Digits: Behind The Top Five


We are very excited to have Anthony Raftis join The Stride Report! Read up below and be on the watch for more of his content in the future...


Hello, cross country season. Preseason rankings have come out and the full fall frenzy is officially underway. The question on everyone’s mind right now, Who is number one? This is a question that won’t be answered until November 18th in Louisville.

Since 2010, every reigning NCAA champion has been voted the preseason #1. However, only 1 team has repeated as national champions in that time. What does that say for the boys from Flagstaff? Do preseason rankings mean anything? Going back to 2000, 4 teams have repeated as men’s national champions. However, 4 teams have also gone from 2nd to 1st in consecutive years, bringing good news to a strong Stanford squad. Can Justyn Knight the individual favorite lead ‘Cuse to their 2nd team title in 3 years? Or will Arkansas add to their record of 11 team titles? On top of that, you can not forget about the consistent Colorado team. The boys from Colorado have only finished outside of the Top 3 once since 2010. But what do the numbers say?

For this, we used the top five teams in the USTFCCCA preseason men’s cross country poll. From these five teams, we took their projected top five runners 5,000m and 10,000m personal best times (sorry, milers this is collegiate cross country). Some runners did not have both times so we substituted converted 2 mile or 8k times, looking at you Thomas Ratcliffe and Aidan Tooker. From here, this is where things get interesting. We used the IAAF “scoring tables of athletics” to come up with a point value for each 5,000m and 10,000m performance. The best performance being Justyn Knight’s 13:17 5,000m earning him 1148 points. This then combined with his 1002 points from his 29:27 10,000m time gave Justyn a total of 2150 points, the most of any athlete on the top five teams. The numbers are in Justyn’s favor going into this cross-country championship. However, the favorite didn’t win the crown last year…too soon? We then took the combined IAAF scoring table points for the projected top five and then added them up for a grand total.

*Drum roll*

The numbers at The Stride Report predict that the squad from Syracuse will take home the 2017 Men’s Cross Country Team Title.

The IAAF point total for ‘Cuse totaled 10,246. However, they only sit 113 points ahead of defending champions Northern Arizona. The numbers go on to predict a similar order of finish as already predicted by The Stride Report.


These three different rankings show the strength and depth of the top teams in the country, each team has reasons they should win it all this year. The numbers predict a third ‘Cuse victory in three years, nonetheless the numbers also show how close all five teams are. In the end, this cross country season is shaping up to be one of the closest team battles in recent history. The phrase, “the numbers never lie” still holds true here as the numbers make a case for everyone. Good Luck and Happy Cross Country Season.

NAU Preseason USTFCCCA #1 [TSR#2]



Stanford Preseason USTFCCCA #2 [TSR#4]



Syracuse Preseason USTFCCCA #3 [TSR#1]



Arkansas Preseason USTFCCCA #4 [TSR#3]



Colorado Preseason USTFCCCA #5 [TSR#6]


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