Here is a direct link to this year's justification document
from the RP, posted this morning. You might want to have a look, and consider last year's doc as well (posted above). For reference, here is the scoring list
from this year's Team Trials.
A couple of items should probably be corrected in the justification document. First, Under "ESC guidance:"
-Select the winner of the sprint and the top two on the scoring list for men and women. In 2017, there were two men tied for first and both were selected.
This should read ..."there were two men tied for first in the sprint"...
One of those two was also in the top two in the scoring list, but that might not be the case if this happens again in the future (assuming we even have selection races in the future).
Second, its not made clear that Julia Doubson qualified automatically
for the team by winning the sprint. It shows her place in the table at the top, but only mentions that she petitioned for two starts. Call this a technicality if you wish, but not recognizing this for what it is is a disservice to Julia, demeaning to the others who were also trying to win that sprint, and appears to be an excuse for the RP to claim another subjective selection over its own stated "automatic" selection criteria.
Third, for two of the women's petitions there is a sentence at the end of each paragraph which states:
"[runner] selection does not displace anyone who competed in TT."
Yet for Greg Ahlswede's petition it does not mention that Will Enger and possibly Michael Laraia did indeed compete in TT and will, in fact, be displaced. Greg did not compete at the Team Trials, choosing to go to a race in Sweden instead. So I'm wondering, what's the purpose of this sentence in the women's petition justifications? Are you saying its OK to accept these petitions because no one will be harmed by doing so? Are you saying that if there had been other runners in the TT that these two petitions would not have been accepted? If its a mere statement of fact, shouldn't the same be said of the one or two athletes that Greg's petition has displaced?
I'm not even sure where to begin with the matter of Greg being awarded two additional WOC starts. I thought this justification document might shed some light on this, but the text in Greg's justification paragraph is all over the map. Comparison with Giacomo at a single WC event in March. According to this doc, Giacomo was only selected for sprints. Why are Greg's forest race results being compared to Giacomo here? And then Will and Eric at NAOC. Did Will realize that no matter how well he ran at the TT this year he was already doomed because Greg beat him at NAOC...last year. And Eric was second in both forest races at the TT this year, but rather than compare Greg's forest results to Eric's you compare with his NAOC sprint result. There's no mention of Greg petitioning for sprint - only for forest relay. Did he petition for sprint? Greg already has the IOF regional spot for Long as a result of NAOC, but now it seems his NAOC results are also being used as stand-ins for the TT that he chose not to attend.
Notably absent from the justification document is any mention of what happened at the trials last year. Greg ran in the trials but did not qualify, finishing 7th overall on the scoring list
. He then petitioned to be placed on the team anyway, claiming "sub-par performance during TT" (see last year's justification document
). Fortunately the 2016 RP saw fit to deny that petition. Now a year later, Greg has simply decided not to attend the trials at all, petitioned, and been given two additional starts - ahead of athletes who did make the effort to attend! A tremendous amount of weight in the present petition is being placed on that one NAOC result. It seems that attending NAOC is very easy but for some reason attending the Team Trials is anathema. For any athlete aspiring to represent his or her country at a world champs, there are no more important races
than the national team selection races.
I question the level of commitment of any athlete behaving this way. Were the trials skipped due to hardship? Choosing to go to Sweden for Tiomila instead is no hardship. Were the trials skipped because of the risk of "sub-par" performance? Every
athlete running at the trials faces this risk - this is what makes the trials so hard. Why do certain athletes get a free pass to skip and others are asked to step aside to accommodate them?
This situation is unconscionable. Good, hard working, committed athletes are being brushed aside through no fault of their own, and that's wrong. The Board needs to rein in the ESCs and Teams and set this straight. The credibility of OUSA's elite teams and their selection processes is in the tank, and this year's selection is doing nothing to change that.