Does School Size Matter?

Old Runner

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Here is the current rankings and their enrollment by gender per the OHSAA website. Does size really matter and relate to success on the course?

Girls
1. Loveland - 527
2. Hilliard Davidson - 711
3. Shaker Heights - 603
4. Centerville - 1,008
5. Perrysburg - 580
6. Mason - 1,348
7. Beavercreek - 898
8. Massillon Jackson - 715
9. Brunswick - 927
10. Medina - 808

Boys
1. Saint Xavier - 1,083
2. Mason - 1,299
3. Hilliard Davidson - 745
4. Saint Ignatius -1,163
5. Massillon Jackson - 711
6. Loveland - 576
7. Louisville - 340
8. Saint Edwards - 722
9. Glen Oak - 722
10. Olentangy Orange - 832
 
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My short answer is yes, but only so much.

School size is one of many factors. I think being at a large school certainly helps, but it takes more than just being a big school. There are plenty of big schools that are just terrible at CC, and there are plenty of smaller schools that are excellent.

I’m sure in some cases, being at a large school can actually be detrimental and more of a headache.

So yes it helps. But if you can’t coach, or can’t get kids on the team, or don’t have anywhere to run, or etc. it doesn’t matter how big the school is.
 
Size of the school absolutely matters. Yes good coaching, adequate resources, good facilities and other factors also matter. Certainly school size can be offset by offering more sports choices (thus dividing up athletes), but it is abundantly clear that having more athletes is a significant advantage in having a good team. Just look at the team rankings on Milesplit for boys. Yes, I know that ranking by best time is NOT a good way to predict whether any individual team A will defeat any individual team B. But it just look at the sizes of the schools near the top of the list. For example, a school like Woodridge whose home course is awesome but not at all fast, is going to be under-ranked by this method. But unless you are going to argue that the D1 teams are the only ones running fast courses, this list makes it clear that school size matters. How about looking at the top 10 rankings going back in three year increments? This list makes it clear that some schools have an advantage from coaching, tradition, facilities and other factors, but there are not very many non-division 1 teams on the lists.
 
Just look at the team rankings on Milesplit for boys. Yes, I know that ranking by best time is NOT a good way to predict whether any individual team A will defeat any individual team B. But it just look at the sizes of the schools near the top of the list. For example, a school like Woodridge whose home course is awesome but not at all fast, is going to be under-ranked by this method. But unless you are going to argue that the D1 teams are the only ones running fast courses, this list makes it clear that school size matters.
If ranking by time is not a good way to predict performance, don't then spend the next 3 sentences using it to try and prove the point! :)

In some other threads I talked about how I see the D1 boys, and my thoughts are based on head to head (where possible) as well as speed ratings to try and account for differences in courses. Nobody is running a PR at CVNP. Comparing times is almost useless, although things like 1-5 compression can be useful to predict how teams will fare in larger meets.

FWIW I agree with the larger point that school size matters, but coaching, tradition, etc. are also important factors. Hudson isn't huge by D1 standards but won back to back state titles.
 
If ranking by time is not a good way to predict performance, don't then spend the next 3 sentences using it to try and prove the point! :)

In some other threads I talked about how I see the D1 boys, and my thoughts are based on head to head (where possible) as well as speed ratings to try and account for differences in courses. Nobody is running a PR at CVNP. Comparing times is almost useless, although things like 1-5 compression can be useful to predict how teams will fare in larger meets.

FWIW I agree with the larger point that school size matters, but coaching, tradition, etc. are also important factors. Hudson isn't huge by D1 standards but won back to back state titles.
I didn't say ranking by time was a bad way to predict performance. I said ranking by best time is a bad way to predict whether any one team might beat any other one team. The broader point is that size absolutely, obviously matters. Unless you believe that Division 1 coaches are just intrinsically better than Division 2 and Division 3 coaches. Counterexamples can prove the something is not determinative, but you cannot establish that one particular factor is or is not influential by looking at one particular example. You have to look at aggregates. We should also mention here that luck plays a large role as well.
 
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The top three factors of success in high school are:

Coaching
Coaching
Coaching

All other factors follow those three.
 
The top three factors of success in high school are:

Coaching
Coaching
Coaching

All other factors follow those three.

Please explain. I believe you could put the lunch lady with no athletic experience coaching a school with 1000+ students and they could compete with an incredible coach at a school with 75 students. I don't discount coaching and other factors but size is major if not the #1 factor in my eyes.
 
No one is arguing that coaching doesn’t matter. But if you think coaching is the dominant factor then a simple perusal of the state meet results would lead to the inescapable conclusion that D1 coaches are better than the coaches in all the other divisions.
 
Please explain. I believe you could put the lunch lady with no athletic experience coaching a school with 1000+ students and they could compete with an incredible coach at a school with 75 students. I don't discount coaching and other factors but size is major if not the #1 factor in my eyes.
Well, look at the list of the largest D1 schools and tell us why so many have never won a state title. the ones with the best coaches get the right kids to join the team and know what to do with them. How many state titles have been won by your proverbial “lunch lady” coach? None. It doesn’t happen and you know it.
 
No one is arguing that coaching doesn’t matter. But if you think coaching is the dominant factor then a simple perusal of the state meet results would lead to the inescapable conclusion that D1 coaches are better than the coaches in all the other divisions.
The best coaches consistently win the titles at every level. How else do you explain the power houses that stay at the top for years? Is it something in the water? You think Woodridge or St. X would stay at the top if the lunch lady took over the team? Look what happened to LaSalle when their coach moved on. Remember Colerain’s girls teams? Why do you think Elder disappeared? All the other factors remained in place for those programs. Why didn’t the next coach up keep the ball rolling?
 
Well, look at the list of the largest D1 schools and tell us why so many have never won a state title. the ones with the best coaches get the right kids to join the team and know what to do with them. How many state titles have been won by your proverbial “lunch lady” coach? None. It doesn’t happen and you know it.
You supported my premise by stating "the largest D1 schools....." That is my point. The bottom of the DI schools, some with fantastic coaches, rarely get a sniff. As you say, it is a battle of the largest, THEN coaching comes into play.

It is also the exception for the smallest schools in D2 and D3 to challenge for the podium even though the spread from largest to smallest is much more appropriate by comparison. Do the smaller schools in each division lack good coaching?

To understand the my lunch lady parody you need to keep it in the context I presented it. She coaches a 1000+ student team versus a great coach at a 75 student team.
 
I looked at this a few years ago. Probably 10 years now. Just looked at state champions and runners up. Very few exceptions in D1 where schools in the lower half of enrollment hit those 2 spots. Private schools lead the exceptions. Beaumont, Wal$h etc... My conclusion is that adding the 4th division by dividing what is now D1 in half is the way to go.

I think Bowling Green girls snuck in and had a few good years.

Caldwell and Woodridge skew boys D3 and D2 a bit. Minster girls really skew the D3 girls.

How good would Woodridge be if they just could duplicate their #2 &#3 each year?
 
How good would Woodridge be if they just could duplicate their #2 &#3 each year?

Yes, and just how average would they be if they were division 1 like schools with 50-60 more students? You and I once discussed this and figured they would challenge the D1 podium every 10-12 years. The fact that Howard is among the top few coaches at worst and possibly at the very top shows that while coaching means a lot, the size of the school probably means even more.
 
The bigger the school the more kids are going to come out for XC. Factor in the athlete perspective that they now need to work harder to be on Varsity where a small team they get the spot purely because they only have 7 or whatever. Coaching then becomes easier because you push them to the brink knowing that there is someone waiting in the wings to take the spot where on a team with 7 or whatever you may only have 5 good runners and if one breaks your season is over so you coach cautiously.
 
I think there is a statistical distribution of kids with the talent to run a given time. (Coaching effects how close a runner gets to that potential) The more students that are in the school, the more you have with the potential to run a given time. In a small school, you might only get a 15 minute guy every 10 years. In a huge school, you might have 2 every year.
 
I looked at this a few years ago. Probably 10 years now. Just looked at state champions and runners up. Very few exceptions in D1 where schools in the lower half of enrollment hit those 2 spots. Private schools lead the exceptions. Beaumont, Wal$h etc... My conclusion is that adding the 4th division by dividing what is now D1 in half is the way to go.

I think Bowling Green girls snuck in and had a few good years.

Caldwell and Woodridge skew boys D3 and D2 a bit. Minster girls really skew the D3 girls.

How good would Woodridge be if they just could duplicate their #2 &#3 each year?
I agree with adding a 4th Division like that.

If you're comparing D1 to D3 schools, absolutely the size difference is insurmountable.

But that's why we have Divisions.

A D1 and a D3 state championship are just as impressive. And I think within each Division, the size of the school is not the biggest factor. I would say coaching, facilities, and the demographics/culture of the town as well are a bigger factor. If it was all about school size, Hudson and Louisville would have never won state championships.

However, D1 has biggest school size discrepancy. Hopefully the sport continues to grow, schools continue to put 7 on the line at Districts, and the OHSAA gives us a 4th CC Division.
 
An factor not yet listed is other activities that the school offers. A school with very good other sports also make it hard to have a good CC team particularity if that sport is soccer. Lexington boys is a great example of that. They now have a top 10 soccer team and CC is not what it used to be. I am certain there is a few players on that team would help their CC team. If a school has other activities such as a show choir. The time demand from that has caused may very good athletes to give up sports.
 
My HS soccer program doesn't cut. They have 80+ kids. The boosters funds the program to add coaches and teams (JV-Freshman) as needed.
So no kids are saying, I got cut from soccer, let's try XC"
 
I think Woodridge just steals soccer kids for CC. Howard puts out flyers saying soccer practice on such and such a date and by the time the kids figure out that it's not just conditioning for soccer, they are officially on the cross country team.
 
Shouldn’t a huge school with a mediocre coach win a state title once in a while? Why is that not happening.
 
Shouldn’t a huge school with a mediocre coach win a state title once in a while? Why is that not happening.
Lakota West 2020?

To be clear I know nothing about the coach or the program. All I know is they won a state title last year but are not very good this year, and that's putting it mildly. They might not make it out of Districts this year.
 
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An factor not yet listed is other activities that the school offers. A school with very good other sports also make it hard to have a good CC team particularity if that sport is soccer. Lexington boys is a great example of that. They now have a top 10 soccer team and CC is not what it used to be. I am certain there is a few players on that team would help their CC team. If a school has other activities such as a show choir. The time demand from that has caused may very good athletes to give up sports.

Current Soccer state ranking
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Current CC State Ranking
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This has been the norm for the past 10 years where I believe Granville has been in the state final soccer match 4 times and has a string of top 10 CC state finishes, including one championship and two years where they raced D1.

It can be done but I agree with your premise, it is harder for small schools to be successful in both soccer and XC at the same time.
 
Current Soccer state ranking
View attachment 21711

Current CC State Ranking
View attachment 21713

This has been the norm for the past 10 years where I believe Granville has been in the state final soccer match 4 times and has a string of top 10 CC state finishes, including one championship and two years where they raced D1.

It can be done but I agree with your premise, it is harder for small schools to be successful in both soccer and XC at the same time.
One of Taylor’s girls state CC champion teams had 4 of its top 7 that also played on their conference champion soccer team.
 
Current Soccer state ranking
View attachment 21711

Current CC State Ranking
View attachment 21713

This has been the norm for the past 10 years where I believe Granville has been in the state final soccer match 4 times and has a string of top 10 CC state finishes, including one championship and two years where they raced D1.

It can be done but I agree with your premise, it is harder for small schools to be successful in both soccer and XC at the same time.
Thanks that is interesting and great for that school. I went to see if the school had a roster posted and see if some girls were doing both but could not find one posted. But as yj pointed out in past they had shared girls. Many soccer coaches are not so willing and many girls are not wanting to take on that challenge.
 
Thanks that is interesting and great for that school. I went to see if the school had a roster posted and see if some girls were doing both but could not find one posted. But as yj pointed out in past they had shared girls. Many soccer coaches are not so willing and many girls are not wanting to take on that challenge.
I can tell you for certain that Granville only had one girl cross over and do both XC and Soccer over the past several years and she only did that for one year, then she switched to 100% distance running and gave up soccer. I believe that was in 2015.

I should have also mentioned Waynseville as they are currently ranked 4th in D2 XC and 6th in D3 Soccer. I don't know if they are crossing over or not.
 
I can tell you for certain that Granville only had one girl cross over and do both XC and Soccer over the past several years and she only did that for one year, then she switched to 100% distance running and gave up soccer. I believe that was in 2015.

I should have also mentioned Waynseville as they are currently ranked 4th in D2 XC and 6th in D3 Soccer. I don't know if they are crossing over or not.
3 of Waynesville's top 5 runners also play Varsity soccer. Badin has 2 of their top 5 runners also play Varsity soccer.
 
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