Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Midwest Rankings - Oct. 13

The Midwest region is, as usual, one of the strongest in the nation. Still, these team rankings might surprise some people especially given head to head results, so I figured I might as well get some explanations out of the way. These rankings are not based on head-to-head team scores, but rather on how the individuals on each team have done at their best over the past 3, 4, 5+ weeks and adding up those team scores in a hypothetical 22-team meet. A larger meet, such as is often the case at NXN-MW and the Illinois state meet, would result in more of an emphasis on the #5 runner (and to an extent the #4)… but that is less the case in fields capped at 22 and only including elite teams (which will include elite individuals) – these meets, such as this hypothetical region scoring, puts more of an emphasis on front runners (because other teams have them, and if you don’t, you’re losing ground). Because of the difference in scoring dynamic, a team with a stronger #2-4 will generally win, even if their #5 is a bit further back or even if they didn’t win in a head to head matchup in a meet already this season.


Also, I’d like to note the significant improvement York has made since their loss at the Palatine Invitational… one look at their conference results should tell you all you need to know (they have the talent and coaching to get them onto the podium in Portland, and beat any team they’ll meet in November). Beware the Dukes!


No individual updates this week, but here are the top 5 teams (plus the top Bubble teams in alphabetical order). I hope to update this every other week, but I might manage more (or less) often than that… stay tuned. Hopefully I’ll be able to include individual rankings in future updates.


Boys Team Rankings

1. York IL

2. Valparaiso IN

3. Blue Springs MO

4. Carmel IN

5. Cincinnati St. Xavier OH


Bubble Teams: Barrington IL, Belvidere North IL, Carroll (Fort Wayne) IN, Cleveland St. Ignatius OH, Hamilton Southeastern IN, Highland Milford MI, Jones College Prep IL, Lawrence Central IN, Lyons Township IL, Maine South IL, Mason OH, Neuqua Valley IL, O’Fallon IL, Palatine IL, Prospect IL, Warsaw Community IN, Westville North OH, Westfield IN


Girls Team Rankings

1. Naperville North IL

2. Carmel IN

3. Grosse Pointe South MI

4. West Lafayette IN

5. New Trier IL


Bubble Teams: Birmingham Seaholm MI, Barrington IL, Carroll (Fort Wayne) IN, Columbus North IN, Downers Grove South IL, Eastern Greentown IN, Geneva IL, Glenbard West IL, Lake Park IL, Mason OH, Naperville Central IL, Palatine IL, Saline MI, Schaumburg IL, St. Vincent-St. Mary’s OH, Wheaton-Warrenville South IL, Yorkville IL


  1. I've only payed pretty cursory attention to results outside of Illinois this year, but I have to say, I'm pretty baffled by Blue Springs at #2. Even if Belete won Forest Park, they would have lost to O'Fallon (who I'd rate as the 3rd or 4th best team in Illinois) something like 65-110. I've looked at their performances since, and, at least based on their runner to runner spreads, the only place they've gotten better is at the #3 spot. To my eye they look pretty similar to Belvidere North except even worse at #5.

    I'm also surprised by Jones being out of the top 5. I don't know enough this year to really be able to compare them to the Indiana and Ohio teams, but they've been performing at a level I would expect to put them in the regional top 5 in any given year. They would have won Palatine if Maloney broke 15:40, which is well in line with his performances before and since. To be fair, their top 4 all ran very well at that meet. Their conference race was also quite impressive. Washington Park has hosted the City meet for a few years in a row now, and it seems to run a little slower than Detweiller. Jones putting 5 under 15:20 there bodes very well I think.

    At this point I think they're good for something like 14:40, 14:45, 14:55, 15:00, 15:15 at Detweiller, which is the sort of team I'd expect to be a favorite for an at-large spot at Regionals.

    To wrap up a long post, how would you rank Illinois right now? Through 5 teams, say.

    Thanks for the rankings and effort, as always!

  2. Jones and Blue Springs are the two reasons why I felt the need to do that little writeup at the top of the post.

    Blue Springs is real strong through four runners, but their #5 has and will hurt them in big fields (unless/until they close that gap). Take their race at Griak for example... yes, they finished sixth place with 255 points compared to, say, Bismarck ND's second place finish with 187 points. But how far apart would those teams be in an NXN Regional race capped at 22 teams? They'd be real close. Even looking at just the field Griak had, if you took out the #23-44 teams, Blue Springs score drops by about 60 points, and Bismarck's by about 5. Then if you take out the next 8 teams and replace them with stronger teams like York IL, St. Xavier OH, Stillwater MN, etc., those teams will be adding more to other teams scores than they will Blue Springs because of their front runners.

    As for how Blue Springs compared to O'Fallon at Forest Park... well, that was more than a month ago, and things have changed since (both teams have improved). Meguche and Barnett are running FAR better than they were back then... Barnett is about where Meguche was (for an Illinois comparison, I have Barnett about 5 seconds ahead of Chris May of York). That's a huge improvement, and one of the reasons why I never take those real early season meets too seriously.

    As for Jones... they have the unfortunate distinction to be the first team not mentioned. I have them at MW#6, and they are real close to Blue Springs at MW#3 (I have the scores ~235 to ~255 for #3 to #7). As I said, the Midwest is real strong. I pretty much agree with what you have Jones' times for Detweiller... I have them ~ 14:35-14:45-14:55-15:00-15:25, so a little bigger gap but essentially about the same. Not sure that's good enough to get an at-large invite this year, but should be good enough to be in the discussion (if they finish 3rd or possibly 4th ... as you know from last year, I look at how many points a team would score against an "average" NXN - circa 2007+ - and Jones is sitting around 350... which is just outside the top 15 usually, but since not everyone runs well at NXN and because some teams don't get to NXN even if they are that good when they are clicking, that may or may not translate to a top 25 ranking, though I'd expect them in the top 35).

    Illinois only rankings for boys... these are the top 12 teams (out of 26 for IL) that I've been tracking that seem to be a step ahead of the rest, and their hypothetical scores (22 teams included):

    60.00 York IL
    146.50 Jones IL
    170.00 Palatine IL
    186.00 Neuqua Valley IL
    213.00 Lyons Township IL
    221.50 O'Fallon IL
    227.50 Maine South IL
    236.00 Belvidere North IL
    239.00 Prospect IL
    258.50 Hersey IL
    268.50 Yorkville IL

  3. I really tried to believe in Blue Springs but couldn't. They are a good team but I'm not so sure they are top 15 in the Midwest. I think in a 22 team nxn mw crowd their 5th will get pretty buried. I'm honestly not sure they would of got out of Brebeuf Regional in Indiana.

    Other than that your analysis is awesome as always and I'm still learning how to do this as I try not to copy off of you.

    1. You could always... try harder. ;)

      Just look at the Griak results. In a 22 team field, Blue Springs is right with Bismarck (who you have at #46 on your list below), and essentially the same average as Bismarck (which means they should be better than Bismarck in an elite field, because they didn't have one guy WAY out in front of the rest of their guys to really effect their average). And as I said, switch out some of the weaker teams in favor of nationally elite teams like York, Stillwater, St. Xavier, etc. and all of the sudden they're ahead of Bismarck.

      Yes, their #5 is going to really hurt them in an NXR field. They're like North Hills PA a few years ago (though with a better #4) -- their front guys will put them in position to place highly, but they just won't be able to make that transition into one of the top 2 spots unless their #5 really improves. But if they have 4 guys ahead of most other teams' #3, and some teams' #2, they're sitting in pretty good shape.

      Just how I see it. Not surprised you don't either -- you never liked Minnesota or the Heartland ;) and that's where Blue Springs showed their strength (@ Griak). But I wonder how many other teams can average within a minute of two possible US Top-10 type athletes on a slow course...

  4. I'm also curious how Palatine is rated 3rd in IL. I wouldn't put them somewhere between Belvidere and Prospect.

    1. P.S. I posted my top 50 on track talk well here too if you want to critique what I came up with.

      1 Christian Brothers (NJ) ** 299
      2 North Central (WA) ** 480
      3 Carroll (TX) ** 487
      4 Elmhurst York (IL) ** 820
      5 St. Xavier (KY) ** 839
      6 American Fork (UT) ** 903
      7 Cardinal O'Hara (PA) ** 946
      8 Jones (IL) ** 983
      9 The Woodlands (TX) ** 1069
      10 Chantilly (VA) ** 1080
      11 St. Xavier (OH) ** 1133
      12 Dowling Catholic (IA) ** 1160
      13 California HS (CA) ** 1177
      14 West Chester Henderson (PA) ** 1177
      15 Trabuco Hills (CA) ** 1249
      16 Don Bosco (NJ) ** 1264
      17 Arcadia (CA) ** 1354
      18 Fayetteville-Manlius (NY) ** 1372
      19 Kamiakin (WA) ** 1380
      20 Davis (UT) ** 1400
      21 Does Pueblos (CA) ** 1411
      22 Fairview (CO) ** 1443
      23 Broughton (NC) ** 1483
      24 Nathan Hale (WA) ** 1487
      25 Valparaiso (IN) ** 1496
      26 Vista Murrieta (CA)** 1508
      27 Summit (OR) ** 1511
      28 Hamilton Southeastern (IN) ** 1512
      29 Herriman (UT) ** 1520
      30 St. Anthony (NY) ** 1530
      31 Mountain Vista (CO) ** 1539
      32 Warwick Valley (NY) ** 1540
      33 Carmel (IN) ** 1540
      34 El Toro (CA) ** 1543
      35 North Allegheny (PA) ** 1552
      36 Carroll (IN) ** 1559
      37 Dana Hills (CA) ** 1562
      38 Westfield (IN) ** 1590
      39 Belvidere North (IL) ** 1596
      40 O'Fallon (IL) ** 1612
      41 Bonneville (UT) ** 1617
      42 Tatnall (DE) ** 1624
      43 Walt Whitman (NY) ** 1665
      44 Stillwater (MN) ** 1691
      45 Ogden (UT) ** 1714
      46 Bismarck (ND) ** 1722
      47 Brentwood TN ** 1731
      48 Poly Long Beach (CA) ** 1732
      49 Mt. Prospect (IL) ** 1780
      50 Siuslaw (OR) ** 1796

    2. Ah, you want me to critique this? Well... the top looks good: I have NC and SLC neck and neck with NC ahead by 1 whole point right now. They aren't too far behind CBA, but far enough that in a field the size you have your scores for that might be pretty close.

      I'm a bit higher on Utah, a little lower on a couple of the Illinois teams (but not all), a little higher on Arcadia (they are probably top 7 for me) and I don't think I'll have a Pennsylvania team outside of Cardinal O'Hara in my top 25-30 so I'm probably not quite as high on results from Manhattan. But overall, that looks pretty solid. Not sure about Colorado yet, that's still on my list of things to do this week (and luckily CO Regionals was this week/weekend, which should provide a good picture).

    3. Oh, and regarding Palatine: They were 10 seconds/man ahead of Prospect at their conference meet, if you didn't catch that... that was a pretty good race, and the reason they are up that high. I admit I might be low on Belvidere North -- haven't really got a good feel for any of their races since Sterling on Sep. 22. Their race at Wheeling looks like it was pretty good, but it unfortunately isn't included.