Despite the lull in action over the past few weeks, we still got a few questions submitted to our Mailbag section! If you have a question or comment, feel free to go to our Home page and fill out the form in the "TSR Mailbag" box. No email required!
"Which teams have had the best recruits so far?" - 21Cabbage
Not only is this an excellent alias name, but the question is a pretty good one as well. Stay with me here as my answer is rather long-winded...
When I look at the recruits that have committed so far, I can't help but notice four teams that standout: Notre Dame, Indiana, Michigan, and Stanford. With the exception of Stanford, I wasn't expecting these teams to bring in as much top-tier talent as they did, especially Notre Dame. Other programs such as Georgetown and Penn State have also brought in a deep group of individuals while Oregon and Colorado have focused on bringing in a small handful of superstars rather than a massive group of decent talent. Keep in mind that Oregon not only gets Brodey Hasty and Josh Hoey, but they also get Penn State transfer Jaxson Hoey who owns a personal best of 3:50 in the 1500 as just a freshman.
When we look at the Notre Dame commits, you can't help but be impressed. The recruiting class is highlighted by Dylan Jacobs who just won the Footlocker National Championships and owns PR's of 4:07 and 14:55. Zach Kreft, an Ohio state champion and Footlocker All-American, has personal bests of 4:10 and 14:29. You also can't forget about Danny Kilrea, the 3x NXN qualifier, 1x Footlocker qualifier, and 3x All-American. This kid knows how to handle a heavy workload and has shown that he can come up big in the clutch with times of 4:12, 9:00, and 14:51. Andrew Delvecchio is another recruit who may not have a resume as stacked as some of his fellow recruits, but he has been one of the best in the state of Virginia and owns a personal best of 4:13. Together, these four could come together and create one of the most lethal recruiting classes the ACC has seen in a long, long time.
In total, the Indiana Hoosiers have 11 distance runners committed. All of them boast achievements and experience at their respective state meets and National Championship regional qualifiers. However, the two individuals who really standout in this group are Dustin Horter and Arjun Jha. The times we have seen from Horter are incredibly impressive (4:07, 8:56, 14:36) and are complemented by four Ohio state titles, two NXN appearances, and a 6th place All-American finish. In short, this kid is legit. Yet, one of the Horter's biggest rivals throughout his high school career has been Arjun Jha who owns PR's of 4:09 and 14:56. Jha owns multiple state medals, but has yet to get past Horter who has been his largest roadblock to a state gold.
Much like Indiana, Michigan has brought in a slew of elite high school talent with exceptional performances on the big stage. Yet, if there were just two individuals that we could point out, it would have to be Cole Johnson and Brian Hill. Johnson's commitment is huge for Michigan who just lost Ned Willig and is set to lose other stars like Aaron Baumgarten, Conor Mora, and Ben Flanagan in the near future. Johnson, a 2x Michigan state champ, owns personal bests of 51, 1:50, 4:08, and 15:12 which leaves the impression that he could have a resounding impact on this Wolverines squad within the first two years of his collegiate career. As for Brian Hill, he doesn't have times quite like Johnson (or even some of his fellow recruits). However, he does have two key characteristics that largely go overlooked: experience and consistency. This spring, Hill will graduate from the legendary CBA program (based in New Jersey) with the experience of running at three NXN championships. He has had multiple top finishes in his respective state championships and brings a sense of reliability to a Wolverine team that may need some help in the final scoring spots during the next few years.
Stanford, as usual, is bringing in one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. Where do we start with this group? We could talk about Meikael Beaudoin-Rousseau, the California star who has run 8:58 and has qualified for Footlocker Nationals twice. Or, we could discuss Charlie Perry, the Colorado stud who recently qualified for NXN and owns PR's of 9:07 and 15:01. What about Clayton Mendez? The Chicago native just finished 9th at Footlocker and 18th at NXN this past cross country season. He also owns times of 4:11 and 8:59. We also can't forget about Andy Monroe, the 5x Oregon state champion and 2x NXN qualifier who has run PR's of 1:53, 4:09, 8:37 (3k), and 15:00. Of course, even with all of these talented individuals who hold a variety of titles or achievements, their best recruit might be Josh Schumacher from Portland, Oregon. The Footlocker qualifier has some of the strongest times in the nation with PR's of 3:50 (1500), 4:11, 8:22 (3k), 8:53, and 15:07. As of right now, he is headlining a stacked recruiting class.
If I was forced to give an answer to the question "Which program has the best recruiting class right now?" I would probably have to say Notre Dame by just a little over Stanford. Notre Dame may only have four recruits, but their mix of experience and prestige on the high school stage make them a more potent combination. Their overall talent is too much to ignore and I expect at least one of them to have an immediate impact next fall.
"What is it going to take to qualify for the NCAA Championships this year?" - Ev256
There are a few assumptions we have to make with this question. First, I think we are naturally assuming that we are talking about indoor Nationals. Second, I'm going to assume that you are looking for a cutoff time in each distance event. Finally, we have to decide whether or not we want to know the 16th best time for each event (top 16 times automatically qualify) or the time for the last-man-in after scratches have been tallied. For the sake of simplicity, we'll talk about just the 16th best time. Trying to gauge the average number of scratches that we anticipate for each event, finding a trend-line, and then making a projection using a predictive expression would take quite a long time since we haven't collected any data for that yet. However, that is a good idea for a future article...
Luckily, we have data from our most recent article (Digits: Better With Age) that allows us to have some averages in regards to the 16th best time in each event for each year. The best way to go about this would be to separate each set of analysis by event. We plotted the 16th best time in each event from 2010-2017 and found predictive expressions for each event. You can find the equations below. We then plugged in “2018” (as a numeric value) for our X variable and found our projected time for the 16th best individual in each event.
You can plug in any year you want (as the X variable) into each equation below to see what time the trend suggests the 16th fastest runner in that event will be for that year.
Keep in mind that the DMR takes the top 12 relays, not top 16. For the analysis of the DMR, we have made sure that no teams (like Virginia Tech last year) are repeated in the top 12 since one team can’t run more than one relay. Therefore, the DMR is not necessarily the top 12, but actually the top 12 teams that are eligible to race.
2018 16th Man Time Projections
y= -0.0576x + 164.23
y= -0.1073x + 274.57
y= -0.2979x + 653.56
y= -0.4936x + 1042.1
y= -0.4252x + 888.36
That's all for now! Keep the questions coming and get ready for the next few weeks of fast times and results...