1st Round Selections
Michael: Dani Jones is an easy first pick. She has individual titles in cross country as well as the indoor 3k and DMR. After redshirting this past indoor season, I think she will be a title contender in either the 1500 or 5k (or both).
Ben: Allie O is the pick because of her utter dominance in the 3k steeple. I know we talked about how unpredictable the steeple can be during the men’s draft, but I think Ostrander is on a different level. She even scored a point in the 5k after winning the steeple last year.
Sam: It’s hard to pass on someone who has yet to lose a race on the track in 2019. Hull will (likely?) run the 5000 meters, and maybe only that, but a win is huge points and I feel she is a safe bet to get a good amount of points rather than risk picking someone who may be more of a boom-or-bust.
Sean: Weini Kelati. Even though Kelati has yet to come away with an NCAA title, Kelati is still one of the most dominant runners in the collegiate ranks. I think Kelati will likely go for the 10k/5k double this spring, so I thin she can bring home double digit points for the Lobos, even if she doesn’t win an event.
John: Alicia Monson just had the best indoor season of her career. She ran 8:45 to take home the Millrose title and then proceeded to come back snd win her first national title in the 5000. Monson provides range from 1500 to 5000 meters and has the potential of moving into the 10,000.
Matt: She will most likely once again have a choice to make whether to run the 800 or 1500, but after coming off of an indoor title in the 800 and having the fastest indoor mile in the country, Danae Rivers is very likely to get points, if not win, no matter which event she chooses.
Garrett: The problem with going last is that you don’t really get the opportunity to snag a national title contender. Luckily, I feel very confident that Birk can produce some major points in the 5000 meters. The only risk is that she ends up pursuing the steeplechase (which I don’t think she will). She’s been super consistent and has been well ahead of her competition as of late (outside of Jessica Hull). I feel pretty confident about taking her in the first round.
1st Round Commentary
Sam: I really like the Dani Jones pick for the same reason I like the Hull pick. Both should win their respective events, even if they don’t double.
Michael: We could also see a great battle between the two if they run the same event!
Ben: I almost went with Hull over Ostrander, but I was nervous about her being matched with Jones in either the 1500 or 5k. While Ostrander is an injury risk, I feel very confident that she will win her event as long as she is healthy.
Sam: If you didn’t end up taking Ostrander, I was going to. Great minds think alike, right?
Garrett: As I mentioned in the men’s draft, I am very against taking steeplechasers. However, I’m not sure there is anyone more guaranteed to win a national title than Ostrander. She is the obvious choice, even with Prouse lurking behind. It’s a really solid pick and outside of a crazy fall, she will secure 10 points for Ben.
Matt: At first, based on recency, I was very surprised Allie O got picked before Hull, but Ostrander has been so dominant in the steeple that it is completely understandable.
Sam: Also, the fact that Ostrander almost certainly runs the 5k and steeple means more (likely) points.
John: I’m with Matt on the recency bias as I like the Hull pick over the Ostrander pick.
Sean: Garrett, you grabbing Birk at the end of the round is a great pick. Maybe slightly too early for her given the huge competition at 5k, but I think she definitely deserves being up here.
Garrett: She may not be the absolute ideal pick from a scoring perspective, but if you had to pick a runner to build a team around, I would choose her.
2nd Round Selections
Garrett: Charlotte Prouse. I know I’ve been against men’s steeplechasers, but that’s because the men’s field is so wide open and it feels like anyone who qualifies for Nationals could end up winning (it’s still early, I know). When you look at the women’s field, it’s basically down to Ostrander and Prouse. Although Prouse may not win, I’ll happily take the scoring security wherever I can get it.
Matt: Karissa Nelson has been as sure of a thing as you can find in terms of scoring at national track meets. She has finished in the top three at her past three track National Championships, including a 2017 national title in the mile. After finishing 2nd at this year’s indoor championship, I see her being in the mix to win another title.
John: I’m going with Katie Rainsberger here. The Oregon transfer hasn’t skipped a beat since changing schools. She had a strong indoor season with a PR in the mile and a nearly identical time in the 3000. She’s run 4:11 before and I think she gets back on that track this spring making her a 1500 meter contender.
Sean: Ednah Kurgat. I think Kurgat and Kelati could pull some great team tactics and come out 1-2 in one of the distance races if things go well. Not sure why I believe this since they really have never shown the ability to tactically win as a duo, but Kurgat is still an NCAA XC Champion and an NCAA top 10 all-time indoor 5k runner. If that’s not good enough credentials, I don’t know what is.
Sam: So I wrote the steeplechase preview for the women and then remembered I’m a complete idiot and didn’t even mention Cohen… I was going to tweet about it, but then I remembered we had this draft and didn’t want to remind you guys that Cohen has a personal best 10 seconds faster than Allie Ostrander…
Ben: My pick is Rachel Pocratsky of Virginia Tech. I think she has a chance to compete for at least a 2nd place finish in either the 800 or 1500 at Nationals. I would be surprised if she didn’t improve on her 3rd place finish in the 800 from indoors.
Michael: Christina Aragon. She has consistently performed well on the national level and should be a contender to make the podium in the 1500 after finishing 4th last year.
2nd Round Commentary
Sam: Rainsberger… Interesting. She did not even make the finals last year, but she also has a history of being great.
Matt: Aragon is a great pick if she comes into the season in the right form. We have not seen her race in a while.
John: I’m excited about the Rainsberger pick. It might be earlier than expected, but I believe she will get back on track for the outdoor season like her freshman one.
Michael: Rainsberger is a solid pick here in my opinion. She has had some bad luck at national meets in the past, but she is just too good to pass up.
Garrett: Interesting to see Kurgat fall to the second round after an indoor season where her performances fell flat. Still, I think she can give Sean a few points which is often half the battle.
Ben: I was really hoping that Sean would be scared off by picking two Lady Lobos and that Kurgat would fall to me. I think she is a great second round pick because of the risk/reward with her. If she gets back into top shape, she could be a contender in the 5k and 10k, but if she tails off she might only earn a few points. Regardless, she is worth the bet.
Sean: One of them is going to score major points in the 10k/5k. Might as well take them both!
Sam: An interesting note...four of the first 12 picks were women on the New Mexico roster.
Garrett: Together, they just bring so much value in terms of scoring (especially Kelati). The veteran/young star combo is pretty lethal in my eyes
Sam: I can’t tell if picking Cohen this early was a big mistake or not. I wasn’t sure if people remembered she has run crazy fast and I didn’t want to wait it out and see…
Sean: I definitely didn’t remember which is a huge shame since Cohen could be the NCAA’s next star if she figures it out. Just missing the NCAA indoor meet definitely hurt her name recognition across the sport more broadly.
3rd Round Selections
Michael: Dorcas Wasike will be a great addition to my team in the 10k. She was 2nd last year and just ran a strong race to win the Raleigh Relays. Wasike should be a sure contender to win the 10k and could even double back in the 5k if she chooses to go for the double.
Ben: Even after a very disappointing indoor national meet, I think Lokedi is worth a pick in the third round. As the reigning champ in the 10k, she clearly has the talent to compete with anyone. If she can turn her season around and get back into the form she was in during the early parts of the indoor season, then she could be a huge addition to my team.
Sam: O’Keefe is somewhat of a wild card, but I think she has a big upside. She ran really well outdoors in the 5000 meters in 2017 and had a really solid indoor season as well. Plus, Stanford athletes seem to do better during outdoor compared to indoor.
Sean: While I worry Anna Rohrer might redshirt this year, she’s only missed a first-team All-American finish once (the 10k in 2017). If she lines up, she’s going to make sure the race is fast enough to drop most of the field and while she probably will not win, she’s going to earn me some points if she makes it to the line.
John: I think I could be reaching here with Lauren Gregory. But the redshirt freshman qualified for the mile and 3000 during indoors. She was an All-American and it looks like she’ll chase that event during the outdoor season. I think there is potential at 5000 meters, but I’m not sure that comes to fruition this year.
Matt: Taylor Werner took Jessica Hull to the line in the 3k at indoors. She has looked as good as ever and has already opened up the season with a solid 10k. Even though I am not really sure what event she is going to pick this outdoor season, she is a player in any race that she chooses.
Garrett: Makena Morley is really consistent and is ALWAYS an All-American when she gets to the national stage. I will happily take points from someone who I know will be in the top eight when she crosses the line.
3rd Round Commentary
Ben: Dang Michael, I was really hoping to be able to snag Wasike.
Matt: SAM!!! I wanted O’Keefe. Great pick there, my friend.
Matt: Wasike is a great pick also. Michael has a potential national champion in the 10k and scorer in the 5k in the 3rd round.
Sam: See my previous statement about great minds thinking alike…
Michael: The Anna Rohrer pick seems like a high risk/high reward situation for Sean. We haven’t seen her race since cross country where she had a good season, but was not exactly lights out. If she’s healthy, she could be a title contender.
John: Agreed with Rohrer. I completely forgot that she had eligibility. I think he either gets at least six points with her or none.
Garrett: Yeah Rohrer was a big one and she is a super dangerous pick, especially in the 10k. She can bring some serious firepower to the table.
Sam: Morley will be the most undervalued pick from this draft. She will finish top four in either the 5000 or the 10,000. Was really hoping she would make it another round…
John: I debated picking Morley, definitely feeling like I missed by not taking her. She’s been trending upwards for a while now.
Sean: One of the most interesting things about the Colorado women is not knowing who might perform well on that day. I mentioned this in the 10k article, but Morley would have likely been projected to score in the 10k last year out of the three Buffaloes to make it to the NCAA meet, but Kaitlyn Benner ended up being the only one in the top eight.
Ben: I like the Werner pick. She really impressed me with her overall performance at the indoor national meet.
4th Round Selections
Garrett: Paige Stoner could qualify for Nationals in the steeplechase or the 10,000. I’m not sure. Truthfully, I think this pick carries a high risk / high reward aspect to it. Stoner is a stud, but she needs to run well on the right day. If she can navigate through a tactical field, I could see her earning bronze at Nationals.
Matt: Do not forget about who pushed Sammy Watson to the line last year in the 800. Abike Egbeniyi has all the ability in the world to take the 800 meter title. She did not make the finals during indoors, but the same thing happened last year and we all saw what happened come outdoor season.
John: I told myself in the men’s draft I wouldn’t choose an 800 runner, but here I am. I really like Allie Wilson here. Fresh off a personal best of 2:02.65, she’s put herself in the upper quadrant of competitors in the 800. There’s potential for an upset and plenty of points.
Sean: Julia Rizk. NCAA mile champion. Not sure anyone noticed…. Nobody? Okay, well she’s on my team now and I’m predicting a top four finish.
Sam: I’m in the same boat as John with regards to picking 800 meter runners. That said, Bissah had the fastest time in the NCAA this past indoor season and she scored points last outdoor season. I feel (relatively) confident that she can score me at least a couple of points in the 800.
Ben: I’m a little nervous about picking Lilli Burdon because she hasn’t run as well this year as she did last year at Oregon. With that said, she finished 3rd in the 5k last year and that talent and experience is too tantalizing to pass up.
Michael: I’m picking Millie Paladino because she put together a very impressive race to finish 3rd in the mile during indoors after falling in the prelim. That sort of grit is what will give her a shot to get back on the podium come June.
4th Round Commentary
Sam: ...and now Garrett has taken both of the people I was going to draft this round…
John: Sean with another strong sleeper pick with Rizk. The mile champ will aim at defending her title and I think she has a strong chance at doing so.
Sam: Devil’s advocate. Rizk was a one-hit-wonder and will not even make finals in the 1500.
Matt: Damn, Sam……..
Sam: Are you referring to my pick or my take on Rizk?
Matt: The Rizk take.
Sam: Lightning doesn’t strike twice.
Sean: I get that logic when you win a conference championship, but that doesn’t happen indoors at the national meet. You have to run multiple big races and Rizk also ran great legs on the Ohio State DMR. Do I think she’s the favorite at the mile? No. Will she score? Probably.
Garrett: I hate to do it, but I’m kind of on the same page as Sam. She’s a phenomenal runner with great tactical skills, but I just can’t get behind the idea of her being another big-time scorer. There’s a reason she wasn’t selected until the 4th round, but I hope she proves me wrong and silences the critics (me and Sam).
John: Man, my comments didn’t seem to resonate with anyone...
Ben: Matt, I was wondering if anyone was going to pick Egbeniyi. She certainly has talent, but I picked her for my indoor team and it hurt when she didn’t even make the finals.
5th Round Selections (Rapid Fire)
Michael: Jessica Drop. She looked promising at Raleigh this weekend!
Ben: Sinclaire Johnson. There’s no DMR to keep her from running an individual event outdoors.
Sam: I legitimately know nothing about Ilarda except that she just won the steeple at Stanford.
Sean: Carina Viljoen. The third best distance running Razorback can still beat 99.9% of the NCAA.
John: I love Susan Ejore here. She has the potential for an 800/1500 double at Nationals and I’m confident she goes to the podium in at least one of these two events.
Matt: Taryn Rawlings...Riding with Portland for once
Garrett: Nicole Hutchinson. She had a phenomenal indoor track season, but struggled a bit at NCAA’s. She’ll be back for revenge this spring.
5th Round Commentary
John: I’m a big fan of the Sinclaire Johnson pick and the Taryn Rawlings pick.
Garrett: Also a big fan of the Sinclaire Johnson pick. She’s a great tactical runner who can be a serious threat in the 1500 if that’s what she ends up choosing. In fact, she could win the NCAA title. Who knows? She might be the best pick of this entire draft...
Michael: Part of me is surprised to see Viljoen make it this far without having been picked. Then again, I could have taken her in an earlier round, but glossed over her...
Ben: I thought about picking Hutchinson in the fourth round and honestly forgot about her when I was picking in the 5th round. She hasn’t ever scored at Nationals, but she certainly has the talent to make the jump this outdoor season.
Matt: I think the Jessica Drop pick is the steal of this draft.
Sean: Susan Ejore though… Probably not the steal of this draft. Then again, that’s what could make someone a steal.
6th Round Selections (Rapid Fire)
Garrett: Whittni Orton. Slightly underwhelmed during indoors, but her win at the Stanford makes me think that she has regained momentum.
Matt: Isobel Batt-Doyle….I guess...She had a really good opener.
John: Alexis Fuller for me, please! The senior didn’t have the close to her indoor season she would have liked, but she qualified for the national meet last year and then made the final this past winter. Her PR's of 2:05 and 4:12 are good enough win a national title (in theory).
Sean: Jaci Smith. Surprise 10k scorer in 2018? Check. Surprise 5k scorer indoors in 2019? Check. Surprise NCAA Champion? Check coming soon...
Sam: Cierra Simmons. My new strategy is to only draft people in the steeplechase. Someone has to score points there, right?
Ben: Nia Akins. She finished 2nd in the 800 and is still here in the sixth round. I’ll take her.
Michael: Sarah Edwards. She’s a toss up and could run the 1500 or the steeple. If she goes with the 1500, she could be a contender...
6th Round Commentary
Sam: I was about to ask how long is it going to take before someone picks Orton…
Garrett: Had to bite the bullet. She was simply too good and too experienced.
Sam: I would hardly call it biting the bullet when we’re in the sixth round. I feel it’s a great pick.
Michael: I was going to take Jaci Smith here!
Matt: Solid strategy Sam, thought about doing this early but things got away from me.
Garrett: I really like the Simmons pick. She is extremely underrated and showed that this past indoor season.
Sam: She was one of two collegians to beat Charlotte Prouse last season so that’s worth something.
Michael: Akins is an underrated pick here. Nice one, Ben.
7th Round Selections (Rapid Fire)
Special Rules: Single points for anyone who has scored at an NCAA Championship track meet before. Double points for someone who has never scored at a (track) National Championship. Triple points for anyone who has never qualified for a National Championship on the track.
Michael: Rachel McArthur. She could have scoring potential in the 800 or even the 1500...and I can’t pass up on triple points!
Ben: Katrina Robinson. Gimme those triple points in the 5k.
Sam: Rachel King. Sometimes I pace her workouts...
Sean: Katy-Ann McDonald.
John: GABBY CRANK!
Matt: CAILIE LOGUE!!!!!!!!! Triple points here we come!
Garrett: The make or break pick: Erin Finn
7th Round Commentary
Garrett: Was really thinking about the McArthur pick…
Sam: Robinson has a very high potential.
Ben: I really like this 7th round everyone can just fire out their hot takes without any consequences.
Sam: Agreed. I now have four of seven runners in the steeple, lol.
Ben: Honestly, I don’t hate that strategy. You are guaranteed a good amount of points if only from the steeple.
Garrett: I stacked the 800 and won the women’s indoor draft so it’s definitely not a bad strategy
Matt: Garrett, once again, just make, no break.
Garrett: She HAS to run this outdoor season...right? She didn’t run indoors and the big story line was her coming back to complete her eligibility. Unless she’s injured (again), I just don’t see why she wouldn’t compete this season...
Michael: That could be the pick of the draft right there...
Ben: I thought long and hard about Finn in the sixth round! I really like the pick even in the seventh round.
Sam: Here’s another hot take. Finn doesn’t even qualify for NCAA's