Timing track and field and cross country races has evolved immensely over the past couple decades. Stopwatches have been replaced by complex computers and photo finish cameras. What used to take a team of officials can now be done by one person faster and more accurately.
My history in track and field, as an athlete, and as a coach merged with my love for technology and a degree in Electrical Engineering; making me a perfect candidate for running a timing system. Over the past several years I have made my mark as one of the premiere Finish Lynx operators in the Pacific Northwest. I have become a resource for numerous track & field teams around the region.
During the track & field season, I have been the lead timer for several collegiate conference championships, the Oregon high school state championships and numerous high school district meets. I’ve also timed the NCAA DIII West Region Cross Country Championships several times, as well as a Charles Bowles Invitational, a cross country race that regularly draws over 1000 athletes.
The system we use at Willamette University is a complex system. Outside of Hayward Field, it is probably the most complex timing system in the Pacific Northwest. We have three Finish Lynx cameras, two IdentiLynx Cameras and three chip readers. This gives us great flexibility with what we can do. The chip system is primarily used for cross country. However, with a track resurfacing project in 2013, Willamette installed embedded RFID antennas to enable chip use for track competitions.
For a typical meet, where the priority is on achieving good times, we setup each of the cameras at a different location on the track. This allows us to run the sprinting events with a tail wind no matter the direction of the wind.
For a championship type event, all cameras will be setup on the common finish line. Two cameras are setup on the inside, one a primary system and one a secondary redundant system. The Third camera is setup on the outside of the track and gives a reverse angle of view on the primary system. This makes breaking ties in the sprints much easier.
If your interested in FinishLynx or Track & Field Meet Management you can take a look at the meet management posts.