Monday Afternoon Quarterback: ranking the rankings

Things went down at Thames Valley Golf Course. I think it is only fair to look at the results, and compare them to the predictions. First, the real results:

Women.
1. Guelph 31pts. Only one on the podium, but 3 first-team ACs and 4 2nd team. As advertised. With 1 R, 2 E2s and an E3, the dynasty is safe.

2. Western 90pts. Two ACs, great runs from both Truelove and “Transfer with Heat” Kary. The switch up at 7 (Knox for Hambleton) was not an issue as the top 5 rolled in almost all before Queen’s #3. (Pyke was just out-kicked by Soehl).

3. Queen’s 115pts. As advertised, the top two kept the score low, but otherwise, the Gaels just didn’t have the horses to catch the ponies. Still, a podium spot for the #2 combined program in the nation is well deserved.

4. Trinity Western 130pts. Bomba was right to claim his women were better than their ranking. That said, they were in a podium spot at the halfway mark, with 4 in the top 20, and they faded hard, except for Jackson. Inglis and Yee are E1 though, so they’ll learn from their rookie mistakes. Surely this is a team on the rise.

5. Toronto 148pts. Consistency across the board, with only 29sec between their 2nd and 5th. Hennessy had a great race to finish in the top ten. The bigger field allowed Queens to make up ground on them here. Just to speculate, dropping 60-70 points next year with Stafford healthy and Jewett back puts them on the podium.

6. McMaster 193pts. A tough day for the Marauders, as they surely hoped to bounce back from a disappointing OUA championships. Still, they lose only Patterson next year (assuming not transfers, hot or otherwise), and who knows what recruits may come. Always a strong program.

7. McGill 201pts. Another consistent team, with 38sec between 2 and 5. Porfilio and Flynn ran as expected, Barwick and Williams probably a little better, and Hamilton and Anderson a little worse, but it’s a team game and it all balanced out.

8. Victoria Vikes 206pts. This is probably the biggest fall in terms of the rankings. It wasn’t the King DQ that really made the difference, but McInnis fading from top 30 at halfway down to 81st that cost them 5th place. That’s where a healthy Pomfret could have picked up some slack. A down year, but I’m sure they will be back in the mix next season.

9. Windsor Lancers 258pts. There was a fairly large gap here, but the Lancers’ performance shouldn’t be downplayed. They scored two rookies and a 2nd year runner, so look for them to make a move up the table in 2014.

10. Calgary Dinos 308pts. Calgary always manages to crack the top ten. They were missing Cook-Clarke at Stewart Cup, which allowed Alberta to win, but all hands on deck for CIS/CanWest Champs.

Men

1. Guelph 22pts. Again, as advertised. Hendrikx was untouchable, Woodfine closed very strong, and Nixon rounded out his career with a fine effort after some early season troubles. Proudfoot and Sikubwabo didn’t dominate, but it’s all relative as they still took 1st and 2nd team AC spots, and finished in the top ten.

2. Windsor 87pts. Windsor came to play. Falk and Janikowski lead the way with 2nd team AC honours, and Meloche was just outside of that in 15th spot (the worst spot). Only Falk graduates (not sure about Janikowski as he’s E3, but missed some time due to injury), so there’s no reason to think the Lancers can’t medal next year.

3. Laval 91pts. Close, but without the element of surprise, the Rouge et Or could not maintain that silver spot. A much better CIS race from Chuck, as he faded hard at the end last year, but this year was the top non-Guelph (is that like top non-African?) in the race. Boisvert will likely be disappointed with 14th, having been 8th last year, but he ran tough as always. Big mover of the day for Laval was Tawny Larouche, who closed out his career with a spectacular run to 17th. Ben Raymond did not repeat last year’s disaster, but was probably expecting more. Ricard is kind of like Laval’s Woodfine: a triathlete who has finally broken onto the CIS XC scene.

4. McMaster 114pts. Losing a top runner will hurt your podium chances. Mac was without Conor Darlington and it could have been the difference. Morgan showed OUAs was no fluke, however, and Sanders did his thing, as they were both 2nd team AC. The top 5 all have plenty of eligibility left.

5. Queen’s 141pts. The Gaels suffered the same fate as McGraw was a late scratch. Archer and Cashin missed out on AC spots, but were solid in the top 20 and Wilkie rebounded from a rough OUAs to finish 32nd. If only Coach Boyd had put money down on his boys beating the Vikes…

6. Victoria 142pts. The Vikes had Cassidy’s 6th place run on their side, but losing Dylan Haight before the race even started was a blow. Despite two guys (Collin and Psotka) coming in right in front of Queens’ guys, Victoria could not crack the top 5.

7. Trinity Western 217pts. There’s a clear gap here, and despite solid runs from De Schiffart and White, this team isn’t quite ready for the big time just yet. Their pre-race ranking outside the top ten was, of course, unwarranted, but with a new program, it takes time to gain the respect of the pundits and coaches. Expectations are now raised, and we feel confident the Spartans will mix it up with the big boys next year.

8. Regina Cougars 288pts. One person had the Cougars ranked in our poll. One. Jeremy Walsh had them 9th. Well done sir. Matthew Johnson was the hero of the day, rolling to a 5th place, 1st team AC finish. Wyatt Baiton, who was a few years ago, I recall, quite a hot-prospect, was number two for the Cougs’.

9. Manitoba Bisons 289pts. Just missing out on 8th spot by a measly point, the Bisons were the surprise of the meet, to me. Yussuf put himself in a solid 33rd place, and the rest of the team ran reasonable races. Nothing fancy here.

10. Western Mustangs 295pts. Western was many people’s pick for 10th. Blackney and Balestrini lead the way on the home course, and while not as emotional as the ladies’ silver medal, it still must feel good for the guys to send Bob off with a top ten finish.

Here is a table of the predictions and the results, with 1 pt for each correct prediction.

CIS predictions final results

We at MKNB managed 5 out of a possible 20 points. We did just as poorly as the coaches, who also had 5. P&P did slightly better, scoring 6, though they didn’t bother trying to get 9-10th place (no one got those right anyway). The “best” predictor, at 35% correct, 7/20, was Jeremy Walsh’s Prediction Spreadsheet. But let’s break this down further. EVERYONE got 1-2-3 correct on the women’s side, and of course 1 on the men’s side. MKNB and Walsh had TWU in the right spot (PP had them in 8th). PP in a fit of lucky homerism, put Queen’s ahead of Victoria. I guess Andrin had more faith in his team than his coach did. Walsh got Laval 3rd, but only because they had Victoria second. He was also closest on Regina, putting them 9th, and they ended up 8th, but only by a point.

What’s the moral of the story? Predictions are fun, but clearly very difficult to make accurately. I suppose this means teams should not be too upset about where they end up in these things, but you know, runners are a sensitive bunch. If we could rank everyone 1st, we would. You’re all winners. Except for us pollsters. We suck.