Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quick thoughts on the leading teams.

Two weeks are already down in a what promises to be a very very exciting year of racing in the ECCC.  I love competition, doesn't really matter who wins or loses.  So long as the competition is closer and kinda fiery, I get rediciously excited about it.

Before the season started, I put down a few thoughts on where the teams were going.  I was wrong about a few of them and missed a few others.  I think it is time to reassess where the top teams are at, and what there prospects are like for the remainder of the year.

I just want to note that I like everybody, and don't want to hurt people's feelings.

The Main Show:

  • MIT:  Last year's winners.  They have certainly come out of the gates very very strongly.  As a team they are deeply reliant on their Women's squad.  This is what I call smart team composition.  If you start a women's A race with 3-4 racers, it is going to be very very hard for other teams to beat you in the women's point tally.  As A result of this we have seen the MIT women take maximum points in a lot of the races this year.  Their men have been good enough to help them stay at the top of the points scoring.
  • UVM:  Last year's second place team.  I hold out a soft place in my heart for my travel companion's and my Alma Mater.  You never know, they might be able to vie for a high overall finish this year.  At this point it is definitely an uphill battle.  As a team they employ a totally opposite approach to scoring points.  They have a multitude of Men's racers but very, very few women's racers.  The first weekend they scored no women's point's while they maxed out on men's points.  The trick with men's points is that they are very very volatile.  Even with a lot of very good racers, if things go south in the closing 300 meters of a group sprint you end up empty handed (See MA UVM results from Steven's Circ).  They are bringing in women, the question is really if it will be enough.  
  • BU:  These guys are gals are a hot commodity at this point in the year.  At the beginning of the year I didn't think that this team had the firepower to put up big team scores.  Boy was I wrong.  They won there first team event in the men's Steven's Circuit race.  Placing 3 racers in the top 10.  It is also really important to note that they have the potential to score a really solid number of women's points as well.  They currently have two really strong Women's B racers.  Either of these girls could certainly make a good A racer.  In the right situation I think Anna Einstein could even win a race.  As I have hinted at in my assessment of the other two teams, it is all about having a strong women's team.  It is the most surefire way to the top of a season overall.
  • U Penn:  These guys are pretty solid as well.  They are a fairly small team.  In years past their attendence has tapered off as the year has progressed.  With a few Men's A racers well placed in the overall and a top 5 current standing, maybe the ECCC will hold their interest this year.
  • Dartmouth:  Another moderately sized team.  They pack a big wallop in the A categories.  Elle Anderson in the Women's A and a plethora of MA racers generate a ton of points for the team.  Teams with smaller numbers like this are a little more prone to swings in point scoring.  One or two racers staying home to do a term paper can really affect things.   
Outside Wonders:
  • Harvard:  Anna McLoon.  Enough said right?  If the team can scrounge up some high test male racers they could be really serious contenders.  On the other hand, if Anna skips a weekend, the team will precipitously drop in the team standings.
  • Bucknell:  These guys and gals have been coming on wicked strong this year.  Their men are in the heat of the action in almost all of the races.  They haven't quite landed any huge trophies yet, but it is just a matter of time.  They also have a fairly substantial women's side. While they haven't put up huge points yet, I think this team as a lot of potential
  • Yale:  Another team that has a lot of potential, but hasn't yet put up enormous team points.  If all of the stars align they could win a weekend.  Rudy and Anna can both win A races and their are a lot of supporting riders in lower categories.
  • Columbia:  While they graduated a lot of their big hitters.  There is still a lot of spirit an potential.  We just haven't seen any of it going full throttle just yet.
  • Penn State:  Spring break did a number on their attendance this last weekend.  They will have to show up really big for the rest of the season.  Which hasn't happened for a while.  Hopefully these guys and gals can make it to more races this year than last.
  • Rugters:  With Molly Hurford nailing it in the Bs (soon to be As if I was a betting man) and a decent contingent of men racers, they are certainly a force.  If they bring out a few more key players and up their game.  They could definitely finish the season in the top 10.
  • Northeastern:  With Maggie S and Katy A racing they substantially upped the team's point scoring ability.  Notice the difference in point totals for the team from weak 1 to week 2.  This team will certainly finish in the top 10.  

Whew.  I think I covered a lot of the big players and a good number of the outside shots.  Again, I don't want anybody's feelings to be hurt.  Just for fun......



Sully said...

I must be losing my touch. Didn't get anybody to comment. Weak.

Emma B. said...

I for one appreciate the view of who's-who in the conference this year.

Also, I think the lack of comments has partially to do with the difficulty of finding the "post a comment" button. Dark blue on dark green is hard to read.

Maggie aka: MAD DOG said...

MMMM competition. Just poking at the coals now aren't you Sully?!

Overall, I do agree. However I think you forgot to Mention PennState. This past weekend Jess Kutz took it for the Mtn side of ECCC Road season. That's right she owned the women's A crit. Adding her and the multitude of PennState women in the A/B field if they mixed in a few more guys and people in the lower categories you may need to replace your bets.

I am not one to support repeats, so no offense, but I want someone to beat MIT. And I also don't really want it to be UVM... Let's have an upset, please.