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Basic rules for Cross Country

High school courses may be as short as 2.5 km (1.6 mi), but the most common distance is 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) (although a few states, such as California, race 3 miles (4.8 km)).For example in Dublin High School, CA the freshmen and sophomores run 2 miles on races(boys and girls)and junors and seniors run 3 miles(boys and girls). [5]

Start
Start of a typical cross country race as an official fires a gun to signal start.All runners start at the same time, from a starting arc (or line) marked with lanes or boxes for each team or individual. An official, 50 metres or more in front of the starting line, fires a pistol to indicate the start. If runners collide and fall within the first 100 metres, officials can call the runners back and restart the race. Crossing the line or starting before the starting pistol is fired most often results in disqualification of the runner.

 Finish
The course ends at a finish line located at the beginning of a funnel or chute (a long walkway marked with flags) that keeps athletes single-file in order of finish and facilitates accurate scoring.
Depending on the timing and scoring system, finish officials may collect a small slip from each runner's bib, to keep track of finishing positions.
Chip timing has grown in popularity to increase accuracy and decrease the number of officials required at the finish line. Each runner attaches a transponder with RFID to his or her shoe. When the runner crosses the finish line an electronic pad records the chip number and matches to the runner to a database. Chip timing allows officials to use checkpoint mats throughout the race to calculate split times, and to ensure runners cover the entire course. This is by far the most accurate method, although it is the most expensive.[3]

Scoring
Scores are determined by summing the top four or five individual finishing places on each team. In international competition, a team typically consists of six runners, with the top four scoring. In the United States, the most common scoring system is seven runners, with the top five scoring. Points are awarded to the individual runners of eligible teams, equal to the position in which they cross the finish line (first place gets 1 point, second place gets 2 points, etc.). The points for these runners are summed, and the low score wins. Individual athletes, and athletes from incomplete teams are excluded from scoring. Ties can be broken in several ways. In international competition, ties are resolved in favour of the team whose last scoring member finishes nearer to first place. In high school competition, ties are resolved in favor of the team whose next non-scoring member finishes first. In U.S. college competition, ties are not resolved.
The lowest possible score in a five-to-score match is 15 (1+2+3+4+5), achieved by a team's runners finishing in each of the top five positions. If there is a single opposing team then they would have a score of 40 (6+7+8+9+10), which can be considered a "sweep" for the winning team. In some competitions a team's sixth and seventh runner are scored in the overall field and are known as "pushers" or "displacers" as their place can count ahead of other runners. In the above match, if there are two non-scoring runners and they came 6th and 7th overall, the opponent's score would be 50 (8+9+10+11+12).



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