Even though Solomon Fountain was the only non-senior on the Wolfpack's 2015 state championship squad, this team still returns the top 5K and 3 Mile team in the state.
Cross country is right around the corner, and we're celebrating by counting down to the start of the competitive fall season! Each day (except today!) we'll release one boys team and one girls team, counting down from 30 to 1 as we approach the beginning of real XC racing.
I have a confession: I really wanted to put a team other than Great Oak in one of the #1 spots in this countdown, if only just to make some waves and stir the pot. The problem is, my rankings are data-driven, and the numbers simply aren't there for any other team the way they are for the Wolfpack. The defending NXN champions ran SIX SENIORS at the CIF state meet, and yet they still have the top returning 5K and 3 Mile teams in California. That didn't change in track season, when Great Oak put a total of 32 boys under 5:00 in the 1600, with 6 returners under 4:30. That wasn't even their best event - the Wolfpack averaged 9:28 for their top 5 returning 3200 runners, with a total of 8 guys that broke 10 minutes coming back for the fall. This team has depth, talent, and clearly has a winning approach, and they keep their top runners remarkably healthy given the mileage I've heard they put in. Whether this year's Great Oak squad is an NXN contender again remains to be seen, but they are certainly the favorite for a repeat CIF title.
- Returning Team Ranking: 1st (5K and 3 Miles)
- Combined Spring Track Ranking: 2nd (1st 3200, 2nd 1600)
- Improvement Rating: 2nd
The #CountdownToXC is a data-driven set of team rankings determined using the following information:
- Returning Team 5K & 3 Mile Rankings from 2015 XC: carries the most weight
- Returning Team 1600 and 3200 Rankings from 2015 Outdoor: less weight, but important
- Improvement Rating: a long-term statistical evaluation of how each program improves from season to season. This custom metric compares a team's final team average from each season to their returning team average from the previous season, while also accounting for how highly-ranked the team was. As we continue to improve the depth and quality of our data in California, this measure should get stronger and stronger. Improvement ratings will be the subject of a separate article in August.
- Returning team from the 2015 CIF state meet
- A little bit of "gut feeling"