Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Friday, July 13, 2012

Looking ahead to tomorrow


I was thinking about a simple way to forecast how the U.S. team will do at this year's WOC.  I came up with the Stupid Projection for Results of Orienteering by the U.S. Team (aka SPROUT).  Here's how it works.

Start with a scale of results (i.e. places in qualifying races).  I'm just making up these places to illustrate the system:

Very good  1-9
Good         10-19
Normal       20
Bad            21-29
Very bad    30+

I'll start by assuming everyone on the team will have a "normal" result.

Then, I'll move each runner up or down on the scale based on two things.

First, I'll rank the runners (I could a ranking system like the IOF world rankings or OUSA rankings or even something else, like Team Trials scores).  Second, I'll move the top 2 (of 5) runners up from "normal" to "good" and I'll move the bottom 2 from "normal" to "bad."

Second, I'll give each runner a chance to move up or down based on any recent WOC history.  For example, lets say I've got a runner who has been moved up to "good" but they've consistently run in the top 10 in their previous WOC races.  Under my system, I'll move them up to "very good."  On the other hand, if a runner has been moved up to "good" and they're previous WOC results fit in the anything except the "very good" category, I'll leave them in "good."

Basically, SPROUT treats everyone as a "normal" US runner and then tweaks them a bit.

The S in SPROUT is for "stupid."  That's because the system is purely mechanical.  It doesn't understand that Ross Smith has a broken elbow and won't run.

The system also tends to struggle with disastrous results.  It isn't going to project a DQ, even though a DQ is a possible result.

It also isn't going to project results that are much better than a given runner has done in the past.

I've actually got sources for the different levels (from "very good" to "normal" to "very bad"), the rankings of the runners within the team, and the history of each runner.  I'm not going to post the results, but I'll be interested to see how SPROUT performs tomorrow.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:57 PM


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