Downers Grove South's Girls (IL)
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The most obvious snub of anyone within the at-large space are the Downers Grove South girls.
Forget the fact that the Mustangs are ranked No. 11 in our national poll and inside the top 10 in another ranking. The NXN decision committee didn't a base a decision on national rankings.
OK, well let's take a look at the tape then.
- Sept. 8: DGS finishes second at the First To Finish Invitational behind NXR Midwest No. 1 Naperville North and ahead of NXR Midwest No. 2 Yorkville, which was was third.
- Sept. 29: DGS finishes third at the Roy Griak Invitational, behind Naperville North and Yorkville and ahead of NXR Heartland No. 1 Wayzata, No. 2 Edina and No. 3 Saint Michael Albertville
- Oct. 3: Finishes third at the Naperville Twilight, behind Naperville North and Yorkville. Team average: 18:19.
- Oct 20: Wins IHSA 3A Regional. 18:30 team average for 3-miles.
- Oct. 27: Wins IHSA 3A Chicago Sectional. Team average 17:28 for 3-miles.
- Nov. 3: Third at IHSA 3A State Championships, behind Naperville North and Yorkville. 17:17 for 3-miles.
- Nov. 11: Third at NXR Midwest, behind NN and Yorkville. Team average 18:40 for 5K
If wins don't catch you, then we'll get right down to how the performances actually looked. Let's look at how DGS raced in big events through a metric called speed ratings.
- Downers Grove South, NXR Midwest: 134-125-122-121-120
- Vista Murrieta, CIF Champs: 139-129-121-121-121
- Niwot, NXR Southwest: 133-132-121-116-112
- Liverpool, NXR New York: 143-139-123-114-99
There's a problem, however, in basing decisions based on one race. The whole idea of a national championship is to reward programs based on their season's resume as a whole -- like in most championships scenarios -- rather than a one-race, win-and-get-in playoff format where if you race well you're in.
Unfortunately, Vista Murrieta's season did not include a win over an auto-qualifying team. It didn't even race in the Sweepstakes competition at Woodbridge, which was the biggest meet the team attended.
If we look back on Vista Murrieta's Southern Section result, their speed ratings are adjusted based on the performance: 138-126-125-125-114.
In the case of Niwot, at least the program defeated NXR Southwest No. 2 Battle Mountain in the Class 4A Championship in Colorado. But if we look at those speed ratings -- 132-130-119-115-112 -- they don't necessarily measure up to DGS, either.
Liverpool, meanwhile, has raced well in dual meets against NXR New York No. 2 Fayetteville-Manlius, though it's biggest result was at McQuaid, where the team was second overall in the team merge and scored speed ratings of 140-136-120-108-108. Again, the measuring stick doesn't exactly add up.
In the same respect, Saint Michael Albertville's girls have an argument to be made, too.
The Minnesota club won its first Class AA championship this season in beating NXR Heartland No. 1 Wayzata, with solid speed ratings of 134-127-122-120-118.
But in our eyes, DGS was the biggest miss here.
Next up, the at-large boys team considerations...