Indiana High School Methodology
Calculating the Ratings
Each runner's rating is calculated based on how he or she performs in each race compared to every other runner in the race. Because it is based on a comparison to other runners, the absolute time that is run is irrelevant.
The rating of each runner is set to the value that will cause the smallest variance between the results of all the races during the season and the expected results based on the ratings.
The team ratings are the scoring of the team's top five runners in a large sample meet with varying levels of competition.
The tournament simulation is run just like the actual tournament, but uses each runner ratings to predict the outcomes. Each sectional, regional, semi-state, and state race are simulated with each runner in position to advance moving to the next round. The process is then repeated a set number of times with each runner's performance randomly adjusted each trial to account for the natural variation in race performance.
The tournament simulation provides interesting statistics on the likely placing of each team in each race of the tournament and how likely it is to advance to each round.
The greatest difficulty in trying to predict future races is that it's impossible to know which runners have run as hard as they can in previous races. This is particularly true for the elite runners, who often can win races without giving it their all. Accordingly, these ratings assume each runner has given maximum effort in each race.
Another challenge is knowing which runners are injured and the extent of those injuries. Primarily, a runner will be included in the tournament simulation unless it is commonly known that he or she is out for the season with an injury. The effect of injured runners can have a large effect on the tournament statistics, especially if there are injuries to multiple runners on the same team that aren't taken into account.