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Discussion: final round: group of 4 or head to head pairs?

in: North American Sprint Series Finals (Nov 13–15, 2009 - San Francisco, CA)

Oct 13, 2009 4:33 AM # 
Backstreet Boy:
Vladimir and I are having a gentlemanly debate... and we're looking for your input...

The sprint series finals next month will feature "mini mass starts" like prior sprint series finals. Groups of 4 usually.

I'm partial to having the last round be 2-at-a-time, head to head starts with a 30 second interval.

Vladimir prefers 4-at-a-time, one minute interval.

And with either case, how do you feel about whoever crosses the finish first, no matter which group they're in, wins the series?

Oct 13, 2009 4:54 AM # 
I'm with Vladimir. And with the idea that the winner comes from the final group.
Oct 13, 2009 8:57 PM # 
Ditto j-man.
Oct 13, 2009 9:49 PM # 
I'm with Christinah.
Oct 14, 2009 12:41 PM # 
The next item of discussion is how we score the Friday Qualifying Race. Its purpose is to fine-tune the seedings for the Finals themselves, so if someone shows up who is really, really good but didn't run enough season Series races, she wouldn't be seeded in lower divisions. The race is optional. That is, if you don't run it, you will still get seeded and will participate in the subsequent Finals races, but if you skip one of the latter you'll go down into lower brackets for the races that follow.

I thought I'd come up with a points-per-minute formula within the two weeks before the race, i.e. your time gets you so many points added to the season score. Another approach is to just score the Friday race with points, again the exact points to be fudged just so. My criterion is that a Marten Bostrom should be able to get a top-division seeding without having run any Season races, just on the basis of the Qualifying Race, but just barely. This "barely" depends on (1) how many people per division and (2) who exactly shows up to fill these divisions.
Oct 14, 2009 7:22 PM # 
Pink Socks:
I don't know what the most fair and deserving way to do this is...

I guess the first questions would be, what is the goal of the Sprint Series Finals, and how does this relate to the goal of the entire Sprint Series, in general?

Does the winner of the Sprint Series Finals:
a) become the series champion?
b) earn points that may or may not be enough to earn him/her the championship?

Similarly, is there any regard to a "regular season" champion vs. "finals champion"? In many team sports, there's a distinction between the two, and in COC's winter/school league season, there are awards that are earned through season results, and during an independent (non-seeded), one-race championship.

In the Sprint Series, the regular season events give points based on number of participants (finishing 101st out of 200 nets you more points than finishing 1st out of 50). In the current standings, we've got the best sprinter on the continent in 6th place because he didn't run at Ran-it Granite, the most popular event of the year. This isn't a complaint on the scoring system (I generally like it, actually).

What is the goal of the seeding in the Sprint Series Finals?
a) seed the best sprinters, period.
b) seed the sprinters who performed well at the most popular events.
c) some combination of the two.

If I were doing it...

For a), I would have a mandatory "seeding" mini-sprint, maybe 5-minute winning time. Doesn't take up much time, everyone participates, and gives a decent seeding of skill/speed.

For b), just use the current standings, baby. Clem's #1, and I'm #102.

For c), create some formula or whatever, with possible "fudging". But my thought is, if you're considering fudging it anyway, why not just have a "selection committee" that determines who goes where, taking into account season achievement plus qualifying results? This is pretty much what the NCAA does with its annual basketball tournament, which is a success.
Oct 14, 2009 10:46 PM # 
Yeah we had a Selection Committee in the head-to-head, bracketed Finals of 2005 and 2006. The Committee had to face a few dark horses (primo example being Mr. CPG himself, who didn't earn a top-division seed in 2005). It is in order to give the Committee a bit more data that we have instituted the Qualification Race. I guess we could just leave it at that—seeding is up to the Committee and is loosely based on the season's points and on the Qual Race results.

There is a lot more terrain at Bonita than is needed for a 5-minute race, though.
Oct 14, 2009 11:08 PM # 
Pink Socks:
There is a lot more terrain at Bonita than is needed for a 5-minute race, though.

My 5-minute seeding race idea wouldn't really apply to Bonita, since that's an optional race. And the seeding race isn't intended to replace a full-blown sprint.

The mini race would come just before the tournament in order to seed the brackets. Imagine that you just decided to hold a sprint tournament, without a season series to give you an idea of how good everyone was. In that case, holding a quickie seeding sprint is a quick, fair, and roughly accurate way to seed everyone without a full-length race.

If this scenario applied to Sprint Series Finals, I'd have it at SF State before the sprint there.
Oct 18, 2009 4:50 PM # 
So here's a preliminary Finals format proposal/announcement. This is as of Get Lost!!'s and terraloco's thoughts long time ago, with some recent modifications. I haven't run this by Rex yet, so we're going to continue to have our public AP discussion here...

There will be Five Stages in the Finals:

Stage 1: Friday 13 November, Pt. Bonita, Sausalito, CA
Stage 2: Saturday 14 November, SF State U, San Francisco, CA
Stage 3: Saturday 14 November, SF State U, San Francisco, CA
Stage 4: Saturday 14 November, McLaren Park, San Francisco, CA
Stage 5: Sunday 14 November, McLaren Park, San Francisco, CA

Each Stage consists of one race.

Stage One has interval starts, and is not head to head. All other Stages consist of head-to-head races. A group of people who start at the same time, on the same course, constitutes a Heat. Heats form Divisions.

The first Stage is optional and serves to seed the Divisions. The Divisions and the initial Heats will be set no later than 00:00:01 Pacific Standard Time, 14 November 2009. The Seeding will be by the Deciders and by the Finals Organizers, and is based on the Series points earned during the Season, the results of Stage One, individual biases, bribes, cajoling, and donations to the Jr. Team Fund. Individual requests for a different, higher, or lower Seeding or Division will be considered with no guarantee of being honored (but see bribes and donations, above), and must be received by the Organizers no later than 19:00:00 Pacific Standard Time, 13 November 2009.

As of now we are planning on having four Divisions. Participants in each Division compete for a win in the Sprint Finals. The Divisions shall be:

Division One, Women.
Division One, Men.
Division Two, Women.
Division Two, Men.

A competitor can only participate in one Division. Once a Division is set, no further changes to the Seeding or the Division will be made. The sum total of course lengths for Division Two will be less than that for Division One. There will be no difference between courses for Men's and Women's Divisions numbered the same. If you requested Short courses for the Sprint Finals in your registration, we will probably consider you for Division Two.

As of now, we envision about 32 (maybe more) people in Men's Division One, and about 16 (probably more) people in each of the remaining Divisions.

There will be eight Heats in Men's Division One at Stage Two. In each Heat, One through Eight, four to six people will start at the same time, on the same course. The outcome of Stage Two is that exactly 16 people in this Division will advance to the top-level Bracket for Stage Three, and the rest will race in the lower Bracket. (A Bracket is just a subset of a Division.)

This top Bracket is the Antelopes. To become an Antelope, a competitor needs to either win one of Heats One through Eight in Stage Two, or show one of the eight fastest times among the non-winners of the Heats. That's right, if your Heat is a particularly speedy one, you can place last and still advance if your time is fast enough.

The lower Bracket is the Badgers. There can be more than 16 Badgers, since we are not limited to 32 people in this Division.

For Stage Three, the Antelopes compete in four Heats according solely to their time in Stage Two. The Badgers also form four Heats for Stage Three.

After Stage Three is run, the resulting Brackets are the Cheetahs (top half of the Antelopes), the Deer (bottom half), the Emus (top half of the Badgers, rounded down), and the Foxes (the rest of the Badgers).

Again, to qualify for the higher Bracket one needs to either win a Heat, or to show a fast time. In Stage Three, these otherwise qualified will be top 4 of the non-Heat winners for the Antelopes qualifying for Cheetahs, or top however many of the Badgers are needed to get the right number of Emus.

The Cheetahs, Deer, Emus, and Foxes then race in Stage Four, two Heats per each of these four Brackets. Stage Four determines the Brackets for Stage Five: The Final Round. Qualification is the same; heat winners plus however many fast times are needed to get half of the original number, rounded down.

These Final Brackets, in order of qualification, are the Greyhounds, the Hares, the Impalas, the Jaguars, the Kangaroos, the Lynx, the Moose, and the Nandus.

The Greyhounds are the Final Four. The winner of the Greyhound race will be declared the winner of the 2009 Sprint Series. Again, to become a Greyhound one needs to either win a Cheetah heat, or to show one of the two fastest non-Cheetah-heat-winning times.

For Women's Division One, competition proceeds in much the same fashion except the top half of the Final Heats will be groups of two, not four.

For Division Two, there will be no Stage Three. Stage Two's courses for Division Two are slightly longer than those for Division One to compensate for that. These courses will be on the longer end of the recommended winning time for that age and ability range (but still about 15 minutes, not 25).

There are possible Twists (maybe even Shouts) to this Scheme.

Proposed Twist: After Stage Three, top two Badgers (based on time) become Deer, not Emus. Bottom two Antelopes are demoted to Emus. Similarly, after Stage Four the fastest-time Deer, Emu, and Fox each advance to a higher Bracket, and the slowest Cheetah, Deer, and Emu are demoted one Bracket down.

The initial Heats will be formed based on the Seeding: Heat One: Seeds 1, 15, 16, 32; Heat Two: 2, 14, 17, 31, and so on, adjusting appropriately if the number of participants is larger than or smaller than 32. The exact definition of "appropriately" is by the Deciders and the Organizers.

This is all very much like the Original Finals of 2005 in Pawtuckaway and the subsequent Finals of 2006, with the addition of the Qualifier, one more Stage, and the Twist.
Oct 18, 2009 9:02 PM # 
Linnaeus is probably turning over in his grave.

But, whatever you want.

I do have to quote some things out of context:

"the Cheetahs (top half of the Antelopes)"
and "however many of the Badgers are needed to get the right number of Emus."

I don't know where to begin.
Oct 18, 2009 9:16 PM # 
"the Cheetahs (top half of the Antelopes)"
and "however many of the Badgers are needed to get the right number of Emus."

Thanks for summarizing, Clem, there's no way I could have paid attention for the whole thing.
Oct 19, 2009 7:06 AM # 
Backstreet Boy:
So everybody come dressed as your favorite animal. For the Saturday night banquet dinner, we're renting out the SF Zoo. You know, the one where the Tiger escaped. We'll actually be using that exhibit, since the Tiger vacated it.

And if you find the above confusing, then feel free to share any ideas you have for seeding / advancement / sprint tournament. We'll steal the best ones.

Oct 19, 2009 1:30 PM # 
Did MrPither get his additional 50 points for making the A final at WOC?
Oct 19, 2009 1:58 PM # 
Here's a graphic version for those with TV-bred attention spans. Sorry I'm not that swift with editing/schematic tools.

Get them costumes out!
Oct 19, 2009 4:32 PM # 
hammer: yep
Oct 19, 2009 7:26 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Geez, that's a lot of costumes to bring in my carry-on luggage.

I think I'll plan on winning my first stage, losing my second, and winning my third. The antelope-deer-impala sequence needs only one body suit and just three pairs of clip-on antlers.

A badger-emu-moose trifecta would be, uh, crazy.
Oct 19, 2009 8:20 PM # 
What the hell is a nandu?
Oct 19, 2009 8:21 PM # 
I was wondering that myself.
Oct 19, 2009 8:47 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Nandu = Spanish name for the Rhea

It's basically the South American equivalent of the Ostrich (Africa) or Emu (Australia).

If the field at Sprint Finals is pretty strong, I'll probably end up as a Nandu. Ha!
Oct 20, 2009 12:08 AM # 
I like the proposed bracket system, and I like the additional twist of upward and downward mobility after stages 3 and 4, but I'd only do it if the time(s) of the upwardly mobile runner(s) were better than the time(s) of the runner(s) who were being considered for demotion.
Oct 20, 2009 12:21 AM # 
Pink Socks:
ebone brings up something I thought of earlier, regarding this:

Again, to become a Greyhound one needs to either win a Cheetah heat, or to show one of the two fastest non-Cheetah-heat-winning times.

About the "two fastest non-Cheetah-heat-winning times"...

What's the population to be included here? Fastest of the remaining Cheetahs who didn't win? Fastest of the remaining Cheetahs and Deer? Or fastest of the everyone else?

I'm assuming it's just the Cheetahs. You have eight Cheetahs. One Cheetah wins his heat and advances. Another Cheetah wins the other heat and advances. And then the next two fastest of the remaining six Cheetahs?

If you're including everyone... someone could just walk the earlier stages, resting up for the one that matters, win that race for a spot in the finals...
Oct 20, 2009 12:26 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Also, about the promotions and demotions... I agree that you should only be able to "steal" a spot in a higher bracket if there's someone to steal from. Maximum of two stolen spots per animal, for example.
Oct 20, 2009 8:34 AM # 
OK, Eric's proposal makes sense. Patrick: yep, next two fastest of the remaining six Cheetahs. Can't go Deer to Greyhound, that's a Linnaeus offense.
Oct 21, 2009 3:37 AM # 
Looks cool. Now how do I get myself there?

This discussion thread is closed.