Being Fair

I made a huge mistake and would like some advice. I am a high school track coach at a small school. One of the colleges in our state holds a huge track and field event with world class athletes, etc. Besides the pro, college, and university divisions, they also run a high school division. Any HS team in the state who runs 45.9 or better can run their 4 X 100 there. This is not an unbelievable time, but it is still a prestigious honor to run there.
At the beginning of the year we had time trials in the 100 to see who would run the 4 X 100. At the first meet, when the “3rd” fastest kid was injured, we ran “4th” and “5th” to a 45.77. The “4th” fastest kid ended up missing the first meet of the year (leadership award banquet) where we actually ran with the 3 fastest guys(if that makes sense), and we inserted the “5th” fastest kid. That meet we ran our best time, 45.12. In the 4 meets since, we have have re-inserted the “4th” fastest guy for “5th” and run times ranging from 45.32 to 45.67. We have run under 45.9 all 6 meets this year, regardless of who ran the relay.
Anyway, I just realized today that I might not be giving the “5th” fastest guy a fair shake when he brought it up in a private meeting. I can see his point. BUT he did lose to the “4th” fastest kid head to head when the chips were on the line. The big meet is Saturday. We also have a meet tomorrow (thursday). What should I do?
I can either run it tomorrow with the “5th” guy and see if he beats the “4th” guys best time. If so, “5” runs Saturday. This combo hasn’t practice handoffs since running 45.12 a month ago.
I could have them race head to head best of 3 on Friday. Winner runs Saturday. That doesn’t seem like an injury free solution.
I could just go with the top 4 as originally planned according to the time trials, and let them run off again before state.
What a mess. I feel terrible either way. I should have been on this earlier.

You said top 4 and stuck with that, and should continue to, in my view. The 5th guy had his chance, and 4th shouldn’t be dissed due to one meet, which may have been a fluke anyway(wind? track?).
You can have another selection process for State(“make sure we put the best team out there for State”) unless you said the earlier TTs were for the whole season.

seems like the 5th guy handles competition better than the 4th or it could be chemistry. Just because the 4h guy beat the 5th guy head up brings up the question is the 4th guy good in curves. the 5th guy is blazing because you gave him a chance, taking that from him could be a set back. You see the times so your decision should be easy!

The fastest sprinters are not necessarily the fastest ones for a relay, too.

I would try and avoid a test between them the day before, as this will be their “actual” race.

It might be worth talking to the rest of the team, too. It’s a lot about chemistry as said above and if they feel they can perform better with either of the guys, then…

It’s easy for all of us from the outside to suggest things, so I guess the choice IS yours… :o

Have you got any clues about their performances under pressure and/or while working with others?

All the best though!

Both guys are gamers, handle the baton well, and both are well liked by their teammates. I talked to them both privately this morning. The “5th” said he now just wants “4” to run Saturday. I’m thinking about letting 5 run it tonight and see if they beat 45.32 again. If so 5 runs saturday.

Just curious. What are #4 and #5’s 100m times in a 100m dash in a meet?

They’ve never run the 100 dash in a meet. We don’t even have a track here so when we run anything it is on the street, where we have lines marked off. In regular shoes in time trials they ran 12.1 and 12.23, respectively. That is not a very accurate tool. LUckily they ran head to head and 4 beat 5 by a step. It was close, but there was no argument who won the heat.