These are the race paces ran by UW at the Oct 18 Pre-nats and by UO at the Oct 4 Dellinger meet.
Schaaf 5:26 ______ Kosinski 5:27
Babcock 5:26 _____ Grelli 5:27
Lawrence 5:27 ____ Blood 5:33
Follett 5:27 _____ Scherf 5:40 to 5:34
Campbell 5:32 ____ Bridgmon 5:36
Saylor 5:37 ______ Buckman 5:44 to 5:37
The second race pace for Scherf & Buckman was at the Oct 18 Mike Hodges Inv. on a shorter 5K course. Their above pace was increased by a factor of 1.013, or 4 seconds, to adjust for the shorter course (factor based on age-graded tables).
Right now it appears the UW has the strongest team. But UO’s Scherf has raced only once in 2½ years (foot injury) and isn’t yet race sharp. She has the team’s best PRs at 5k/10k and ran workouts equal/better than her top teammates UO’s preseason camp. So if not by PAC-10s, then by Nats, Scherf should be able to get back to performing as she did 3 years ago (20:15/5:26pace at ’05 Pre-Nats).
UO’s Blood also needs to step it up a little. I heard she has been taking her training/racing a little easy to avoid a summer injury from recurring. She ran 20:18 (5:27 pace) at ’07 Nats, and if she doesn’t have an injury problem, she should be able to run that time again. She may try not to peak until Nats. With expected improvements from Blood and Scherf, that leaves the top-4 of these two teams almost identical in performance.
UO appears still has the edge with a slightly faster 5th runner, but UW has two runners that are nearly equal for 5th place. One of the two might step it up to be equal to Campbell (UW’s 5th runner).
Right now UW appears to have the edge. But all it will take is for one runner on either team to have a bad race and the other team should win. Also, we have seen UO’s top runners in only one moderately competitive race so far this year. That is not really enough to see where UO’s runners are at. The Pre-Nats course may be slower than Dellinger, but at Dellinger, UO’s top runners may not have pushed themselves as hard as they easily won by 10 seconds. From meet to meet, UW’s times seem to be about the same (very fast) but not improving.
Expect the Oct 31 PAC-10s (at UO) to be a close battle. At Regionals both teams may hold back some to avoid being too tired for Nats. Whichever team wins PAC-10s isn’t necessarily going to win Nats. But the National Championship will clearly go to UW or UO as it is now apparent that the #3, #4 & #5 ranked teams (Florida St, Princeton, Villanova) are not at UW’s or UO’s level.
If just one top-5 team member from UW or UO has a bad race at Nats, that will likely decide who wins. UW’s top two runners have never been to Nats before. Will the pressure affect their performance? UW’s top-5 have all been to Nats twice except for Kosinski (once). This race should be too close to predict -- unless UO or UW has a top runner injured before Nats.