Just Another One-Man Show : Controversial Scoring System Helped Taft Win Track Title
When Taft High won the state track championship at Cerritos College recently, the feat was unique--but predictable.
It was unique because the Toreadors were the first Valley team in the 68-year history of the meet to win the boys title. It was predictable because the team championship was basically won by one athlete.
Sophomore Quincy Watts was responsible, at least in part, for all 26 of Taft’s points. His victory in the 200 meters was worth 10 points, his second-place finish in the 100 was worth eight, and he anchored the 400-meter relay team to a second-place finish for another eight points.
In past years, other “team” champions have been one-man shows.
Ells High of Richmond and Hamilton of Los Angeles are two team champions whose points were scored virtually by one athlete.
Dedy Cooper led Ells to the 1975 state title, winning the 330-yard low hurdles, placing second in the 120-yard high hurdles and anchoring the 440- and mile-relay teams to victories.
In 1976, Billy Mullins led Hamilton to the state title. He won the 100- and 220-yard dashes to score all of his teams’ points.
This year, nine of the top 10 teams were composed primarily of one or two strong athletes.
Johnson of Sacramento, which finished second with 25 points, received 17 1/2 of them from Curtis Rogers. Rogers won the long jump, finished fourth in the 200 and sixth in the 100. He also anchored the winning 400-meter relay team.
Jesuit of Sacramento finished third with 20 points, behind victories by twins Mark and Eric Mastalir in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, respectively.
Madera and Katella finished in a tie for fourth with 18 points each. Ronald McCree of Madera and Terry Johnson of Katella scored all 18 points for their respective schools.
The list goes on.
And it brings up some questions. Is the current scoring system fair in determining a team champion? Should a team be champion when only one or two competitors are responsible for the majority of the scoring? Should the scoring system be changed?
The current scoring system in the state meet awards points to the top six finishers in each event; 10 points for first, eight for second, six for third, four for fourth, two for fifth and one for sixth.
Many coaches believe that the system favors schools with one or two strong athletes.
“The state meet favors a school with the big guns,” said Coach Doni Green of Simi Valley. “The fact that Taft won this year behind Watts isn’t unusual. It’s happened before.”
Muir’s Jim Brownfield, whose girls team won the 1985 state meet, agreed, saying, “We all realize that one super athlete is capable of winning the team title in the state meet.”
The CIF scoring system is identical to the one used by the NCAA until 1981.
In 1982, the NCAA attempted to change the system by awarding the first 12 finishers in each event. Fifteen points were awarded to the first-place finisher, 12 for second, 10 for third, 9 for fourth, 8 for fifth and so on down to a point for 12th.
The system, which was used for only three years, had a lot of problems.
While head-to-head competition was possible in field events, competition was limited in the sprint, middle-distance and relay races because most tracks have only eight or nine lanes.
Heats were held to determine a championship final and a consolation final. The championship finals determined places one through eight and the consolation finals determined places 9 through 12. But that led to awkward situations.
In 1982, David Mack of Oregon won the 800-meters championship race in a time of 1:48.00, while Rob Webster of Washington won the consolation race in 1:47.21. Even though Webster ran nearly a second faster than Mack, he finished ninth.
In 1985, the NCAA adopted an eight-place scoring system; 10 points for first, 8 for second, 6 for third, 5 for fourth, 4 for fifth, 3 for sixth, 2 for seventh and 1 for eighth.
Some coaches have suggested a nine-place scoring system, based on a 10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.
Said Steve Spraker, athletic director at Saugus: “I think a nine-place scoring system would be fairer. Not only would it make the team scoring closer, it would also reward the individual athletes for qualifying for the state finals, which is quite an accomplishment in itself.”
Brownfield agreed. “That’s how they score the CIF swim championships and the coaches love it.”
But some coaches like the current system. Hawthorne Coach Kye Courtney, whose boys and girls teams have combined for four state titles in the last four years, sees no need to change.
“What happened this year is unusual. To win state, you usually need one superstar and four or five good, supporting athletes. I don’t think a nine-place scoring system would make much difference.”
But it would have made a difference this year. If a nine-place scoring system had been used, the team scores would have been: Johnson, 30; Taft, 26; Hawthorne, 23; American, 21; Jesuit and Muir, 20; Madera and Katella, 18; Saugus, 17; and El Capitan, 16.
Despite the debate, it appears unlikely the system will change. No coaches have contacted the CIF about adopting a new system. For better or worse, the state track meets figures to remain a544173669 1986 State Track Meet: How Individuals Dominated Team Scoring
High Total School City Points Taft Woodland Hills 26 Johnson Sacramento 25 Jesuit Sacramento 20 Madera Madera 18 Katella Anaheim 18 American Fremont 16 Hawthorne Hawthorne 16 Muir Pasadena 16 Saugus Saugus 14 El Capitan Lakeside 14
High School Scoring Taft Quincy Watts won the 200 (10 points), was second in the 100 (8) and anchored the 400 relay team that placed second (8). Johnson Curtis Rogers won the long jump (10), finished fourth in the 200 (4) sixth in 100 (1) and anchored the winning 400 relay (10). Jesuit Mark Mastalir won the 1,600 (10); Eric Mastalir won the 3,200 (10.) Madera Ronald McCree won the 100 (10) and was second in the 200 (8). Katella Terry Johnson won the 110 high hurdles (10) and was second in the 300 intermediate hurdles (8). American Steve Lewis won the 400 (10); Carter Demetrius was fourth in the 400 (4); the 1,600 relay team that included Lewis and Demetrius was fifth (2). Hawthorne Cougars won the 1,600 relay (10) and were fifth in the 400 relay (2). Trini Woods was fourth in the triple jump (4). Muir Corey Ealy was third in the 200 (6), fourth in the 100 (4); Terrence Williams was third in the triple jump (6). Saugus Rodney Bradshaw won the 300 intermediate hurdles (10) and was fourth in the 110 high hurdles (4). El Capitan Brian Boggess won the shotput (10) and was fourth in the discus (4).