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September 4, 2017

Introducing The Return Of The Wood Report

We are pleased to announce the newest addition to the CITIUS MAG family. We’ve added Isaac Wood and The Wood Report to our coverage of the 2017 cross country season. You might be wondering, who is Isaac and what is The Wood Report. I’ll answer the first question.

Isaac is the Director of Operations at BYU and previously served as a graduate assistant and coach at Florida State as well as BYU. He’s a total running nut. I don’t know many people who get more fired up about cross country and track than Isaac. His dad, Bob Wood, was the long distance running chairman for USA Track and field for years and served as one of the biggest agents for distance runners in the 80s and 90s including 50 Olympians. Isaac has a passion for the sport that runs through his veins and we’re super excited to share his research and insight with the CITIUS MAG community as he also gets ready to launch his own website. We’re teammates in this because that’s what cross country is all about. Isaac has been doing The Wood Report since 2012 and people loved reading it. So we’re helping Isaac gets some eyes on it again. We’ll also keep you posted on the status of his site’s launch. For now more on The Wood Report from our cross country guru.

What is The Wood Report?

In 2012, I kind of started getting a reputation among the team at BYU for being someone that was fairly good at predicting races, breaking down meets and predicting top finishers. I knew stats pretty well for most guys. Olympian Doug Padilla, who was the director of operations at BYU at the time, said to me, ‘Dude, you just have to put this into some sort of website and let the people know about it.’ That’s it. The Wood Report was born. It’s my idea of who the best 31 teams in the country are who are the best individuals. It’s obviously never perfect but in years past, it’s proved to be very decent and accurate. That’s why I kept doing it. If I stunk at it, then I would not have kept doing it. Here we are five years later.

So how do I come to my conclusions?

This is going to sound totally ridiculous and that I need a life. BUT! I do have a life and a wonderful family. This was the result of just a couple hours of work most nights during the summer as I kicked back and watched television and hung out with my wife and newborn son. Ready for it? I went through every roster of every men’s team in the NCAA and just kind of break them down.

I’d put all the information into a document and list out some personal bests. I’d give it a glance and then a rating to get an idea of where they fit among others. The ratings are a bit of my own concoction. At the moment it’s a number from 1 to 10 with one decimal point. I’d love to get to the point, where I rank runners a few more places beyond the decimal point, but we’re not there yet. I made up my own equivalency chart that I feel confident in. It’s more for me to see where this one runner fits among others in a fair fashion.

Here’s an example of how it works: When you’re looking at some of these smaller conferences, you’re like ‘Oh this guys is pretty good.’ But, in all reality, just because you win the Patriot League – which is a good league and more solid than people realize – doesn’t mean that you’re as good as maybe someone in the top 10 of the Big 10. Probably not. So I give a rating that will give me an idea of where to put them in the conference, regional and national meet (if they qualify.)

Cross country finishes and track personal bests are important and a nice combination. You have to find a balance of that. Some runners are really good on the track and not so great in cross country. You can kind of weed those guys out by looking at some 10K personal bests but then their conference finishes over the years. I use my noodle to determine where they belong in the grand scheme of things nationally.

How do you determine the 31 teams?

To determine the 31 best teams in the country, I had to score every single conference meet. Yes, I did it. EVERY TEAM’S TOP SEVEN IN EVERY CONFERENCE. Some of the SWAC and MEAC conferences, those were tougher than any paper that I wrote in college. When I score these, I assume that everyone has their best day. I try to be optimistic. That’s what also kind of stinks about this is that I’m going to be a jerk no matter what. Someone is going to hate me. Someone has to get last. Someone has to be what I don’t think they are. Every team can think it’s their year to go to nationals or to win, some will do it and some won’t. It’s my job in writing this to figure that out.

Trust me. I do feel bad. There may be some of you out there, who will be a little upset or take it too seriously but that’s not the intention. I’m here to be informative, have a little fun and bring some attention to the sport. If all the Wood Report does is bring a couple more eyes to a cross country meet, then I’ve done my part. In my opinion, cross country is the greatest sport from a team and grit standpoint.

So that’s it! I’m really excited to start sharing these projections.

Tomorrow, we will post the men’s team rankings and then on Thursday, we will post the NCAA men’s individuals. A side note, I do understand that we have women and ladies who will be asking for the NCAA Women’s Cross Country projections and Wood Report. They are in the works! Trust me. The men’s projections took me all summer, so I’ll keep you all updated on the progress of the women’s rankings soon.

Thanks again for reading and welcome to The Wood Report.

How to @ Isaac when your team doesn’t get enough love:

Tweet at him: @Wood_Report

Email us and we’ll forward the hate mail: [email protected]

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