How do Freshman runners fare at the varsity level? How do they transition from the 2-mile, Middle School distance, to the 3.1 mile varsity distance? Obviously, there are some very talented Middle School runners, but statistics indicate that very few step up as Freshman into the varsity spotlight. At last year’s OHSAA Cross Country Championships, in all six boys and girls divisions, a total of 883 runners competed. Of the 883, 98, just 11% of the runners were Freshman. A closer look at the Freshman statistics for each of the divisions is interesting, but what are the reasons that we don’t see more Freshman faring well at the varsity level? There may not be a simple answer, but the statistics do indicate that there is a definite maturation that takes place; physically, mentally and in experience, and that there is even a more distinct difference between the boys and the girls as they transition from the Middle School to the High School level.
Here are a few statistics in regards to the Freshman in last year’s OHSAA State Championships and a look back to the 2008 Championships and the highest place freshman finishers in each division and how they fared in 2009 and 2010.
Interestingly, in the 2010 D1 boys race, of the 144 runners, there were only 4 Freshman runners. That’s 2.7%. Of the 4 Freshman in the race, the highest finisher was 68th. None of the Freshman runners led their teams. The highest two finishers were the #4 and #2 runners for their teams. In 2008, the D1 race had 6 freshman runners with the highest finishing 30th. The 2009 race had 6, with the highest 9th grade runner finishing 63rd.
In the D2 boy’s race, there were twelve 9th grade runners in the field of 149. 8.0%. The highest place finisher was 17th. He was the #2 runner for his team. There were 2 other #2 runners, one 3rd, one 4th, one 5th and 1 individual. The highest finisher in 2008 was 23rd with only 6 Freshman in the race. 2009 had 17 Freshman runners with the highest finisher in 24th.
The D3 boy’s race had 155 runners and there were 13 Freshman. 8.3%. The highest finisher was 66th and was the #7 runner for their team. There were two #4 runners and one #5 runner. The 2008 race’s highest Freshman finisher was 20th with 14 Freshman runners. 2009 had 18 Freshman runners with the highest finisher placing 4th.
There were 18 Freshmen out of the 146 runners in the D1 girl’s race. 12.3%. The highest place finisher was 10th and she also led her team. Of the other 17 girls, 4 were individuals, 2 were the #3 runners on their teams, 2 were the #4 runners and 2
were the #5 runners. In 2008 the girl’s race had 33 Freshman runners with a 14th place finisher. 2009 had 22 runners with a 9th place finisher.
In the D2 Girl’s race, there were 26 Freshman out of the 145 runners. 17.9%. 3 runners were the #1 runners on their team, finishing 7th, 18th and 78th. 3 were the #2 runners on their teams finishing 52nd, 56th and 83rd. Of the remaining runners, 3 were their teams #3 runners, 3 were the #4 runners and 1 was the #5 runner. There were 4 individuals. The 2008 highest finisher was 8th with 36 Freshman in the race. In 2009 there were 24 girls with the highest finisher at 13th.
The D3 girl’s race had 25 Freshman out of the 144 runners. 17.3%. Interestingly, the 2nd, 5th and 8th place runners in this division were all Freshman and they were the #1 runners on their team. There was an additional #1 runner who placed 31st. There were two #2 runners, three #3 runners, two #4 and five #5 runners, along with 5 individuals. In 2008 there were 31 Freshman girls in the race with the highest finisher at 6th. In 2009, a 12th place finish was the highest for the twenty-four 9th grade girls.
The following individuals were the highest Freshman finishers in the boys and girls divisions in 2008. I’ve also shown how they did in their Sophomore and Junior years:
D1 Boys Tsehaye Hiluf, Reynoldsburg
2008: 30th 16:13.39
2009: 101st 17:25.75
2010: 15th 15:48.4