While it is absolutely true sports polls are nothing more than fun ways to generate conversation and debate among fans, one can only speculate about the logic employed by the voters of the South Carolina coaches association’s cross country rankings – specifically the Class 4A girls poll.
In the span of back-to-back weekends in late September, Lexington, which stumbled early at the Coaches Classic meet in Columbia, beat the top-ranked team in the big school division, yet has managed to move up only to the No. 3 spot in the most recently released poll.
Lexington, which was ranked No. 5 in the preseason poll, finished seventh overall and sixth among 4A teams at the Coaches Classic. The Sept. 21 poll was a direct reflection of the order of finish at the Coaches Classic.
But by the time the Sept. 21 poll was released, the Wildcats girls had already beaten Stratford – then ranked No. 1 – at the Lake Murray Invitational. The following weekend, after the Sept. 21 poll was out, Lexington traveled to the Lowcountry and beat Wando – the new No. 1 – at the Citadel Invitational.
Stratford was scheduled to attend the Citadel meet and get another shot at Lexington, but did not run. In fact, the Knights have not entered another major invitational since Lake Murray.
So, why was Stratford elevated back to No. 1 in the poll released on Tuesday with Dorman at No. 2 and Lexington sitting third? If Lexington is not No. 1, fair enough. But why not Dorman? Why Stratford?
Of course, the only rankings that matter come from the order of finish at the state championship meet, but this is ridiculous.
SCTCCCA CROSS COUNTRY POLLS
1. Stratford; 2. Dorman; 3. Lexington; 4. J.L. Mann; 5. Spartanburg; 6. Wando; 7. Riverside; 8. Mauldin; 9. Summerville; 10. Irmo.
1. Daniel; 2. Fort Mill; 3. Wade Hampton; 4. Hilton Head; 5. Eastside; 6. Chapin; 7. Bluffton; 8. Travelers Rest; 9. Nation Ford; 10. Greenville.
CLASS 2A-1A 1. St. Joseph's; 2. Landrum; 3. Pendleton; 4. Bishop England; 5. Emerald; 6. Palmetto; 7. Pelion; 8. Waccamaw; 9. Christ Church; 10. Woodruff.
1. Spartanburg Christian; 2. Ashley Hall; 3. Heathwood Hall; 4. Hammond; 5. Cardinal Newman; 6. Pinewood Prep; 7. Ben Lippen; 8. Kings Academy; 9. Hilton Head Prep; 10. Augusta Christian.
1. Ridge View; 2. Lexington; 3. Dorman; 4. Wando; 5. Irmo; 6. Spartanburg; 7. Riverside; 8. Dutch Fork; 9. Spring Valley; 10. Mauldin.
1. Hilton Head; 2. Wade Hampton; 3. Chapin; 4. Bluffton; 5. Daniel; 6. Nation Ford; 7. Fort Mill; 8. Belton-Honea Path; 9. Greer; 10. Eastside.
CLASS 2A-1A 1. Bishop England; 2. Broome; 3. Landrum; 4. Liberty; 5. Academic Magnet; 6. Pelion; 7. Christ Church; 8. Pendleton; 9. Woodruff; 10. Waccamaw.
1. Porter-Gaud; 2. Trinity Collegiate; 3. Heathwood Hall; 4. Wilson Hall; 5. Pinewood Prep; 6. Laurence Manning; 7. Cardinal Newman; 8. Spartanburg Christian; 9. Hammond; 10. Hilton Head Prep.