The State High School Meet has been an excellent showcase of individual talent every year. However, the way events are scored at the State High School Meet allows teams to score high with only one or two athletes. In three of the past four years, Minneapolis Edison has won State while only scoring in events featuring star sprinters, Jia and Jada Lewis (the year they did not win, they were second). In 2013, Deidre Hahn scored every single point for Warroad, leading them to a tie for a State Championship with Milaca. In 1987, the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association (MSHSCA) began to address this issue with the inception of True Team State. When the Coaches Association brought True Team to the MSHSL, in hopes of gaining their sponsorship, the MSHSL responded by saying the idea was good but 'not for them.' This year, True Team will be taking four wild card teams instead of the usual one, and I had the opportunity to learn more about this from Coaches Association President, Gary Wade.
True Team was created to be a real team event that evaluated teams based on their depth rather than a few star athletes. Teams were sorted into three classes, and a way of scoring was agreed upon,where in a race with N competitors, first place received N points, second place received N-1 points, etc. This ensured that every athlete scored at least a point for their team, and as more Teams competed in sections the points increase and depth becomes even more important. The team winners for each section advanced to True Team State, with one wild card team being selected as well. But with the expansion to the four-team wild card format, the Coaches Association (who run True Team) have demonstrated their ability to cater to the true needs of the sport and athletes.
The primary reason for the chance is to better the total depth of the Class A and Class AA State Meets. With only 18 athletes competing for each team in each event (two each for nine teams), depth isn't nearly as essential to win True Team State as it is to win Sections, which usually has many more competitors in each event. "The discussion [behind the change] was that, for Class A and AA teams, the state meet does not require the same depth as a section meet," Gary Wade said. "By adding more teams in the form of wildcards, the state meet would be closer to what the Class A and AA teams see at the section level." This is significant news because it is rare to find a governing body that actually makes changes that are in high demand by the people.