Today, we're focusing on the girls to see where it may evolve this outdoor season. By taking our current athletes between Feb.-Mar. 14 and comparing them with performances in each month of 2016 (March, April, May, June), we're taking a small sample size to predict, perhaps, what athletes may need to run to be considered the best in the nation.
Currently, four girls have run times faster than 2:11 and 15 have run ahead of 2:14 pace.
But as 2016 told us, that's to be expected. Seven girls ran under 2:11 pace for the period of March in 2016 -- including two returnees from this year -- and 15 ran under 2:12 pace.
But as the months go along, the "elite range" in the 800m significantly changes, with times dropping and margins between those performances gaps closing.
In April of 2016, the range widened considerably, with a top time of 2:06 emerging -- by national leader Sammy Watson -- and 21 girls running under 2:11 pace.
Take a look at the top times from each month a year ago.
The very next month, May exploded with top performances, with the top 50 runners in the nation all going under 2:11. The "elite range" changed dropped, or as race tactics would say "gapped" the field, by cutting significantly. The top 15 girls ran under 2:08, with the nation's best -- Watson again, cutting a second off her previous best.