TullyRunners - Article
A Look at Some Footlocker & NXN Speed Ratings 2012
by Bill Meylan (December 19, 2012)
This article is intended for viewers having a serious interest in the speed ratings I derive for the Footlocker and NXN National races ... Some viewers wonder about the earlier seasonal speed ratings of runners competing at Footlocker and NXN, and how those earlier speed ratings figure into my ratings for the national races ... Some want to know if I have compilations of speed ratings for the runners not in New York State.
Also some questions about direct comparisons between Footlocker and NXN National ratings ... I will start by showing the numbers of just the runners that competed in both the Footlocker and NXN National races.
Runners That Ran Both Footlocker & NXN Nationals in 2012 ... The table below lists the 12 runners that ran both Footlocker and NXN in 2012 along with their respective places, times and ratings for both ... In addition, it lists their "speed ratings entering Footlocker and NXN Nationals" (which are placed in most recent order as in Footlocker regional, NXN regional, State Meet and so-on ... I do not have complete speed rating histories of most runners except NY runners, so I can only list the speed ratings I have, which are sufficient for my purposes).
Looking at the Boys above ... Four of the five guys had speed ratings that were reasonable similar for both national meets ... the exception was Jake Leingang who had his worst race of year at NXN and his best race of the year at Footlocker (stuff does happen) ... as noted by the ratings entering the national meets, 4 of the 5 guys ran up to form (or slightly better) at NXN and all five ran well at Footlocker with Leingang and Kromer having speed rating PRs.
Looking at the Girls above ... Based on observation over the years, when the conditions of a race are very slow, or difficult, or extreme (such as Portland Meadows in 2012), the speed ratings of girls are generally affected more than boys ... 5 of the 7 Footlocker girls had their lowest speed rating of the year at NXN Portland Meadows ... in contrast, 4 of the 7 girls set speed rating PRs at Footlocker Nationals.
NXN - Footlocker ... Both national races are 5000 meters in distance ... BUT look at the race times above for these elite national runners ... NXN was much slower (minutes slower) due to the extreme conditions of the Portland Meadows course ... This makes the speed rating comparison something of an "apples-to-oranges" comparison even though the math and stats may be accurate ... extreme conditions affect runners differently as noted in the small sample above, but that's something handicappers need to evaluate on an individual basis.
As I have noted in most of my NXN National predictions, years of observation show that most teams and individuals will NOT have their best race of the year at NXN for various reasons ... Many runners will have NXN speed ratings lower than the individual runner projections based on speed ratings entering NXN ... NXN 2012 was especially bad in this regard ... I was going to post some compilations, but I found it too depressing for such a quality national event ... Overall ratings of team members entering NXN Nationals are available from the NXN Prediction page and compiled ratings at Portland Meadows by team are available on NXN 2012 Results page.
NXN Rating Strategy ... Even from the very beginning of NXN, I have applied the well known concept of horse races in the mud - horses that race poorly in the mud do exactly that, they run slow and poorly relative to other horses (and their speed ratings must reflect that) ... Do not assume they run "average" if, in fact, they run poorly.
As with all high school cross country races at this point of the season, my initial speed ratings are determined by a direct graphical and statistical comparison of the current race to same race in previous years that have known race adjustments ... Therefore, I compared NXN 2012 to NXN 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 (all had team + individual runners) and derived an initial race adjustment ... I then identified the individual runners in 2012 that seemed to run relatively "typical" races for them individually (and excluded all runners that ran poorly) and derived a second race adjustment using these individual runners ... The two different race adjustments differed by only 3 seconds, so I averaged them and the final speed ratings were calculated.
NXN - Footlocker Boys ... 3 of the 5 guys finished in the top 9 at NXN Nationals ... all 3 equaled or exceeded their best speed rating coming into the race which is consistent with those finishing positions ... The NXN winner (Sam Wharton) had a 200 speed rating (a PR by 5 points) which he equaled at Footlocker.
Five guys entered NXN Nationals having already achieved an individual speed rating of 197 or higher ... 3 of those 5 guys (Nick Ryan, Bernie Montoya and Jake Leingang) had their worst speed rating of the year at NXN Portland Meadows ... the other two (Joe Hardy and Kai Wilmot) finished 4th and 32nd (that may have been Wilmot's lowest as well, but he entered NXN coming off an injury).
In contrast ... 6 guys entered Footlocker Finals having achieved an individual speed rating of 197 or higher prior to NXN and Footlocker ... 5 of those 6 guys took the top 5 places at Balboa Park (and 6th at Footlocker was Sam Wharton who achieved a 200 rating at NXN) ... Apparently form held up a little bit better at Footlocker.
Footlocker Is Unique
Speed rating the Footlocker National race was
an interesting "research project" when I initially decided to evaluate the
race back in 2001 ... The race is different than all other high school cross
country races for two major reasons:
This makes the race unique ... that means it can only be profiled by itself (which means it can only be compared to itself via prior year's races), and that requires background data on both the race and the individuals who were in the race.
My Footlocker speed ratings for 1997-2012 are listed on a Footlocker speed rating page (along with the best ratings since 1982).
The ratings look a bit high compared to in-season speed ratings ... That's the major question I get from viewers and coaches.
The ratings looked high to me as well in my initial research, BUT I also realized the race is unique ... A small elite-only field of runners competing in a championship race with good weather and good course conditions plus media and sponsor attention ... This encourages runners to run fast ... The best runners will be challenged and will need to run their best to win ... The high quality of the runners encourages runners to get "pulled-along" to their fastest performances ever ... and that's precisely what I was seeing in the results ... Not that much different from elite runners competing in track races ... The top runners finish very fast while the middle and back runners have more "normal" performances (or maybe a bit slow at the end) ... And that's how I profile Footlocker Finals.
Footlocker Girls ... The initial race adjustment via direct comparison to previous year's Footlocker results looked consistent with race adjustments for Balboa Park ... Being from NY, I looked at the three NY girls (21st, 25th and 31st) and saw their speed ratings were a bit lower than their "overall" NY ratings which is consistent with those finish places ... After looking at all runners individual seasonal ratings, I lowered the initial adjustment by one point (so Anna Rohrer went from 160 to 159).
Over half the girls' field had already achieved a speed rating better than or equal to their Footlocker rating (mostly better) ... 6 of the top 8 finishers entered Footlocker with ratings of 150-156, so the Footlocker ratings of 153-159 are consistent with those finishes.
Footlocker Boys ... 25 of 39 guys had already achieved a speed rating better than or equal to their Footlocker rating (mostly better) ... Edward Cheserek had the best rating (207), but he exceeded that rating on several occasions last year ... Fairly common overall results for the boys.
Girls Footlocker Ratings - 2012
Boys Footlocker Ratings - 2012