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New Relay Standards for ATW Feature
By: Kevin Milsted

You may have noticed over the years that Mocorunning has a feature called "Athletes to Watch." This feature distinguishes athletes who have achieved certain standards which you can see by following that link.

For no particular reason, that feature never included relays. Over the summer, relays were incorporated into the feature with the following standards:


Unfortunately, if you click those links right now in the summer time, no teams will be shown having achieved the standard because the class of 2014 has already graduated. Relay teams will not be able to maintain the status of "relay to watch" for more than one school year.

Fortunately, relays which achieve the standard will become "Legends" on each respective team alumni page. You can see the teams which have achieved the standards over the last 8 school years by following these links:

4x100m Relay Legends
4x200m Relay Legends
4x400m Relay Legends
4x800m Relay Legends

The rest of this article discusses how the new relay standards were chosen.

The "Athlete to Watch" standards for open events were chosen so that the athletes who achieve the standards in a four year period are typically going to be competitive at the county level, meaning they would be in the hunt for points (top 8) at the Montgomery County Championship Meet. Athletes who achieve the standard will typically be ranked in the top 10 in Montgomery County most years.

The relay standards needed to be more difficult to achieve than open events. A 10th place individual in an open event is roughly in the top 5% of athletes competing in that event county-wide. A 10th place relay is barely in the top 50% of county public schools.

Therefore, before I began analyzing historical relay times, I decided that a top 5 or 6 relay performance recorded at any time throughout the school year would be a good place to start. I also wanted the standards to be round numbers that are easy to commit to memory. This meant no decimals if it could be avoided and round the standards up to the nearest 5 or 10 seconds if it made sense.

What you will see below is a chart and a graph for each relay. The chart on the left shows the top 25 relay performances (1 per school) for the last 8 years (since Mocorunning was created in 2006). This includes both public and private schools. The colors on the chart give a visual for how many teams would have achieved the proposed standards each year. The graph on the right is a graphical representation of the chart.

Girls 4x100

With the exception of the first couple years, a standard of 50 seconds seems very achievable for the top 6 teams in Montgomery County. It is also a nice round number and a pretty standard milestone in the girls 4x100. Kudos to the MoCo girls for showing obvious improvement in this event.

Girls 4x200

I remember when sub-1:50 seemed pretty good, but now 1:48 might not even get you to states. 1:45.0 seems like a great round number, but the chart above shows that 1:45 may be a little more difficult than I'm aiming for. The standard will be 1:46.0.

Girls 4x400

On average, the top six teams in Montgomery County have gone under 4:05 each year. Despite 7 teams running sub-4:00 in 2014, sub-4:00 is too difficult for an average year, and 4:10 seems too lenient. The standard will be 4:05.

Girls 4x800

Montgomery County girls teams have won 14 state titles in the 4x800 over the last 5 years. While sub-10:00 is a common milestone for the girls 4x800, personally I don't get too excited for a 9:59 anymore. Why set the bar at 10:00 when the stats support a standard of 9:50? 9:50 is the standard.

Boys 4x100

With an average time of 11 seconds per boy, 44 seconds is a common milestone in the boys 4x100. The stats support a standard of 44.0.

Boys 4x200

A 4x200 time of 1:32 is an average of 23 seconds per boy. The stats show that 1:32 is a perfect target for county boys to achieve.

Boys 4x400

3:25 looks too tough and 3:30 too easy. 3:27 seems just right.

Boys 4x800

While Montgomery County boasts multiple sub-8:00 performances each year, sub-8:00 and even sub-8:05 seems more elite than I want this standard to be. 8:10 will be the standard.


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