Who's Number 1 - or 100?

by John Dye

Rankings mean nothing by themselves.  Only in head to head competition can you really settle who is best.  But in every sport, it is natural to make rankings.  They stir up interest, they are fun to talk about, and they motivate -- both to defend and to challenge a ranking.  

DyeStat publishes several sets of rankings, some created by DyeStat and some by others

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DyeStat Elite
| 2005 Cross Country | 2006 Indoor | 2006 Outdoor
| 2004 Cross Country | 2005 Indoor | 2005 Outdoor
| 2003 Cross Country | 2004 Indoor | 2004 Outdoor
| 2002 Cross Country | 2003 Indoor | 2003 Outdoor

DyeStat's own unique database ranks the top US performers in each event for cross country, indoor and outdoor seasons, going 100 or more deep in the most popular events for outdoor and 50 or more deep for indoor..  More than 10,000 performances are ranked each year, and the database contains 150,000 performances since 1999.  The DyeStat Elite lists are used by everyone connected with high school track in America -- the athlete, family, friends, media, HS coaches, college coaches, and just plain fans.

All meet results received by DyeStat are screened for qualifying performances. Other individual performances can be submitted for consideration by email to [email protected] according to the instructions and cutoffs published each season. The cutoffs are intended to produce the top 100 performers in each event for the indoor and outdoor seasons. They are adjusted each year based on experience.

Which events are ranked?

The primary events ranked by DyeStat are those established for US high school competition by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Although some states deviate, these are the standard events for high school meets in the US. Closely related events like the 1500 meters, 1- mile, 3000 meters, and 2-mile are also included. This leaves out such events as multi events, javelin, weight throw, shuttle relays, and race walk, which are not widely contested throughout the US. For cross country, the DyeStat Elite includes 3 mile and 5k performances. DyeStat publishes Bob Gourley's List of hammer and weight throw performances, and Michael Roth's Race Walk rankings.

The "season" for DyeStat Elite rankings runs from the first day of organized high school meets through the post-season regional and national invitationals, such as the Nike Indoor Classic, the National Scholastic Indoor, the adidas Outdoor Championships (Raleigh), the Golden West, the Golden South, and the Great Southwest. Age group and Junior Olympics competition is also included through the national championships conducted by the AAU and USATF.

Policies about FAT, wind, and such

DyeStat's policy is to report all published performances at recognized meets, with disclosure of known conditions. Performances are not excluded because they are windy or because we don't know the conditions. Handheld times for distances up to 400 meters are flagged with an "h" and a time penalty is added. Wind readings are shown after the mark for events where wind is relevant (sprints and hurdles up to 300 meters and horizontal jumps). If no wind is shown for these events, it was not recorded or was not reported to DyeStat.

If an athlete's best number is hand held or wind-assisted, the lists will also show that athlete's best legal performance, if available to DyeStat.

Hand held penalty. A fixed amount is added to hand held times in races of 400 meters or less. A hand held time is adjusted upward as follows: 0.24 seconds up to 200 meters and 0.14 seconds for 300 and 400 meters. A handheld time is shown in the rankings with the adjustment penalty added and the letter "h" next to it.

Conversion -- Prior to 2004, DyeStat merged the 1600 with the Mile and the 3200 with the 2-Mile to eliminate duplication and overlap between these close distances. (The Mile is only 9 meters longer than 1600 meters). DyeStat used differentials based on the Big Green Book (by Track and Field News, TAFnews Press, 2000) for the ranges that are typical for high school runners. Starting with the 2004 indoor season, DyeStat returned to separate lists for 1500, 1600, mile, 3000, 3200, and 2 mile, eliminating the need for the adjustments.

Conversions pre-2004
1600 meters to 1 mile
+ 1.5
3200 meters to 2 miles
+ 3.2
+ 3.8

Jim Spier's Top 5
| 2003 outdoor | 2004 indoor | 2004 outdoor | 2005 indoor |
As director of the National Scholastic Sports Foundation, Jim Spier keeps tabs on all top performers in the US. He publishes his "top 5" lists (actually top 5 plus enough more to have at least 5 performers outside of talent-rich Texas and California) weekly.

The Harrier - (Cross Country team rankings)
| 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 |
Marc Bloom has been covering high school running for 30 years, and his super 25 cross country lists in The Harrier magazine are the authoritative team rankings in the sport.  Using reports from correspondents around the country and his own expert analysis, Bloom ranks the top 25 teams in the US and the top 10 teams in the four Foot Locker regions.

Gourley's List - (Throws) Bob Gourley loves weight and hammer throwing.  He lives in Rhode Island, which dominates the national throws rankings every year.  So, it is natural, that Bob started ranking the throws.  He maintains national rankings throughout the year.  

Roth's Race Walk - Michael Roth has followed Bob Gourley's lead and created national HS rankings in his specialty.   




is published by
Student Sports

John Dye - founder and editor in chief
Donna Dye - features editor
Kirsten O'Hara - business and marketing manager

Rich Gonzalez - reporter and DyeStatCal co-editor
Doug Speck - reporter and DyeStatCal co-editor
Steve Underwood - reporter and TrackTalk administrator