2023’s Best Crews – The Intro

The 2022 track season was my first real effort to get involved covering all events. Taking influence from USTFCCCA’s event squads, I attempted to do the same thing for Michigan HS track teams. Very time consuming, but I was able to get a good reading of the top teams. Linked are the various iterations for Distance, Sprint, Throws, Vault, Jumps, and Hurdles. The basic method of calculating these rankings was the average time/distance of any team that had three contestants in an event. Then ranking those from the best to worst average, then adding the rankings from various events. Many steps, a ton of work, improvement needed.

Other than the time-consuming nature, the main drawback to last year’s version was the requirement of three athletes from each event. For the small schools, that may have eliminated them from the rankings. If you had two All-State throwers and that’s it, you wouldn’t make the list. The other issue was that there was less emphasis on great performances.

This past month, the project has been to create my own version of World Athletic Scoring Tables. What these do is give a point total for a mark in each event, comparable across events. For instance, a 12.4 in the girls 100m may be equivalent to a 11:30 3200m, which might be similar to a height in the high jump or discus throw. My methodologies are different from what I understand World Athletics uses. From what I gather, those use a reference point, then the calculate the difference from that reference point. What I did instead was an analysis of the top 1000 marks in the country from last year, graphed that out, and created some formulas. Future versions might include a greater sample from history or just marks attained by Michigan athletes.

In order to determine the “best crews”, here are the guidelines:

  • To be included, a team has to have an athlete attain the additional qualifier for Regionals, listed here
    • For each division, this is a different mark, but in doing so, this allows for relatively equal numbers across divisions
    • For the Upper Peninsula, I used Division 4’s regional qualifying standard. Sure there are some bigger schools than Division 4, but it snows year-round up there
  • With a max of four athletes per event, the marks from each event are converted into points, then added into a grand total
    • The only exception to the four athletes is if a school has more than four under the State qualifying standard (if you’re as dominant as Oak Park’s hurdles or Renaissance’s 200m, you must be rewarded)
  • The points from each event within a crew are then added together to create the rankings
  • The breakdown of each category is:
    • Sprint – 100m, 200m, 400m, 4×1, 4×2, 4×4
    • Distance – 800m, 1600m, 3200m, 4×8
    • Hurdles – 100/110, 300
    • Throws – Discus, Shot Put
    • Jumps – Long Jump, High Jump
    • Vault

There are many pros to this year’s version.

  • Using only regional qualifiers will cut down the painstaking process of gathering all the marks from an event
  • Other than maybe the pole vault, there is very little chance for a tie
  • Now I can do individual awards for various categories – Best Sprinter, All Around Athlete, Best Individual Performance, Best Division 4 Athlete, and so on.

Are there negatives? Of course:

  • Compared to the United States as a whole, Michigan may tend to do better in one event area vs. another. Look at the national XC events, Michigan always performs above its weight in those. But compared to Texas or Florida in sprints, we lag a bit behind. So compared to the nationwide best times, Michigan sprinters may be undervalued because of weather constraints. For these charts, a 5:00 1600m is roughly equivalent to a 12.00 100m. 5:00 might not get you in the fast heat of Division 1, 12.00 is a guaranteed medal. From our Michigan eyes, these are vastly different, nationally they’re quite comparable. I’m sure you could make similar comparisons between other event areas.
  • Boys can’t be compared to girls. I’ll defer to this twitter thread on why elite girls tend to deviate more from the bulk of girls compared to elite boys. If you’d like to compare boys to girls, check out the Mercier Scoring Tables.
  • Because of the different regional qualifying standards per division, comparing across divisions isn’t the greatest, but should work for the very top teams
  • With the sheer volume of analysis, I can’t vet every time. If you’re entering fake times on athleticnet, joke’s on you. Keep lying and it’ll catch up to you in some way.
  • These are just based on times, 2022’s Best Sprinter just based on times was not Shamar Heard. Guy went out and dominated in early June, then set age group records for the 400m in the summer. Perhaps the awards I’ll hand out will come with discretion for State Champions. We’ll see.

Confused enough? Here’s an example of how these are created:

Here are Brighton, Pioneer, Saline, and West Ottawa with their 800m runners with faster times than 2023’s Regional Qualifying Standard (2:28.0).

Here are those times converted to scores for each event. The scores range from 600 points, which is about as good as you’ll get for a HSer across the nation to 100 points, which is close to the Division 4 Regional Qualifying Standard.

For one singular event, this is nothing extraordinarily complex, just a show of the top 4’s average, ranging from fastest to slowest. But what separates it from last year’s rankings is the ability to score teams with various amounts of qualifying runners AND the ability to compare across events.

Here are the same four schools in the 1600m:

That’s the basic summary of what I’ll be doing this spring. I have a program that makes it easy for me (just kidding, still in Excel, I ain’t smart enough for no program), but you get two charts:



Next week, I’ll have a post of how 2022’s athletes and teams would’ve fared with these numbers.

Also, depending on how much time I have available, I want to start promoting the events with a ton of intrigue. For example, that D1 Boys 800 is already shaping up to have a great story. McFarland defending his title, running a 4:13 this past week in the middle of basketball season. Herger, blasting a 1:51, showing all the potential in the world. Caleb Bost atoning for last year’s final stretch, in considerably better shape than he was at this point last spring. That’s just one division and one gender, there are plenty of other battles that’ll emerge in the coming months. Can you tell I’m getting amped up? We’re less than 10 days out. Can’t wait.


5 thoughts on “2023’s Best Crews – The Intro”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s