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Michigan Cup Series changes scoring, creates Baic Cup

Mon, Sep  28, 2009 - By Mike Muha

Michigan Cup cross country ski racing seriesThe Michigan Cup has had an identity crisis over the past several years. Should the Michigan Cup - a team championship, reflect the team with the greatest participation, the strongest racers, or something in between? The Brumbaugh Cup, introduced in 2008, attempted to address a perceived shortcoming, that the Michigan Cup was winnable simply by having a team with many more racers than any other team. Instead, the Brumbaugh Cup awarded the team with the strongest finishes while downplaying team size.

A second problem has been "the junior issue." Are juniors really full-fledge members of the Michigan Cup Series? The vast majority of juniors get Michigan Cup points without actually paying Michigan Cup dues. Juniors already have the High School State Championships - are they the equivalent of the Michigan Cup? Some senior teams have juniors, some don't - is that fair?

After  a very long and thorough discussion of Team Scoring, the Michigan Cup Committee made several important changes in the way team points are scored. These changes reflect a strong self examination of what it means to win the Michigan Cup.

Introducing the Baic Cup

The Michigan Cup Committee determined that supporting juniors is an important mission. To get teams to provider better moral, financial, and/or coaching support for juniors, and to make it in the interest of teams to sign juniors to their team, the Committee is introducing the Baic Cup for 2009-10. The Baic Cup will be awarded to the team the most junior team points.

The Baic Cup was named after what could be considered Lower Michigan's "first family" of cross country skiing, the Baic family. From father Vojin Baic (member of the 1948 Yugoslavian Olympic Nordic team), to sons Milan Baic (15-kilometer national champion in 1981, 10 White Pine Stampede and uncountable other wins) and Nick Baic (Michigan Nordic Coach of the year), daughter Ivanka Baic-Berkshire (North American Vasa winner) and through several grandkids, the Baic family name is instantly recognizable to every racer in Michigan.

New life for the Brumbaugh Cup

If the juniors get their own Cup, it's only fitting that the seniors get their own cup as well. Starting with the 2009-2010, the Brumbaugh Cup will be awarded to the team with the most senior team points.

Michigan Cup: Juniors + Seniors

The Michigan Cup will continue to be awarded to the team with the most team points. A team's total points will be the sum of the its Junior points x the percentage of Junior racers plus its Senior points x the percentage of Senior racers. According the Committee Chair, Ernie Brumbaugh, the percentages last year were 19% for Junior points and 81% for the Senior points. The results from Michigan Cup Relays and Team Time Trial will again count for the overall Michigan Cup.

It's a distinct possibility the three Cups will be awarded to three different teams: The Baic Cup to the team with the best juniors, the Brumbaugh Cup to the team with the best seniors, and the Michigan Cup to the team with the best balance of senior and junior performances.

New method of determining Michigan Cup Team points

Easily the most discussed and disputed issue for the Michigan Cup Committee was determining how to calculate team standings. In the past few years, a racer's 5 best races were used to determine both individual points and team points. Ed Anderson introduced an alternative method of tracking Team Points last season as a demonstration project. The Anderson method tracked the top finishers, by age and gender class, on each team in a large sampling of races. A spirited discussion took place examining the pros and cons of each and several other approaches. Proponents of each brought historical data to the meeting to show how the difference scenarios would have resulted in different Michigan Cup winners.

In what will probably not be the last word in scoring team points, the Michigan Cup Committee decided that individuals will receive team points for every race they finish. If a racer completes 10 races, the points received for all 10 races will count toward team points.

Part of the reasoning behind this decision is that better racers tend to do more races. It acknowledges greater race participation be better racers.

Individual scoring will remain the same: only the top five races counts toward individual points.

Relay changes for 2010

Because there are so few younger participants, the number of categories for the Michigan Cup Relays has been reduced from twelve to six. The new categories are:

  • Men with combined ages of 0-164
  • Men with combined ages of 165+
  • Women with combined ages of 0-164
  • Women with combined ages of 165+
  • Coeds with combined ages of 0-164
  • Coed with combined ages of 165+

To compensate for a significant reduction is point totals, the points received for first place for each category will increase to 600 points, with subsequent places receiving points based on the number of teams in that category (i.e., 600/[number of team in category]).

The classic distance leg for the relays will be the same as each leg of the skating distance.

The Michigan Cup Committee

Attending the Michigan Cup Committee's annual pre-season meeting this year were:

  • Cross Country Ski Headquarters: Bob Frye, Frank Rynalski
  • Hanson Hills/Cross Country Ski Shop: Justin Andre, Ed Anderson, John Gravlin
  • Traverse Nordic Ski Team: Todd Vigland
  • Nordic Ski Racer: Mike Muha
  • Straits Striders: Tracy Hardin
  • Grand Rapids Nordic Ski Team: Carole Mueller-Brumbaugh, Ernie Brumbaugh

Although multiple members of one team may attend, each team receives one vote as part of the Michigan Cup Committee.