The points you read about on this site and that ultimately determine the winners are called “rank points”. This is determined in the tab room, and not by the judges in the stands. This allows each judge to have an equal voice in determining the winner, rather than the judge who scores very high or very low influencing the outcome overly much. Here’s how it works:
- Say there were 4 teams in a meet. Judge # 1 gives them 75, 34, 66, and 87 points respectively. The tab room would assign a “rank” to the highest scoring team first (87 points), giving them a “first place” or “1” rank. Then go down the list and assign the 2nd place (75 points), 3rd place (66 points), and 4th place (34 points) team from that one judge’s scores. Each individual judge has this done to all of his/her scores turned in at the end of the meet.
- Then we change from looking at the judge’s scores to looking at all the scores and ranks earned by a single team. Typically, larger meets drop one “low” (good) rank, and two “high” (bad) ranks. This makes sure one bad opinion (or one overly good opinion) doesn’t skew the result. The ranks remaining for your team are added together to get a “total rank”. Team with the lowest total rank wins!
- In the event of a tied rank score, ranks and dropped scores are added back in based on a detailed system of tiebreakers. At state, ties are not allowed to stand (anymore), but some meets may allow it.
- It is possible to have earned 87 points for a first place rank and then another judge from the same meet says you got 90 points, but that was only good enough for second place. Ranks ultimately determine the winner. It is also possible (not unusual even) to see a team with a higher total score take a lower overall placement because of ranking.
- Total scores can also be used for smaller meets to determine the winner.
Who are those people doing all this?
- Each meet has a “superior judge” who is in charge of other judges and any issues that come up. You may or may not be able to pick out who that person is in the judges area. Their scores are listed first on the recap sheet at the end of the meet, but they don’t have a greater say than the rest of the panel. The superior also signs off on the results.
- The other judges are working independently up in the stands. They do not view other scoresheets or discuss what to score someone. Anytime you see talking, it is about a procedural item, a rule violation that may have occurred, or a problem.
- There are also some stopwatch and clicker holding personnel who are kick counters and timers. They fill out a quick ½ sheet with the total time of the dance and any kicks performed by the entire team are counted towards the required minimum and maximum. These people do not also judge the dance. Other judges do not see the time or kicks written on these sheets, they are to fulfill a requirement only.
- Runners come in and out to move sheets from the stands to the tab room so work can begin on transcribing the scores into the computer or on to the master recap sheets.
- Down in front there are a sound technician and announcer running the technical aspects of the meet at the main table known as the “sound table”. An empty table on the opposite side is for coaches of teams facing “away from the sound table”. There may be a trainer, school official, or photographer hanging out in this area too.
Clear as mud right? Well, we’ll be digging in to the specific categories on the scoresheet in upcoming articles – check back to learn more about how a great dance turns into a great score (or sometimes not). See you then!