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Furman Men 19th, Women 22nd In Final USTFCCCA Cross Country Rating Index

Aaron Templeton
Aaron Templeton

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman men's cross country team is rated 19th, while the women are 22nd, in the final USTFCCCA Cross Country Rating Index (CCRI).  Furman is one of only 12 teams to conclude the season with both genders ranked inside the top 22 in the rating.

Senior Aaron Templeton of Knoxville, Tenn.,  led the Paladin men, six-time defending Southern Conference Champions, during the 2018 season.  He placed fifth with a 10K time of 29:11.78 at the NCAA Championships Saturday to earn All-American accolades.  The 2018 SoCon Cross Country Runner of the Year, Templeton qualified automatically for the championship by virtue of his third-place individual finish at the region meet.  

The Paladin women, also winners of the last six SoCon titles, finished the season ranked 15th and went on to place 23rd at the national meet last Saturday.  Furman was led by All-American Savannah Carnahan, a junior from Cumming, Ga., who paced the Paladins with a time of 20:19.14 on the 6K course, finishing 20th.

"We are very honored to have this objective ranking system in place," said Furman head coach Robert Gary.  We will always work to have both programs as connected and at as high of a level together as possible.  We are excited that we lose only one runner between both programs for next year."

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 match-ups 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.  

Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information