Beginning in 1970, Track and Field News annually published end-of-season collegiate team rankings based on dual meet competition. Women’s teams were first ranked in 1979.
From their inception through 1993, the rankings were determined by correspondent John Wenos using a complex formula. TFN published Wenos’ top 20 or 25 teams (depending on the year), but he usually ranked 50 or more teams and made them available upon request. I would be very interested to obtain data from anyone who possesses any of Wenos’ full rankings.
As the importance of dual meet competition began to wane in the 1990s, the system began to change. Wenos only ranked ten teams in 1992 and 1993, and completely abandoned the rankings in 1994. Other ranking systems were attempted; for two years, the coaches themselves chose the rankings via a poll, but declining interest and some obviously biased ballots led to a quick demise. The USTFCCCA then picked up with a computer ranking system, but it had its drawbacks. Eventually, no rankings were kept.
Last year I reintroduced the dual meet rankings for TFN and will continue the practice for the foreseeable future. I will also attempt to reconstruct rankings from 1996 through 2011, and possibly seasons before 1970 as well.
The general rules for ranking were that a) teams had to compete in one or more dual meet, b) duals were defined as scored meets between four or fewer teams, and c) two-year institutions were not eligible for ranking. Rule c) was waived for the 1993 season, and I have chosen to leave those rankings intact. Rule a) was waived for the 1994 season, and I have chosen to retroactively enforce it and weed out noncompliant teams.