More Than 83 All-Americans Entered into McCravy: Preview Part II



By Jacob Most
Jan. 23, 2015 -

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Not many track and field meets claim to be the “best meet in the country.” Fewer still achieve the near-universal acceptance as just that, but on Thursday such recognition was bestowed to this weekend’s Rod McCravy Memorial Meet from many of the nation’s most widely consumed track and field-specific media outlets.

The meet, which will be hosted by the University of Kentucky inside Nutter Field House, was summed up by Flotrack as “The closest thing to an NCAA meet preview that we’ve ever seen.”

Indeed all-but one of the top-7 women’s teams in the country are in the field this weekend so the odds are that come early-March, the women’s NCAA Champion will have been a McCravy participant. On the men’s side, each of the nation’s top-3 teams and half of the top-10 are competing.

Boil it down, and by rough estimate, fans watching the meet this weekend have better than an 85-percent chance of seeing this year’s women’s NCAA Champion. When considering the top-10 contenders for the men’s national title, there’s a 50-percent chance that the NCAA Team Champion will have been a McCravy participant.

“With 16 teams between both genders ranked in the top 25 of the preseason U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Team Computer Rankings and hordes of national individual contenders descending on Lexington this weekend, this just might be the best track & field meet you’ll see until the NCAA Championships in mid-March (no disrespect intended, Tyson and Husky),” mused Kyle Terwillegar and Dennis Young of the communications team at USTFCCCA.

Indeed rarely, if-ever, does such a heavy concentration of national-title contenders bring full squads to the same regular-season meet. The only non-postseason meets that even approach such a claim are the Tyson Invitational and Husky Classic.

But nationally-elite programs rarely send their full squads – the ones that are sent to postseason competitions, which include jumpers, sprinters, distance runners and throwers on the same travel itineraries – to the same competition and face off against similarly strong rosters. At Tyson for example, the nation’s best sprinters compete, while that same weekend those sprinters’ distance-runner teammates are likely competing in Seattle at the Husky Classic.

At the McCravy this weekend, the best teams have brought their best athletes across all events.

Of 722 total individual athletes (344 women. 378 men) entered into the meet, 83 were 2014 Indoor All-Americans.

So at least 12-percent of the field is made up of All-America selections, and that’s a minimum figure. The number 83 only considers last year’s indoor All-Americans, but off the top of my head I know of seven competitors scheduled to take part in the meet who earned All-America status either outdoors last season or between 2012 and 2013.

And then consider just the women’s field. As already-mentioned, six of the top seven and eight of the top 10 are in the field. Perhaps more impressively -- at least when considering just how deep the meet is – nearly 15 percent of the women’s field are All-Americans.
 
Furthermore, this weekend’s entry list boasts 22 NCAA Champions that have combined to win 31 individual NCAA titles.

And few events lack multiple top contenders. Of the 34 events in the McCravy Memorial meet that are also part of the NCAA Indoor Championship program, 24 of them have at least multiple All-Americans competing against one-another. Thirteen of those events have four or more All-Americans and three have seven-plus.

This breakdown used past All-America honors, contingent upon a top-16 finish at NCAA Championships, as a baseline. But for some events past All-America doesn’t do the level of competition justice.

For example in the women’s 60-meter dash, 11 of the contenders chosen based on the national top-20 times they have produced this year, five are All-Americans, but five are freshmen and have not-yet had the opportunity to have earned that distinction.

So there are some numbers to further prove that the McCravy is the best regular-season meet in the country.

For in-depth breakdowns on some of the more intriguing matchups this weekend see the below links.

Noticeably absent from those previews is just how competitive the women’s long jump looks to be. The first flight begins Friday at 3 p.m. ET.

Headlining that event is a rematch of the NCAA Outdoor Championship Long Jump Final, when Oregon’s Jenna Prandini edged Kentucky’s Sha’Keela Saunders by less than five inches for the title. Those two will also go up against such elite foes as Brittany Harrell, Ciarra Brewer, and Robin Reynolds and last year’s regular-season No. 2-jumper Jasmine Todd of Oregon.

USTFCCCA Preview
Distance & Jumps: http://bit.ly/1yKUe87
Throws and Multis: http://bit.ly/1EykwuG

FloTrack Preview
Men: bit.ly/1CVMoro
Women: bit.ly/1CGnNGL

Daily Relay Preview: http://bit.ly/1wrzg8d