The reality of the Nike Cross Nationals at-large bid process is that it won't always serve everyone.
Surprises are bound to happen in the auto-qualifying process, which makes the position of the committee tasked with choosing the at-large berths for NXN even harder.
But how does that happen?
Nine committee members from each of the nine classifications -- it's comprised of selected media members and coaches from each region -- vote on the at-large candidates. A majority consensus has to be decided upon in every case. The committee monitors the cross country season as a whole, not just the postseason period.
The main criteria imposed upon the selection process is lined up in a paragraph in the "NXN FAQ" section of NXN's website, but essential to it is that great weight will be imparted on teams who finish in third-place and that wins over auto-qualifiers are of utmost importance.
Of course, beyond that -- you can assume -- factors could also include strength of schedule, out-of-state results, championship wins, team average and previous history at NXN.
Two teams from every region are given auto-qualifying bids to NXN, which totals to 18 qualifiers per gender. Then out of all nine divisions, four at-large picks are determined from third- and fourth-place teams across competition in each the girls and boys fields.
What makes this process difficult is that there's usually more than meets the eye. Some teams may deserve spots that don't finish in third-place. The strength of a region may eclipse the relative solid resume of another team.
In the slideshow below, we're going to identify four teams who were snubbed from the at-large process.
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