U20 Sprint Heat Changes 2022

Currently in Canada, a U20 racer must decide before the race if they are going to race as a Senior or a U20 and they are locked into that choice on race day regardless of how they qualify in the Open Qualifier. That means if a U20 sprinter decides to race as a Senior, and finishes 31st among the seniors, their day is done. Likewise, if they decide to race as a U20, but qualifies really well in Senior, they have no option to change their preference on race day to race as a Senior instead.

In the US, there is a rule that says U20s that do qualify in the top 30 race in the senior heats, but if they don’t qualify for the senior heats, they race in the U20 heats. That approach suffers from the issue that a U20 that wants to race the U20 heats, but qualifies 29th, is stuck racing up as a Senior and most likely eliminated in the first round.

Ultimately, there needs to be a better way to give racers some choice, but one that doesn’t introduce any ambiguity on race day as there is simply not enough time between qualifiers and heats to contact racers.

The compromise is the following changes to the registration and race day procedures.

Registration Changes

Firstly, on the registration, the following multi-option data field needs to be added after any Sprint category field.

The caption is :”U20 Racers, select heat advancement preference” with the following 2 options:

  • Race in U20 Heats even if I qualify in the top 30 for the Senior Heats.
  • Race in the Senior Heats if I qualify in the top 30, otherwise race in U20 Heats.

This choice captured at time of registration provides clear guidance on how the racer wants to be advanced and supports both the US style Senior-if-top-30-else-U20 concept as well as the idea that a U20 can select to remain a U20 no matter how well they qualify. When validating and reviewing registrant info, it’s important that you ‘clean’ this column and make sure only U20 have selected a value as it will be a key column on race day and we don’t want any seniors or non-U20 categories to have a value in this field.

Race file changes

Here are the procedures to make your race day processing as easy as possible.

As you are going to be clicking on a number of racers and changing their Sprint category, make sure that field is at the top. Go to 1. Settings, click n Standard Racer fields, click the Custom Racer fields tab, and move those 2 fields to the top using the drag handles on the left:

When setting up result sets, we will need a special result set that makes it easy for us to identify and move those U20 who qualify and want to race up as Senior. This result set will not be for the public, this is an admin only results set.

Start by creating a new result and call it something like Overall Top 30 Advancement. Assuming you’re course was setup as 2 course groups: Men, Women, then that will separate them by gender first, so we just need to add the “U20 Racers, select heat preference” field. For each gender, we should see 3 groups:

  1. Men – Race in U20 Heats even if I qualify in the top 30 for the Senior Heats (these are the U20 who want to remain U20 no matter what.)
  2. Men – Race in Senior Heats if I qualify in the top 30, otherwise race in U20 Heats (these are all the U20 who want to race up if they qualify – these are the people we want to work on)
  3. Men – No U20 Racers, select heat advancement preference (these are all the senior racers who didn’t select any option for that U20 only field)

Click “All” as we want all 3 groups for each gender. Click Create this Result Set.

Next, click Merge Racer Groups as we want to merge the groups in a very specific way. Select “Men Race in the Senior Heats” and “Men No U20 Racers” as these are effectively the ‘seniors’

Repeat the process for the women’s groups

Now, rename the groups to make it easier to understand. The merged group you can call “Seniors & Seniors if Qualify” whereas the 2 groups you didn’t merge can be called “U20 only” as we’re not going to do anything to them. Finally, under Racer Fields, add your category field as well as the U20 Racers, select heat advancement preference” fields.

This completes the pre-setup and will make our job on race day much easier to process. If you preview the results, you’ll see why. The results group “Senior & Senior if Qualify” is a concise listing of everyone who wants to potentially race as a senior (it doesn’t include anyone who select to remain a U20 no matter what.) So all we have to do is go down the list from 1-30 and click on anybody who is U20 and edit their sprint category to Senior. Once we hit 30th place, we’re done and all the rest of the U20 remain U20 for the heats.

As qualifiers are run fastest-to-slowest, this advancement process can start while the last of the qualifiers are still finishing so that you have your heat composition finalized shortly after the last qualifier.

Once you are complete, you will use a secondary result set that is simply grouped by their Sprint Category (which you have now fixed by moving the selected U20 to Seniors) to import racers into your sprint file. It’s debatable if you would publish this U20/Senior result set publicly as you would need to wait till after your category changes are complete to make it public or else people will be confused about who is moving on to the heats or not. Generally in sprint qualifying, you typically publish the overall result set as your primary result set but include the Category field as a racer field.

Overall although this change does add a bit of an extra step on the registration, and data cleaning, and some complexity to the pre-race-setup, it shouldn’t add an onerous burden on race day and we feel it will be a nice benefit to the xc ski community to have this choice.

Updated on 2022-10-19

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