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Running in College: What Does it Take?

Well, it takes a ton more than speed ratings.  Just off the top of my head, if I were a college coach, I’d look for:

Good people – those who treat others with respect, are genuine, have good relationships with those close to them.  What are they doing in their community to better the lives of others?

Hard workers – those who continue to work hard, grind away in all circumstances.  Could even be at home or their jobs.  But especially in their training

Academics – consistency would be huge.  Would take the student who has 6 B’s over the one with 3 A’s, 2 C’s, and a D.  I’d also love someone who took on challenges, tougher classes or at a local college.

Leadership – were they captain?  If not, why?

Training environment – I hem and haw on this, but I’d go for someone who has untapped potential and less people to train with.  Someone running a 16:30 from a farm town is more impressive than the same time from a glamorous suburban school with every resource in the book.

Track times – usually the end all, be all.  The most easily identifiable and measurable, both in times of distance and surface.  Can be compared in many ways.

BUT if speed ratings were a factor, I have some data on Michigan runners.  Sample sizes are a bit small now.  That’ll obviously change as more runners go onto college and years go by.

GIRLS SENIOR YEAR RATINGS

Level SR Avg SR Max Top 25% Top 75% SR Min Sample Size
Division 1 134.3 180.5 153.0 121.4 45.1 59
Division 2 116.1 151.3 129.8 104.1 19.3 43
Division 3 87.1 136.5 106.6 68.7 27.4 15
NAIA 87.1 146.5 104.8 75.6 4.7 34
NJCAA 83.1 132.3 99.3 69.0 25.0 18

Avg = the average rating of all runners running at that level

Max = the best rating of all at that level

Top 25% and 75% = shows the middle 50.  If you’re running between these ratings, you’re definitely capable of competing at that college division.

Min = the lowest rating of all at that level

GIRLS JUNIOR YEAR RATINGS

Level JR Avg JR Max Top 25% Top 75% JR Min Sample Size
Division 1 130.8 171.9 145.7 114.7 108.0 23

For NJCAA – D2, sample sizes are <10, so no inclusion.  No clue why I chose that cutoff.

BOYS SENIOR YEAR RATINGS

Level SR Avg SR Max Top 25% Top 75% SR Min Sample Size
Division 1 203.5 219.4 209.9 200.7 170.0 31
Division 2 186.8 206.4 196.1 182.9 137.1 26
Division 3 163.4 199.7 181.1 156.9 119.1 24
NAIA 171.8 202.1 188.2 160.3 114.0 29
NJCAA 162.0 200.2 184.4 151.2 47.0 41

BOYS JUNIOR YEAR RATINGS

Level JR Avg  JR Max  Top 25% Top 75% JR Min Sample Size
Division 1 203.1 215.2 210.9 197.7 186.6 11

Again, the ratings aren’t the only factor.  Coaches have to worry about whether you’ll fit in, their scholarship/team size situation, whether you’ll stick around for four years and aren’t an academic risk.

If you’re spitting out some solid ratings this season and you need me as a source, let me know.  I’ll put in the good word for you!

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