4x800m: Heat 2

This is Heat 2 of 3 (that's right, crack up the Red Bulls friends) of the 4x8 Prelims. Top two in each heat advance plus next 6 fastest times. I made the heats randomly so hopefully it's not too unbalanced. I haven't run the third heat yet so no idea how those times stack up. Same rules as last post apply. Hopefully I won't mix up any brothers this time around (but I still have the Emmanuel's and Willig's at least) and hopefully I'm not too far away on anybody's PR.

Seneca Valley: Kolor, Quiggle, Philogene, Foster
O'Hara: McAndress, Belfatto, Smart, James
Chambersburg: Rotz, Harringer, Powell, Holder
CB West: Metzler, McGarvey, Bee, Manley
Penn Hills: Squirees, Caitlin, Wilhoite, Bailey
Henderson: Thompson, Chaborek, Russell, Lefebure
Pennridge: Olindo, Koehler, Stenderowicz, Logue
Strath Haven: Butera, Seelaus, Collins, Huemmler
Easton: Caul, Nightengale, England, Abert
Great Valley: McCary, M. Willig, N. Willig, Wolffe
Horsham: Burns, Comber, Dempster, Hibbs
Carlisle: Carroll, Dennison, Brehm, Padgett

1. Squirees 56.6
2. Rotz 56.6
3. McAndress 56.9
4. Kolor 57.1
5. Burns 57.1
6. Thompson 57.1
7. Caul 57.3
8. Olindo 57.3
9. McCary 57.5
10. Metzler 57.6
11. Carroll 57.8
12. Butera 58.1

1. Rotz 1:54.0
2. Thompson 1:54.2
3. Burns 1:55.9
4. Olindo 1:56.1
5. Metzler 1:56.2
6. Kolor 1:56.3
7. Squires 1:56.4
8. McAndress 1:56.5
9. Caul 1:57.0
10. Carroll 1:57.2
11. Butera 1:58.3
12. McCary 1:58.6

1. Chaborek 56.8
2. Koehler 55.9
3. McGarvey 55.8
4. Belfatto 55.7
5. Caitlin 56.3
6. Harringer 58.7
7. Quiggle 58.0
8. Comber 58.4
9. Seelaus 56.7
10. Nightengale 58.0
11. Denison 58.8
12. Willig 58.6

1. Chaborek 1:53.8 (3:48.0)
2. McGarvey 1:53.0 (3:49.2)
3. Belfatto 1:53.6 (3:50.1)
4. Koehler 1:54.3 (3:50.3)
5. Caitlin 1:56.2 (3:52.6)
6. Harringer 1:58.9 (3:52.9)
7. Comber 1:58.0 (3:53.9)
8. Seelaus 1:55.7 (3:54.0)
9. Quiggle 1:58.0 (3:54.3)
10. Nightengale 1:58.4 (3:55.4)
11. Denison 1:58.9 (3:56.2)
12. Willig 1:58.6 (3:57.2)

1. Russell 54.2
2. Smart 55.8
3. Bee 56.7
4. Stenderowicz 56.2
5. Wilhoite 55.8
6. Collins 55.4
7. Dempster 56.1
8. Powell 57.1
9. Philogene 56.0
10. Willig 53.5
11. Brehm 54.5
12. England 56.0

1. Russell 1:53.9 (5:41.9)
2. Smart 1:52.3 (5:42.4)
3. Bee 1:53.8 (5:43.0)
4. Stenderowicz 1:56.1 (5:46.4)
5. Wilhoite 1:53.8 (5:46.4)
6. Collins 1:53.0 (5:47.0)
7. Brehm 1:50.9 (5:47.1)
8. Willig 1:50.6 (5:47.8)
9. Powell 1:56.5 (5:49.4)
10. Dempster 1:55.8 (5:49.7)
11. England 1:54.4 (5:49.8)
12. Philogene 1:56.0 (5:50.3)

1. Manley 54.4
2. Lefebure 54.9
3. James 55.3
4. Bailey 54.2
5. Logue 54.2
6. Huemmler 55.9
7. Holder 54.4
8. Wolffe 56.2
9. Padgett 58.8
10. Foster 55.8
11. Abert 56.8
12. Hibbs 57.0

1. Lefebure 1:51.2 (7:33.1)
2. Manley 1:51.1 (7:34.1)
3. James 1:54.0 (7:36.4)
4. Logue 1:50.9 (7:37.3)
5. Bailey 1:51.3 (7:37.7)
6. Huemmler 1:52.7 (7:39.7)
7. Holder 1:51.0 (7:40.4)
8. Foster 1:53.1 (7:43.4)
9. Wolffe 1:56.5 (7:44.3)
10. Hibbs 1:55.9 (7:45.6)
11. Padgett 1:58.7 (7:45.8)
12. Abert 1:56.7 (7:46.5)

Heat 1: 4x8

The 4x8 will have three prelim heats with the top two automatically qualifying for finals and then the next 6 fastest times will join them. Everything is purely based on my own opinion so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind this is a mock race so people's ability to run fast will be affected by the amount of people around them. Also keep in mind that runners will relax if there team is in a position to qualify for finals to save energy. Sorry in advance for type-os, bad math, wrong Prs, spelling errors and people I didn't know about. It will happen but I will try to limit it as best as possible.

So let's get this started with heat 1. Here are the teams:
North Allegheny: Love to Gil to Tonzo to Beiech
LaSalle: B. Stone to A. Stone to Magee to Coyle
Cumberland Valley: Souleiman to Coburn to Flynn to Kunzweiler
Altoona: M. Endress to Replogle to Mountain to W. Endress
CB East: Donello, Boucher, F. Brophy, J. Brophy
Abington: Watson to Smith to Taylor to Moran
Pennsbury: Harriman to Webb to O'Connell to Sauer
Bensalem: Correy to Cox Finn to Rivera to Francis
North Penn: LeConey to Johnston to Trimble to Grace
Malvern Prep: Strec to Ferraiolo to McDevitt to Hoey
DT West: Devlin to Leidal to Graham to Jenkins
Red Lion: Knisley to Pardoe to E. Gatchell to C. Gatchell

1. Watson 55.5
2. LeConey 56.0
3. Souleiman 56.0
4. Knisley 56.8
5. Donello 57.0
6. Harriman 57.1
7. Correy 57.1
8. Devlin 57.6
9. Stec 57.9
10. Stone 58.0
11. Love 58.0
12. Endress 58.1

1. LeConey 1:55.1
2. Harriman 1:55.6
3. Soulieman 1:55.6
4. Watson 1:55.7
5. Stone 1:56.3
6. Donello 1:56.5
7. Devlin 1:57.4
8. Stec 1:57.7
9. Endress 1:57.8
10. Correy 1:57.8
11. Love 1:58.1
12. Knisley 1:58.2

1. Coburn 56.2
2. Smith 56.3
3. Stone 55.8
4. Johnston 57.3
5. Boucher 56.8
6. Webb 57.9
7. Cox-Finn 55.9
8. Ferraiolo 56.0
9. Leidal 57.0
10. Replogle 56.7
11. Gil 57.6
12. Pardoe 57.8

1. Stone 1:52.1 (3:48.4)
2. Coburn 1:53.8 (3:49.4)
3. Smith 1:55.4 (3:51.4)
4. Johnston 1:56.8 (3:51.9)
5. Boucher 1:55.7 (3:52.2)
6. Ferraiolo 1:54.6 (3:52.3)
7. Leidal 1:55.8 (3:53.2)
8. Webb 1:57.7 (3:53.3)
9. Cox-Finn 1:55.6 (3:53.4)
10. Replogle 1:55.8 (3:53.6)
11. Gil 1:56.0 (3:54.1)
12. Pardoe 1:57.6 (3:55.8)

1. Flynn 55.8
2. Magee 56.8
3. Taylor 54.2
4. Rivera 54.3
5. Trimble 55.8
6. Brophy 55.8
7. Tonzo 55.0
8. O'Connell 56.4
9. McDevitt 57.6
10. Mountain 56.6
11. Graham 57.6
12. Gatchell 55.9

1. Flynn 1:53.3 (5:42.7)
2. Magee 1:55.8 (5:44.2)
3. Taylor 1:53.0 (5:44.5)
4. Rivera 1:52.2 (5:45.6)
5. Trimble 1:53.9 (5:45.8)
6. Tonzo 1:52.9 (5:47.0)
7. Brophy 1:55.1 (5:47.3)
8. Mountain 1:55.7 (5:49.3)
9. O'Connell 1:56.3 (5:49.6)
10. McDevitt 1:57.8 (5:50.1)
11. Gatchell 1:54.6 (5:50.4)
12. Graham 1:57.4 (5:50.6)

1. Kunzweiler 55.7
2. Moran 54.4
3. Francis 54.0
4. Coyle 55.6
5. Grace 55.9
6. Beiech 55.1
7. Endress 54.1
8. Brophy 56.7
9. Sauer 54.8
10. Hoey 55.0
11. Jenkins 56.1
12. Gatchell 58.7

1. Kunzweiler 1:51.7 (7:34.0)
2. Francis 1:49.7 (7:35.3)
3. Coyle 1:51.7 (7:35.9)
4. Moran 1:51.9 (7:36.4)
5. Grace 1:54.2 (7:40.0)
6. Endress 1:50.8 (7:40.1)
7. Beiech 1:53.9 (7:40.9)
8. Sauer 1:53.0 (7:42.5)
9. Brophy 1:55.8 (7:43.1)
10. Hoey 1:53.2 (7:43.3)
11. Jenkins 1:54.2 (7:44.8)
12. Gatchell 1:58.6 (7:49.0)

4x8 Prelims

Here is a list of teams currently signed up for the 4x8 trials. Speak now if you want another added.
North allegheny
Seneca valley
State college
Cumberland valley
Cb west
Cb south
Cb east
Penn hills
Cr south
Strath haven
Cedar crest
North penn
Malvern prep
Great valley
DT east
DT west
Red lion
Central dauphin
Quaker valley

Dream Races

So I'm planning on doing a few more of the dream races here on the blog. If you're wondering what that is, it's a relay where PA teams can compete using any runner that ran for their squad in a set period of time. The last time I did this was probably back around 2010 or so and so I used 2007 to 2010 (my high school years) but now is a new era so I'm thinking class of 2011 and beyond for this round of races. There is going to be a 4x8, DMR and 4x16. If you want your team to be invoked comment below on this post to tell me why!

To give you an idea of what exactly I mean, in this post 2011 time zone Upper Dublin's 4x8 squad would be something like Pete Schartel class of 2011, Francis Ferruzzi class of 2013, Andy Stewart class of 2015 and Jae Kim class of 2014. So there are a bunch of guys combined together from their prime in high school who would run on this team together. Then, based on my own opinions, I predict how fast everyone runs and how fast the team runs overall.

You can look back at my old blog for details if you want but you will have to go back a few years.

Any questions let me know and get some teams up there on the list!

Déjà Vu?

It was an incredibly deep year for district one, including a National Qualifying repeat champ leading the way. A slew of guys ran sub 16 with the winner breaking 15 minutes. It was right for the spots to go to states. The 8th place squad for districts did not get to go to states, but they returned a slew of studs who were in the top 100 or so of the district. None of their guys returning were sub 16, but there was a strong belief within the team that big things were about to happen during the 2007 XC season.

Oh I'm sorry did you guys think I was talking about somebody else? Believe it or not I was talking above about the 2006 Upper Dublin Cardinals. They finished 8th districts, returning 5 of their top 6 including 3 sophomores. The next year that squad was 2nd at Districts and 5th at States. I witnessed things firsthand as I was technically a part of the 2006 and 2007 squads (although never was even remotely close to varsity in either season). The transition from 2006 to 2007 was a delicate one. You had the proverbial passing of the torch to the young guys from what remained of the old guard. The old guys had to accept their new 2nd fiddle type role. The young guys knew this was a chance to establish a dynasty. But getting to 2nd at districts and 5th at states took more than just simply bringing people back. It took a big jump from Mike Palmisano. He went from a 16:20s guy to a 15:40 guy and suddenly found himself top 10 in the district and top 25 in the state. That needed to happen or this squad had a ceiling. Plus another two other guys made decent leaps to sub 16. A pair of twins rounded things out in the mid to low 16s. Everybody in the top 5 ran faster than they did the previous year. It sounds simple, but that's incredibly difficult. Guys get hurt, people lose focus, you just have an off day.

But there were also issues with this team. No matter how you tried to fight it, you looked down the roster and said: 5 of our top 7 and 4 of our top 5 are coming back next year. We are going to have 3 sub 16 next year (and we did) just wait until next year, we will be even better!

But things didn't get better in 2008. We ended up 5th at states and 3rd at districts, moving back a spot. The pressure was heavy. We struggled throughout the season and cracked at Paul Short and Carlisle and States. We had forgotten what had made us great. We used to just be a bunch of nobody young guns with something to prove. Every race meant everything to us. We were trying to do things we had not ever done before. Once we ate, we forgot what it was like to be hungry.

We needed that kick in the butt to get going and ultimately on the track the guys ran 7:40, 10:08, won states and won penn relays. We also had the talent to do big things in Cross, but we needed the heart. We needed the fire.

This Downingtown West squad reminds me of Upper Dublin. They return a back of guys with solid XC marks that ran into one of the best years in D1 history and came up a few points short of states. But DT West is even younger than the UD squad from 2006. Their top 2 returners will be Sophs in 2014. They have some guys perched with the potential to break out and become stars next hear. They might have a few sub 16 guys on the roster. And I know they are hungry to prove themselves against the doubters.

Can they be 2nd at Districts? 5th at states? It will take time to know for sure, but right now DT West is just enjoying the moment. Because you never know when the moment will be gone.

For the sake of comparison I typed up the UD squad and the DT West squad so you can judge for yourself how similar they are.

8. Downingtown West
47 Drew Alanaky, Fr 16:19
51 Ryan Barton, Fr 16:24
65 Will Pelcin, Jr 16:33
79 Charlie Barton, Jr 16:42
84 Henry Sappey, So 16:44
106 Jason White, Jr 16:50
180 Ryan Mucha, Sr 17:10

8. Upper Dublin
28 Joe Dorris, Sr 15:54
50 Pat McLaughlin, Jr 16:14
64 Mike Palmisano, So 16:26
69 Paul Reilly, So 16:28
72 Matt Lorenzo, So 16:29
77 Jon Mariotz, Jr 16:31
101 Jacques Li, Sr 16:41

NXL Teams

Remember everybody who I expect to return to college next year is not eligible to be drafted, which means guys like eddy Ches are #1 on the guys to tank for list. So here are the squads:

Eugene Storm
Luke Puskedra
Lawi Lalang
Trevor Dunbar
German Fernandez
Parker Stinson
Leonard Korir
James Strang
Elliot Krause

Green Bay Pack
Matt Tegenkamp
Cam Levins
Ryan Hill
Meb Kflezgi
Richard Medina
Brent Vaughn
Maverick Darling
Andrew Wacker

New York Armory
Lopez Lomong
Sam Chelenga
Diego Estrada
Leo Manzano
Craig Forys
Girma Macheso
David McNeill
Reed Connor

Detroit Motor City
Dathan Ritz
Stephen Sambu
Bobby Mack
Donn Cabral
David Torrence
Aaron Braun
Andrew Wheating
Joe Bosshard

Chicago Cheetah Cubs
Evan Jager
Andrew Bumbalough
Dan Huling
Mo Ahmed
Chris Solinsky
Colby Lowe
Cory Leslie
Miles Batty

New England Tough Mudders
Ben True
Hassan Mead
Kennedy Kithuka
Shadrick Kipchirchir
Will Leer
Ryan Hall
Kirubel Erassa
Chris Ohare

Los Angeles Miles
Chris Derrick
Ryan Vail
Elliot Heath
Garrett Heath
Jake Reilly
Ryan Dohner
Sean Quigley
Henry Lelei

Portland TrailRunners
Galen Rupp
Bernard Lagat
Matt Centrowitz
Dorian Ulrey
Bobby Curtis
Ciarin Olionard
Andrew Colley
Dan Lowry

Hopefully didn't miss anyone too obvious! Let me know your thoughts on the squads

NXL Teams and Team Captains

So I came up with 8 teams rather than 12 because I didn't want to spread out the talent too much. These are the 8 team captains and their team names. Next week I will release the draft results as these guys build their franchises. Let me know what you think! (And if you have any better team names than I do that you would like to insert).

8 Team Captains
Chris Derrick, Los Angeles Miles: Chris would be a great first piece for any franchise. He is a strong runner with tireless work ethic and excellent big race experience. He is the reigning US champ at 12k in Cross and was a member of the 2013 world champs squad at 10k. He's still a pretty young prospect as well, entering just his second year as a pro and with virtually no injury history his potential to be a long term piece for this squad is encouraging.

Dathan Ritz, Detroit Motor Company: Ritz is making the transition from track to road at this stage in his career, but last spring he showed he could still get around the track at a quick clip as he competed well at 10k all the way down to 3k (Ritz boasts a 5k PR of 12:56, at the time a US record). He was second to Derrick at the US champs meet for XC and his high school XC credentials include two national titles. Ritz is an aging vet who probably doesn't have a lot of years left at the top level, so he won't be the future of the franchise. However, he has fantastic work ethic and leadership with years of "I've been there" type experience. He will be a strong captain for his team.

Galen Rupp, Portland TrailRunners: Rupp is the #1 pick in any expansion draft no doubt. He's not as young as Derrick, but he's smack in the middle of his prime. He's the American Record holder and Olympic Silver medalist in the 10k with a slew of US champs at that event. He has spent the last couple years taking an assault on the record books from the mile up and against national competition he has been untouchable. Rupp likely would hold out or force a trade to end up on the Portland based squad or possibly in Eugene and with Al Sal has his coach general managers and team goals during the season may be down on the priority list, but Rupp is a can't miss talent and the best runner in the NXL, passing on him would be like passing on Lebron.

Ben True, New England Tough Mudders:
Little known fact, the last time there was a big time cross country race, Ben True was the top American and a top 7 guy in the world. He might be the best XC guy in the nation on a true XC course (no pun intended). On the track he has been pretty solid as well, running 13:02 and 27:40. He is a man who operates of strength and heart, perfect for the XC circuit. The graduate of Dartmouth is a true new englander, ready to lead the Mudders on the big stage.

Luke Puskedra, Eugene Storm: Puskedra is a man unafraid to push the pace and hammer out the miles. He was a top 10 finisher in the NCAA XC meet for 3/4 years of his college career at the U of O because he was unafraid to take risks and chase a fast pace. He also has a strong half marathon PR down around 62 minutes and a 10k best sub 28. Puskedra has been a top 8 finisher at Footlocker, NCAAs and USAs for cross country in his career, a feat few can boast. He's a logical choice to lead the Eugene boys as Tracktown USA looks to become Crosstown. Wow that was corny, even for me.

Matt Tegenkamp, Green Bay Pack:
Tegenkamp, like Ritz is a bit of an aging star, but his experience and impressive range over his long and successful career make him a candidate to help out the Green Bay Pack in this first professional XC season. He has made the transition from 10k to Marathon now after making a slew of US teams at 5k and 10k, breaking 13 minutes in the 5 and just missing a world championship medal. Teg was third at last years USA championships in Cross Country and clearly has the strength to dominate longer XC races.

Evan Jager, Chicago Cheetah Cubs:
Jager has become far and away the greatest steeplechaser in US history in the last 24 months or so (and in Monaco today he may further cement his legacy). But he's more than just a steepler: he ran 13:02 last summer and nearly beat Galen Rupp. Jager skipped out on a serious collegiate career to pursue professional goals (made a US team at 5k with future teammates Solinsky and Tegenkamp in 09) so we aren't exactly positive what his XC ceiling is, but the potential is there. He knows how to balance fun and work and is likable yet influential leader. Plus he has great hair.

Lopez Lomong, New York Armory:
Lopez Lomong has been one of the most versatile athletes in our Nations history. Early in his career he excelled mainly at 800m and 1500m, but he also had a runner up finish at NCAAs in cross on his resume. As he transition to a pro career he made an Olympic team at 1500, an Olympic team at 5k and ran an American Record indoors. He has great speed but also impressive strength. Lomong has the most famous miscounting of laps in US history and finished his actual last lap at a blazing speed considering how tired an mentally fatigued he must have been. That's the heart of a champion and the grit and determination needed to chase guys in XC.

Monaco Madness: 1500m Preview

The world record in the 1500 is an absurd 3:26.00. To break the record somebody has to run 3:25.xx. I'm still wrapping my mind about that concept. It honestly seems impossible to me.

But not to Asbel Kiprob. The defending world champ has been pointing to Monaco all year for a run at the world record. His PR of 3:27.72 is the 4th fastest mark in history behind just Morceli, Bernard Lagat and El G.

Kiprob is just 25 years old but already has an Olympic gold and 2 other world championship golds. He is coming off an impressive 800m win in 1:43.34, putting him at the world lead with David Rudisha, a guy you might have heard of.

Kiprob loves to race at Monaco. He ran 3:28 and 3:27 there each of the last two years (the year before that he ran his 800m PR in Moncao clocking 1:43.15). He also has already run 3:29 from way back in May at Doha. Since his early season victory, however, he has struggled with tough losses in Eugene and Rome. To run 3:25, Kiprob will not be able to sputter. He needs to average about 55 seconds per lap and cover the track in just 205 seconds.

Kiprob pursuing the record ensures a fast pace for anyone who dares to keep it close. That could mean massive PRs for a loaded field. On the start list today are Silas Kiplagat, Matt Centrowitz, Johan Cronje, Abdelatti Iguider, Leo Manzano, Ayanleh Souleiman, Ilham Ozbilen, Nick Willis and Aman Wote.

To give you an idea, this field includes every medalist in a world championship or Olympic final from the last 3 years with the exception of Makloufi. Plus you have the Olympic gold and silver medalists from 2008. You also have the last two world indoor champions in the 1500m in Iguider and Souleiman and the current world leaders at 800m, 1500m, and Mile (Kiprob and Souleiman).

I think Souleiman is most poised for the upset (or at least a massive PR). He ran a blazing 3:47.32, the fastest mile since Webb ran the American Record in 2007, at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, defeating Kiprob and Kiplagat among others. He has excellent closing speed and boasts a 1:43.63 800m PR plus a bronze medal at 800 in Moscow. The kid is just 21 years old and has already run 3:30.31 for 1500m and holds pretty much every Djibouti record in existence on the track.  I believe he is due to smash his PR and put himself in contention for a 3:28ish type mark similar to Mo Farah a year ago.

This is a great opportunity for our Americans as well. Centrowitz has quietly run 3:32 for 1500m already this year and he added a PR at 5k running within 10 seconds of his old man's former AR. He didn't look brilliant at 800m last weekend, but the 8 has never been Centro's game. Despite his spectacular kick, he is only a 1:45 guy by PR at 1:46 isn't a surprise by any means. Besides Lagat never broke 1:46 but he is the second fastest 1500m man ever. I'm not reading too much into this latest mark.

His PR sits just south of 3:32 at 3:31.96 and he has a huge opportunity to break that. Running in the 3:30.xx range seems within his ability, a mark which would put him in historic company for the US All Time list. 3:29.30 is the AR held by Lagat while 3:30.54 is the PR of US legend Alan Webb. Centrowitz has 2 (almost 3) world medals at 1500m in his only 3 world appearances. If he can lower his PR you can make a strong case that he is the best 1500m man in US history.

Leo Manzano, master of US championships, is also currently set to toe the line in Monaco. His season best is 3:34.40 last week in Glasgow, a solid mark, but certainly not a pace fast enough to even be mid pack in a field of this caliber. Manzano looks much stronger than he did a year ago but keep in mind that he ran 3:33.14 a year ago making 2013 his second fastest year of his career. His "slowest year" since 2008 is actually 2012 where he never broke 3:34 but did take home what matters most: a silver medal in London. So for all the talk of Manzano being inconsistent and unpredictable, Leo has actually been pretty consistent in terms of his overall seasons: somewhere in the 3:33s and top 3 in the US.

Silas Kiplagat has been in Kiprob's 6 foot 3 shadow for some time so he would love to break into the 3:28s and upset for the win. He has been a consistent performer around 3:29-3:30 in recent years with a 2009 world silver medal and a series of impressive diamond league wins.

Nick Willis was the 2008 Olympic Silver medalist and has a PR at 3:30 from 2012. A few small tactical errors may have cost Willis some big time wins indoors at the Millrose Games and the World Indoor Championships, but in a fast, strung out field, I will be interested to see if he can pick off scalps over the last lap and grab another PR.

One last thing of note, if Kiprob can't quite get the world record on the 18th, he will also be chasing his country's national record of 3:26.34, held by none other than American Record holder Bernard Lagat. Lagat ran that record back in 2001.

Introducing the NXL

As much as I love running, I have to admit that I've been enjoying the shenanigans of the NBA offseason quite some bit. And I'm a fan of the hopelessly irrelevant Sixers so you know that's saying something.

There is just something beautiful about trades, free agent signings and the draft in a league where a variety of cities have their own team. It's a really cool idea that makes the sport nationally relevant.

So you can see where I'm going with this: why can't we do this with track or cross country?

The simple answer is that no one really cares enough. No money, no sponsors, the costs outweigh the gains. But beyond that there are also a variety of financial incentives for athletes to focus their efforts on nailing a really fast time or being at their best for just one or two meets a year. Nobody is going to be willing to cut into their training and risk a chance at a big PR in Europe in exchange for whatever salary the ATL could offer. Or at least any top tier runner.

You would definitely be more likely to draw in some mid tier guys (which the US currently has a slew of might I add) who are training more for love of the game than anything else.

I also think you would be more likely to have an ACCL (American Cross Country League) considering the fall is just a base training period for a lot of guys anyway. Sure XC isn't as fan/spectator friendly as the sport of track and field, but I think the die hard sports fans, the guys who favorite season all through high school and college was the fall, would be pumped to see some national caliber XC squads.

So look let's put all the financial questions aside for now. Pretend with me that we have a 12 team national cross league, an NXL of sorts. What would that look like?

I'd imagine we are it up like football, one day a week competition, probably Saturday or Sunday, and have something like a 8-10 week season. You split the 12 teams into two divisions of 6, an east and a west of sorts. You run 5 dual meets within your division, two tri meets with a random grouping of teams and three dual meets out of your division. Something like that could be a reasonable 10 week schedule in my eyes. You score everything classic XC dual meet style and everybody finishes with a win loss record out of 10.

For the postseason, each loss is worth 3 points at the division title race at the end of the year, top team from each division advances at the division title race to a national championship race. There is also a third wild card team that gains entrance to the championship for scoring the least points at the division title match but doesn't win. Then you have a three team race for the title.

You could give teams their own home course, vary the distance of each race and get creative with scheduling and length of season. You get team jerseys with athlete'a names on the back and see if you can sell those to the public. I'd definitely go out an buy a Philadelphia Flying V Galen Rupp jersey or even a Chris Derrick California Chrome singlet (I'm learning very quickly team names would take some serious thought, California Chrome is probably not my best work). You could even bring in sponsors to be the namesake of a squad. The New York Redbulls do it for Soccer so throw in the Brooklyn Power Bars and we are set.

A typical team would have something like a 10 man roster and everybody races, only 7 count and 5 score, keep it classic. Then you have a bunch of free agents who teams can pick up if their squad gets struck with injury during the season. You can even sign players to your practice squad and have them train with you in case of emergency.

Coaching would be tricky. People get very attached to their coaches and consistent training is mammothly important (and I don't use that word lightly). I don't think the journeyman of the NXL would be a big fan of switching coaches every year. Free Agency would be pretty exclusively about coaching. So you may have to let everybody train on their own and meet up for the meets (unintentional I swear).

Let's face it, there's plenty of reasons this will never happen, but for a brief moment I do enjoy thinking of a world where the American professional running scene is a bit less boring ....

Looking Professional

4 guys who should have considered a different race at USAs

Look I don't mean to be overly critical of these guys, they are better runners with smarter coaches than myself, but watching the USA champs I couldn't help but feel like some guys were running the wrong race. While people like Andrew Bayer were taking smart risks and experimenting with new events and tactics others were caught up in the wrong moment. Here are my thoughts.

1. Lopez Lomong, 1500m:
I'm a big Lopez fan. His story is amazing and his running is courageous to watch. The guy has been to two Olympic squads and just recent won an indoor national championship in the mile in a battle with buddy Will Leer (ironically the two finished neck and neck again outdoors this year, this time for 3rd and 4th). He is a great combination of strength and speed: if he chooses to run the 1500 next year he will be in the hunt for the world team without question.

But I think it's time for Lopez to begin his transition to 5000m. He began his climb with a big time win at Payton Jordan that sparked some of the greatest track memes in nations history when he stopped a lap early (and still ran 13:11). He made the London Olympic team and subsequently the London Olympic final where he was in the hunt for essentially the entire race leading a few key laps as well. He finished 10th. Indoors he set what was then an American record with a 13:06.99 5k, a truly elite mark for an indoor track. At that point it appeared Lopez was ready to take a big step towards becoming an elite 5k runner.

But since that moment he has really backed away from the 5k, opting for the 15 at the last two us champs. He managed just a 3:34 a year ago and didn't qualify for the 1500 finals at the world championships.

At 29 he doesn't have the raw speed he had when he was a 1:45/3:32 type who closed US championship races in 51 seconds. However, he trains with a group of the best strength guys in the nation with Chris Derrick and Evan Jager. 1500 guy Andy Bayer who may have been able to help push Lopez in practice is switching events. If he is healthy enough to maintain higher mileage work, I think it is clear Lopez would seriously benefit from making his move to the 5000.

Two years ago it looked like a better seasoned, more experienced Lopez Lomong could be a threat for a medal at the world championships, but after two years of 1500 work and aging, he is still just as inexperienced at 5000m as ever.

2. Ben True, Watching: I'm the first one to admit the US championships in non qualifying years is not a very sexy event. The 5k in Paris was looming with alleged 12:50 type pacing. Rupp and Salazar were talking American Record. It was a Jessica Alba kinda race.

So Ben True skipped the US champs to prepare for Paris. The move backfired. The race didn't live up to it's billing as the pace lagged during a 2:40 k (that's 13:20 pace, walking for guys of this caliber). When the dust cleared True ran 13:13 for a distant 11th.

Look money comes into play here. If you get a flashy PR in Europe it probably looks better than a 3-5 type finish at USAs in a non championship year (ala Hassan Mead). But True has been struggling mightily on the diamond circuit and has not even really been close to his 13:02 that he ran at Payton Jordan. You can argue True's best races have both been early season at PJ and then in cross country at worlds. He finished last year with back to back heartbreaks at USAs and probably should be considering how best to get an advantage to make his first team on the track.

3. Robby Andrews, 800m:
Robby is an NCAA champ at 800m with a best of 1:44.71, easily one of the best pbs in the field at USAs. The 800 was event through high school and college and his speed and kick are well documented. Andrew Wheating still checks his closet for Robby each night before he goes to bed.

But I think the long grueling rounds of 800m at USAs is a bit too much for Rob. He has made the finals in this event a couple times and when he gets there he just appears spent and out of gas. His kick doesn't do him any favors when guys hold on after blazing things out in 49ish.

But the tactical affair that is the 1500 suits Robby better. I think the rounds are easier, some years it's only 2 rounds, and the 1500 heats are rarely as taxing as those 800 heats that soloman leads around the track.

Plus Rob has credentials at 1500m. RA Kickey ran 3:34 in 2012 at oxy when he went toe to toe with farah and rupp and nearly out kicked them both. He was a disappointing 5th at Olympic trials in 2012 but was a mistimed move away from being on the Olympic team at roughly 21 years old. His kick would be positively lethal in the 15 right now, in the 8 it doesn't seem like he has the ability to go out as slow as he needs to and kick down the field. I'm not sure he can be the same type of strength guy symmonds was early in his career.

In my opinion the only thing holding Robby back from being one of the favorites for 2016's 1500 squad is tactics. He needs a bit more experience in championship style 1500s so he can position himself well for a kick and use it appropriately so he doesn't use it all up on the backstretch and have nothing left for the home straight. He could have gained a lot of experience at USAs that I think would have been valuable going forward.

At just 23 years old I sincerely doubt we have heard the last of Robby Andrews. A little seasoning and this bad boy is gonna be ready for dinner.

4. Bernard Lagat, 5000m:

Honestly, of course Lagat should have ran the 5k at USAs. He gets another title, a nice but of publicity and he makes himself a favorite to advance to worlds in 2015 in this event.

But here is why he is on the list: the dude is going to be 40 years old in December! When I'm 40 I hope I can make it up the stairs in my house, meanwhile Kip is outkicking dudes half his age and showing brilliant tactics.

Look I'm just saying if I had run 3:26, held a variety of American records, had a few world championship gold medals and Olympic medals instead of busting my butt in 100 degree sacto heat, I'd probably be hanging up the spikes in my trophy case and curling up in the AC holding my an Olympic silver and pretending to be the guy in once a runner.

State of the Union

The State of US Distance Running: 800m

The 800m has been a very strong event on the world stage for team USA in recent years. Nick Symmonds made a slew of world championship finals (every one since 2009) and grabbed a silver medal in Moscow. Symmonds and teammate Duane solo man combined to finish 4th and 5th in the London Olympics in the #2 and #3 all time us performances, both under 1:43.00. Last year emerging star Brandon Johnson came within a few ticks of making the world championship final as well in his first big year at 800m. He now sports a pr in the 1:43 range.

But as we look ahead to the 2015 world champs and the 2016 rio Olympics many question marks remain in the 800m crew. Duane soloman is still clearly the best guy in the bunch. He already run 1:43 this year and won his second straight us title in dominating fashion. But soloman has peaking issues. The last two seasons he has been in killer form earlier in the summer only to fade by the crucial meets in August. In 2012 he timed his peak quite well but he has struggled to return to that form. Soloman has been relevant on the US scene since 2008 when he nearly made his first Olympic team so he is starting to get older and that could lead to a fall off in the near future. His front runner tactics also seem to be draining after a whole season of being at the front. He would really benefit from a return to form from a front runner like David rudisha to take some of the burden off his efforts.

Despite all that he is still easily the class of the US right now with Symmonds on the block. He destroyed the field at usas and is still running in the 1:43-1:44 range consistently, an achievement few can boast in the world let alone the United States. He still appears to have his sights set on an American record attempt later this summer. He can get through 600m at record pace no doubt, the questions will always be about whether he can hang on.

The obvious name to bring up when talking about soloman is nick symmonds. The world silver medalist has been MIA for months now after his best season of his career. Symmonds came within about 50m of upsetting mo aman and grabbing a gold medal for the United States last summer but now, after switching from Nike to brooks, he struggled indoors and fell off the face of the earth outdoors with no races on his radar. Last year symmonds was talking American record and 1500m with a chance to try and double 8-15 in rio, but now symmonds is on the shelf. It is unclear what is keeping him from competing: an injury or fatigue or lack of motivation. The guy has been the top of the us since 2008, ran 1:42 and got a silver medal. I'd imagine there isn't much else the guy wants to get of his career now that he is something like 30 years old. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he comes back in 2015 and 2016 and uses his superior strength to get through the rounds at usas and make a team, but as of right now he is just a big question mark. Heck he might even transition to the 15 instead of the 8 and leave a spot wide open on team USA.

Brandon Johnson was the breakout star of 2013 for the us and he came within fractions of a second of making a world championship final after being an out of work 400m hurdler just a few years before. But as quickly as Johnson emerged as a future beast of the 2 lapper, he disappeared off the radar this year. He ran some 1:46 type marks early in the year across the sea but wasn't at the national championships in Sacto and still hasn't run anything like the times he ran a year ago. He went from being in the national title talks to now being just another member of a competitive crop of 800m youngsters.

So if the favorites slip who will be there to take their place? There is a nice mix of talent waiting in the wings headed by Erik sowinski, formerly of Iowa. He was the indoor us champ and has dropped his pr to 1:44 this year. However he has faded off a bit since that 1:44 and may have timed his peak on the early side so that he could get into some euro meets this summer. Sowinski has good speed and can close well but will need to be prepared to run quick on an opening 400m to have any sort of shot at Solomon.

Elijah Greer was ncaa champ indoors and out a year ago and currently is the best young product on the scene. His pr is in the low 1:45s and he has had a couple strong showings on the national scene making the last two us finals.

Charles jock is a guy who has made the world team before, making the squad in 2011 and running his 1:44 mid pr. He followed that with an ncaa title in 2012. Jock struggled for a bit after his big break trying to find his place as a front runner. He looked great at usas up until his fall in the finals that took out basically the entire field. He could be in for a big summer if things break right.

Cas Loxsom was 2nd at this years us champs thanks to jock's fall and currently boasts a pb just north of 1:45. Loxsom isn't afraid to go with a fast pace and is in a training group that features one of the best 800m men in the country's history.

Among the other contenders to make some noise at 800m in the next 2-3 years are Robby Andrews, 2011 ncaa champ and 1:44.71 pr, Tyler mulder, low 1:44s last year with a slew of just misses for us teams, mike rutt of New Jersey New York, and mark wizzo of the brooks beast crew. Andrews is the biggest wildcard of the bunch with his freakish potential, but I have always felt his ceiling would be at 1500m.

If you are looking for some real deep sleepers don't forget about someone like Andres arroyo, a super talent frosh this past year at Florida. He ran 1:47 in high school and qualified for NCAAs this spring and winter. All this in his first season with collegiate coaching. He had great range in high school and that strength will benefit him as he tries to navigate the rounds at a us championships.

Train Tracks: 3 is a Magic Number

Until I get that library card and have something to read, I'm just going to have to keep thinking of stuff to blog about. So here we go kids another post on state medalists.

So how important is a front runner in cross country? How important are two? Are three? No obviously I discussed this before, but I think it would be interesting to revisit this concept with some added statistical relevance.

So let's look at this piece by piece. First let's consider one excellent front runner. No team has ever won a state championship without a state medalist. No team has gotten 2nd without a state medalist. Lasalle had their top guy finish 25th in 08 when they got 2nd. That's as close as things got. Lasalle also finished third in 09 with one of the tightest packs known to man, but they had no medalists and as a result were surprised by north allegheny who had the strong front runner.

The top runner on the last 8 state champs has been 3rd, 6th, 7th, 6th, 1st, 17th, 1st, 1st. That's crazy, especially when you consider that 2 of those performances that weren't first overall were 1st in team scoring. North penns squad is likely the exception that proves the rule as opposed to the rule itself, but hey it's happened before with teams like west Chester east over Craig millers super squad. Overall, if you have the best runner in the race, you usually win. It starts at the front, that guy sets the tone and leads the pack through the race and pushes everyone to their best in practice each day.

But here is the catch: you can't win a title without a front runner, but having a front runner is far from enough to win states, or even qualify you. I don't know some of the more random medalists teams well enough to give you an exact count, but I estimate about 50% of medalists aren't on state qualifying teams. So while you need one, it takes more than one.

So now two. My opinion is that two can be as sad as one. And yes I am aware that would make an excellent song lyric.

So here is why I say this. Since 06, there have been 31 teams with multiple medalists in the same championship meet. That's an impressive mark of almost 4 teams per year. Coatesville, Henderson, north penn, north hills, henderson, Ohara and Henderson have had more than 2 medalists in the same race during that span (7 squads) which leaves 24 schools with exactly 2.

Out of those schools, 2 have won state championships, 3 have been runner ups. That's 5 out of 24 schools that have left with medals, just over 20%. Meanwhile over the same span two teams won a state title with just one medalist and an additional 3 were runner ups with just the single medalist. You will notice that matches exactly. The take away: it makes no statistical difference if you have one medalist or two your chances of getting to the medal stand as a team are the same. That's telling.

Plus think of all the 2 medalist squads who didn't even qualify for states: 5. And then you have a slew of teams that finished mid pack with their two studs.

Now that being said two studs has given plenty of teams big success. The north penn squad in 09 at districts, perk valley's 4th place finish at states in 08, the strong Altoona teams that spanned 2009-2011. We are talking top 5 teams in the state. And that's why two is probably better than one.

But three seems to be the magic number. Out of the teams with 3 medalists or more at states (7), there has been one national champ, three national qualifiers, 4 state champs, 2 runner ups and one ... Um enigma for all time.

If you got three in the medals, your team is probably going home with gold. Exception being you run into one of the greatest teams in state history (Ohara and Henderson). Ohara didn't win a title in 2012 but my goodness that team was good. They were 5th at nationals! Nothing to be ashamed of and that top 3 medalists played a big time role. As for Henderson in 06, they lost to the national champs, the states greatest ever team. That Henderson squad gets massively overshadowed honestly. They probably would have made nats if there was an actual qualifying meet. And they took 4-11-13 at states! Plus they won a national championship in the dmr!

(I'm choosing to conveniently leave out the fact they were actually 3rd at districts to strath haven who gave them a real run for their money at states with 4 in the top 50 ... Seriously look up the 2006 meet it was absurd)

And then there is north hills. I could just shrug, say this is an outlier and move on but that's not my way. Here is what I will say about the north hills monster, if they made states as a team I believe they would have been easily in the top 10. I don't know exacts or anything but give them two of the last place finishers at states and add up the team scores and see where they would have fit in. I haven't done it but I bet the results surprise you (hopefully I don't end up being way off on this, if that happens just ignore the next paragraph).

Here is my theory, states is different than districts. Wow. Mind blowing. Let me clarify, states is different than the big districts. Look in district one if your 5th man runs 19 minutes, he probably gets 200th at best ... In the Jv race (maybe lower I ran 19:12 my freshman year and was straight buried). You are throwing up like 400 points from one guy and even if u take 1-2-3-4 you won't make top 10 in the district.

Flip the script on that and throw that team in states. Last place is probably only like 100-120 points or somethig like that. You take 1-2-3-4 and last you might not win the whole thing but it's gonna be real tough for somebody to beat you. Most years it's a score like 90-110 that wins if my memory serves me right, it's just we have been spoiled by these great teams the past two years.

Again you can check the math and get exact numbers but my point holds true I believe.

Look at north hills themselves for proof. In 2009 they basically had 3 medalists as hebda finished around 27th or so. That team also had two guys down around 19 minutes as their 4-5. That team was roughly a top 8 team at states, finishing a couple points away from some teams in front of them if I remember correctly (gosh this whole blogging on a train thing really inhibits my ability to look up stats as I go and seem really nick smart like I usually do .. Crashing back to earth .. Wait did I just put a nick in there that shouldn't have been? Sorry force of habit ....).

The next year the top 3 was better, took 1-2-3 at districts, but couldn't get out of the excellent wpial (that was their best year probably, they got both state golds and rivaled d1 in medals). So we don't know where they would have finished, but they would have been up in the mix no doubt.

So at this point some of you are saying well I'm glad I read etrains blog bc now I know if you have three runners who are really good that's better than having two runners that are really good. Man, how does he come up with this groundbreaking knowledge. Oh much does an actuary pay because I can do that job if he can ....

To which I first say, ouch and second say nice one and then go on to clarify. What I am trying to say is depth is not as important at states as front runners are. You need the low sticks more than ever when the talent is all at the top and the middle/back where most 4-5 guys are is basically a crapshoot. The race is decided out front with the first few guys and the rest kinda evens itself out. Depth isn't as important, but obviously you need a little bit to get by. And the magic number in my opinion is three.

So that's all I'm trying to say. Now somebody go look up those stats for me I'm curious how wrong I am.

Train Tracks: Predicting the Unpredictability

Alrighty so here we go another bit of rambling courtesy of train about what I learned looking over the last 200 medalists list. This little post is about the craziness of the state championship picture.

First off I should say despite the overall craziness, there is an element of predictability. District one has won 7 of the last eight titles as a team or individual. I've already outlined the teams that have consistently dominated at the state level. And, as expected seniors do take the most medal spots, by my count 61% of the medalists are seniors, 31% are juniors and the remaining 8% are Sophs.

But there is still a ton of variability to the state meet. Even looking at guys who have done it before can be misleading. As I mentioned there are 78 non senior medalists from the last 8 years. 13 of them came in 2013 (a high number I might add, on average there are more like 10) so we throw those out because those guys haven't returned to Hershey yet.

So out of the 66 returning medalists over the past 7 years, 30/66 didn't improve their position at states the next year and 12 out of 65 did not even medal again the next season (and I didn't even cheat to include dan jaskowak who was a special case). That may not sound like a lot but that means out of our 13 returners this year, the numbers say about 6 of them won't improve on last years performance and 2-3 of them won't end up back on the medal stand. That's pretty crazy.

Here's another fun fact for you to tell your friends about ... Out of the last 8 state champs, only 3 were district champs and all 3 of those guys who won district and state championships also won regional championships. In addition out of the last 8 state champs only 50% have made it to a national championship as an individual. 5/8 2nd placers have and 5/8 3rd placers have. There have also been 3 4th placers, 1 7th placer, 1 11th placer, and 1 18th placer for those keeping score at home.

In other words the numbers suggest the best runner in the state may actually win states only about 50% of the time. That seems low to me, although I do enjoy the variability of it all. And hey, you have to have your day on the day that counts. It's part of being a champion. But you just wonder if the difficulty of the state course adds too much variability for it to be fair.

Another interesting number, over the past 7 years the top returner has won the state championship 3 times, just under 50%. The 13th returner won once, as have #3, #2 and #5.

Here we go on another stat. There have been 16 soph medalists over the last 8 years as I mentioned earlier, about 2 per year. 4 of them have come in the last two years so they haven't finished their senior campaigns so we will wait on them. But of the remaining 12, 8 took home 3 state medals in their career. Kev James, Sam Webb and Colin abert have a chance to join this pretty exclusive club this year.

However the road for soph medalists has not been easy. Miles, Gil and Steiner are the only ones have improved their finish each year and miles and Gil are the only ones who finished their progression with state titles (although to be fair Conner Quinn got a state title as a junior just not a senior). Abert and James still have a chance to match this achievement this season.

On a positive note let's talk brothers to close things out! The Martin twins are the only pair of brothers were two medals each in the last 8 years. The Dawson twins also got on the medal stand. The izewski bros had medal performances 07-10, the hibbs bros 06-11 and how about the van kootens? If Jeff medals this year they have an 06 and an 14 medalist in the family! A 9 year span. Regardless their 8 year span is quite impressive. Todd gunz has is eyes on making his family the only one with two top 5 finishers in the family in the last decade when dust clears. Same perhaps for Ryan James.

You never know what will happen, states is unpredictable!

Train Tracks: #3rdworldproblems

So I have hours a day on a train to do whatever I want and so I did what anyone would do during that string of time. I wrote out the last 8 years worth of medalists. That gives me a list of roughly the best 200 guys in the state over the last 8 years and I think it can tell us a lot about what is to come. As an actuary to be I am believer in studying stats and trends from the past and projecting smartly forward to predict the future.

So I'm going to be putting out a series of posts on what I found interesting. Let me know your thoughts. Also as usual I'm typing this on my phone and don't have internet access until I get home so my stats may be slightly off, but I think you will find things reasonably accurate. Also we are talking strictly aaa here unless I mention something to the contrary just to prevent confusion.

Firs topic: Is district 3 getting screwed?

I have been wondering for a long time how much of an effect running the state course back to back weeks can have on a group of runners and teams. The state course is brutal. My high school coach was a strong believer that you need at least a week to recover from that place ever since we blew up at Carlisle a week after pre states.

First fun fact for you: no team that has run the pre states race as gone on to win a state title later that fall (might be true for individuals too if not for mark Dennin). It could be a coincidence for sure but some very strong teams like na and Ohara have run hard there in years when they were state title contenders but ended up missing out on state gold.

But really that stat could easily be a fluke. There is so much time in between meets that there is a high probability the results are not correlated for reasons of fatigue and the like.

So now we turn our attention to district 3 itself. Over the past 8 years, d3 has had a total of 18 medalists, the third most behind just 7 and 1. That's not surprising. What is surprising is the drastic difference between these districts. D1 has 92, d7 has 38 and d3 has just 18. Over the same time span d12, basically just the pcl, has had 16 medalists. Keep in mind that is closer to a 16 out of 150 than 16 out of 200 total because the pcl didn't join the piaa until 2008.

Over this same 8 year period d3 has never had a state champion, team or individual. In fact they have not had a top 5 team in the state and have not anyone finish higher than 4th representing their district as individual. That may seem high but d11, d6, d10 and d9, all much smaller than district 3, have all had top 3 finishers within the last 8 years.

The d3 individual champion has medaled just 62.5% of the time. That's crazy considering d1s champ has medaled 100% of the time over the same period, finishing no worse than 11th during the same period with 3 district and state champs.

The top finisher out of all district 3 runners at states has been outside the top 5 in 6 out of 8 years, outside the top 10 4 times and outside the top 20 once. Over the same span the top d1 finisher has never been worse than 4. And won the race 7 times. District 7 has never been outside the top 10 in that 8 year span and 2013 was their first time outside the top 5 since 2007.

Alec Kunzweiler was the only district 3 medalist for a 2 year span in 2011-2012. You could say the same for district 8 and ean disilvio if they didn't essentially dissolve the district.  

And it's not like d3 is a bad district. Clearly they have studs across the board. Since 2007 they have a multitude of state champs in distance. McNally got one, Kareis came within striking distance of one, brehm has two now. Andrew rotz got one, Kunzweiler and cvalley got one same goes for cedar crest. Nate mcclafferty had two seconds in that window. Kevin hull did as well. In terms of state champs outdoors since 07 they are right on par or ahead of d7 production and certainly much farther ahead of the other districts than their xc results suggest.

So what gives? It seems like d3 is getting screwed here! (Pardon my language parents out there, I didn't think hoodwinked was a strong enough adjective).

But wait a minute. D3 aaa may have struggled but what's interesting is their aa counterparts are having no issues. Since 2006, beveridge won two titles, Steve welsh won, gruschow won, todaro won ... That's 5/8 for district 3!

Hmmmm so, maybe it's not a disadvantage? Maybe my harsh language in front of our kind hearted parents was unjustified? I just need to take a time out in the corner and chill out?

Ultimately, I actually think my theories are right here (shocker, etrain thinks he's right what else is new?). I do think there is a problem. Yes the aa numbers are evidence it can be done, but where are the great aa teams? Where are the brutal district battles for individuals to win titles and get qualifying spots?

You have to conserve energy at the state course the week before. Think about how dominate beveridge and gruschow were in their title years? Gruschow won every race at districts in track, I think he didn't have issues at districts in cross.

Meanwhile look at pat Reilly. That guy was a stud, sub 9:20 3200m man. He went out hard at districts and got himself a district title. At states the next weekend the kid was crippled. Soph Jeff groh pulls the huge upset win and the next weekend has nothing left to give. Alex galli, Zach barker, the Conrad Weiser team in general. If you look at the results, I bet more guys have off days out of d3 then anywhere else. It's a crap shoot which d3 guy will have a good day rebounding from states. Why do you think McNally, Hurston, and Kunzweiler had disappointing finishes after they won the title? Logan Mohn after a top 10 finish the one year? I could go on but I feel like I'm boring people.

And then you get the random medalists who had their off day at districts the week before: Tim Moyer, Michael beegle, Zach Johnston, Kunzweiler the first time.

Last year there were some bright spots. Brehm, gebhardt, and nissley all medaled. Seiger was close. Three of those guys are back this year to break the trend. And I bet they could care less about the stats I'm throwing at them right now.

And hey, maybe that makes all the difference?

Ps thanks for reading this post despite that 13 year old girl title.