Cross Country Basics

New to the sport?

Here are a few basic definitions and rules of Indiana high school cross country.

The distance: With the exception of Hokem Karum races, all of the races on our calendar will be 5 Kilometers (approx. 3.12 miles) for boys and girls.

Hokem Karum: A race where 10 varsity runners run in pairs of two. Runners from each pair will alternate running a one mile loop, usually for a total of 6 or 8 miles. For the Hokem Karum meets that BC competes in, the varsity race will be followed by a JV race that is usually between 3K and 2 miles (continuous running).

The team: A varsity team consists of 7 runners. All seven runners will run in the varsity race. During the regular season, a jv or 'reserve' race will also be run. We are allowed unlimited entries in the jv or reserve races. At some large invitationals, there may be a 'freshman' race, which is open to any freshmen that did not compete in the varsity race for that meet.

Scoring: In XC, a LOW score wins. In a varsity race, 7 runners compete, but only the top 5 finishers will score points for the team. One point is awarded for each finishing place in the overall race. So, the 15th runner to finish will score 15 points. The 80th runner to finish scores 80 points. The 6th and 7th runners from a team will not score points for their team, but if they finish ahead of the 4th or 5th runner from another team, they will increase that team's point total.

This is called a PUSH.


Team A: Runners finished 5th, 9th, 15th, 20th, 29th / 33rd, and 40th. Total points: 78 (winner)

Team B: Runners finished 1st, 3rd, 10th, 22nd, 43rd / 52nd and 68th. Total points: 79

Notice in the example above that the 6th and 7th runners from team A pushed the 5th runner from Team B. While there are always many places where a meet can be won or lost, you can see that the 6th and 7th runners can be very important! Contrary to what is sometimes said, XC is a TEAM sport!

Scoring in a JV race: While we are allowed unlimited entries in the jv or reserve races, only the places of the top seven runners will be recorded toward the team results. The meet will be scored the same as above. All JV runners from our team that are not in our top 7 will still find out their time and overall place in the meet, but they will not be counted toward the scores for the team.

"Team time": The period of time from the start of warm up (about 40 min. prior to the race) to the end of the race and during cool down when athletes are asked to FOCUS on their race and let go of the distractions of cell phones, socializing with friends and family, etc.

"Sectional roster": The 12 athletes whose names are listed on the official IHSAA tournament roster and are eligible to compete at sectionals and beyond. At each level, seven of these athletes will run in the race.

"Open Races": Open races are unofficial 'races' after sectionals, regionals, and semi-state competition. Athletes run on the course but will be started and timed by coaches and no team or individual scoring will take place. These 'races' are generally run by athletes who are hoping to earn a spot in the top 7 for the next level or competition or run a personal best.

IHSAA Tournament: The XC tournament consists of 4 levels: Sectional: Regional: Semi-State, and State. We are in the Brebeuf sectional and regional and the Shelbyville Semi-state. At sectional and regional, the top 5 teams and top 10 individuals on non-advancing teams advance. At Semi-state, the top 6 teams and 10 individuals on non-advancing teams advance.