By HOW TO TRACK!
So, you just found out that you and your team have been placed in the A division for the 2018 Milestat.com Cross Country Invitational and you think to yourself "Hey! I'd really like to win that race, how hard could it be?", luckily for you H.T.T. is here to save you lots of time, result searching, statistical analysis, carpel tunnel, eye strain, and guess work. Whether you want to take home individual glory OR you want that team trophy H.T.T. has your answer. So let's jump into the analysis and see if we can figure out the clues (both obvious and hidden) that will lead you to Victory at Pole Green Park. For the sake of simplification we will note that the 2013 and 2014 Milestat races were held on the VERY hilly Pole Green Park Regional Course, but we won't do anything to adjust the results to make up for it.
History: Virginia is home to a ton of cross country talent. Unfortunately this talent is spread out across every division that the VHSL has to offer. Because of this, it is rare that we ever get to see a large number of the state's best teams and individuals in one race at one time. Some states, like New York, California, and New Jersey solve this issue by hosting a final winner take all Meet of Champions as the final meet of the season. Unfortunately, Virginia does not, and likely will never have, a meet like this. ENTER MILESTAT beginning in 2009 the Milestat.com Invitational has, for one reason or another, attracted the largest contingent of the state's best teams. Whether it's a fast course (Originally Pocahontas State Park's flat fast course and now the Upper Course at PGP), the great competition, the weather, the time of the season, or some combination of these Milestat has been "the meet". So to win the A race is a huge deal, and those dreaming of victory be warned: It's not easy to do! The action starts early and the first champion to be crowned will be the Girls Individual Champion, so let's jump into it.
How to win the Milestat.com Invitational Girls A Race
The obvious: The young lady that crosses the finish line first this weekend will add their name to an incredibly elite list of All-Time Virginia greats. Just take a look at the past champions:
2009- Ariel Karabinus (Sr.) - Osbourn Park 17:52
2010- Megan Moye (Jr.) - Cosby 17:42
2011- Sophie Chase (Jr.) - Lake Braddock 17:22**
Meet cancelled in 2012 because of logistical issues with Pocahontas State Park, so meet moves to the significantly hilly Pole Green Regional course
2013- Hannah Christen (Sr.) Lake Braddock 18:08
2014- Libby Davidson (So.) E.C. Glass 18:00
Meet changes to the lightning fast Pole Green Upper Course
2015 - Rachel Northcutt (Fr.) Cosby 17:57
2016 - Rachel Northcutt (So.) Cosby 17:35
2017 - Olivia Beckner (Sr.) South Lakes 17:30
Again, ignoring the fact that the course has changed three times, the average time of victory at Milestat is a staggering 17:45.
Common Threads: Based on the ladies that have won this event before here are a few requirements for consideration to have a chance this weekend:
Sub 2:20 800m PR (slowest 800m PR of these 7 ladies is 2:19)
Sub 5 min mile PR (4:59 gets your 7th out of 7)
Sub 11 min 3200 PR (the term "sub 11" is laughable, most of these girls went under 10:45)
At least one XC Race victory in the season prior to Milestat
And last but not least, for some reason......
The desire to attend an ACC school. The only member of this group that didn't spend at least a year in the ACC is Sophie Chase (Stanford). Karabinus and Davidson went to UVA, Moye went to N.C. State, Christen went to UNC (since transferred to Ole Miss), and Beckner is in her freshman year at Syracuse. You might ask "How does Rachel Northcutt fit this trend?" True, she is still in HS, BUT we have it on good authority that last weekend, prior to Great American, she took an official visit to.... N.C. State.
Odds and ends:
Only once has the individual champion lead their team to victory, and with Blacksburg skipping the meet this year it really could be anyone's game.
Being a Footlocker or NXN Finals hopeful certainly doesn't hurt. The 7 previous champions have 8 Footlocker Finals trips and 1 NXN appearance to their name.
Age has no bearing here. The classes are essentially dead even through 8 meets, but a Junior hasn't won since 2011.
The race has been decided by 6 seconds or less four times, and the margin of victory has been shrinking over the past three years (2015 6 seconds, 2016 5 seconds, 2017 3 seconds) so don't expect everything to be settled in the first three miles.
Predictions:We're a "How to" guide! We don't make predictions, we just tell you the facts! See you on Saturday.