Preseason "Terrific 20" Team Rankings: Introduction IP: 126.96.36.199 Posted on June 11, 2015 at 06:28:55 PM by foreverfaster
Now that track season is officially over (excluding post-season meets), we can look forward to the upcoming cross country season. On the distance side, we witnessed many breakthroughs and historic performances including Merchan's triple at City Finals and Luevano's battle with Marshall's duo of Garcia and the aforementioned Merchan. At the state level, Merchan and Martin Del Campo both qualified to Finals in the 800. Martin Del Campo's 1:54.37 was good for the 9th best time in the NATION among sophomores. Because the City Section returns many of its best runners, this season is expected to be especially strong and it beckons questions: Who can challenge ECR? Can Monroe's young guns step it up to the varsity level? How will Marshall cope with losing 6 of their top 7 from last year? Who will go with Luevano and Garcia?
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting Preseason "Terrific 20" Rankings which will compose of the top 20 D1 boys teams in the LA City Section according to my criteria. These rankings will be based off of both cross country and track PRs with a bit more weight placed on cross country times. However, as we all know, great strides can be made on the track that don't reflect cross country PRs. A prime example is Amiri of Palisades who ran a 20:00 at Pierce, but had a major breakthrough during track where he recorded PRs of 4:40 and 10:23 at Frosh-Soph City Finals. The same applies for the vice-versa too. In Ceja of Birmingham's junior year, he finished 3rd at XC City Finals, but did not have a great track season. (This season, he went from a 4:53 in his junior year to a 4:18 at State and from a 10:49 to 9:33 at City Finals). There are many factors that can affect an athlete over the course of a year or even a season, so PRs from both seasons will be considered.
There are also those unforeseen factors. Transfers and new team members can make a huge impact as we saw in the shape of Merchan at Marshall last year. Though it's not likely we will see someone of his pedigree and caliber this season, transfers can make an impact nonetheless. Runners also leave teams for various reasons which can have an effect. And finally, top freshman can make an impact at the varsity level. Generally, we see 2-4 freshman running at the varsity level at City Finals. Last year we saw Hazell of ECR, Hamer of Palisades, and Hernandez of Garfield all score for their respective teams.
Based roughly on Prepcaltrack's yearly ranking criteria, each team will be ranked according to a couple of factors. The first of which are the number of returning varsity members from each school's top 7. The next factor is the "Strength Rating" which takes into account the quality of the top 3 projected runners for each team. These individuals will be evaluated on how well they can place and will be expected to put their teams in good positions to win meets. While the overall quality will be looked at, a single individual that can potentially finish in the top 10 for example, can drag their team's rating higher. Third is the "Depth Rating" which focuses on teams' projected 4-7 runners. These runners can make a huge difference and since the City Section doesn't have as much depth as other sections, their quality usually makes the difference between making it to City Finals or just missing out and likewise, a place on the podium or missing out on that as well. Lastly, the "Reserves Rating" analyzes not only the quality of runners each team has outside of their top 7, but also the quantity. These runners can fill in spots in the event of injury and push their top 7 to maintain their spots. However, this rating is not as important as the previous ones. I will also include a projected top 7 for each team based on PRs. Each of the three "ratings" will be based on a scale of 1-10 and will be relative to the City Section. A team with a "Strength Rating" of 10 in the City Section would not receive the same score if powerhouse Southern Section teams that can boast 3 guys sub 9:30 in the 3200 were included.
I would like to emphasize that these rankings are not meant to discourage anybody. On the contrary, I would like them to be a motivational tool to work hard over the summer and prove them wrong. A great summer of training sets the foundation for a great season.
The first set of rankings covering teams 18-20 will come out sometime tomorrow.