Student of the Sport: Info about cross country, news & videos, podcasts, cookbooks and cool running reads

Cross Country RACES – How does it all work?

Cross Country races are 3 miles long – don’t worry, you’ll be ready!

Cross Country courses vary across different terrain (dirt, grass, asphalt)

The top 5 runners from each team score (add up the finishing places of the first 5 runners); team with the lowest score wins

Cross Country is a TEAM sport!

One or two fast individuals will NOT make a fast team, it takes a whole team pushing hard, resulting in 5 that will ultimately score for any given race (Varsity, JV or Frosh-Soph), further explanation listed below

You’re not running for yourself, you are running for your TEAM and ANYONE can make a difference!

It starts with pushing your teammates in practice so that we are all prepared for the races.

Cross Country is an individual sport, succeeding in cross-country is a team sport.

Invitational’s – Who runs in what race?!

Top 7 boys and girls run Varsity (ALL races and ALL divisions are separated by gender)

All Freshmen and Sophomores not on Varsity will run in Freshmen and / or Sophomore only races

All Juniors and Seniors not on Varsity will run in JV races or Junior or Senior only races

League Meets – Who runs in what race?!

Top 7 boys and girls run Varsity (ALL races and ALL divisions are separated by gender)

Top 7 Freshmen and Sophomore boys and girls not on Varsity run Frosh-Soph

Everyone else runs JV

How does League Meet Scoring Work?

In Marmonte League meets (excluding finals), we compete against each team separately. Even if there may be three teams in the race, each pairing is scored separately.  For example, our first League meet is against Simi Valley and Westlake, the meet would be scored as: TO vs. Simi (ignore the place of the Westlake runners), TO vs. Westlake (ignore Simi) and Westlake vs. Simi (ignore TO).  Since we are competing against two schools at once, this is called a Double Dual Meet.  Competing against one other team (as in our home meet against Moorpark) is called a Dual Meet.

How a Dual Meet is Scored – Additional Explanation

Each team enters seven runners into a race (except JV, which can have unlimited entrants).  As each runner finishes the race, they are given a score according to the place they finish.  The first place runner gets one point, second two points, and so on.  The score of each team’s first five runners to finish (the “scoring five”) is the team’s total score.

For example, if the first five runners come in 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th, and 9th, then the teams’ score is 28 (2+3+6+8+9).

The team’s 6th and 7th runners do not score, but they can displace the other team’s runner and increase the opposing team’s score.  The lowest score wins.

While strong front runners are great, in reality all five scorers (and 6 and 7 runners) have equal weight in influencing the score.  That’s what makes Cross Country such a great team sport – anyone can make a difference!

If you like math, please read on!

A perfect score is 15 (1+2+3+4+5).

A score of 27 or lower always wins

If a team scores 1-2-3 in a dual meet, this will always win (the worst score could be 29 to 30)

If a team scores 2-3-4-5 in a dual meet, this will also always win (the worst score could be 26 to 31)

How an Invitational Meet is Scored

Just like a League Meet, the score of the top 5 runners from each school in a race are added up, lowest score wins

Since there may be hundreds of kids in one race, this makes a strong 4th and 5th runner all the more important to finish as fast as possible to “close the door” on team scoring

While League Meets can be won automatically with a 1-2-3 finish, this is not always the case with Invitational’s

Often times, the team with the best 4th and 5th runners have the best chance to win – again Cross Country is a TEAM sport!!



California high school running news, ranking, and photos


Videos and news from the world of Cross Country and Track & Field


High School specific national running news


High School Specific running news for California


National running news, videos, and streaming races

And for you statistics junkies….

Hank Law’s Course Converter

Runworks Running Calculator

McMillan Running Calculator


Age Grade Calculator

California State XC Results

Dyestat TFX

See below for podcasts, articles, recipes, tips and tricks!


Run Faster Podcast
The goal of the Run Faster Podcast is simple – to help you run faster. From professional athletes to busy adults with hectic lives, we talk with runners who want to run faster and who love the sport.

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Run Fast. Eat Slow.
From world-class marathoner and 4-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky comes a whole foods, flavor-forward cookbook—and New York Times bestseller—that proves food can be indulgent and nourishing at the same time.


Thinking Body, Dancing Mind by Chungliang AL Huang and Jerry Lynch

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Amazing Racers by Marc Bloom

Daniels Running Formula by Jack Daniels

Do Hard Things by Steve Magness