Fantasy baseball, football and basketball are all well-known fantasy leagues in the CHS community. However, a new fantasy league, the fantasy cross country league, has emerged and is quickly running to the top.
Gaithersburg High School ‘03 alumnus and Mocorunning website founder Kevin Milsted started the Montgomery County fantasy cross country league in 2010 after learning about it being done by the NCAA. After hearing about it, he got several other people to help him start up the Montgomery County league.
“I saw it done on the Letsrun.com forum for the NCAA cross country championships, and I wanted to do it for Montgomery County,” Milsted said. “I gathered five people in addition to myself who are knowledgeable about the local running scene, and we agreed on a draft order and then had a runner fantasy draft on the Mocorunning forum over several weeks during the summer.”
The fantasy league has spread quickly around the county for various reasons, including the league’s competitive nature and open environment.
“It’s simple enough that there is very little time and work that goes into it, but at the same time it’s fun and popular,” Milsted said. “It was popular enough that a separate group branched off and had a second draft.”
While it is a fantasy sports league, fantasy cross country has many different aspects and has established its own unique set of rules and scoring methods.
“Unlike other fantasy sports, there are no trades or free agent pickups,” Milsted said.
The scoring of fantasy cross country is also very different from traditional fantasy leagues.
According to Milsted, fantasy cross country only applies to the county championships, and before the season starts, individuals choose a team of seven runners. These runners can be from many different schools, but must be within the county. Then, at the county championships, after everyone finishes the race, the top five finishers on the individual’s team score points, with the amount of points being equal to the runners place at the meet. The person who gets first place will earn one point, and someone who finished 18 will get 18 points. The individual who gets the lowest amount of points in the fantasy league wins.
The fantasy cross country league has attracted students from around the county, including high school graduates.
“I enjoy the competitive nature of it,” said Bethesda-Chevy Chase ‘11 alumnus Eliot Gerson. “Additionally, I think it encourages some interesting conversations about Montgomery County cross country and running in general.”
The fantasy league not only pushes some runners to improve and move ahead to beat others, but also stimulates intellectual debates over running.
By joining fantasy cross country, Gerson has put more thought into runners from schools other than B-CC. The league has led to debates over the importance of pack running and how a certain course is good for certain types of runners.
“These types of discussions are really interesting and are a direct result of participating in the fantasy cross country league and the forum as a whole,” Gerson said.