Skip to main content

Scoring a Cross Country Meet

The first five finishers from each team contribute to the score of the team. The sum total of the place numbers of the first five runners from a team is its score in a meet.

For example, if members of a team place 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th, those numbers are added together to give the team a score of 31 points.

The team with the lowest score wins. 

If one team has its five runners finish in the top five places in a given race, the resulting score for that team would be "15" (1+2+3+4+5=15), which is a perfect score in cross-country.

One rule that causes confusion to a novice scoring a cross country meet is the displacement rule. The first seven finishers from each team can effect the score. These seven may displace runners from another team, causing its score to be higher. In other words, although the 6th and 7th runners from a team cannot change their own team’s score, by placing before a scoring runner from another team they will cause the opposing team’s score to be higher.

In a dual meet, should one team have its seven runners finish in the top seven places—before any of the opponent’s five scorers finish—the resulting score of the meet would be "15-50" (The opposition would score 8+9+10+11+12=50), which is a shutout in cross-country. So, in a dual meet no team can score fewer than 15 or more than 50 points. In multi-school meets such as large invitational meets and state championship meets it is possible to have a score well above 50)

In a dual meet, if one team captures the first three places in a race and has at least five runners finish, it is mathematically impossible to lose. This is because no matter how many runners a team may have in the race only seven can effect the scoring. To give an example : If your team places 1-2-3 the best the opposing team can do is 4-5-6-7-8-9-10. That accounts for their seven runners. No matter what any of their other runners do, they can not be counted in the scoring, so your 4th and 5th runners automatically place 11 and 12. Your team thus adds 1-2-3-11-12 for a total of 29. The opposing team adds 4-5-6-7-8 for a total of 30. Your team wins 29 to 30. 

A tie in team scoring is broken by awarding the win to the team with the faster sixth finisher.