NCRunners is counting down our version of the top 30 boys and girls cross country teams as we head toward the official start of cross country practice on August 1st. We will highlight one girls team and one boys team every day until July 31st, when the final 5 teams will be revealed. A few things to remember when considering the process that went into developing the list that you'll see over the next few weeks:
- These rankings are partly subjective, and are my opinion only.
- Several statistical measures were used to rank the teams:
- Returning 5K Rankings from the 2014 fall season (greatest weight).
- Returning 1600 and 3200 Rankings from the 2015 spring season.
- Improvement Rating: a custom metric that measures a program's long-term strength. It compares the team's returning top 5 average before the start of a season to its best top 5 average at the end of the season. The rating also considers where the team finished in the statistical rankings for that season (considering all classes together), and tracks the program over a period of years. Right now I have 6 years of data in the spreadsheet, and I used both a 3-year and a 5-year rating.
- Teams were divided into tiers based on a combination of these statistics and a little gut feeling, and then ranked within the tiers to generate the top 30. Within each tier the schools can be very close to each other - if someone else with a different point of view did the rankings, the teams could certainly be in a different order.