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Chad Carsten's Sectional Proposal
In Sectional Proposals
Nov 08, 2019
@Marty Bushland Well, a little history might be in order. I constantly heard, at the WCCCA clinic and through the grapevine, that these awesome, great, ranked teams weren't making it to state. Then I looked at the rankings and saw some stuff. EC Memorial, ranked 13th for D1 girls, won a state title in 2014. That's the 13th ranked team. They were an afterthought to the rankers. They won a title. I remember thinking it was odd that the 13th ranked team would win state, when all of these other AMAZING ranked teams didn't get to go. Was there something wrong with the rankings? I did some digging and saw a pattern. EC Memorial's boys, ranked 16th, finishing 3rd one year. Unranked Hudson finishing 9th. I remember complaining about this to a guy, friend of mine that you might know, who would snap back with the "why don't you rank, then." This guy, and another guy, convinced me to rank during the 2015 season. So me and John Chandler did the rankings for a few years. We dug through results, shared ideas about the courses, we were honest and we had really solid D1 girls rankings. It took hours every week, and quite a bit of correspondence, but my part of the state started to get ranked a bit more and the rankings were more accurate. Our area is still under-ranked a bit, generally, and some of that is due to a couple of factors that I've discussed often. First, there are legacy teams that get legacy "rankings points," if you catch my meaning. An upstart is going to struggle to break into the rankings. There isn't much talk when Menomonie doesn't make it to state, or if we are in a tough sectional. People notice when it's Arrowhead. That's not a diss on Arrowhead. They deserve the reputation. But that reputation is just that - a reputation, and it might not be a good representation of how the team is presently. Second, it's very easy to get wide eyed when looking at times run on a handful of courses in the southern part of the state at a handful of large meets. The head to heads are great, and they provide tremendous data, but teams can put up monster times and we can't often use head to head. So we use times. It's easy to believe those times, even for me, who should know better. It's easy to believe it when people say, "the course was accurate", when the times are screaming otherwise. Time and time again, though, the state meet doesn't bear this out and those teams come back down to earth. Keeping this in mind, rankings will always skew towards teams that run fast times, absent additional information. And no one provides info on length of course or difficulty, so you have to believe the times. Thus, teams that run on flat, fast courses put up times that look monstrous, and it affects the rankings and that affects perception. Third, and this is important, RANKING IS HARD. It takes time. If I quit doing it, I don't think the D1 girls rankings would be nearly as solid. Do you? If today I decided to not represent the Northwoods and rank, how accurate would the D1 girls rankings be? I guarantee you that no one would have noticed Onalaka three years ago, but I knew of the triplets and I dug through results from meets in Iowa and Minnesota and found their team and talked to JC and we were damn sure to include them and rank them accurately. If you don't believe this, just ask John. I had to dig through r-schools and find some of the most obscure meets to discover how good they are. I'm not saying this to brag, but I live up here, and we see these teams, and we know how good their MS programs are. As such, I can accurately talk about the meets up here and how they are going and I have a good idea how the teams up here compare to one another. Putting those teams in a rankings system against other teams, many of which don't race against one another, is really difficult. But I do this because I was frustrated at this guy who kept telling me to rank. Fourth, because I, and others, put in the time and take this seriously, the girls D1 rankings have gotten really strong. They don't show, in this division at this time, that there are super sectionals, or highly ranked teams that aren't qualifying. They seem to show that the current system is quite good. Which brings me to my last point. The current system is solid for D1 girls. I have no idea if it is for the other divisions and genders. I just don't know. But the current ratings being solid in D1 is a result of hard work and time, and it reflects that the system is quite good. Do you think the same amount of work and time is being put into the other divisions and genders? How can you have Osceola win the Middle Border Conference and get a 13 ranking, only to finish 2nd in state for D2 girls? Are people putting in the work and getting this correct?


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