Sunday, October 11, 2015

Reviewing the weekend and the national team picture

Quick notes about results from the past weekend:

If there was any doubt that might have been lingering after the VVS Invitational results came out a few weeks ago, this weekend should have eliminated any question about who the #1 girls team in the nation is. Fayetteville-Manlius NY destroyed the field at the Manhattan Invitational, averaging 14:36.86 over the 4k course. "How good is that?" you might ask... well, that is an average of 2 seconds per runner faster than the 2004 Saratoga Springs NY squad (14:38.8 average) that some claim is the best team ever, and only 1.5 seconds slower than the 2009 Fayetteville-Manlius NY girls (14:35.44). Manhattan is a race that is extremely well tested, with all but one NTN/NXN Champion team having run on the course and many other NTN/NXN qualifiers to test it as well. Only seven other teams have averaged under 14:50 per runner on the course, and every single one of them won the NTN/NXN title that year.

The #2 girls team in the nation, Great Oak CA, also ran well last weekend as they scored 34 points to beat Arcadia CA (100) and Southlake Carroll TX (132) among others at the Clovis Invitational. Their time at the meet stacks up well, putting them at #5 on the All-Time Woodward Park list and only about half a minute (total team time, not team average) behind where they were when they set the course record at this meet last year.

The question still remains: who is the third best girls team in the nation? We've seen a very strong duo up front, but what about the rest of the nation?

Sunset OR still seems to be somewhere up there, having lost only to Great Oak CA while beating multiple US Top-25 caliber teams at Woodbridge and Nike Pre-Nationals already this year. They scorched the course at an always-fast (and probably short?) 5k at the Sandelie Golf Course, but is notable that they averaged within a minute of one of the best individual athletes in the nation in Ella Donaghu (17:55.0 vs. 16:59.6) and their #5 keeping within 80.4 seconds of a runner of that caliber is very impressive (for example, 80 seconds behind the #10 finisher at last year's NXN race, Ella Donaghu, was the 41st team scorer). I'm not sure they are US#3, but they definitely seem to be in the running for US Top-5.

The picture on the guys side is a bit more wide open, as many of the top teams haven't really faced off against eachother yet. What we do know is that:

-Sandburg IL is tearing it up in Illinois
-Lafayette MO is tearing it up in Missouri/Arkansas/Tennessee
-American Fork UT hasn't been healthy enough to continue their annual course record setting efforts in Utah
-Timpanogos UT came out on top of the biggest meet of the season to date, the Bob Firman Invitational, over Great Oak CA and several of the best from California and the Northwest
-Hopkins MN looks like the top team in the Heartland
-St. Ignatius OH has looked mighty impressive in Ohio
-and Downingtown West PA might be the best team in the Northeast after their win at Manhattan, though don't look like a potential US Top 5 team quite yet

What that all means, I have no idea.


  1. On a Northwest note, Central Catholic has showed well the last 2 weekends. They are showing good pack running, which is something most Washington teams are not showing. Too many teams without solid 4 and 5 guys. That was the observation before the seasons started, and it is still true. At Richland, North Central was running without their #2 and #3 guys. Still almost won. Anyway, I think Central Catholic deserves a spot in the NW top 10.

  2. Anonymous,
    I'll have to disagree with you. Though Central has showed well the last 2 weekends, they have not had much competition at all. Additionally, I don't think they are much better than any of the teams on the top ten list; they certainly haven't proven anything yet. Despite this, Central is looking like a top 3 team in 6A and definitely is a respectable team with a strong core.

    1. Hard for me to say one way or another, given how the weather appears to have effected the race times last weekend.

      IF the Hole in the Wall course was slowed by, say, 40 seconds from it's normal (as would be suggested by looking at the top few individuals on the guys side, though that is far from a thorough review), I would say Central Catholic looked very good last weekend.

      If the course was only slower by, say, 5-10 seconds, I'd agree with you that they didn't look much better than many, if any, of the 10 previously mentioned teams.

      They did just beat a pair of teams that I had in the Top 15, by a decent margin (82-130-146). At the least, they deserve a good amount of consideration.

      It is an odd year in the Northwest - no boys teams have really shown to be all that dominant yet, whereas usually we would be seeing at least 5-7 teams really stepping up and looking like potential NXN caliber squads.

  3. Yes. The real issue is that almost no one has 5 solid guys. There are several teams with 3 or 4 really good runners, but 4 and especially 5 are a problem.

  4. It is not clear that you are keeping up this blog, but in case you are I will pass this information along. I just came from the Sea-King District 2 Championships. Blanchet did NOT make it to state. After 37 years, or whatever. It was Interlake, Juanita, Ballard, Nathan Hale, and Bainbridge that made it. Interlake won easily.
    In 4A, it very hard to tell who won by watching. Again, no one has sufficient depth and the 4 and 5 runners were way back on all the teams. Eastlake has the best top 3, but after that it is an issue. Issaquah, Eastlake, Lake Stevens, and Mount Si made it to state. Pixler was individual champ

    1. How was the weather at the meet? It was pretty muddy/boggy at the district meet I was at.

      Congrats to all the state qualifiers this week! I may or may not get around to posting something this week, likely either for a look at the NW scene or for a WA State preview.

  5. The Eastern Regional race was fairly miserable weather wise. It could've been even worse if the predictions were correct (predicted 50 MPH winds and downpour) but it was still very windy and standing water everywhere. University, Central Valley, and Ferris qualified surprising both Lewis and Clark and Mead.

  6. The weather was pretty bad in Issaquah. Windy, and it had rained all night and all morning. There was a lot of mud and a lot of very large puddles. I suspect it was similar in most of western Washington today. Times definitely suffered due to the poor conditions.
    Inglemoor did not have their #3, Karlinsky. If they had him, I think they would have qualified.
    I don't see anyone from the D1-D2 4A boys (Issaquah, Eastlake, etc) challenging at state. Their 4 and 5 guys are just too far back.
    Taylor Roe looked really good in the girls race. She went wire to wire, easily pulling away all along the route.