|The 2002 High School Nationals
Meet report (printable version)
|By Rick Fowler, Platform Manager for Platform 2|
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The 2002 High School Nationals have come to a close, putting to bed a gigantic meet with 423 lifters. While there was some superb lifting, before I go any further there are some things I have to say.
I'll not sugarcoat anything and get right to the point: We had some problems, the biggest being with figuring the results. While it would seem the to those in the audience that all it takes it simple adding some numbers of the lifters in each class, there was a little more to it than this.
Nearly 3 weeks before the meet ever started, we were receiving entries from lifters that did not indicate which division they were entering, JV or Varsity. We took every step possible to place kids in the proper divisions, which included making a special page on our website in big bold, red error message letters asking kids and coaches, to check to make sure they were in the proper divisions. I'm sure many of you seen this page. We did get a few replies, but all in all there were at least 50 OR MORE ENTRIES THAT DID NOT HAVE DIVISIONS INDICATED. It is impossible to run the meet properly and efficiently with this kind of vagueness on so many entries. Let me repeat this for the sake of helping next year's meet director, James Hartů It is impossible to run the meet properly and efficiently with this kind of vagueness on so many entries. When the attempt was made to call lifters, most of the kids replied that they were unsure of where their coaches wanted them to lift. In a few cases, the lifters were even Juniors or Seniors with no option to lift in any division but the Varsity, and did not even know they were only limited to this division.
After getting nearly 400 entries and thinking we had everything in line, guess what? On Wednesday, less than 36 hours before the start of the meet, we got 30 more entries. Not being one to deny kids the chance to compete because they qualified the previous weekend, Dr. Mike Cissell willingly agreed to let them lift. Even with qualifying late, the late qualifiers in my opinion should have had entries in the meet director's hands by the deadline that most everyone else honored. But the entries alone weren't the problem; the problem gets back to many being filled out incorrectly, with no division indicated. To make it worse, we even had a coach saying he didn't do paperwork. Huh?
Coaches, I say this to you: If it was no fault of the kids and they were instructed to leave their division blank, then good for the kids and shame on you. But if the meet directors have a snowball's chance in a very warm place, the kids guilty of doing this have to get their heads out of a very smelly place and fill their entry forms out correctly. I'd like to think the kids were instructed to do this instead of have that many make the same mistake. Good coaching isn't just training the lifters to be as strong as possible, it's having your teams organized and informed which division they will lift in. Most already do this, but it is apparent that some don't. For those that had things together, we appreciate your help. All coaches should take a page out of Frank Jabbia's book. Frank is the coach of Slidell HS down in Louisiana. He had each and every one of his entries inside of a clear plastic folder with the lifter's birth certificate on the backside. Tod Miller is another coach that makes things a little easier, he'll be coaching the 18 & Under World Team. You can bet he is a coach that does paperwork, and plenty of it!
There has been some talk about eliminating the JV division and adding qualifying totals to make the meet easier to run. While this would make things easier to run, and would eliminate a large number of the nearly 30 team rosters we had to contend with, I'm not sure it's the best idea for our younger lifters. Eliminating the JV division will be a hard decision to make. Enough on that, I think everyone gets the idea. Let's get to the more important stuff, the exception lifts that were made!