The Best High School Cross Country Runners Of All Time
With all do respect Mr. Meylan and/or Mr. Kellogg; there are a few things that make no sense to me:
- Ranking Lukas Verzbicas as low as 7th
- Not ranking Reuben Reina at all
- Ranking Jorge Torres as high as 10th
- Barely mentioning Abdirizak Mohamud
- Ranking Eric Hulst over Lindgren, Virgin and Pre
I’ve taken half dozen stats courses and I spent a portion of my career working in marketing research; this certainly does not qualify me to match wits with a PhD scientist, but I do know my way around the numbers a little bit. My background also qualifies me to appreciate the running analyses that you do, but I think you are all wrong on this one. I don’t have the time right now to type out a full account of why I think you are wrong other than to say you are not consistent in how add points and take away points.
For example Jorge Torres made the FL finals 4 years in a row and won it once. This is a great accomplishment; however, most of your top athletes didn’t even attempt to qualify for FL until their junior year. Relatively speaking, FLNC, 95, 96, 97, 98 were weak years if you primarily go by what these athletes did later in their careers. Some of them had and are still having very good careers; however, there were very few that won USATF sr national championships, no World or Olympic medalists or anyone who made the podium in a world marathon major. From 95-98, there were no athletes in the FLNC like Goucher, Meb, Hall, Webb, Teg, Solinski, Ritz, Rupp and Fernandez, etc. This is not to pick on Jorge, because he has had a very good career and is still going strong, but I am using him a representative example of how some of your reasoning does not stand up.
I do agree that you have to include what H.S. athletes did in every aspect of their career to make certain assumptions and to fill in the gaps where you are missing comparative data, but you need to be consistent with it and give credence to how things change over time. For example, the top African athletes Fernandez ran against in World Jr XC were on the European track circuit competing as professionals that same year. In the last couple of years, World Jr XC has become the single most competitive race on the planet. As of right now, World Jr XC for African athletes is their audition out of poverty; this was not as much the case many years ago.
In my mind it’s a toss-up between Ritz and Lindgren, but if by chance Lukas decides to do Jr XC and wins the national meet and places top-10 in the world meet and makes the top 3 list in any track event, he is number one. He is in the top 4-5 right now even if he never runs another step.