How To Track!
How to win the Milestat.com Invitational Girls A Team Title
The Obvious: In years past this section of our How to, would have been really short. All it would need to say was "If you're Blacksburg, just show up. If you aren't Blacksburg, hope that Blacksburg isn't there". Unless you're new to the scene, or you haven't been paying attention, you'll know that the girls from Blacksburg High School have been the queens of Virginia distance running for quite a while, and to say they have dominated this meet would be an understatement. The Lady Bruins have won the Milestat Invitational A race 5 times in total (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017). The only other team to win more than one Milestat team title is Osbourn Park and they went back to back 2009 and 2010, before Blacksburg had the meet on their schedule. James Madison is the only other team that has even ONE win on their resume, and that win came in 2014 when Blacksburg scheduled a home invitational on the same day as Milestat. In the 9 year history of the Milestat.com XC Invitational, there have been 8 meets contested and the Hall of Champions looks like this:
Blacksburg High School - 5
Osbourn Park - 2
James Madison - 1
Every other school in the state of Virginia - Not even close
If you aren't Blacksburg, we have great news! The biggest obstacle to overcome in your team's pursuit of victory has already been taken care of because Blacksburg isn't coming! That should totally open this competition up, right? RIGHT?!? We wouldn't blame you for thinking this, but we skipped a very important note during our praise of Blacksburg: James Madison hasn't been worse than 2nd since 2013, when they were 3rd, and as we noted above they won it all in 2014. For the past 3 years the Lady Warhawks have posted LOSING top 5 averages of 18:40, 19:07, and 19:10. Yes, in 2015 James Madison posted an 18:40 AVERAGE for their top 5 girls, finished 2 in the top 7 scorers, and all 5 in the top 30 scorers and lost by 30 points. BUT, with Blacksburg out of the picture these three JM teams give you a great picture of how to win this race.
Common Threads: Here's what your team will need to do to walk away from Pole Green with the big trophy:
**(Note these requirements are based on what it took to get 2nd in years past. Using Blacksburg as the How To Track! standard just didn't seem fair)**
You MUST have 2 girls under 19:00 and all five girls have to finish under 20:00. Only one team has ever won this event with a 5th finisher over 20:00, and that was Blacksburg (.....of course)
It took us a LONG time to find any kind of pattern here, once you throw Blacksburg's laughably small scores out the window, the data goes haywire. There is almost a 100 point spread in the top "non-Blacksburg" scores from each meet, so bear with us while we talk you through this. The 8 "non-Blacksburg" scores average out to 120 points, which in turn averages out to 24 points per scorer. So, your team MUST have their third finisher in the chute in no worse than 29th.
If all else fails, we found a place requirement that adds even MORE pressure to your #3. The team with the best 3rd finisher has won the A race every time.
Never forget that this is Cross Country. While fast times are great, the team title is decided by PLACE. Race to the finish line ladies!
Odds and ends:
Don't just rely on the time averages! Maggie Walker had the fastest 5 girl average time in 2010 and the Dragons were 2nd, while Lake Braddock had the fastest 5 girl average in 2011 and those Bruins only finished 4th.
There seem to be quite a few teams in the 2018 edition of the Milestat.com Invitational A Race, that meet these How To Track! requirements. This just means we're likely in for a very close, very exciting race on Saturday.