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Pre-Season XC 2016

BOYS Teams - National 2016

Bill Meylan (July 30, 2016)

Boys - Potential National Contenders

My pre-season projection for National Boys 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 2015 XC season into 2016 with a few modifications ... IF data for 5 runners on each team were 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 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 about 30 teams remaining ... The scores are listed below along with the teams just behind the top 30 scoring teams ... I intentionally included at least one team from each region in the top 30.

Remember ... this list is just an informational starting point ... Real 2016 race results are what count.

Also Remember ... Most top boy's teams contain a fair number of seniors, and those seniors graduate ... Significant graduation from last year means projecting many of the teams below requires guessing - occasionally it's a "shot -in-the-dark guess".

I did add some Regional Projections this year.

August 1, 2016 Update ... Some viewers from Minnesota believed I had under-rated Wayzata and gave me some good reasons ... one reason was the Open Race at NXN Heartland where several Wayzata underclassmen ran decently ... This was a good reason because I did not upload those results into my database; the results available from the Timing Company and the results from the NXN Heartland web-site were poorly formatted (under-statement) for my purpose requiring a complete re-format, so I bagged it ... Looking back now, the performances by the Wayzata runners were a nice improvement on their previous 2015 races, so I made some adjustments ... Depending on the magnitude of the adjustments, it could raise Wayzata's pre-season ranking to somewhere between 20th to 30th (I decided on 30th so rankings above 30 stay the same) ... The other reason from the Minnesota viewers was spring track times by the Wayzata runners ... As explained elsewhere, I ignore most track data for pre-season cross country ranking of teams ... I want to know what was accomplished in actual XC races whenever possible ... Wayzata did run very well in track and I could see them ranked in the top 15 due to that, but I'll wait for 2016 XC results.

August 3, 2016 Update ... Just found out that Lehi UT has opened a new high school named Skyridge HS ... the Lehi HS coach from last year and all but one of the returning Lehi XC runners are now at Skyridge HS.


 Pre-Season National BOYS Teams 2016

 Pre-Season Projection - BOYS National Team Contenders - 2016

      School                 State   Score     NXN Region
      --------------------   -----   -----     ----------
  1   Neuqua Valley           IL      270      Midwest
  2   American Fork           UT      275      Southwest
  3   Dana Hills              CA      310      California
  4   Lone Peak               UT      320      Southwest
  5   Great Oak               CA      320      California
  6   Christian Brothers      NJ      350      Northeast
  7   Lehi (Skyridge HS)      UT      355      Southwest
  8   Lake Zurich             IL      365      Midwest
  9   Solon                   OH      365      Midwest
  10  Madera South            CA      365      California
  11  The Woodlands           TX      370      South
  12  Bozeman                 MT      375      Northwest
  13  West Torrance           CA      375      California
  14  Lyons                   IL      375      Midwest
  15  Davis Utah              UT      380      Southwest
  16  Ogden                   UT      380      Southwest
  17  Brentwood               TN      390      Southeast
  18  Carmel                  IN      395      Midwest
  19  Fayetteville-Manlius    NY      395      New York
  20  Loyola                  CA      405      California
  21  Broughton               NC      410      Southeast
  22  Southlake Carroll       TX      410      South
  23  Cherokee                NJ      410      Northeast
  24  Crater                  OR      410      Northwest
  25  Mountain Vista          CO      420      Southwest
  26  Hinsdale Central        IL      430      Midwest
  27  Claremont               CA      435      California
  28  Brea Olinda             CA      435      California
  29  Bellarmine Prep         WA      435      Northwest
  30  Wayzata                 MN      440      Heartland (updated Aug 1, 2016)
  30  Edina                   MN      440      Heartland

    The next group is basically in order following the
     list above ... Many are very close and the order
      could be shuffled ... some could be above as well.

      St. Xavier              KY      Southeast
      Palmer Ridge            CO      Southwest
      Indian Hills            NJ      Northeast
      Jenks                   OK      South
      Louisville              OH      Midwest
      Timpanogos              UT      Southwest
      Don Bosco               NJ      Northeast
      Ithaca                  NY      New York
      Millard West            NE      Heartland
      Auburn                  AL      Southeast
      Mira Costa              CA      California
      Hilton Head             SC      Southeast
      Trinity Prep            FL      Southeast
      Mountain Brook          AL      Southeast
      Olympus                 UT      Southwest
      Desert Hills            UT      Southwest
      Summit                  OR      Northwest
      York                    IL      Midwest
      Wayzata                 MN      Heartland (moved up to #30)
      North Central           WA      Northwest
      Pleasant Valley         IA      Heartland-
      Hobbs                   NM      Southwest
      Cardinal Gibbons        NC      Southeast
      Carlisle                PA      Northeast
      Hamilton Southeastern   IN      Midwest
      Brophy College Prep     AZ      Southwest
      Voorhees                NJ      Northeast
      Dowling Catholic        IA      Heartland
      St. Ignatius            OH      Midwest
      Mt Carmel               CA      California
      Creekside               FL      Southeast
      Corning                 NY      New York
      Downers Grove (North)   IL      Midwest
      Lawton Chile            FL      Southeast
      Wando                   SC      Southeast
      Desert Vista            AZ      Southwest
      Lowell                  IN      Midwest
      Flower Mound            TX      South
      Champlain Valley        VT      Northeast
      Saratoga                NY      New York
      Green Hope              NC      Southeast
      Central Valley          WA      Northwest

  *** I may have missed a team or two going through
        my databases as quickly as I did

Where did the scores come from? ... In part, the scores are a composite of computer race simulations using 2015 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).


Note ... Boys Pre-Season rankings are generally harder to generate than Girls rankings ... The reason is that boys teams are generally more senior-dominated than girls teams, so a higher percentage of boys graduate ... therefore, fewer boys teams are "identifiable" as being strong going into the following year.

Hopefully, the boy's list above identifies many of the top teams entering the 2016 XC season in a reasonable order ... If it does, I made some decent guesses ... As a point of reference for last year, my 2015 pre-season projections with corresponding results from NXN 2015 are shown in a table below ... Of the 22 teams at NXN 2014, I did not identify 4 teams (they were unranked in the top 30 teams and not listed in the extra team list) ... The top 4 teams at NXN were all ranked in my pre-season top 7 teams.

General Comments for the Coming Season:

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 ... Entering the 2016 season, I do not see a solid favorite on the boys-side ... It would not surprise me if one of a bunch of teams make it to the top spot.

Neuqua Valley IL finished 19th at NXN Nationals last year and they return their top four scorers from NXN Nationals ... Neuqua Valley ran very well at NXN Midwest finishing a very decent 2nd to Sandburg IL (a favorite to make the podium at Nationals) ... My main concern about projecting Neuqua Valley on top is their mediocre performance at NXN Nationals, but the raw numbers give them a pre-season advantage ... Neuqua Valley could go 7 runners deep, so they make the top spot here.

American Fork UT has finished 8th or better in the last seven NXN championships ... American Fork was 2nd at NXN last year, 2nd at NXN 2012, 7th at NXN 2013 and 5th at NXN 2014 ... Initially, I had America Fork on top entering 2016 ... American Fork returns the best top-three runner nucleus (Casey Clinger, McKay Johns and Patrick Parker), and that typically gets a team deep in talent a top ranking, and American Fork is usually deep in talent ... But I like my speed rating numbers (sometimes too much), and American Fork graduated four runners from last year's NXN team ... Looking at XC performances from other varsity and JV runners last year indicates American Fork will need to "reload" at the other scoring positions in order to win NXN 2016, but I think that could happen ... Neuqua Valley appears to already have scorers, so that's why Neuqua Valley gets the benefit-of-the-doubt ....... BUT American Fork has raced well at the new Glendoveer course, and I almost put American Fork on top for that reason.

Side-Note about Speed Ratings ... Although American Fork finished 4th at NXN Southwest last year, speed ratings clearly identified American Fork as the top "At-Large" team amongst all potential At-Large teams ... and their 2nd-place finish justified their selection to NXN.

Dana Hills CA finished 3rd at NXN National last year and returns four runners ... other potential scorers from last year's varsity and JV teams appear capable of giving Dana Hills a good five scorers, so Dana Hills gets the 3rd-spot of the pre-season list ...... In many past years, I would have dropped Dana Hills down a number of spots because they were from California and some California teams raced poorly at the muddy Portland Meadows course ... However, California teams have raced well at the Glendoveer course.

Lone Peak UT finished 11th at NXN National last year and returns five runners ...  Utah looks very strong again this season.

Great Oak CA is the defending NXN Champion ... Great Oak graduated six runners from last year's championship team and typically, that would drop a team from top-spot consideration the following year ... However, Great Oak had a deep JV team at a high level last year, and the speed rating numbers have Great Oak highly ranked entering the 2016 season.

Christian Brothers NJ has been one of the favorites in a number of recent seasons ... CBA returns just three runners from last year's team that finished 20th at NXN Nationals ... But CBA typically has a very deep team, and last year was no exception ... Raw speed ratings from returning CBA runners gets CBA highly ranked again this season.

Lehi (Skyridge HS) UT finished 2nd to Davis at the Utah State Meet last year (Class 5A) and Lehi beat both American Fork and Lone Peak at States... Lehi returns six runners (including 4 scorers from States) ... Their top runner graduated and Lehi did not have their best race at NXN Southwest (otherwise, I would ranked them a bit higher) ... Aug 3rd update - the new Skyridge HS has opened in Lehi, UT ... the Lehi coach from 2015 is now the coach at Skyridge, and all but one of the last year's Lehi team are at Skyridge.

Lake Zurich IL finished 5th at Illinois States and 11th at NXN Midwest ... However, Lake Zurich returns their top four scorers with the top three above 180 speed ratings forming a strong starting nucleus ... Improvement at the #5 position could make Lake Zurich very good.

Solon OH finished 3rd at Ohio States last year and return their top six runners (top two above 180 speed ratings and three in the upper 160s).

NOTE ..... The scores above indicate that many teams rate very closely ... The positions are just a guess at one point in time before the cross country season starts.

The New York State Teams ... Unfortunately, New York does not look as strong as 2014 when Fayetteville-Manlius won NXN and Liverpool and St. Anthony's finished 4th and 8th respectively ... More info on the NY teams and runners is available from my NY Pre-season Boys Team Projections and Top NY Boys Profiles ... Overall, New York has uncertainty with respect to the boys teams this coming season.

Pre-season ranking is part data and part "educated guessing", and at the national level, I use significant amount of guessing ... margins of error and uncertainty is large ... My "guesses" are just one guy's opinion ...  Some Regional Projection lists are available at the bottom of this page.



 Last Year's (2015) Boy's Pre-Season Projections ... and corresponding results with NXN Nationals

                                           NXN                   Finish Order at            Last Year's
      School               State  Score   Region                    NXN 2015                Pre-Season Projection
      -------------------  -----  -----   ------           -----------------------------    -----------------------
  1   American Fork          UT     270   Southwest        1   Great Oak              CA  -  #7  pre-season
  2   Christian Brothers     NJ     275   Northeast        2   American Fork          UT  -  #1  pre-season
  3   Sandburg               IL     305   Midwest          3   Dana Hills             CA  -  #5  pre-season
  4   Lafayette              MO     315   Midwest          4   Sandburg               IL  -  #3  pre-season
  5   Dana Hills             CA     320   California       5   Timpanogos             UT  -  #30+ group pre-season
  6   Carmel                 IN     325   Midwest          6   The Woodlands          TX  -  #19 pre-season
  7   Great Oak              CA     330   California       7   Hopkins                MN  -  #20 pre-season
  8   Davis                  UT     335   Southwest        8   Bozeman                MT  -  unranked
  9   North Central          WA     345   Northwest        9   Lyons                  IL  -  unranked
  10  Ventura                CA     350   California       10  Liverpool              NY  -  #30+ group pre-season
  11  La Salle Academy       RI     360   Northeast        11  Lone Peak              UT  -  unranked
  12  Madera South           CA     365   California       12  Mountain Vista         CO  -  #30+ group pre-season
  13  York                   IL     370   Midwest          13  Edina                  MN  -  #26 pre-season
  14  Wayzata                MN     380   Heartland        14  Wayzata                MN  -  #14 pre-season
  15  St. Anthony's          NY     385   New York         15  Marietta               GA  -  #30+ group pre-season
  16  Desert Hills           UT     390   Southwest        16  Southlake Carroll      TX  -  #29 pre-season
  17  Rockford               MI     410   Midwest          17  Downingtown West       PA  -  #30+ group pre-season
  18  Tahoma                 WA     420   Northwest        18  Summit                 OR  -  #30 pre-season
  19  The Woodlands          TX     430   South            19  Neuqua Valley          IL  -  #30+ group pre-season
  20  Hopkins                MN     435   Heartland        20  Christian Brothers     NJ  -  #2  pre-season
  21  West Torrance          CA     440   California       21  Fayetteville-Manlius   NY  -  #27 pre-season
  22  Brea Olinda            CA     445   California       22  Trinity Prep           FL  -  unranked
  23  South Oldham           KY     450   Southeast
  24  Lowell                 MA     455   Northeast
  25  Broughton              NC     460   Southeast
  26  Edina                  MN     465   Heartland
  27  Fayetteville-Manlius   NY     470   New York
  28  Kamiakin               WA     475   Northwest
  29  Southlake Carroll      TX     480   South
  30  Summit                 OR     480   Northwest


Boys Pre-Season Regional Projections

Some viewers have asked me to do a Pre-season Regional "Guess" ... Below are some numbers from my worksheets by Region showing teams I considered.

Remember ... My main purpose is to identify teams for Nationals and not to do an in-depth evaluation for each region (New York is the only exception) ... That's why the list below is limited in some respects ... I looked at cross country performances from 2015 (from my databases only) and selected potential National teams ... I needed to find enough data on enough returning runners to make a guess without additional time-consuming searching (otherwise, teams get excluded).

I do not believe it is worth spending lots of time on the pre-season because we will find out soon enough who is good (and unexpectedly good) when the real season starts ... The pre-season lists help me identify teams that might need to be followed.

Also ... I make very few national team "adjustments" based on track performances ... In general, I ignore track performances as much as possible when projecting cross country ... When improved track performance does correspond to improved XC performance, it typically shows up rather quickly in the new season ... Then I have "real-life in-season" speed ratings to make projections (and I definitely ignore track performances at that point).



    Dana Hills              CA    90      California
    Great Oak               CA    100     California
    Madera South            CA    105     California
    West Torrance           CA    110     California
    Loyola                  CA    115     California
    Claremont               CA    125     California
    Brea Olinda             CA    125     California
    Mira Costa              CA    130     California
    Mt Carmel               CA    145     California

    Wayzata                 MN    85      Heartland (updated Aug 1, 2016)
    Edina                   MN    95      Heartland
    Millard West            NE    95      Heartland
    Pleasant Valley         IA    95      Heartland
    Dowling Catholic        IA    105     Heartland
    St. Thomas Aquinas      KS    115     Heartland
    New Town                ND    130     Heartland
    Bismarck                ND    150     Heartland
    SF Lincoln              SD    155     Heartland

    Neuqua Valley           IL    100     Midwest
    Lake Zurich             IL    140     Midwest
    Solon                   OH    140     Midwest
    Carmel                  IN    160     Midwest
    Lyons                   IL    160     Midwest
    Hinsdale (Central)      IL    170     Midwest
    Louisville              OH    200     Midwest
    York                    IL    215     Midwest
    Hamilton Southeastern   IN    220     Midwest
    St. Ignatius            OH    235     Midwest
    Downers Grove (North)   IL    240     Midwest
    Novi                    MI    250     Midwest
    Lowell                  IN    265     Midwest
    Fort Wayne Carroll      IN    280     Midwest
    Mahomet (M.-Seymour)    IL    280     Midwest
    St. Xavier (Cin.)       OH    280     Midwest

New York (see NY Boys Projections Page)
    Fayetteville-Manlius    NY    245     New York
    Ithaca                  NY    255     New York
    Corning                 NY    275     New York
    Saratoga                NY    285     New York
    Warwick Valley          NY    300     New York
    Xavier                  NY    320     New York
    Burnt Hills             NY    350     New York
    Shenendehowa            NY    390     New York
    Liverpool               NY    395     New York
    Mount Academy           NY    415     New York
    Watkins Glen            NY    425     New York
    Somers                  NY    450     New York
    East Aurora             NY    455     New York
    Pittsford Mendon        NY    460     New York
    St. Anthony's           NY    470     New York

    Bozeman                 MT    60      Northwest
    Bellarmine Prep         WA    70      Northwest
    Crater                  OR    75      Northwest
    Summit                  OR    90      Northwest
    North Central           WA    100     Northwest
    Central Valley          WA    105     Northwest
    Eisenhower              WA    115     Northwest

    Christian Brothers      NJ    60      Northeast
    Indian Hills            NJ    75      Northeast
    Cherokee                NJ    85      Northeast
    Don Bosco               NJ    95      Northeast
    Carlisle                PA    100     Northeast
    Voorhees                NJ    115     Northeast
    Champlain Valley        VT    120     Northeast

    The Woodlands           TX    55      South
    Southlake Carroll       TX    65      South
    Jenks                   OK    70      South
    Flower Mound            TX    85      South
    Bentonville             AR    115     South
    Bartlesville            OK    120     South
    Woodlands College Park  TX    120     South

    Brentwood               TN    150     Southeast
    Broughton               NC    155     Southeast
    St. Xavier              KY    165     Southeast
    Mountain Brook          AL    180     Southeast
    Hilton Head             SC    180     Southeast
    Trinity Prep            FL    185     Southeast
    Auburn                  AL    185     Southeast
    Cardinal Gibbons        NC    205     Southeast
    Creekside               FL    225     Southeast
    Wando                   SC    230     Southeast
    Green Hope              NC    235     Southeast
    Lawton Chile            FL    245     Southeast
    Loudoun Valley          VA    245     Southeast
    Brentwood Academy       TN    250     Southeast
    Blacksburg              VA    260     Southeast
    Hoover                  AL    260     Southeast

    American Fork           UT    105     Southwest
    Lone Peak               UT    120     Southwest
    Lehi                    UT    135     Southwest
    Davis Utah              UT    135     Southwest
    Ogden                   UT    135     Southwest
    Mountain Vista          CO    160     Southwest
    Palmer Ridge            CO    165     Southwest
    Timpanogos              UT    170     Southwest
    Hobbs                   NM    185     Southwest
    Brophy College Prep     AZ    190     Southwest
    Olympus                 UT    190     Southwest
    Desert Hills            UT    190     Southwest
    Desert Vista            AZ    210     Southwest