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NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

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  • NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

    28% of this year’s NCAA Championships qualifiers came from outside the top 24 on the yearly list.

    8% of those who scored at this year’s NCAA Championships came from outside the top 24 on the yearly list.

    7.5% of this year’s NCAA champions came from outside the top 24 on the yearly list.

    The numbers were markedly dissimilar between event areas.

    The events in which the most qualifiers, scorers and champions came from outside the year’s top 24 were the distance events (excluding steeplechase), pole vault, discus and triple jump.

    The events in which the fewest qualifiers, scorers and champions came from outside the year’s top 24 were the hurdles (including steeplechase), relays, high jump, hammer and shot put.

    The single event that went most to form, according to the yearly list, was the 4x100. Only 5 men's qualifiers and 3 women's qualifiers came from outside of the yearly top 24, and none of them scored.

    The single event that went least to form, according to the yearly list, was the 5k. 10 men's qualifiers and 12 women's qualifiers came from outside the yearly top 24, nearly half the fields. Three of those men and four of those women scored--again, nearly half. Both champions came from outside the year's top 24.

  • #2
    Re: NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

    It's understandable that a top 5K run may not have gotten a top 24 time, if he/she hasn't raced in a rabbitted time-trial during the year. Under the current format, they don't need a top 24 time. They only need to place top 12 at regionals. But is there any doubt in anyone's mind that Sheila Reid and Sam Chalenga would have had absolutely no problem getting a top 24 time - or top 20 or top 16, etc. - if that had been required to get into the meet, as was the case under the old system? By the way, who was the third national champion that wasn't in the top 24?

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    • #3
      Re: NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

      Robby Andrews. Season's best going into regionals was 1:49.something, although he'd split 1:46.00.

      No, none of these would have had trouble getting a q-time had it been required. On the other hand, for each the 5k was part of a tough double. I'm sure both were very happy to have spent more effort training in April and less effort time-trialing.

      While many coaches argue they spend a lot of money going to regionals, and they do, I question how much money it saves D-I track as a whole to get rid of regionals. Chelanga didn't leave the mid-atlantic area to race until regionals, and Reid left Philadelphia just once before then.

      To me, the biggest thing I saw in the numbers was how different it was across event areas. To a sprint/hurdle/relay heavy program, yes regionals is pointless. To a distance-heavy one, no it's not. In one area, the best athlete produce the top marks just by going about their business, but in the other they have to very much go out of their way.

      From my perspective, I hate hate hate a college regular season that is nothing but an exercise in marks-chasing. But obviously what appeals to spectators is not a part of the equation and never has been.

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      • #4
        Re: NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

        Top marks allow people to get in the meet with both 5000 and 10,000. However, none of those top marks will likely come from races in the same meet, and the that is what you need to the NCAAs. Thus, in the 5000 and 10,000, Regionals can result in a fairly different mix than qualifying by marks only. Interestingly, the 10,000 was the event that they switched when they went from 4 Regions to 2 and it does make the most sense to use 2 regions rather than 4 for that event.

        Multis are the most appropriate events for using marks, in part because you cannot have a one-off mark, you need a 7- or 10-off mark.

        In the field events too many athletes are prone to fouls; in a marks-only qualification they get through too easily because fouls essentially do not count at all (just do another meet, three more or six more fouls). Having to go through two rounds (Regionals and NCAAs puts an appropriate emphasis on getting good marks. The multi athletes are not specialists at the field events but they do not go f/f/f or x/x/x very often because they know that they have to get a mark. Too many field eventers do not work at getting a fair mark with reliability and, come a big meet, they NH/No Mark far more often than the multis folks. BTW, it is a bit similar to the sprints and the False Start Rule. Given the rule the frequency of FS is relatively low, but with one allowed, there are a lot more FSs.

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        • #5
          Re: NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

          Interesting that the 4x100's went most to form. I always felt it was supliferous to have 24 relay teams at Nationals. 12-16 would be plenty. I would rather see more individual entries added.
          Suspect the 4x400's are similar?

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          • #6
            Re: NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

            Originally posted by Bruce Kritzler
            Interesting that the 4x100's went most to form. I always felt it was supliferous to have 24 relay teams at Nationals. 12-16 would be plenty. I would rather see more individual entries added.
            Suspect the 4x400's are similar?
            24 relay teams is defintely waaayyyy too many.

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            • #7
              Re: NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

              But it is probably necessary in a two-Region qualifier to allow a very strong region to bring through what might be a number of the top 12 teams.

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              • #8
                Re: NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

                Originally posted by Mighty Favog
                No, none of these would have had trouble getting a q-time had it been required. On the other hand, for each the 5k was part of a tough double. I'm sure both were very happy to have spent more effort training in April and less effort time-trialing.

                While many coaches argue they spend a lot of money going to regionals, and they do, I question how much money it saves D-I track as a whole to get rid of regionals. Chelanga didn't leave the mid-atlantic area to race until regionals, and Reid left Philadelphia just once before then.

                To me, the biggest thing I saw in the numbers was how different it was across event areas. To a sprint/hurdle/relay heavy program, yes regionals is pointless. To a distance-heavy one, no it's not. In one area, the best athlete produce the top marks just by going about their business, but in the other they have to very much go out of their way.
                I don't think the Reids, Andrews and Chalangas of the world would have to travel very far to get a qualifying time. Under the old system (and under the current indoor system), LSU's studs always got their qualifying times at the first meet of the season regardless of where it was held, while the folks that LSU flew all over the country chasing marks usually didn't score at nationals anyway.

                If the NCAA brought back the old system, my guess is that the elite distance runners would make a concerted effort to get a qualifying as early as possible, and then start training for conference for nationals.

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                • #9
                  Re: NCAA Regionals usefulness by the numbers

                  You miss one of the points on the distances. There are a number of runners that can qualify in both that cannot run regionals in both and qualify. Since the double race is what they will have to run at NCAAs, having to do regionals is the relevant metric, not running two different races several weeks apart.

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