GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman women's cross country team is rated 12th, while the men are 18th, in the first ever USTFCCCA Cross Country Rating Index (CCRI). The rating marks the highest combined ranking of the year for the Paladin program.
The Paladin women, five-time defending Southern Conference Champions, finished seventh two weeks ago at the Pre-NCAA Invitational in Madison, Wis. Furman, which returned seven of its top eight competitors from last year's team which finished seventh at the NCAA Championships, was led by junior Savannah Carnahan, the 2016 SoCon Freshman of the Year, who finished seventh with a time of 20:14.1 on the 6K course. Junior Gabbi Jennings, who won the individual title at the Eye Opener Meet in the Paladins' season opener, placed 28th at 20:53.6, and junior Emma Grace Hurley finished 36th with a time of 21:00.6
The Furman men, who also have claimed the last five SoCon Championships, placed eighth at the Pre-NCAA Meet. Senior Aaron Templeton turned in a time of 23:50.99 to capture fourth place and pace the Paladins on the 8K course. Senior Ryan Adams recorded a time of 24:31.02 for 34th place, and sophomore Daniel Bernal placed 56th at 24:39.46.
NCAA Division I Cross Country Coaches voted last year for an objective ranking system to be produced by the national office on a bi-weekly basis, starting with the period after the Pre-National Invitational weekend.
The original proposal for the CCRI was rooted by an algorithm that was adapted around the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) model, which is used in basketball, volleyball, and soccer. The USTFCCCA chose a method that takes some of the basic concepts of the RPI model — head-to-head performance and strength of schedule — and added elements relevant to cross country — margin of victory, individual performance, and potential head-to-head matchups based on existing results.
The RPI was found to be rigid, using strict win-loss records from full-field team scores (e.g., finishing fifth in a 20-team meet yields a record of 15-4 for that meet). Calculations for season winning percentage and strength of schedule used this concept.
The CCRI is rooted first on season-long individual performance of team members, paired with actual head-to-head team results, scored in a dual-meet fashion with added components of margin of victory or defeat. The scoring concepts in the mix include elements from the ELO ranking system used in rating chess players and from GolfStat, the NCAA's rating system for golf. All performances are rated as they were reported to TFRRS as of Monday evening.
An in-depth look at the new CCRI rating system is available at http://www.ustfccca.org/team-rankings-polls-central/cross-country-ratings-index-ccri. The second CCRI will be released on Thursday, Nov. 1, with post-conference ratings.
The Paladins will compete at the Southern Conference Championships in Cullowhee, N.C., on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information