Mocorunning has closed the book on its tenth outdoor track season, and since almost the beginning there were "Athlete to Watch" standards which automatically pulled athlete names out in a little special section on their team page if they achieved certain standards. Those standards have remained largely unchanged for the past decade. This article deep-dives into a statistical analysis of those standards based on actual performances and explains the changes that will be made to those standards in the coming weeks.
Generally, I want the standards to represent the top 8 to 10 performances in the county in an average year for outdoor track events. For indoor track events, I aimed for a top 6 to 8 performance in an average year. Montgomery County private schools are included in the analysis. Some consideration was given to the number of yearly participants in each event based on Mocorunning's performance database. Some consideration was also given to the number of state titles Montgomery County athletes have won in each event in the past decade, which is reflective of how dominant the county athletes have been in a given event on the state level. But sometimes, in the face of my own statistical analysis, I simply made the standards nice round numbers that are easy to remember.
The below figure summarizes the boys athlete to watch analysis. The athlete-to-watch standards for relay events were analyzed last summer and are excluded from this article. The cross country 5k standard was not considered for change.
Every event is discussed below and is accompanied by a chart and graph. The chart shows the top 25 performances by county athletes in each event each of the last ten years. Only one performance per athlete is used. Only automatic timing was used for events 200 meters and shorter. The two shaded colors that you will see on every chart represent the old standard and the new standard. The graph to right of each chart is a representation of the data in the chart. It is fun to look at these colorful lines, especially the datapoints representing the #1 athlete in the county each year, but for this analysis I focus-in on the line which represents the 10-year average and where it crosses the #8 to 10 performances in the county each year. The graph also helps me notice outlier years where the county depth was much stronger or weaker than all other years.
Old Standard: 6.70
New Standard: 6.75
The 55m standard of 6.70 with automatic timing is on the tough side compared to most of the other standards. Less than 7 sprinters achieve the standard each year so the standard will be raised slightly to 6.75 to allow an estimated 8 sprinters per year to achieve the standard.
Old Standard: 11.40
New Standard: 11.30
Don't let the trend line from 2006 decieve you. It would appear that there was no depth that year, but I believe it has more to do with a lack of meets with automatic timing. Only performances with automatic timing were used for this analysis for this event. With that said, the 2006 trendline only throws off the average slightly. Since 2007, 16 sprinters per year have achieved the standard which is much higher than the target of 8 to 10. That standard will be scaled back to 11.30 to allow an estimated 10 sprinters per year to achieve the standard.
Old Standard: 23.00
New Standard: 22.70
Like with the 100m dash, the 2006 trend line really jumps out on the chart you see here, but that is partially due to lack of meets with automatic timing. With that said, automatic timing is now very common and the depth of Montgomery County sprinting has definitely improved in the last ten years. The standard needs to be elevated accordingly. It will change from 23.00 to 22.70. Since 2008, on average ten sprinters per year would have achieved that standard.
Old Standard: 37.0
New Standard: 36.8
I love the round number of 37.00 in the boys 300m. When a sprinter clocks a time under 37, I take notice, but for the purpose bringing this standard in line with the others, it will be raised to 36.80 to allow an estimated 7 to 8 sprinters per year to achieve the standard.
Old Standard: 51.0
New Standard: 50.5
51.0 is a lenient mark with over 14 boys per year hitting the standard since 2007, but 50.0 is too tough with only about 5 boys dipping under 50 each year. We will split the difference and make the new standard 50.5 which should allow about 10 boys per year to hit the mark.
Old Standard: 1:10.0
New Standard: 1:09.0
I struggled with this one because 1:10 is a perfect barrier for boys to aim for and eventually break through when they get in the right race, but the stats from the last ten years suggest the standard should more appropriately be 1:09 to allow 7 to 8 boys per year to achieve it.
Old Standard: 2:02.0
New Standard: 1:59.0
This is going to be a drastic change, but 2:02 was a much too lenient standard from the beginning for the boys 800m. On average, 20 boys per year have achieved that standard in the last ten years. If the standard is adjusted all the way to 1:59, still about 9 boys per year will achieve the standard.
Old Standard: 4:35.0
New Standard: 4:28.0
Firstly, please observe the brown "2015" line on the chart provided here and take a second to appreciate once more what Diego Zarate and Evan Woods accomplished this year. Had Mocorunning started one year earlier, Andrew Jesien would be right there with them with a 4:10 mile, but in the last ten years, by far the best two milers in a decade were right in front of your eyes in 2015.
But I digress...
In 2006, 4:35 seemed like a pretty reasonable standard, but in the very next year, 24 county boys slayed that standard. In most years since, 20 boys or more have run sub-4:35. It has proved to be the most vanquished athlete-to-watch standard for boys or girls, so this standard clearly needs an adjustment. The average tenth best time in the county in the last ten years is 4:27.4. I would like to make the standard 4:30 because of the round number, but that still allows 15+ boys per year on average. The new standard will be 4:28.
Old Standard: 10:00.0
New Standard: 9:50.0
Since 2010, almost 21 boys per year have achieved the 3200m standard of 10:00. This standard is a prime candidate to be adjusted to bring it in line with the other standards. A standard of 9:50 projects to allow approximately 10 runners to achieve the standard each year.
Boys 55m Hurdles
Old Standard: 8.20
New Standard: 8.30
The 55m hurdles is the lowest participation event after the pole vault, so statistically it is OK if just a handful of county athletes achieve this standard each year. With that said, it is one of the tougher standards and relaxing the standard from 8.20 to 8.30 will allow about one more hurdler per year to achieve it.
Boys 110m Hurdles
Old Standard: 16.00
New Standard: 15.80
The boys 110m hurdle standard will be tightened from the nice round number of 16.00 to 15.80 to bring it in line with a top ten performance in the county in an average year.
Boys 300m Hurdles
Old Standard: 42.0
New Standard: 41.5
Montgomery County boys have made 42 seconds seem easy since 2008 so this standard will be lowered to 41.50 to allow a projected 10 boys per year to achieve the standard.
Boys High Jump
Old Standard: 6-00
New Standard: 6-00
The stats suggest possibly lowering the boys high jump standard to about 5-11.50 which is essentially the same at 6 feet even. I'm not going to mess with this perfect standard of 6 feet which is achieved by 9 to 10 county boys each year.
Boys Long Jump
Old Standard: 20-06
New Standard: 20-09
If I recall correctly, the boys long jump standard was originally 20 feet and I changed it early on when 23 county boys eclipsed 20 feet in 2007. Now I'm tempted to raise the standard of 20-06 all the way up to 21 feet, but that would make it the toughest standard in terms of # of athletes to achieve it each year. So I will split the difference and make the new standard 20-09.
Boys Triple Jump
Old Standard: 41-06
New Standard: 42-00
The standard of 41-06 was always pretty random and I can't remember why I chose that distance in the first place. 100 county boys have jumped 42 feet in the triple jump in the last ten years, making this a no-brainer to raise the standard from 41-06 to 42 feet even.
Boys Shot Put
Old Standard: 45-00
New Standard: 45-00
The stats suggest possibly increasing the standard by a couple inches, but in this case, there is no reason to mess around with the nice round number of 45 feet. The tenth best boy in the county is very consistently righ around 45 feet.
Old Standard: 125-00
New Standard: 125-00
The stats suggest the discus standard should be somewhere between 125 feet and 130 feet, but 125 is close enough to where it should be. I won't change the standard to something weird like 127. The standard stays at 125.
Boys Pole Vault
Old Standard: 10-06
New Standard: 10-06
In the pole vault, the charts and graphs really don't mean much. The participation is too low to draw any conclusions. What I do know is that 10-06 will usually get someone to states to finish in the bottom half of the field which is not a bad thing. 10-06 is also on average the fourth best mark in the county which means the 10-06 vaulter will be valuable to his team at the county championship. I will leave this standard alone until a day comes when Montgomery County boys begin clearing 11 feet on a more frequent basis.