Updated: Jan 13
Additional commentary by Sam Ivanecky (22-21)
Note: Keep in mind that what our writers value for the women's rankings varies from the criteria that we use to rank the men.
30. Jacqueline Gaughan, Sophomore, Notre Dame
Gaughan made a huge impact in her first year in the NCAA, earning two trips to the national meet and contributing strong scoring for the Fightin’ Irish throughout the year. Her cross country season in 2018 allowed the Notre Dame women to become one of the strongest teams on the east coast, as she helped fill out a roster lead by Anna Rohrer and Jessica Harris.
It all began with an early season victory at the Crusader Open and was quickly followed up by a 2nd place at the National Catholic Invitational which is held on the Notre Dame course.
Gaughan showed that she could continue to perform while under pressure by grabbing a 9th place finish at Joe Piane. That race was not a deep as most years, but indicated the true beginning of major Kolas qualifying meets. Possibly her most impressive result of 2018 was her 13th place finish at Pre-Nats. Even though the field for this race was split in half, that finish represented a runner who was capable of placing 25th to 40th at NCAAs.
Heading into the postseason, Gaughan remained steady, earning a 7th place finish at ACC's and a 6th place finish at the Great Lakes Regional Championships. In addition to those being solid individual results, her races also helped solidify the Notre Dame roster from a scoring perspective.
NCAA's were not quite as kind to Gaughan as the rest of the season, falling outside the top 60 and landing at 64th. This was certainly disappointing considering she had been racing at an All-American level throughout the entire season, but the 64th place still capped off a fantastic freshman campaign.
The 2019 outdoor season also brings hope into Gaughan’s future years as qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 10,000 meters. She was a DNF in that massively hot race in Austin, so that result should not be what defines the season. Instead, her defining races should be a 2nd place at the East regional meet in the 10k where she set a PR of 33:09. She also got earned a time of 33:13 en route to a victory at the Penn Relays. She also added a 15:52 PR during the indoor season.
Gaughan should only gain maturity as she moves through her college career, so expect her to be challenging the top runners in the NCAA later this fall.
29. Annie Fuller, Rs. Junior, Michigan State
Fuller is one of the few athletes on this list who has never raced 5000 meters or longer on the track, but still succeeds on the cross country scene.
During the 2019 track seasons, Fuller earned a trip to Birmingham in the mile after blasting a 4:35 at the BIG 10 Championships for 3rd place finish. In Birmingham, Fuller struggled in the prelims, running 4:48 and failing to advance to the final. During outdoors, Fuller continued her focus on the 1500/mile distance as she earned a trip to the East regional meet. That trip ended in heartbreak as a the 14th place finisher, who was just two spots away from qualifying, did not make it to Austin.
Fuller did, however, run two personal records in this season, coming away with times of 4:17.18 and 2:08.72.
Fuller truly established herself as a force to be reckoned with during the 2018 cross country season. She grabbed a 3rd place at a very underrated Penn State National Open meet where helped the Spartans earn silver and bronze medal finishes. Her worst race of the season is probably her 44th place finish at the Nuttycombe Invitational. While this still predicts a high NCAA finish, that result did not live up to the success of the rest of her season.
Heading into the postseason, Fuller also struggled at BIG 10's, landing herself in 20th place. However, once she arrived to the Great Lakes regional meet, Fuller pulled off a rebound race, placing 5th overall and earning herself an individual spot at NCAA's if she hadn’t already helped the Spartans into team qualifying position.
The National Championship is where Fuller’s season had it’s biggest breakthrough. Her 21st place result, as well as her 6k personal best, put Fuller among the nation's top contenders instead of just a great individual for Michigan State.
28. Carina Viljoen, Senior, Arkansas
Carina Viljoen is a member of the Razorback foursome that absolutely dominated races in the South Central region in 2018. Teaming up with Taylor Werner, Lauren Gregory, and Katrina Robinson, Viljoen established the Razorbacks as a team to beat alongside Colorado and New Mexico last fall.
Individually, Viljoen maintained a number of top 10 finishes, only dropping into double digits twice. The first time was at Nuttycombe where she placed 14th overall in a race that comfortably placed Viljoen in the All-American conversation if she could pull of that kind of race at NCAA's. Sadly for the Razorbacks, no one seemed to be able to recreate their season form at Nationals and Viljoen faded to 61st. While most people might consider 61st a great race, Viljoen had a 48th place finish the year before and clearly was in even better form during the fall of 2018.
However, her successes in 2018 mostly outweighs that sub-par performance. She was 8th at Pre-Nats, 4th at the SEC Championships, and 4th at the South Central regional meet. Very few harriers across the country can boast that strong a regular season, especially when it was combined with the overall team dominance that the Razorbacks showed.
Viljoen’s individual success held through the track seasons as she earned First-Team All-American honors in the mile during indoors, taking 5th place and setting a personal record earlier in the season a 4:33. Viljoen’s outdoor season was a little bit more up and down, but still very successful. She closed it out with a PR for 1500 meters (4:13) at the regional meet and a 20th place finish at NCAA's.
Viljoen clearly has the prowess to challenge for the top spots in the NCAA and has a team to continue pushing her to the top. One of the questions will simply be which Razorback can get across the line first.
27. Maggie Farrell, Junior, Michigan State
With Fuller at #29, Maggie Farrell completes a Michigan State duo that had a fantastic 2018 season on the grass. Farrell’s regular season was slightly better than her teammates, earning a 34th place finish at Nuttycombe and 2nd place finish at the Penn State National Open.
Obviously, these results placed Farrell as the team leader and she followed up those expectations with a 4th place finish at the BIG 10 Championships. Considering how aggressively Monson raced at BIG 10's, the 4th place finish there shows poise and impressive strength to handle the rest of the field.
Farrell and teammate Fuller flipped spots at the two NCAA meets, with Fuller getting the better of Farrell. Farrell still raced to a pair of respectable finishes (12th at the Great Lakes regional meet, and 72nd at Nationals) and when combined with her teammates, placed the Spartans in a good team position.
Heading into 2019 though, Farrell will need to hold her spot at the front of the pack through the postseason meets to solidify her spot in our rankings and for the Spartans team chances.
26. Bethany Hasz, Senior, Minnesota
The Hasz twins were already mentioned in our rankings a few days ago. When Megan appeared in our "Just Missed" category, readers should have been looking for where Bethany would fall. The duo is often inseparable in results with the two of them rarely finishing more than 10 places apart, even in major meets.
2018 was a great season for the Golden Gopher, as Bethany consistently put herself in contention during big races. She was 2nd in a deep Battle in Beantown field, 1st at Roy Griak, and then 5th at Pre-Nats. Even when the rest of the team was not running exceptionally well, Bethany’s front running was helping keep them in team contention. This eventually led to at-large team selection for Nationals for the Minnesota women.
Bethany continued her great season into the championships as she slotted in right behind Farrell at the BIG 10 meet, placing 5th in the finishing kick melee that took place behind Monson and Roberts. Hasz backed this up with an 8th place finish at the Midwest Regional Championships, but needed the team performance to send her to Nationals.
Once at NCAA's, she thanked her team by jumping into the top 50 and taking 49th overall. This was a 21 place leap from 2017 when she placed 70th.
The Minnesota star backed up her cross country season with a stellar outdoor campaign. Hasz set a personal record in the 5000 at Stanford, running 15:45. She replicated that type of performance at the West regional meet, earning a spot to Austin in the 5000 meters. With the heat and doubling creating havoc in that race, Hasz stayed under control to earn a Second Team All-American honor, finishing in 10th.
Looking across her entire 2018-2019 season, Hasz was one of the most consistently positive performers. She was never truly in contention for a top five NCAA finish or top 10 overall ranking, but Hasz was always in the right positions and never truly faltered. Look for Hasz to continue chipping away at the higher ranked athletes, especially on tough days.
25. Lauren Gregory, Junior, Arkansas
Gregory’s 2018 cross country season was very similar to Viljoen’s season above. She was top 10 in every race she finished, starting with a 10th place finish at Pre-Nats and then consecutive 3rd place finishes at SEC's as well as the South Central Regional Championships. Coming into Madison, Wisconsin it was clear that the Arkansas star was looking forward to securing that All-American position.
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as Gregory was a DNF, exemplifying the type of day the entire Arkansas team had at NCAA's.
Her recent performances at the national meet have created a somewhat concerning pattern. Gregory did not have the same level of success in her first cross country season as she did in 2018, but her results of 8th at SEC's and the 13th at the South Central Regional Championships projected a positive showing at NCAA's. However, she struggled mightily at the 2017 meet, landing in 252nd place with only three people behind her.
What is most clear about Gregory is that those NCAA XC performances are not indicative of her overall ability. Gregory was a two-time NCAA indoor finalist in 2018, earning 7th in the 3000 and 10th in the mile. She also earned her first SEC title by taking the mile win in 4:39. During outdoors, she contributed to the Arkansas dominance at SEC's by grabbing 5th in the 1500 and 2nd in the 5000. But again, Gregory struggled at the regional meet and did not finish her 5000 meter prelim.
Gregory needs to pull together her end of the season races to hold a top spot in these rankings, but even if NCAAs doesn’t go to plan, Gregory is known to put together a great regular season and show why she is always someone to worry about in any meet she toes the line for.
24. Jessica Pascoe, Senior, Florida
The 2018-19 Florida junior burst onto the scene with a monstrous cross country season that saw her go from off the rankings and into the top half. It began with a victory on the short course at UNF’s Invitational before she won her home meet, the Mountain Dew Gator XC Invitational. Those two wins were against smaller fields, but a 2nd place finish at the Arturo Barrios Invitational showed that Pascoe had stepped up her fitness and had moved to the next level.
Pascoe then upset all of the Arkansas Razorbacks to take 1st at the SEC Championships. That race makes the Gator one of the only, if not THE only, collegian to have a PR for 6k under 19:00. The Auburn course of that race is rumored to be short by at least 100 meters, but the mark is certified as 6k on TFRRS making it as official as possible. Regardless of the exact distance, Pascoe earned herself some signature victories by defeating Joyce Kimeli and the Arkansas Razorbacks leading foursome in that race.
Heading into the postseason, Pascoe cementedan individual qualifying mark to NCAA's by placing runner-up at the South Regional Championships behind only Militsa Mircheva who also had a breakout 2018.
Luckily for her, Pascoe didn’t need that individual qualifier as she led her team to an automatic berth to Nationals. Pascoe then remained calm and ran to a 20:31 for 32nd place at NCAA's, giving her the first All-American recognition of her career.
Pascoe’s burst onto the scene was crucial for Florida’s ascent to the NCAA meet in 2019 and she should only continue to have that success moving forward. Pascoe is a true threat to the top 10 in the coming months.
23. Cailie Logue, Junior, Iowa State
Cailie Logue is one of the few women on this list who international experience alongside NCAA experience. She doubled in the 3000 meters and 5000 meters at the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships, finishing 11th and 8th, respectively. Those are particularly significant due to the women’s distance being 6k as well as the level of experience gained from international finals.
Logue also has extensive NCAA championship experience. She is a two-time NCAA cross country qualifier and a two-time NCAA regional qualifier on the track, although her prowess is definitely best shown on the grass. In 2017, Logue raced to a 3rd place finish at the Midwest Regional Championships before placing 79th in her first NCAA season. In 2018, Logue blew the wheels off most of the fields she was in.
Her season began with a respectable 21st place finish at Nuttycombe which was then followed by a trio of victories. Logue won at the Bradley Pink Classic, which was relatively weak. Then she took the victory in the BIG 12 Championships, beating the likes of Sinclaire Johnson and Sharon Lokedi. Logue then took the Midwest regional title over a majority of the same names as well as the Hasz twins and some stars from smaller schools.
Logue could not quite hold onto her form once she returned to Madison for the NCAA Championships and slipped outside the All-American placings to 53rd. Still, Logue was dominant for most of her season and was not beaten for almost a month with the streak only being broken by the NCAA Championships.
The 2019 track seasons were not ideal for Logue, but she set a new personal record of 15:40 at Stanford to make her one of the fastest runners in the NCAA. She also set a new PR at 10,000 meters and 3,000 meters to show that she was continuing to improve across all disciplines.
Logue will need to show again that the trails are her specialty to maintain her spot at #23 in our rankings, but don’t be surprised to see her rocket up to the top if there continues to be improvement.
22. Courtney Wayment, Senior, BYU
Wayment has made huge strides in cross country over the past two years as a BYU Cougar. In her freshman year she finished 153rd at Nationals. The next season she jumped 82 places to finish 71st. And this past fall? She cut another 49 places off that mark to finish 23rd overall and earn her first All-American honors at BYU. Not only was last fall her best season, but it was arguably her most consistent as well. With podium hopes on the line for BYU in 2019, Wayment will be looked on to step up big again and help lead her team.
While Wayment was never truly contending for the win at any competition last fall, she did frequently find herself in the top 10 of most races. Only at Pre Nationals (13th) and NCAA's did she finish outside of that range, finishing anywhere between 3rd and 9th. It’s not likely that she will become a force for the national title this fall, but contending for a top 10 finish is not out of the question. Wayment trains in a phenomenal BYU program and it helps that she has one of the NCAA's best in Erica Birk to train alongside with.
The only knock on Wayment would be her track personal bests. She only raced five times combined between indoor and outdoor in 2019, setting a personal best of 16:09 in the 5000. While the mark is decent, it does not stack up that well when compared with times that she is ranked around. However, in all fairness to Wayment, an injury derailed what likely would have been a promising outdoor season.
One may argue that based on her track abilities, Wayment coming in at #22 is a bit generous. However, when you account for her history in cross country and the “BYU factor”, there’s a good chance that she could finish even higher in 2019.
21. Anne Forsyth, Sophomore, Michigan
Forsyth is the highest ranked underclassmen coming into 2019. As a true freshman, she essentially came out of nowhere when she debuted at the BIG 10 Championships to finish 8th overall and earn Freshman of the Year honors. She had previously competed (unattached) twice, winning the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble and the Eastern Michigan Classic.
After BIG 10's, Forsyth continued finding success, finishing as the top Wolverine at the Great Lakes regional meet where she finished 3rd overall behind NCAA stars Alicia Monson and Anna Rohrer.
The only blemish on her cross country campaign came at NCAA's when she finished 46th, just missing out on All-American honors. Whether you attribute that performance to a long season or inexperience, Forsyth easily had the talent to be in the top 25 and will get a chance to prove that this fall.
Before she moved on to track, Forsyth had one more cross country race to cap off her stellar freshman season, finishing runner-up at the Canadian U20 National Championships. Forsyth was not nearly as strong on the track as she was the grass, but her track seasons did come with some high points.
The Wolverine youngster ran a personal best of 16:17 over 5000 meters which qualified her for the NCAA East regional meet. She also ran personal bests in the 1500, mile, and 3000 meters during the course of the season. While her season ultimately ended with a disappointing 33rd place showing at the regional meet, the future remains bright for the young Michigan star.
Forsyth comes in at such a high-ranking despite sub-par track credentials due in part to two factors. One is that she was essentially lights out during the cross country season and because just missing All-American honors was considered a “bad day” for the true freshman. The second is that since she was a true freshman, meaning that there should be plenty of room for growth.
With Avery Evenson gone, the young duo of Forsyth and Camille Davre will be expected to lead a Michigan team that will be attempting to three-peat the BIG 10 Championships later this fall. Forsyth took many people by surprise last year when she debuted at that meet, but this year will be a different story. Except her to lead the Wolverines back to NCAA's and finish well within the All-American range this time around.