New York
NYSPHSAA state meet

11/9/02 at Sunken Meadow State Park

1 wrong turn, 2 views

Top heavy favorite Nicole Blood, possibly the best runner in the country, had a commanding lead until she made a made a wrong turn, got lost and did not finish. That set off heated discussions on TrackTalk and other Internet venues. Here are two sharply opposing views.

Officials give insane attention to non-essentials instead of their main job: insure a fair chance for everyone to compete.

by Ed Grant


Now Nicole Blood of Saratoga has joined NJ's Lindsay Van Alstine and the top five or so runners in the Great American boys' race as a victim of mis-direction (or lack of direction) in a major CC race this season. And heaven knows how many others.

I do not know the exact circumstances of this latest farce, but I cannot but believe that it is directly caused by the insane attention to non essentials by officials and those who govern them, instead of attention to the main job of any track official or meet director: to do everything possible to see that every boy and girl receives a fair chance to compete.

It is painfully obvious by now that the attitude of those who direct officials in this country is consumed by such things as: are the boys or girls wearing prohibited jewely; are all members of the team wearing exactly the same uniform (and God forbid that they should wear unmatching undershirts, are they painting tattoos somewhere on their body, do they perhaps have jewelry concealed (this is now penalized not only by disqualification from the event itself, but by a two-meet suspension---equal to the punishment given a football player for slugging another player.)

It is the job of every meet director to see that courses are properly marshalled, by people who know where to direct runners at crucial points. In NJ last year, a girl lost a county title because the "controlling authority" in that county refused 1) to hire policemen so that the course would match the one she had run on three days earlier at the state sectionals and 2) to hire an official who would be placed at the point of divergence in the two courses.

Just when is this kind of nonsense going to stop? Do we have to have the entire rulebook thrown in the ashcan (where it properly belongs) and get back to the days when we thought of the kids first, not rules which sometimes change with every new whim of the committee in charge.


Thanks to Walt Murphy, I now know something of the circumstances of the Nicole Blood disaster. An arrow instead of an official? Well, it's a lot cheaper I suppose.

Can't expect much of a state that once put its late November meet of champs in the north country and wound up with hundreds of athletes getting frostbite, to the extent that the last event of the day had to be cancelled (by local police authorities who said they couldn't handle any more cases)

It's not the officials fault - it's time for athletes & coaches to wake up.

by Michael Roth

Having been at the NYS Meet (and filing the Dyestat report), this situation is not the fault of the officiating. At some point the athletes & coaches need to wake up.

The Sunken Meadow course was known to be the State Meet for over a year. Everyone had a chance to run it during the season. It is the same course that has been run for at least 2 decades, but more likely 4.

The course was well marshalled and marked. There was a rumor that there was an incident of sabotage of course marking, but it is just that, a rumor.

The Section's Coaches Association produced a video of the course that was online on the local site and for over a month.

The program had a turn-by-turn description of the course and there are maps posted at the Park.

Nicole Blood is the one who should have known the course and her coach should have made sure of it. The farce is that the pre-race favorite did not know the course cold. There is no excuse for it at all, but it is so much easier to blame the officials, than to suck it up, learn something and move on.


New York public schools state meet


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