Here’s a look back on the 2012 Pacific high school cross-country season, cross-sectioning all leagues and all major championship meets. Analysis provided by Bruce Carrick, longtime Pacific cross-country and track and field observer and gatekeeper of meet information and records at Athletic.net. Times also provided by Athletic.net.
Following is Bruce’s top 10 teams in the Pacific. Times are based on true cross-country courses at or near season-ending competition, with head to head finishes taken into account where applicable:
1, Singapore American, four runners under 18 minutes, a first-through-fifth spread of 26 seconds.
2, Kadena, Okinawa, two under 18 minutes, 1:36 spread 1 through 5.
In a virtual tie (meaning on any given day, any of these teams can outpace the other)
Nile C. Kinnick
St. Mary’s Internaitonal
American School In Japan
9, Seoul Foreign, two under 18 minutes, 2:40 spread 1 through 5.
10, International School Beijing, 1 under 18 minutes, 1:22 spread 1 through 5.
Compare those to DODDS Europe:
Kaiserslautern, DoDDS Europe winner, three under 17:40, 1:33 spread 1 through 6.
Patch American , DoDDS Europe runner-up, three under 18 minutes, :43 spread 1 through 5.
Washington State, schools under 200 enrollment (grades 9-12):
Tri-Cities Prep, state meet winner, five under 17:40, 1:12 spread 1 through 5.
1, Singapore American, five under 20:50, :45 spread 1 through 5
2, Kadena, one under 20:50, 2:11 spread 1 through 5
5, (tie), ASIJ and Seisen International
7, (tie), Yokota and International School of the Sacred Heart
9, Shanghai American-Pudong
10, (tie), John F. Kennedy and International School Beijing, one each at 20:53, 2:00 spread 1 through 5
Patch American, DoDDS Europe winner, two under 20:50, 2:33 spread 1 through 5, very similar to Kadena.
Heidelberg, DoDDS Europe runner-up, lead runner 21:34, 1:45 spread 1 through 5, very similar to Seisen
Washington State, schools under 200 enrollment (grades 9-12), state meet winner:
Northwest Christian-Lacey, one under 20 minutes, two under 20:50, 1:55 spread 1 through 5, close to Singapore American in 1-4 competition.
Winner of the Never Say Die Award goes to St. Maur International of Yokohama. It entered Day 2 of last week’s Far East meet, Division II, trailing Zama American, Matthew C. Perry and tied with newcomer Okinawa Christian International, and did a magnificent job on the team relay to win the whole thing.
While riding on Kadena’s bus out to Camp Fuji for the first day of the Far East meet, Carrick said he noted the conversation the Panthers’ runners were having about racing strategy, naming contemporary big names in high school running, recent marks and powerhouse schools.
“It would sure raise the competitive level if more area high school runners were as knowledgeable about the sport as the Kadena squad,” Carrick said.
“I would not be surprised if these kids knew just how wide the gate is for them to continue running in college. Unlike football and basketball where nearly no Pacific boys will go on to compete in college, anyone who finished in the top 15 at Far East can have a long career ahead of them and can find a place to race and compete in college, even in NCAA Division I.”
Some things that Bruce and I would each like to see in the future:
-- Like Okinawa’s tennis and volleyball teams did this season, how about teams going somewhere at midseason to run against non-traditional opponents? We seem locked into a neighborhood-only mentality. Some outsiders really need to run on one of the Okinawa courses. How far is it from Okinawa to Iwakuni or Sasebo? It would be nice if someone would go to Korea and challenge a KAIAC course.
When the Kanto Plain hosts another invitational meet next year, how about somebody from outside the Tokyo area come run? It would be fantastic if someone would travel down and compete against the best in the Pacific, Singapore American. Even if fund-raising yields enough for just a handful of runners going head-to-head with the best in that area, that would be demonstrative of just how good each are.
-- Gauging better just how accurate everybody’s courses are. Everyone claims their courses are accurate, and that may be so. Still, courses such as the ones used at Sasebo, Iwakuni’s Yasaka Dam and Kubasaki’s Kishaba Housing Area seem inordinately fast. Courses that best predicted performance at Far East, Camp Fuji, are the 5-kilometer Thek Memorial Trail course at Tama Hills (last year's Far East course), followed by the Asia-Pacific Invitational's new John F. Kennedy High School course (both slightly faster) and Christian Academy Japan's Koku Koen course (slightly slower). Too few statistics are available to make comments about KAIAC courses.
-- More consistent publishing of results at Athletic.net by league commissioners and coaches outside of Kanto. Posting the top 10 in local newspapers and Web sites lets us see the front runners, but tells little about the teams as a whole. Reading the top 10 in Stripes is like reading offensive statistics in football but not knowing if they are based on eight-man or 11-man football or even flag football. Remeasuring and sending course descriptions would be of help as well.
Great season. Congratulations to winners one and all.