There were only three major invitationals this weekend, but the results speak volumes. Whether you were at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, the Pre-National Invitational, or the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, your actions have changed the course of this season. Overwhelming favorites are now questionable while dark horses emerged from the abyss (ie: high school).
While nearly every team that received votes in the national poll ran this weekend, they did not all run on the same course. There is no better preview of the national cross country scene prior to the start of the championship season than FloRatings - Release #3.
To reiterate, each race on each course has been scaled down to a numerical value. This value allows competitors and fans to compare their performances to other courses, other races, and prior years.
Before you analyze the data, there are some quick takeaways that you should note concerning each race.
Wisconsin Invitational - Men
If you examine the FloRatings from the 2011 Wisconsin adidas Invitational, you’ll notice very similar results. While the 2012 field was more competitive than the field from 2011, the FloRatings remain oddly consistent. When rating the same race, FloRatings are supposed to change from year to year based on the quality of the individuals and teams that are competing.
So why are the 2011 and 2012 FloRatings the same?
There are unmeasurable factors from the 2012 that cancel each other out and bring down the overall FloRating. While the both the teams and weather was better in 2012, the race went out 22-seconds slower than last year. Even though everyone in the race closed quite hard, the slow beginning made the finishing times a bit slower.
In the end, this is just human rationale to explain empirical data.
Wisconsin Invitational - Women
On the other hand, the women’s race went out much faster compared to last year. The faster times up front buried finishing times that would have normally won the race. If someone were to run 19:59 in 2011 and win, their FloRating would be lower than someone who ran 19:59 and placed 13th.
So why would Sheila Reid’s time of 19:59.4 produce a FloRating of 158.0 while Shelby Houlihan’s 19:58 produce a FloRating of 158.4?
The weather was much better in 2012. Again, these environmental and race factors do not actually cancel each other out because they have no quantitative value. How much would FloRatings have to handicap a race for hurricane winds or a torrential downpour?
It’s impossible to say.
But the weather affects the overall finishing times. You can’t see it by looking at the numbers (unless you’re in the Matrix, in which case, why are you looking at FloRatings), but the data is influenced by the good conditions.
Pre-National Invitational - Women
While the women’s race in Wisconsin was our main attraction, Pre-Nationals were equally as impressive. Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton won Pre-Nats with a time of 19:43.9, which produced a FloRating of 165.
Why is this so high? How is it comparable to Laura Hollander’s course record at Wisconsin?
The competition was arguably better at Pre-Nationals than at the Greater Louisville Classic. Also, Tuliamuk-Bolton ran a near course record at Louisville, which also adds to her FloRating’s value (note: If anyone knows a faster time at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park than Sheila Reid’d 19:40 from 2011 Big East, please leave a comment below).
If you wanted to be able to compare the Greater Louisville Classic and Pre-Nationals, linear analysis is also possible. For example, take Chelsea Oswald from Kentucky. On Saturday, Oswald ran 20:32.7, which equates to a FloRating of 148.7. Her 6k time roughly converts to a 5k of 16:51.
What did she run at the Greater Louisville Classic? 16:59 for 5k, which gave a 149.9 FloRating. However, because she finished a few spots lower at Pre-Nats (23rd) compared to Greater Louisville (7th), her rating was slightly lowered.
Chile Pepper XC Festival - Men
Chile Pepper was included because of one special individual and one special team. Kennedy Kithuka ran an impressive 28:53.0 at Chile Pepper, which equated to a FloRating of 224. The first question you may be asking is why isn’t this value higher?
Not to take any value away from his win, but that’s nowhere near the fastest time for the Chile Pepper course. In 2008, Daniel Kirwa of Harding ran 28:53.4, there were eleven men below Kithuka’s time in 2006 (guess where ten of them were from), and six men under his winning time in 2005.
Additionally, the OSU men are rated very low. If you look at individuals that have run low-30 minutes for 10k on the Chile Pepper course, the FloRatings will correspond to OSU's finishing times.
Archieved races aside, Kithuka’s winning time is comparable to Lawi Lalang’s course record in Wisconsin. Is Lalang’s FloRating equal to that of Kithuka’s because Lalang ran easy for the early stages of the race? Perhaps Kithuka is the real deal?
FloRatings has those answers and more.
New Florating Lists
Wisconsin Invitational: Men / Women
Pre-National Invitational: Men / Women
Chile Pepper Invitational: Men / Women
Combined Weekend FloRatings: Men / Women
Updated 2012 Overall FloRatings: Men / Women
Updated on May 14, 2013, 8:26am