Welcome to the second edition of three Speed Rating Regional Merges, and final one before the NXN Preview (At-Larges are already selected by the time these would go out next weekend). These are the direct sequel to the previous Speed Rating National Merges. The numbers are produced by TullyRunners, and are an objective way to compare performances at NXN-Regionals. The thoughts below are my own, and have no real effect on the At-Large committee's decisions. Being the NY webmaster, it interests me to research how NY teams might fare in the post-season. Take them with a grain of salt, or even less if you disagree.
Four At-Large teams are selected, by gender, each year. The general consensus on selection is based on how you perform at your regional, as well as your season résumé against other nationally ranked teams that qualified. At-Large guesses are just that: guesses. They liberally assume that teams will perform at a standard level at their respective Regionals as to how they have performed all season. By looking at Regionals that have already passed, it's clear that the top ranked teams don't always perform as such at the meet, so these could wildly change.
Here are the numbers.
Quick Thoughts On Auto's So Far
Girls - Wayzata girls seem to be unchallenged so far. Keller took a hit at their fourth position at Regionals. Scoring is so close, if you assume their fourth runs equal to their third, that would push them into a close second, or essentially a toss up for the podium, so far.
Boys - Springville got beaten at their Regional, but they didn't run all that badly. Mountain Vista simply had a great race, and are currently leading the Merge. Alex Maier (Flower Mound) helped his team move on from the South Regional, and with continued improvement, could bring the coveted single point.
Note on Last Weekend: To show you how unpredictable XC can be, and how Speed Ratings are only a very rough guide, we had four teams as locks to win their Regionals last weekend. Keller and Mountain Vista were Top 5 teams on the girls side, and Springville and Southlake Carroll were highly ranked on the boys side. All four of them took second in their region, mostly to unranked teams. While the first weekend of meets was surprising, this level of unpredictability is nearly unprecedented. Anything can happen on race day.
Quick Thoughts on At-Large's So Far
Boys - As we add in more teams, Lyons Township, IL continues to hold good standing against Auto-Teams. We mentioned their résumé before, but it might not matter if they are this strong comparatively. The gaps in points at S and SW were larger than expected, and both 3rd place teams have two guys in their Top 5 below 170's.
A few weeks back, I put out a note that I thought the Mt. SAC Invite ratings from CA seemed a little high. If the teams from SS and CS Finals were running all out this weekend, it would seem that assumption would be correct, as the ratings came back to where I thought they should have been at Mt. SAC. It also makes me alter my guess that CA might get two bids.
There is a big variable in predicting these, however. At a HOKA event, Brentwood, TN ran very well. A few members did not run for their HS team this season, but it may be very likely they all run together at NXN. That addition could push Green Hope, NC and Milton, GA down fighting for that third spot, hoping for an At-Large. It's hard to predict teams that haven't really run, so there are plenty of questions here.
Best Guess Right Now - CA, MW, NY, SE
Girls - Based on Speed Ratings alone, there doesn't seem to be any At-Large teams breaking ahead of Auto teams like we see on the boys side. Broomfield, CO is currently leading that bunch of teams, but there is plenty here that is uncertain.
Heading into last weekend, we wouldn't have picked Saratoga, NY to possibly be an Auto team out of New York. With them winning Feds, and looking strong doing so, it could have Shen and Liverpool battling outside the Top 2.
Best Guess Right Now - CA, MW, SW, NY