Digits: Mid-Season Conference Report

We have reached the unofficial half-way point of the outdoor track season (maybe slightly past it) and there is a lot to analyze. Let’s take a look at the top 20 times in each distance event and see what we can take away from it.

Note: The AVG Time and AVG Rank sections for each conference involve small sample sizes and do not hold statistical significance. These averages are simply side notes.


- Left column: Current Ranking in the NCAA.

- Right column: Current Time in the NCAA.

- AVG TIME: Average time in the respected conference.

- AVG RANK: Average rank of athletes in the top 20 in their respective conferences.

- (#): Level of respected averages in comparison to other conference averages.

- “Single Representation”: Conferences with only one athlete in the top 20.

Take a look at the numbers and see what takeaways you can pull from this set of data.


- The SEC currently has a total of six individuals in the top 20. No other athletic conference has more than four individuals in the top 20 of the NCAA 800. This statistic continues to prove the assertion that sprinters and mid-distance runners can thrive in the southern climate compared to long-distance runners.

- Conference USA is dominated by Middle Tennessee State and UTEP. However, there is some minor controversy in regards to their rosters being made up almost entirely of Kenyan athletes. But that is a debate for another day.

- The PAC 12 is revered as one of the best conferences in the nation, but they do not have a single representative in the top 20 of the 800.


- Surprisingly, the ACC has only one representative in the top 20 of the 1500 (Justyn Knight). Other mid-distance stars like Neil Gourley (VT), Henry Wynne (UVA), and Adam Palamar (Syracuse) are outside of the top 20 despite holding the status of All-American in the mile.


- The longer the distance gets, the more variability we begin to see. 12 conferences are represented in the steeplechase, 10 conferences in the 5k, and 13 in the 10k.

-As I have mentioned before, not a single athlete has broken the 8:40 barrier yet this season. For perspective, we had nine athletes break the 8:40 barrier last year.


- The PAC 12 has a whopping total of seven representatives for the 5k. There is no other event with that many representatives in the top 20 from the same conference. In addition to those seven, we have yet to see guys like Cheserek, Saarel, or McGorty run the 5k this season.


- Why is it that the PAC 12 has seven representatives in the 5k, but only two in the 10k? I would expect those totals to be much closer.

- The BIG 10, PAC 12, and ACC have typically been considered the best conferences in the Power Five for distance running. However, only the SEC and BIG 12 have a top 20 representative in every distance event. The other three do not.

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