The Most Effective Men’s Division 1 Running Programs

Analyzing how much college programs improve runners’ high school times

In my previous post, I looked at the correlation between SAT scores and cross country and track and field recruiting standards at colleges as estimated by my application, Runcruit. This was a byproduct of the first stage of my own college search process, where my goal was to determine where I was both academically and athletically suitable. Now that I’ve more or less settled on a list of schools I’m considering, I thought I’d see what Runcruit’s data says about the college running programs themselves; namely, how good are they?

For the purposes of this study, I’m judging quality by how effective the programs are at making their runners faster. Runcruit’s database includes both high school and college times, so I’m simply comparing those for each athlete to determine average improvements on a college-by-college basis. In this first post, I will look at men’s programs at Division 1 schools, breaking down effectiveness by distance. Subsequent posts will look at women’s programs and Division 3 schools.

Men’s Division 1 Long Distance (1 mile+, by avg. improve %)

  1. Seton Hall 8.85%
  2. Minnesota 8.56%
  3. Michigan 8.53%
  4. Georgia 8.5%
  5. Arkansas 8.42%
  6. Cal Poly SLO 8.39%
  7. Washington 8.23%
  8. Virginia Tech 7.9%
  9. North Carolina 7.48%
  10. Arizona State 7.42%
  11. Miami (Ohio) 7.39%
  12. Virginia 7.38%
  13. Vanderbilt 7.37%
  14. Marist 7.32%
  15. Purdue 7.17%
  16. Mississippi 6.65%
  17. Colorado State 6.59%
  18. Iowa State 6.44%
  19. St Joseph’s (PA) 6.36%

Men’s Division 1 Middle Distance (by avg. improve %)

  1. Clemson 8.51%
  2. Connecticut 5.95%
  3. Georgia Tech 5.5%
  4. Miami (Ohio) 5.08%
  5. Mississippi 4.92%
  6. Michigan 4.76%
  7. Penn State 4.73%
  8. Texas Tech 4.5%
  9. Northern Arizona 4.5%
  10. Syracuse 4.47%
  11. Kansas 4.26%
  12. Missouri 4.14%
  13. Army 4.14%
  14. Virginia Tech 3.88%
  15. Virginia 3.83%
  16. Butler 3.79%
  17. Iowa 3.6%
  18. UC San Diego 3.56%
  19. UCLA 3.53%

Men’s Division 1 Short Distance (by avg. improve %)

  1. UC Irvine 4.85%
  2. Virginia 3.83%
  3. Minnesota 3.52%
  4. William & Mary 3.47%
  5. Tennessee 3.41%
  6. Alabama 3.31%
  7. St Joseph’s (PA) 3.27%
  8. Louisville 3.09%
  9. Arizona 3.05%
  10. Vermont 3.0%
  11. Iowa 2.97%
  12. Washington State 2.94%
  13. Northeastern 2.8%
  14. Maryland-Baltimore County 2.72%
  15. Texas Tech 2.62%
  16. Miami (FL) 2.47%
  17. Purdue 2.46%
  18. Oregon 2.45%
  19. Brown 2.44%

A high school runner interested in data