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State of the Rate 2021

Well, another year has passed and I’ve finally had enough time to take a nap.  These speed ratings, rankings, the site, and my work is all a result of you.  Coaches, athletes, parents, administrators, officials, timers, you name it.  You all play a role in the sustenance of the sport and without those roles taking shape the way that they do, my role would be tougher or may not even exist. 

Background

Speed ratings became an idea way back in 2007 when I was helping my uncle coaching at Woodhaven.  At the time, I was an avid Dyestat poster and knew of a fellow forum member doing the same thing out in Washington.  For a season, I was spitting out ratings and rankings and posting on the chaotic MLive forums (RIP).  Although I’m in all accounts a nerd, at that time I had little computer knowledge, it became impossible to balance ratings/life/running/school.  

In 2017, I came into work one day at Hansons and found that the person closing the night before had left a list of times from other schools competing for that D1 state title.  Comparing times is no way to evaluate cross country.  School was out of the equation, I’m definitely not running as much, so why not?  This is something I’ve wanted to do, forgot that I wanted to, remembered about, then had the impetus to get it going again. 

The original intention was numbers-driven, but it has evolved into much more than the numbers.  The relationships, motivation, affirmation, and growth of the sport outweigh any positive feeling obtained from the rankings being “right”.  I 100% support this evolution.

$tat$

The site has grown immensely since writing this similar post two years ago.

YearViewsVisitors
2018113293891
20196609113504
202011094318293
202117688631949

Clearly, what I’m doing is gaining traction.  That being said, I still seek improvement and want to cover more sides of the sport. 

Track

Many have asked, why not do track rankings? 

Two reasons mainly:

1 – Jeff Hollobaugh does a tremendous job with michtrack.org, providing much better coverage of the sport than I could ever dream of, and even if I did dream of, it’s not my position to cut into that coverage.  Stats, history, anecdotes, in the moment knowledge, lists, rankings.  Track is a very objective sport and it requires a level of exacting passion that I don’t provide. 

2 – Tracks are universal (and for the indoor tracks that aren’t, there are already comparisons created by much smarter humans than I).  Cross country courses are not.  Which leads me into…

Winter Projects

It’s not my desire to cover indoor/outdoor track or provide rankings or any sort of analysis on who’s better.  I will highlight the accomplishments of those that I love, in other words, everyone.  But I have an aching desire for more accuracy in course adjustments. 

I wasn’t all that satisfied with the Portage or Holly adjustments this year, to me they were too aggressive.  I used the same graphing method that I’ve used for years, based on my interpretation of how tullyrunners analyzes large invites.  To rectify this, I’ll be grabbing results from past years, as far back as I can help.  When 2022 Portage rolls around, I can compare times from that day vs. the whole amount of times from the past 20(?) years and derive an adjustment.  The same applies for other courses we’ve run throughout time. 

This will also provide a history.  Cross country didn’t begin in 2017 when I came back along.  I’m sure we’ve all wondered how Riley Hough compares to our past greats such as Ritz, Tim Moore, Alzindani.  VanderKooi, Olson, Flynn, Forsyth vs. Goethals, Boyles.  Pioneer vs. Rockford.  Looking to the past can guide our future, and while one can look at times, ratings are better.  And if you doubt that, compare how my regional projections performed vs. the athleticnet hypotheticals.

The goal is a compendium.  Courses and how they’ve run throughout time.  After winter, perhaps getting out to a few more for pictures.  Course maps.  Elevation profiles.  Changes that have been made.  I’m not a fan of keeping school records or course records, as on a year to year or even day to day basis, courses change.  But given a timeline, we can gain a better understanding.

In the past, I’ve expressed desire to learn how to code to make my work easier.  I’d get DQ’ed for this, but that bores the shit out of me.  Last winter, I dove into photoshop and I think that’s been a positive for the presentation of the site and social media.  I will continue with the graphics and I’ll continue with areas I love: maps and running. 

Money

I will be taking down the paypal link.  When I placed that on here two years ago, I was in a place where I needed the extra money.  As of right now, I do not.  There are ads on here which essentially pay for my gas money, but donations aren’t necessary. If you think my work deserves compensation, I appreciate the notion, but spend that money elsewhere in the running community.  This train ain’t gonna stop rollin’, others might find more benefit. 

Thank you all for following along this journey. There will be missteps, I will say the wrong thing, I will argue when it’s not warranted, I will snipe at someone after weeks of little sleep, but you have to understand – I will do everything in my power to improve the sport, motivate individuals, and grow the running community.

-Matt

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