Updated: Jan 13
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.
20. Kaylee Mitchell, Sophomore, Seattle Pacific
Mitchell began last fall on a high note and ended it on an even greater one. Her 2018 cross country season started off with a 1st place finish and a time of 18:03 at the CWU Invitational, a race that would set the tone for the next couple of months. Two weeks later she ran the fastest 5k XC time of her career, earning a mark of 17:24 to finish 7th at the Inland Empire Challenge. She then finished 7th once more at the Western Washington University XC Classic.
Her best championship performance came at the GNAC Championships where she finished 3rd and ran her fastest 6k time of 21:35. She then went onto the West Regional Championship meet where she finished 16th. She capped off the cross country season with a 35th place finish at Nationals, giving her the first All-American honor of her career.
Mitchell is still young and the potential for her moving forward is exciting. She qualified for NCAA's in the steeplechase during outdoors and that should be another good stepping stone for the Seattle Pacific athlete as she looks to be a strong contender on the national stage. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to me if we saw Mitchell move inside the Top 20 in 2019.
19. Piper Meuwissen, Rs. Sophomore, Adams State
Meuwissen was classified as a freshman last year, and if she comes back in shape near where she was in 2018, then this year's Adams State team might be unstoppable.
Meuwissen had a rough start to her 2018 cross country season, but she seemingly got stronger as the races got longer. She ran 21:58 at the Stanford Invitational and finished 33rd. When she came back home and ran at the RMAC Championships, she finished a surprising 12th place overall in a time of 22:21. She then finished 17th at the South Central Regional Championships, but did not even score for the Grizzlies in that meet.
She capped off her season off with a 33rd placing at Nationals garnering All-American honors and adding yet another name in the Grizzlies system that will have name recognition in the coming years. Obviously, this rising star knows how to peak at the right time, and in such a competitive conference and region, that makes her an increasingly valuable asset for Adams State.
18. Nicole Allerdings, Senior, Black Hills State
Allerdings was somewhat of a surprise in 2018, but I don’t think that will be the case for 2019. She put together three top three performances in the first month of the 2018 cross country season, including a 1st place finish at the West Regional Preview.
At the RMAC Championships, she finished 24th over the course for 5000 meters. Two weeks later and 1000 meters longer, she finished 19th at the South Central Regional. And two weeks after that, she finished 32nd at the national meet.
Her performances on the track might suggest that she is more of a cross country runner and that’s fine. She will steadily improve and with a summer of training underneath her, there’s no reason why she couldn’t stay inside our Top 25 this fall.
17. Sarah Edens, Rs. Senior, Embry-Riddle
Edens ran well throughout the entire 2018 cross country season and considering how weak the eastern side of the map is when it comes to cross country, her 31st place finish at Nationals should not be overlooked.
Edens began last fall with a runner-up finish at her home meet with a time of 19:32. In her next three meets, she ran sub-18 and secured finishes of 2nd, 9th, and 3rd. The Embry-Riddle standout later went on to win her conference meet, the Sunshine State Conference Championship, by 16 seconds over her teammate. Edens then proceeded to win the East Regional Championships with a time of 21:18 and a 17 second gap over 2nd place.
Edens got stronger as the season progressed and that will likely be the same during the 2019 season. She’s another year stronger it’ll be her senior season which adds just a little bit more fuel to the fire.
16. Katherine Ferrara, Senior, Merrimack
Ferrara was somewhat in the same boat as Edens was throughout 2018. Her first three meets went like this: a 1st place finish, a 3rd place finish and then another 1st place finish. Outside of the one anomaly (NEICAAA Championships) where she finished 79th, Ferrara finished inside the top 10 of all her races prior to Nationals.
She was 6th at the NE-10 Championships and improved upon that to finish 3rd at the East Regional Championships. Her 30th place finish at NCAA's was enough to put her one spot ahead of the aforementioned Edens. If Ferrara can replicate any part of her 2018 season in 2019, she should be just as successful and likely will place even higher. Her consistency is an extremely underrated aspect of her eyebrow-raising resume.