Breaking Ties in Track and Field

It is important to break ties, especially for scoring positions, when uploading results.

Tie breaking is often overlooked. With hand times, and different heats, you will have ties that cannot be broken. Likewise, especially in vertical events (high jump and pole vault) there will be unbreakable ties.

Remember when you do actually have a tie, you award the same place to the tied athletes. For example with a two way tie for 2nd, both get 2nd place. However, you skip 3rd, because those two tied athletes subsumed the 3 (shared the points for 2nd and 3rd) and so the next athlete would then be 4th under this scenario.

hint: for vertical events if you use the field app [link] or RunMeet [link] and your judge enters field series, the ties are automatically broken


Vertical Field Events

  • there should not be a tie for first, there should have been a jump off -- we understand this is sometimes missed, and if so, please leave a comment when uploading results
  • places other than first may tie, but you should first try to break all ties using the rule (unless you have a different local rule) as follows:
    • number of misses at last height is the first tie breaker - less misses at last height places higher
    • if a tie still exists between two or more athletes, then the number of total misses (regardless of number of attempts) is the second tie breaker
    • if a tie still exists after the prior two rules are applied, then it is a tie.
    Horizontal Field Events:
  • the second best effort controls and if still tied, the third best and so forth
  • If an athlete does not have a next best effort than the one with a next best effort would place higher
    Running Events:
  • The tie breaker is to the thousandth if a Fully Automatic Timing system is in use (FAT). If they are still tied, then there is actually a tie.
  • If you are hand timing then the runners are tied if they are tied to the tenth, unless it was a head to head race and the tie is broken by the event judges. It is not proper to use hundredth of a second as a tie breaker in a hand timed event as all times are to be rounded up to the next highest tenth per the rules usually followed.

hint: in hytek hit control+t and if precision is set to 1000th in the timing software the tie is automatically broken

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