Are you racing Mt. SAC this weekend?

Monday, November 19, 2012

NCS Comparisons for girls between 2011 and 2012


Anonymous said...

Is Julia Maxwell the only girl who actually improved her time from last year with the conditions?

Anonymous said...

Mt Sac has a "rain course" for conditions like the type that our NCS runners experienced on Saturday.We do not have that option at Hayward HS."Slop alley" preceding the 1 mile mark was a joke.Much history has been made at Hayward HS and if the NCS/Hayward HS plan to continue to host this fine event then they need to consult a landscape/drainage company to insure a fast/safe race."Slop alley" could be converted into a hard pack gravel type surface.The same could be done to the hill.If the course was made "water safe" then the time comparisons could be made year to year.There should definitely be an asterisk after the 2012 NCS championships explaining the "slower times."If each team contributed X number of dollars it wouldn't be that big of a deal.Our team would be in for $500-$1000.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the above poster. I ran in that muck on Saturday in the second to last race, and where you see "Slop alley" I see real Cross Country. Everyone deals with the conditions, everyone runs the same hills. We shouldn't be afraid of a little mud, and neither should Southern Section

NCSftw said...

I think that the mud and rain is what makes xc so fun and unpredictable. We can't control the rain, same as we can't control the sun. It is what it is and you just gotta enjoy it :) if weather is a big problem to some people that's what indoor track is for.

Steve Palladino said...

1) Yes, cross country, at its essence, is running against the elements and terrain. However, when course conditions are such that runners are routinely slipping and falling, then the true test of which athletes are the fastest/strongest has been somewhat invalidated, no?
2) I'm proud to say that my daughter bagged a 1:20 improvement vs last year's NCS meet at Hayward. Regardless, huge kudos to Julia Maxwell - amazing.

Anonymous said...

Honestly sometimes it shouldn't need to be about dropping hude PR's, it shouldbe about showing up and running for your team. I love the Hayward course, this year was one of my favorite meets. It's easy to blame a poor race on the conditions sure, but every single other person running had the exact same circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly true ^ later races were torn up pretty badly.

Sstoz Tes said...

Medians for N.C.S. state meet qualifiers from 2005 - 2011 (left column) and 2012 (right column):

d. 1 b.: 2005 - 2011: 16:06; 2012: 16:20 (race 2)
d. 2 b.: 2005 - 2011: 16:25; 2012: 16:49 (race 5)
d. 3 b.: 2005 - 2011: 16:12; 2012: 16:42 (race 9)
d. 4 b.: 2005 - 2011: 16:45; 2012: 17:21 (race 8)
d. 5 b.: 2005 - 2011: 17:19; 2012: 17:04 (race 1)

d. 1 g.: 2005 - 2011: 19:10; 2012: 19:47 (race 4)
d. 2 g.: 2005 - 2011: 19:29; 2012: 20:30 (race 7)
d. 3 g.: 2005 - 2011: 19:18; 2012: 19:51 (race 6)
d. 4 g.: 2005 - 2011: 20:27; 2012: 20:41 (race 10)
d. 5 g.: 2005 - 2011: 20:29; 2012: 20:42 (race 3)

Due to the conditions, it seems logical that the races would, relative to respective historical norms, get progressively slower as the day progressed. At first this seems to hold true -- the only race with a faster-than-typical median for 2012 was the first race of the day (d. 5 b., 1,44% faster). From there, though, the pictures becomes less clear -- race 10, for example, was the 3rd closest to historical norms (1,18% slower), race 4 was the 8th furthest (3,22%) and race 7 was furthest off (5,18%). See below for table:

1 -1.44%
3 1.06%
10 1.18%
2 1.55%
5 2.49%
6 2.85%
9 3.09%
4 3.22%
8 3.58%
7 5.18%

The typical conversion ratio from the Hayward course to Woodward Park (not applicable to earlier-season meets for obvious reasons and not applicable to non-state meet qualifiers because of the specialized population from which the below statistics are derived) has been 102,765% (that is, one multiplies one's Hayward time by 1,02765 to find the equivalent state meet time), though that has ranged from 1 in 2011 to 1,03552 in 2007. As with most non-standard distributions (running race results skew heavily to the right side of the curve), the conversion has a high amount of variability from one year to the next -- the sigma is 1,262% (of the 12 state qualifying courses used between 2005 & 2011, the N.C.S. course has the 3rd highest amount of variability). A c.i. of 1,96 (that is, 95% (alpha/2)) shows that only the 2011 ratio was statistically significant. And I have no idea why. *Shrug*

Given all of that, it is dangerous territory to find a conversion factor for the 2012 results. The obvious route is to derive the ratio from a given 2012 race's median to that divisions & genders 2005 - 2011 median (e.g. the 2012 d. 1 girls were slower than the 2005 - 2011 median by 3,22%; if one compares this to the N.C.S. d. 1 girls 2005 - 2011 state meet median (19:46), the conversion factor becomes 0,99916 (19:46/19:47)). This is dangerous territory, though, because the population is so small -- between 18 & 47 depending on the race (one cannot use an overall median from the 2012 state-meet qualifer, I think, because it seems likely that course conditions impacted each race differently). In case anyone wants to live dangerously, though, below are conversion factors for each race:

d. 1 b.: 1,02039%
d. 2 b.: 101,139%
d. 3 b.: 100,499%
d. 4 b.: 099,904%
d. 5 b.: 104,395%

d. 1 g.: 099,916%
d. 2 g.: 098,007%
d. 3 g.: 100,504%
d. 4 g.: 101,410%
d. 5 g.: 101,288%

Marty Beene said...

Thanks for that analysis, Sstoz!

A couple other factors to consider:

The different divisions represent the population of students at each school. With larger schools, I would expect a more consistent median state qualifying time than for the smaller schools. Not sure exactly how this factors in....

If you chart the median times in order that they were run, there is a very clear increase in the times (with a little up and down) from Race 1 through Race 7. Race 7 was run at 11:45. I am pretty sure this is about when it stopped raining. Once it stopped raining, the water that was cascading over the ground surface on much of the course drained away. While this did not help the flat surfaces, it did enable runners to get a little better footing on certain parts of the course. To me, it is not surprising that the trend of time increases went down (still higher than past years, but less so).

Personally, I like running in the rain, splashing through mud, etc., and times (in XC) are only a tool to guide proper pacing and a curiosity (how did I do on that course compared to last year?). My only concern is for the safety of the runners. I saw one kid fall on the grass - 99.9% of the time, this would not be a problem - indeed, the kid slid for a few feet, then popped back up and lost maybe 1 second. But other kids fell while going full speed on the rocky final downhill before the finish. Sooner or later, that kind of fall will result in a broken collarbone, separated shoulder, etc. I would think there would be some odds & ends that could be done to the course to improve safety but keep the "run through anything" concept of cross country intact.

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