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Watkins Mill vs. Hereford 2008
By: Kevin Milsted

Last year I did a little analysis of the Watkins Mill course by comparing times at the 2006 state championship at Hereford to times at the 4A West regional at Watkins Mill. I found that girls ran an average of 38 seconds slower at Hereford than Watkins Mill while boys ran 33 seconds slower at Hereford than Watkins Mill.

If there is any regional course in the state that comes anywhere close to the difficulty of Hereford, it is Watkins Mill. After all, up until this year, like the Hereford course, no boy had ever broken 16 minutes at Watkins Mill (granted it is a full 5k course and it has changed somewhat since it was regularly used for championship meets in the 1990ís).

The Watkins Mill course features a very fast start that is almost completely flat. The second and third miles consist of several long steep uphills and downhills combined with some rough footing and nasty sharp turns. The final half mile is merciful towards the runners. After ascending the final hill past the football field, the drive to the finish is mostly flat. So while most runners across Maryland are almost guaranteed to run slower at the state championship by a minute or more, runners from the 3A West and 4A West regions actually stand a chance of running a faster time from the region meet to the state meet due to the difficulty of the Watkins Mill course.

So just how did the times compare between the two courses in 2008?

31.5% of the boys who ran both courses in 2008 managed faster times at Hereford. 32.9% of girls who ran both courses ran faster at Hereford. With over two-thirds of runners running slower at Hereford, Hereford is no doubt still the tougher course, but times were really not too far off. On average, boys who ran both courses were within ten seconds of their regional time at the state meet. Girls were within twenty seconds of their regional time at the state meet. I have not analyzed how other regional courses compare to Hereford, but a quick glance at regional results across the state shows most athletes run over a minute slower at Hereford than they did at their regional meet.

Interestingly enough, the boys in the 3A West race averaged just three seconds slower at Hereford than Watkins Mill. Considering the course was very similar to the 4A West boys race which took place less than an hour before it, one might conclude that the 3A West race was just slower than the 3A state meet by comparison.

The analysis can be further broken down by team. This could be interpreted as which teams were the most prepared for the ultimate test on the hardest course in the state. Which teams were able to collectively avoid intimidation and get the job done to the best of their ability? The data would certainly show that Paint Branch and Frederick boys along with Tuscarora girls mastered this task this year by averaging faster times at Hereford than Watkins Mill.

A lot of factors can come into play from race to race, but the 31.5% of boys and 32.9% of girls who ran faster at Hereford showed the most focus of any other runners, performing to the best of their ability level in the most important meet.

# of seconds slower at Hereford
4A Boys: 14.8
3A Boys: 3.4
All Boys: 9.5
4A Girls: 22.2
3A Girls: 16.1
All Girls: 19.6
4A BOYS TEAMS: # of seconds slower at Hereford
Walter Johnson 10.6
Sherwood 12.2
Gaithersburg 13.0
Churchill 13.9
Northwest 18.0
Whitman 18.3
Magruder 24.7
3A BOYS TEAMS: # of seconds slower at Hereford
Paint Branch -13.3
Frederick -3.7
Damascus 3.6
Albert Einstein 4.9
Bethesda-Chevy Chase 6.6
Urbana 17.1
4A GIRLS TEAMS: # of seconds slower at Hereford
Walter Johnson 7.8
Walt Whitman 13.9
Winston Churchill 15.4
Northwest 16.5
Thomas S Wootton 23.7
Quince Orchard 36.3
Sherwood 38.1
3A GIRLS TEAMS: # of seconds slower at Hereford
Tuscarora -0.7
Damascus 5.3
Bethesda-Chevy Chase 11.3
Albert Einstein 27.9
Urbana 40.3
Most Improved Boys: School # of seconds FASTER at Hereford
Patrick Kind 3A Paint Branch 50
Josh Allwardt 3A Urbana 36
Michael Kunz 3A Paint Branch 30
Matt Davey-Karlson 3A Bethesda-Chevy Chase 26
Ziv Dreyfuss 3A Albert Einstein 19
Nikolas Theiss 3A Bethesda-Chevy Chase 17
Jamie Long 3A Frederick 17
Reed Wilkinson 3A Frederick 16
Jimmy Miller 3A Urbana 16
Solomon Haile 4A Sherwood 14
Thomas Arias 3A Damascus 13
Fernando Herrera 3A Paint Branch 12
Jeffrey Keane 3A Paint Branch 12
Rutvij Pandya 4A Montgomery Blair 11
Matt Barretto 3A Frederick 11
Antonio Palmer 4A Gaithersburg 10
Joey Schaefer 4A Magruder 10
Benjamin Rivers 3A Albert Einstein 8
Andrew Palmer 4A Whitman 7
Drew Katz 4A Whitman 7
Jonathan Constantinides 3A Damascus 7
Tarek Elhage 4A Churchill 6
Cecil Jonas 3A Damascus 6
Alex Hevey 3A Albert Einstein 4
Kyle Cooper 3A Frederick 4
Joe Johnson 4A Gaithersburg 3
Brandt Silver-Korn 4A Whitman 2
Eliot Gerson 3A Bethesda-Chevy Chase 2
Roni Teich 4A Walter Johnson 1
Conor Spaulding 4A Quince Orchard 0
Andrew Ceruzzi 3A Albert Einstein 0
Most Improved Girls: School # of seconds FASTER at Hereford
Sarah Headland 3A Tuscarora 90
Addie Tousley 3A Bethesda-Chevy Chase 41
Johna Applestein 4A Walter Johnson 21
Mary Claire Erskine 3A Albert Einstein 15
Alexandra Phillips 4A Walt Whitman 14
Karly Najaka 3A Damascus 13
Caroline Chevat 4A Winston Churchill 12
Joy Johnstone 3A Tuscarora 12
Kate Lueba 3A Bethesda-Chevy Chase 11
Chelsey McMinn 3A Damascus 8
Sarah Sekscienski 4A Northwest 6
Maria Moersen 4A Walter Johnson 5
Kyrsten Staab 3A Tuscarora 5
Andi Sunshine 4A Walt Whitman 3
Amy Levine 4A Thomas S Wootton 2
Phoebe Palmer 4A Winston Churchill 2
Emily McIlvried 3A Damascus 2
Kelly Ramsburg 3A Urbana 2
Abby Peller 4A Thomas S Wootton 1
Jenna Willett 4A Walter Johnson 1
Maryam Fikri 4A Winston Churchill 1
Anna Bosse 4A Walter Johnson 0


2008-11-14 14:25:48

isn't hereford and bull run invite a 3mile course and watkins mill a full 5k? an extra 200 meters would add 40 seconds for a 5:20/mile pace and the average person here probably does not average 5:20/mile

2008-12-02 17:47:45

yeah but the last bit is always significantly faster so for the last 200 it's gonna be 35-40ish

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