Opening weekend has come and gone for the 2017 cross country season. More than half of our national preseason ranked teams and individuals have opened their seasons, joined by some new names to the national scene. What better time to start looking at the sport's landscape?
We've merged the best performances of the early season to see where all the big names are. These are purely reflective of what has already happened, so if a team hasn't raced yet, it wasn't included in the merge. We'll be doing a top 22 for the teams (the size of the field at NXN), and a top 25 for individuals, (over half the field at Foot Locker, to account for NXN Individuals). They will be updated every Thursday as more and more teams open up and performances continue to improve.
Girls Top Individuals - Click Here
Girls Top Teams - Click Here
Boys Top Individuals - Click Here
Boys Top Teams - Click Here
Notes: Putting Katelyn Tuohy's Mark In Perspective.
One week later, and the enormity of the Van Cortlandt Park Record being taken down by 30 seconds is still sinking in. Achieving a 166 Speed Rating on a 4K course is special, as the lower distance makes it that much harder to differentiate from the field. Because speed ratings are a runner-to-runner comparison, the lower distance means you are less likely to pull away (you have less distance to do so). It is suggested that had Tuohy had the extra distance, her gap would have grown, eliciting a possible 170 speed rating. Comparatively, Ed Cheserek had never reached those relative heights on a 4K course.
The highest in-season speed rating ever assigned was to Aislinn Ryan at Great American in 2004. She achieved a 168 rating. She beat runner-up Whitney Anderson (who would be fourth at Foot Locker Nationals by nearly 30 seconds) with Nicole Blood seven seconds further behind in third. Jenny Simpson (Barringer at the time) was 47 seconds behind Aislinn Ryan. Shannon Rowbury won the Collegiate ROC only 14 seconds faster than Aislinn Ryan (who would have been second in that race). High speed ratings are easier to attain in the postseason, because you are running faster than many girls with known speed rating profiles, which means you are that much faster than they are.
As a quick comparison to those who don't know what 13:21 at Van Cortlandt Park is for a girl, here are speculative equivalent times from around the country, assuming the rating inflated out to 170, and the course correction remained the same from previous races.
Mt. SAC, CA - 15:42.0 **
Detweiller Park, IL - 15:09.0
Glendoveer Golf Course, OR - 16:58.2
Balboa Park, CA - 16:53.0
*Mark has been updated 7:00pm, 10/19. Originally based on three point conversion per second, but the course record by Sarah Baxter in 2012 was set on a 2-point conversion. Those numbers were subbed in, and updated.
What Is The Speed Rating National Merge?
MileSplit NY has partnered with TullyRunners to provide a running merge of the nation's top performances. In short, a speed rating is a number attributed to an XC performance, roughly one point per three seconds, adjusted for overall race quality and depth. Using these numbers, we can compare performances on an apples to apples basis -- in terms of XC times and teams. It provides an answer to the hypothetical question, "What would happen if the best teams in the nation all raced at once?" However, these do not predict the outcome of NXN.
A speed rating is a number attributed to an XC performance, roughly one point per three seconds, adjusted for overall race quality and depth.
The merge predicts the outcome assuming every athlete had the best race of the season. NXN has many variables that will impact that outcome. More can be read about the calculation of speed ratings by clicking here.