Carroll County Cross Country Rankings


Carroll County Running will continue to use the well-established cross country ranking formula used by, a website for West Virginia cross country and track, as well as used by and Frederick County Running.

The most important thing to know about the rankings before even looking at them is that they are no one's opinions. It is a completely mathematical system that pushes and pulls the athletes up and down the rankings based on how well they perform relative to one another.

Information below is pulled from both the website and the website. A few things were changed to reflect Carroll County and our rankings.

Where Did the 2012 Base Scores Come From?

Since this is the seventh year we did this, it was pretty easy. We took last year's final scores, took out the seniors, and added 30 to each score. We then added the next 3 returning finishers in the 2011 county champs that were not already on the list and gave them 30 points for a base score, then added a few more athletes with a base score of 15 -again going straight down last year County Championships of returning runners. These new scores are the base scores we start with for 2012. We started using this formula back in 2006.

Where Did the 2006 Base Scores Come From?

To even begin using this ranking formula, I needed to come up with base scores for the athletes. The 2006 pre-season base scores were developed starting with the top athletes from the 2004 cross country season. The boys were given 2 points for every second that they ran under 19:30 at the 2004 county championship and the girls were given 2 points for every second under 23:00. Many of the known top athletes from the 2005 season were added to the ranking and given the lowest possible base score - 15. I then scored the entire 2005 cross country season using the scoring system. I watched the athletes slide up and down until every available race had been scored. The final scores from the 2005 season is where we will start the 2006 season (+25). The base scores have nothing to do with my opinions or the track season.

Some things you need to know before looking at the rankings

1. The scoring is completely objective. We have no say in the rankings. The only thing that matters is how you perform against other ranked runners. We do not pick the rankings once the season begins in any way, shape, or form.
2. The system is fallible, as any statistical system is. You may run the race of your life, but if no other ranked runners are competing in that race, your score will not change. You can get added to the ranking list that way, but if you are already on the list, you score will not change. Your score can only change when you compete against other ranked runners.
3. You only have a chance of moving up the rankings if we receive results from your meets. It doesn't matter how well you run if we never see the results.
4. The base score that we started the season was determined by what your score would have been at the end of last year (had their been rankings) + 25.
5. During the season, your times are somewhat irrelevant. They are relevant only to the extent that they are compared to the times of other ranked runners in the same meet. A male with a score of 200 that runs a 20:00 in a meet will not be hurt if all the other ranked runners in that meet run similar times. A more detailed example follows later on.
6. Basically, one second is equal to two points. If your score is 20 points higher than someone else's, you should beat that person by 10 seconds.

7. There are way too many of you out there to rank everyone, so we had to set cutoffs when we calculated the base score. For boys, a ranking score of zero would equate to a 19:30. For Girls, a ranking score of zero would equate to a 23:00. For those not ranked at the beginning of the season, you can get included in the rankings after a meet in which you meet qualifying criteria based upon what ranked runners ran in that meet.

Changes to your Base Score

Additions and subtractions to your base score will depend on how well you do against other ranked runners within the system. Ranked runners will carry a score into each race. For a particular race, they will be scored against other ranked runners (boys vs. boys and girls vs. girls) participating in the same race. If you were supposed to beat a particular runner by 30 points and only beat him/her by 10 points, you will lose points and he/she will gain points. You will be compared to each runner and your base score will change by the average points won/lost per ranked runner participating in that race.

For example, Runner A has a Base Score of 180 points.
Runner B has a Base Score of 120 points.

Therefore, according to rankings, Runner A should run 60 points better or 30 seconds faster than Runner B. (2 points per second)

The race is completed and Runner A runs an 18:05, or 170 Points
Runner B runs an 18:17, or 146 points.
Therefore, Runner A wins by 24 Points.

Runner A was supposed to win by 60 points and only won by 24 points. We will now calculate the point exchange for the race. This assumes that they are the only two ranked runners in the race.

The points differential was 36 points (60-24). To calculate the final addition/subtraction to each runner, divide the points difference by four. 36/4 = 9 Points would be subtracted from Runner A's score and 9 points added to Runner B's score. The divisor of 4 is used since it will allow runners that are originally ranked differently to be ranked evenly at the end of a 4-race stretch in which they ran exactly the same time (approximation). Runner A's new score is 171, and Runner B's new score is 129.

If Runners A and B ran against additional ranked runners in this race, their points differential would be calculated for each ranked opponent, totaled and then divided by the number of ranked runners they competed against.

You are only compared to other ranked runners within the same race and how non-ranked runners finished will not affect the scoring system.

Your score would not change until after the race. (I.E. your current score would be compared to all ranked runners and would not change from runner to runner within the same race.) At the end of the race, you would take into account how you fared against all other ranked runners, and that would dictate your new current score for use in your next race.

Getting Added to the Rankings

To get added to the rankings, generally you need to perform better than a couple folks that are already ranked. Typically, we see how the average ranked runner did compared to their entering score. We then adjust the baseline time based on that comparison. Anyone running faster than the adjusted baseline gets added. One condition to getting added is that you cannot be added at a score higher than someone who beat you in a given race. For example, if the adjust baseline is 19:45 and you run a 19:25, you would typically get added as a 40 point runner. However, if someone that beat you at that race finished the race as a 20 point runner, you cannot be added a score of higher than 19 points. This doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

I know how to get added to the rankings (I have to run well), how do I get removed from the rankings?

The way you drop off the list of ranked runners is that your point total following a race drops below zero. We allow zero point runners to stay on the list. The good news is that you can become re-ranked by running well in the next race.

Additional Rules

At least two county schools must be present at the meet in order for it to be used in the ranking system. There must be at least 4 ranked runners in the race to be used in the ranking system.

The maximum points you may lose each meet is 25 points. This is done to protect the ranked runner that may be running while sick (Susie at 70% is still our number 5 runner, get out there and run, Susie). We also don't want other ranked runners to benefit too greatly from this situation. This is subject to one exception. If there are more than 10 ranked runners in a race, your score can increase by more than 25 points. If there are 15 ranked runners in a race, your score can increase by 30 points. If there are 25 ranked runners in a race, your score can increase by 40 points. This is done to allow those that are performing at a much higher level than they were last year to advance up the rankings more rapidly. At no time will your score ever drop by more than 25 points in any one meet.

The maximum points you may gain against an individual runner is 100 points a race. The maximum you may lose against an individual runner is 50 points a race. This means that the raw difference was 200 points (50=200 divided by the 4 as explained earlier). 200 points is equivalent to 100 seconds which means that a runner either wins or was beaten by 1:40 more than they were supposed to against a single runner. Anything greater than 50 points is an aberration and would skew results if not capped at 50 points. This rule can be differentiated from Additional Rule 2 by the fact that this cap is for a single runner and Additional Rule 2 is the average win/loss to all runners you faced. You may net 50 points against a single runner, but your score can never increase or decrease by greater than 25 points for a single race.

In a meet involving all county schools, we increase the max/min to 30 points for a single race. For the first couple meets of the season, we will also allow a max/min 30 points because of so many new runners and offseason training may cause a big change.

Breakthrough and Breakdown provisions. These state that a series of races in which you gain more than certain amount of points in each race, you will gain additional bonus points (25) on top of that. If you lose more than a certain amount of points in a series of races, you will lose additional points (25).

The rankings are always a work-in-progress, and we continue to tinker with the system to get people to their rightful places more quickly. Other Rules include the Sullivan Rule which states that a runner cannot be added to the rankings at a higher score than the finishing score of a runner that beat him or her at that race. There is also the Povick Rule which allows runners to increase by more than 25 points in a single meet if there are more than 10 ranked runners in that race. The Winner's Provision states that the winner of a meet will not lose more than 10 points in that meet. The Outlyer Rule allows us to remove an athlete from the meet comparisons if that athlete's performance is substantially below the 25 point loss limit. This keeps athletes from inappropriately advancing up the rankings due to the illness or injury or lack of effort of another athlete. The Curve Breaker Rule is if a runner earns the maximum amount of points against atleast 50% of the other ranked runners, that runner will be given the maximum amount of points for that meet, but will be removed from the analysis of all of the other runners.

If an athlete misses several meets, they can lose points or even be removed so that they don't just hand on to a ranking because they don't race. This unfortunately can only be done based on opinion. It will not happen very frequently, only on very rare occasions.

Final Comments

Please don't e-mail us and complain that you are ranked too low. That will not change the rankings. What changes the rankings is your performance compared to other ranked runners in the race. If we do not receive results to your meet, we cannot alter your score. This means that e-mailing us and saying "I ran a 17:04 at the Anytown Tri-Meet" will not do anything to your score. We would have nothing to compare your time to. Until we receive results from that meet, we cannot use it.

If we don't receive the meet results in a timely manner, we won't be able to score the runners. We can't go back and score a race from September 15th when we have already tabulated results for several races from late September. To go back and use September 15th would dictate that we would have to recalculate all of the other races we had already scored. Therefore, it is important that we receive the results from a meet as soon as possible. Coaches have done an awesome job of getting results to me, and we hope that can continue.

How Often Will The Rankings Be Updated?

We'll try to update the rankings on a weekly basis, but we make no promise to do this. It will depend a lot on the amount of time we have during the week to get the rankings compiled and how many meets we receive.