On Speed Ratings, And The Top 20 Performances Of The Weekend


* Springville's Grant Gardner comments on his recent effort from the Murray Invitational

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Speculations are often made on how high school cross country races stack up against others in various states. It's a broad question, and to some, an impossible one to answer. 

But that hasn't meant some haven't tried. 

Over two decades ago, New Yorker William Meylan adapted a model that is still used to handicap racehorses today and carried over the fundamentals to cross country, issuing his first speed ratings privately just before the 2000 high school season in New York. With success, he went public with his findings in 2000 and begun issuing national projections in 2004 when the Fayetteville-Manlius boys made the Nike Team Nationals Invitational. 

Since then, Meylan, a scientist by trade, has continued to gather cross country data and and publish his results on TullyRunners.comHis ratings, often referenced on MileSplit LIVE and MileSplit.com, are good resources for a lot of reasons. 

But the big one is perspective. How does a 3-mile effort compare to a 5K? How does one athlete compare to his counterpart in another division statewide? What about national-level athletes? 

All these questions are better answered with numbers. 

There's an important distinction, though. 

"Speed ratings measure how fast runners ran relative to each other in that particular race and relative to all runners in general based on multiple historical baselines of groups of runners and individuals," Meylan told me last year. 

Which means, speed ratings aren't an exact science, either. They're not meant to compare courses. They often require some subjectivity and perspective. 

Often, they're a baseline for predicting how an athlete MIGHT compete against similar competition in a future meet -- think "seed times." 

Per New York MileSplit's weekly speed rankings merge explanation: 


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.


Saying all of that, speed ratings do hold weight when determining which performances are stronger than others from a national perspective. 

Every week, we'll try to recap the best rated performances from the previous weekend. The top 20 performances from Sept. 5-9 are below: 

Check out MileSplit New York's overall merge of the top overall speed ratings over the course of a season below -- this also includes team rankings. 

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Top 10 Boys per TullyRunners.com

#NameSchoolRatingtimeinvitational
1

Cole Bullock

Red Bank (TN)19214:54.00Cherokee Classic (TN)
2

Kevin Ramos

Rubidoux (CA)18914:48.7Laguna Hills (CA)
3

Zachary Erikson

Idaho Falls (ID)18816:03.6Tiger Grizz (ID)
4

Rory Cavan

Glenbard West (IL)18514:24.4 (3-mile)First to Finish (IL)
5

Nick Foster

Ann Arbor Pioneer (MI)18615:20.1SEC Jamboree (MI)
6

Camren Fischer

Fayetteville (AR)18516:12.00Southlake Carroll (TX)
7

Carter Cheeseman

FW Christian (TX)18516:13.0Southlake Carroll (TX)
8

Garrett Brennan

FM (NY)18515:53.2Chittenango (NY)
9

Geoff Howles

FM (NY)18515:54.6Chittenango (NY)
10

Tyler Berg

Burnt Hills (NY)18514:32.29 (2.86-mile)Guilderland (NY)
11

Evan Brennan

Burnt Hills (NY)18514:32.45 (2.86-mile)Guilderland (NY)
12

Jack Roberts

DG North (IL)18414:26.5 (3-mile)First to Finish (IL)
13

Nick Russell

Bishop Kelly (ID)18416:14.2Tiger Grizz (ID)
14

Jonas Price

Eisenhower Senior (OR)18315:33.4Ash Creek XC Festival (OR)
15

Grant Gardner

Springville (UT)18314:53.00 (3-mile)Murray Invitational (UT)
16

Jacob Hunter

Loudoun Valley (VA)18215:44.1PTXC10 (PA)
17

Conant Smith

Middleton (OH)18115:47.6Mason Invitational (OH)
18

Theo Woods

EC Glass (VA)18115:43.00Knights Crossing (VA)
19

Brandon Palacios

Santa Ana (CA)18115:11.0Laguna Hills (CA)
20

Carlos Shultz

Loudoun Valley (VA)18115:48.2PTXC10 (PA)


* Glenbard West (IL) High School's Katelynne Hart ran a season-best 3-mile on Saturday

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Top 10 Girls per TullyRunners.com

1

Claire Walters

FM (NY)14717:50.7Chittenango Invitational (NY)
2

Katelynne Hart

Glenbard West (IL)14516:35.66 (3-mile)Harvey Braus (IL)
3

Abby Loveys

Randolph (NY)14517:27.6Warwick Valley (NY)
4

Anna Martin

Lehi (UT)14119:01.1Wasatch XC (UT)
5

Tiahna Vladic

Billings (MT)14117:44.33Bozeman (MT)
6

London Culbreath

McKinney North (TX)14118:11.00Southlake Carroll (TX)
7

Katrina Schlenker

Batavia (IL)13916:42.6 (3-mile)First To Finish (IL)
8

Molly Fitzpatrick

Barrington (IL)13816:44.6 (3-mile)First To Finish (IL)
9

Jenna Hutchins

Science Hill (TN)13717:43.00Cherokee Classic (TN)
10

Sasha Neglia

Dobyns Bennett (TN)13617:45.00Cherokee Classic (TN)
11

Brynn Brown

Denton Guyer (TX)13618:27.00Southlake Carroll (TX)
12

Ava Peeples

Lake Highlands (TX)13618:27.00Southlake Carroll (TX)
13

Taryn Parks

GC Antrim (PA)13618:08.2PTXC10 (PA)
14

Jenna Fitzsimmons

Mountain Vista (CO)13617:29.1Liberty Bell (CO)
15

Madison Neuner

Liverpool (NY)13518:26.6Chittenango Invitational (NY)
16

Sarah Shulze

Oak Park (CA)13416:32.2 (3-mile)Cool Breeze (CA)
17

Samantha Blair

Eagle Valley (CO)13417:36.3Liberty Bell (CO)
18

Isabel Sagar

Loyalsock (PA)13418:05.00Harry Groves Spiked Shoe (PA)
19

Quinn McConnell

Peak to Peak (CO)13317:38.6Liberty Bell (CO)
20

Alice Abbott

St. Charles East (IL)13317:12.44 (3-mile)Harvey Braus (IL)

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