougher by .05 High Hurd. 14.40 same
43.55 tougher by .20 L/I Hurd. 38.10 tougher by .22
47.64 easier by .16 4×100 41.87 tougher by .03
3:52.04 easier by .27 4×400 3:18.09 tougher by .35
5-5 same mark High Jump 6-05 same
11-09 tougher by 1" Pole Vault 15-04 tougher by 1"
18-02 same Long Jump 22-08 tougher by 3"
38-06 easier by 1" Triple Jump 46-10 tougher by 4"
41-05 same Shot Put 57-00 tougher by 23"
135-00 easier by 11" Discus 171-03 tougher by 28"

Lastly, the state meet will be taking more athletes to the finals in the 800, the horizontal jumps (long jump and triple jump) and the throws (shot put and discus). In each case, the number of qualifiers advancing from Friday’s state prelims will grow from 9 to 12. This will match the number of qualifiers already allowed in the 1600.

“It’s a great meet, so why not give more kids a chance to advance to Saturday’s show,” said Harkness. “It’s a big plus in that it’s another opportunity at a lifetime experience for these kids.”



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