[TullyRunners Home Page

[National Boys Teams]

Pre-Season XC 2015

GIRLS Teams - National 2015

Bill Meylan (July 30, 2015)

Girls - Potential National Contenders

My pre-season projection for National Girls Teams is listed below ... I do this each pre-season for my own interest.

Purpose ... There is one purpose ... Get a general idea where the NY State and other teams rank overall ... I am primarily concerned about teams likely to compete in NXN (teams that have shown interest, have competed or may be expected to compete).

To a large extent, the team listing below is an extension of the 2014 XC season into 2015 with a few modifications ... IF data for 5 runners on each team was not readily available (or guess-able), that team was probably NOT included ... This could exclude some good teams, but it does not matter because actual race results in 2014 will identify those teams ... Once the real season starts, I tend to ignore the pre-season.

My first criteria for this pre-season list is to consider teams that competed in the NXN Regional races ... Performance in NXN (both Regional & National) plus State Meets is the major focus (plus a few other major meets) because I am considering "championship" performance.

Initially, I combined all potential teams in a single race scenario and began eliminating teams with the highest scores in an iterative process until I had 30 teams remaining ... The scores are listed below along with the teams just behind the top 30 scoring teams.

Remember ... this list is just an informational starting point ... Real 2015 race results are what count.


 National GIRLS Teams 2015

 Pre-Season Projection - Girls National Team Contenders - 2015

      School                 State   Score     NXN Region
      --------------------   -----   -----     ----------
  1   Fayetteville-Manlius    NY      170      New York
  2   Great Oak               CA      171      California
  3   Saratoga Springs        NY      245      New York
  4   Carmel                  IN      285      Midwest
  5   Glenbard West           IL      290      Midwest
  6   Naperville North        IL      310      Midwest
  7   Shenendehowa            NY      320      New York
  8   Davis                   UT      350      Southwest
  9   Lake Braddock           VA      360      Southeast
  10  Northville              MI      370      Midwest
  11  Pennsbury               PA      375      Northeast
  12  Wayzata                 MN      380      Heartland
  13  La Salle Academy        RI      390      Northeast
  14  Hinsdale Central        IL      395      Midwest
  15  Willmar                 MN      400      Heartland
  16  Edina                   MN      415      Heartland
  17  Saugus                  CA      420      California
  18  Winter Park             FL      421      Southeast
  19  Lewisville Marcus       TX      425      South
  20  Oakton                  VA      430      Southeast
  21  Serrano                 CA      435      California
  22  Camas                   WA      436      Northwest
  23  American Fork           UT      437      Southwest
  24  Green Hope              NC      438      Southeast
  25  Coe-Brown               NH      450      Northeast
  26  Bella Vista             CA      455      California
  27  Urbandale               IA      465      Heartland
  28  Desert Vista            AZ      470      Southwest
  29  Summit                  OR      475      Northwest
  30  Lewisville Hebron       TX      480      South

    The next group is basically in order following the
     list above ... Many are very close and the order
      could be shuffled a lot:

     Minooka                 IL      Midwest
     St. Thomas Aquinas      KS      Heartland
     Mason                   OH      Midwest
     North Rockland          NY      New York
     Suffern                 NY      New York
     Hillsborough            NJ      Northeast
     Needham                 MA      Northeast
     Columbus North          IN      Midwest
     Monroe-Woodbury         NY      New York
     Sunset                  OR      Northwest
     Riverside               SC      Southeast
     Palatine                IL      Midwest
     Centerville             OH      Midwest
     Blacksburg              VA      Southeast
     New Trier               IL      Midwest
     Phillips Andover        MA      Northeast
     The Bolles School       FL      Southeast
     Cardinal O'Hara         PA      Northeast
     Walter Johnson          MD      Southeast
     W  Warrenville South    IL      Midwest
     Forest Lake             MN      Heartland
     Cherry Creek            CO      Southwest
     Highland-Milford        MI      Midwest
     Johnston                IA      Heartland
     Bozeman                 MT      Northwest
     Coeur D'Alene           ID      Northwest
     Tolland                 CT      Northeast
     Humble Kingwood         TX      South
     Mountain Brook          AL      Southeast
     Sachem East             NY      New York
     Monarch                 CO      Southwest
     Pendleton Heights       IN      Midwest
     Southlake Carroll       TX      South
     Sun Prairie             WI      Heartland
     Unionville              PA      Northeast
     Barrington              RI      Northeast
     Sacred Heart            KY      Southeast
     Cardinal Gibbons        NC      Southeast
     Myers Park              NC      Southeast
     James Madison           VA      Southeast
     Bishop Guertin          NH      Northeast

Where did the scores come from? ... In part, the scores are a composite of computer race simulations using 2014 seasonal speed ratings (sort of) ... a few speed rating ranges were altered based on track results ... I manually manipulated some numbers (because I had to) ... Speed ratings were scarce for some teams, so I used my imagination (but so what, this is pre-season).


Hopefully, the girl's list above identifies many of the top teams entering the 2015 XC season in a reasonable order ... As a point of reference for last year, my 2014 pre-season projections with corresponding results from NXN 2014 are shown in a table below... Of the 22 teams at NXN 2014, I did not identify 3 teams (they were unranked in the top 30 teams and not listed in the extra team list) ... 10 of the top 11 teams at NXN 2014 were ranked in my pre-season top 26 teams.

General Comments for the Coming Season:

Similar to the boys, the top pre-season teams are typically highly-ranked teams from the previous year that return a solid core of good runners ... and many of these teams are teams that have qualified for NXN on multiple occasions ... This year is no different.

Who to Pick as Number One ... Either Fayetteville-Manlius NY or Great Oak CA could be selected as the top national team entering the 2015 XC season ... Great Oak appears to be stronger in terms of team depth at a high level ... This could be the most vulnerable Fayetteville-Manlius has been since they started winning NXN in 2006 ... FM may be pressed just to win in New York ... But only two girls teams in the entire nation return a core of three runners at a speed rating level of 130 or higher, and those two teams are  Fayetteville-Manlius and Great Oak ... I think Great Oak is the strongest overall team in the nation, but Fayetteville-Manlius is the defending champion ... and any "multiple-time" returning champion that has this much strength gets my benefit-of-the-doubt until proven different.

Fayetteville-Manlius NY ... FM is the defending NXN champion ... FM has been the NXN champion in 8 of the last 9 years, so picking them as a very slight favorite does not require much imagination ... But 2015 is a new season ... and handicapping it requires looking back to last year ... Fayetteville-Manlius won NXN 2014 by running as a pack (only 11 seconds separated their 5 scorers, and 3 of them return this year) ... That core of 3 returning runners matches up nicely with Great Oak (in terms of team scoring) ... Last year's FM squad was not the strongest FM girls team to compete at NXN, and they still beat Great Oak by 79 points.

Fayetteville-Manlius has developed at least one new "high-level" performer every year since they began their "national" winning in 2006 ... so it seem likely that might happen again this year ... Assuming it does happen again, FM will most likely have a good #5 scorer as well ... In that case, Great Oak will need to improve noticeably in their NXN performance in order to beat FM ... That scenario is a major factor in picking FM as the slight favorite ... FM needs to accomplish something they have already proven they can do .......... More info about FM is available from my NY Pre-season Team Projections, and detailed info on the top five FM runners entering the season is available from my Top NY Girls Profiles.

Great Oak CA ... Great Oak finished a very good 2nd at NXN last year (24 points ahead of 3rd-place Carmel IN) ... Great Oak was 8th at NXN in 2013 and 16th in very muddy 2012 ... The NXN course change to Glendoveer Golf Course last year seemed beneficial to most California teams, including Great Oak ... As a rule-of-thumb at Portland Meadows, I would typically drop most California teams by one or two spots in my NXN predications because of the course conditions ... I did that to Great Oak last year, but the Glendoveer course no longer supports that procedure.

Great Oak returns their top 6 runners from NXN including top national runner Destiny Collins who was not at full strength at NXN due to injury (she still finished 8th amongst all team scorers) ... Great Oak was very deep and talented last year, and this year they will likely be even better ... They have a solid group of incoming freshmen (7th and 8th-graders can not compete at the varsity level in California) ... And now add a top transfer in senior Skyler Bollinger who ran for Yorkville Illinois last year (she had typical speed ratings of 125-130) ... Everything points to an improved Great Oak team in 2015.

So why not make Great Oak the favorite? ... First, Fayetteville-Manlius is a major obstacle ... and next, even at Glendoveer, Great Oak has yet to perform at an NXN level as high as their in-season performances ... The horse handicapper in me is a believer in "horses for courses" ... IF the FM scenario above happens and Great Oak improves noticeably, I don't know who I would bet the rent money on.

Saratoga Springs NY ...  Saratoga is "lurking", and not that far behind FM and Great Oak ... Saratoga is a perennial competitor at NXN ... they have competed at NXN Nationals in 10 of the 11 years that NXN has operated (they were not invited in 2006, but should have been) ... At NXN, Saratoga has won once, been 2nd four times, been 3rd once, and in the top 5 eight times .... The last two years were a "rebuilding" years, but the young Saratoga squad still qualified for NXN and finished 10th in 2014 and 15th in 2013 ...They return 6 of their 7 NXN runners, including their top 2 from NXN ... In addition, Saratoga has other runners likely to be competitive for the scoring positions including a new, potentially top runner, freshmen Kelsey Chmiel, who was their top finisher in the July 25th Silks and Satins 5K road race (a flat fast certified 5K) where the top five Saratoga girls (Chmiel, Engborg, Delnicki, Fenoff and Mahoney) ran 17:41, 17:55, 18:13, 18:13 and 18:17 (as a reference, a top national boy runner, Aidan Tooker won the race by 33 seconds in 15:09) ... That's an impressive performance by the Saratoga girls.

My current concerns about Saratoga at the national level ... The young Saratoga team did not perform at their best level at either the Great American Festival or NXN National in the past two years (they performed better within NY State) ... That can certainly be overcome through experience, but it is a concern ... Saratoga could be a major surprise, meaning much improved ... Saratoga will have major competition from Shenendehowa within Section 2 of NY State ... see my NY Pre-season Team Projections and detailed info on the top five Saratoga runners entering the season is available from my Top NY Girls Profiles.

Carmel IN ... Carmel finished 3rd at NXN last year and is another top multiple-time competitor at NXN ... Carmel was 4th at NXN in 2013, 3rd in 2012, 5th in 2011 and 7th in 2010 ... They return 3 of their top 5 from NXN, and are a very deep team ... Expected another good season from Carmel.

Glenbard West IL ... Glenbard West opted not to compete at NXN the past two years despite having excellent teams ... I almost dropped them out of the top 30 for that reason because I'm more concerned in a projected head-to-head competition at NXN with teams that are interested ... Glenbard West returns 6 of 7 runners from a very good Illinois State Meet team that finished a close 3rd to Naperville North and Palatine (both NXN teams) ... They could be really good ... Sept 5th Update - Top runner (Lindsay Graham) is out for the season due to a foot injury.

Naperville North IL ... Naperville North finished 4th at NXN last year ... they return 5 of their 7 NXN runners including their top 2 from NXN and States ... Naperville North should be very good again in 2015.

Shenendehowa NY ... Shenendehowa finished 18th at NXN last year (they were an at-large selection) ... Shenendehowa and Saratoga are both Class A schools and both compete in Section 2 of NY... Only the winning team at sectionals qualifies for the NY State Meet, and Saratoga beat Shenendehowa in a tie-breaker last year ... Shenendehowa returns 6 of their 7 NXN runners.

Davis UT ... Davis finished 15th at NXN last year and 3rd in 2013 ... Davis returns their top 4 runners from NXN.

Lake Braddock VA ... Lake Braddock finished 3rd at NXN Southeast and return their top four runners including a top national runner Kate Murphy ... I had Lake Braddock in my short-list of potential NXN At-Large teams last year (ditto for the Lake Braddock boys last year).

Northville MI ... Northville returns all 5 scorers from their Michigan State Meet team that finished 3rd at States and 6th at NXN Midwest.

Pennsbury PA ... finished 7th at NXN in 2013 ... Pennsbury did not have their top runner (Olivia Sargent) at NXN Northeast, but still finished 6th ... Pennsbury returns their top 5 runners from the PA State Meet.

Wayzata MN ... Wayzata finished 6th at NXN last year and won NXN 2013 ... Wayzata returns 6 of their 7 runners from NXN, but lose their top runner to graduation.



  Last Year's (2014) Girl's Pre-Season Projections ... and corresponding results with NXN Nationals

                                            NXN                  Finish Order at            Last Year's
      School                State  Score   Region                   NXN 2014                Pre-Season Projection
      --------------------  -----  -----   ------          -----------------------------    -----------------------
  1   Fayetteville-Manlius    NY    260   New York         1    Fayetteville-Manlius  NY  -  #1  pre-season
  2   Great Oak               CA    290   California       2    Great Oak             CA  -  #2  pre-season
  3   Fort Collins            CO    310   Southwest        3    Carmel                IN  -  #26 pre-season
  4   Saratoga                NY    320   New York         4    Naperville North      IL  -  #17 pre-season
  5   Cherry Creek            CO    335   Southwest        5    Desert Vista          AZ  -  #20 pre-season
  6   Glenbard West           IL    340   Midwest          6    Wayzata               MN  -  #9  pre-season
  7   Pennsbury               PA    360   Northeast        7    Blacksburg            VA  -  #24 pre-season
  8   Unionville              PA    361   Northeast        8    Lewisville Hebron     TX  -  unranked
  9   Wayzata                 MN    375   Heartland        9    La Salle Academy      RI  -  #15 pre-season
  10  Davis                   UT    380   Southwest        10   Saratoga              NY  -  #4  pre-season
  11  Saugus                  CA    390   California       11   Saugus                CA  -  #11 pre-season
  12  Redondo Union           CA    391   California       12   Palatine              IL  -  #30+ group pre-season
  13  Trabuco Hills           CA    392   California       13   Camas                 WA  -  unranked
  14  Elmira District         NY    393   New York         14   Willmar               MN  -  #30+ group pre-season
  15  La Salle                RI    395   Northeast        15   Davis                 UT  -  #10 pre-season
  16  Capistrano Valley       CA    400   California       16   Coe-Brown             NH  -  #31 pre-season
  17  Naperville North        IL    410   Midwest          17   Unionville            PA  -  #8  pre-season
  18  Davis Senior            CA    411   California       18   Shenendehowa          NY  -  #30+ group pre-season
  19  Coeur D'Alene           ID    412   Northwest        19   Green Hope            NC  -  #25 pre-season
  20  Desert Vista            AZ    420   Southwest        20   Coeur D'Alene         ID  -  #19 pre-season
  21  Oakton                  VA    425   Southeast        21   Lewisville Marcus     TX  -  unranked
  22  Simi Valley             CA    430   California       22   American Fork         UT  -  #30+ group pre-season
  23  Summit                  OR    435   Northwest
  24  Blacksburg              VA    440   Southeast
  25  Green Hope              NC    445   Southeast
  26  Carmel                  IN    450   Midwest
  27  New Trier               IL    455   Midwest
  28  Birmingham Seaholm      MI    460   Midwest
  29  Mountain Brook          AL    465   Southeast
  30  Bozeman                 MT    470   Northwest