Several changes to the high school cross country postseason will take effect this fall.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association's board of directors approved changes which alter how schools are placed into divisions and how qualifying teams and individuals advance to the regional and state meets.
In addition, the board OK'd an increase in the number of state tournament team qualifiers from 16 to 20 per division.
"These changes will result in a more consistent and fair tournament structure, which has been in place for other OHSAA sports," said Dale Gabor, OHSAA administrator for cross country and track and field.
The board approved a proposal that reversed its 2012 ruling which changed how schools are placed into meet divisions.
The 2012 proposal called for a school's girls and boys enrollment to be combined, so both teams were in the same meet division, which resulted in competitive disadvantages for some schools if one of their squads was forced to compete up a division.
Previously, the four regional tournaments across Ohio fielded the same number of teams in each division, so in some cases, teams from one district were sent to a regional tournament across the state.
Now, regional qualifiers are only teams from that specific district, which means the four regional tournaments will have a unique number of qualifiers compared to the number of teams in that division in their district.
The number of state qualifiers will differ from each regional based on how many teams are competing there, which is the case in other OHSAA sports.
The Boardman regional will host 25 boys and girls Division I teams, 20 Division II teams and 11 Division III teams.
The number of state qualifying teams coming out of Boardman for both genders will be eight in Division I, six in Division II and four in Division III.
The maximum individual state qualifiers (those who finish in the top 20 overall who are not on an advancing team) coming from each regional will be four times the number of qualifying teams in each division from that regional.
For Boardman, that means the top 32 runners in Division, top 24 in Division II and top 16 in Division III will qualify.
"This system keeps schools closer to home for regionals and uses the actual number of teams in each division at each regional site to determine the number of state qualifiers coming from that site," said Gabor.