2019 XC Top 50 Women: Update #3

Updated: Jan 13

Written by Maura Beattie + Sam Ivanecky



Was not ranked the week before.


First number indicates how much the individual has moved in the rankings.

The second number indicates where they were ranked the week before.

50. Rachel McArthur, Junior, Colorado (-2 / 48)

Since transferring to Colorado, McArthur hasn't quite been the superstar low-stick we thought she could be. She came into 2019 looking to help reload a depleted Colorado roster, but hasn't always been the near the front. While her 38th place finish at Pre-Nationals is a decent result, McArthur will need to make big jumps in the coming weeks if Colorado hopes to defend their national title.

49. Jordan Oakes, Junior, Stanford (Unranked)

Oakes has continued to improve this season, notching a 30th place finish at Nuttycombe over the weekend. With the continued absence of Christina Aragon, Oakes has been the one who has stepped up for Stanford and has not disappointed. In 2018, Oakes finished 70th at Pre-Nationals on this same course in a much weaker field. Her run this weekend is a great sign that the Stanford junior is on pace for her best season yet.

48. Mikayla Gallagher, Sophomore, Air Force (-1 / 47)

A 29th place finish at Nuttycombe highlighted Gallagher’s weekend. After a strong showing at Bill Dellinger, Gallagher has come out to prove that she is a Top 50 contender. Her Nuttycombe performance was probably not what Gallagher wanted, but that’s okay because she gets another shot at tough competition when she races at the highly competitive Mountain West Championships.

47. Mahala Norris, Rs. Sophomore, Air Force (Unranked)

Norris shocked some people when she finished 22nd at Nuttycombe over the weekend. For someone who had not raced indoor or outdoor track, Norris has made her presence known on the grass this fall. At Bill Dellinger, she placed a respectable 17th. However, it is her performance in Madison that catapults her up in the rankings. Norris took down some top-ranked individuals and led the Air Force women to an 8th place finish. The Mountain West Conference Championships just got a whole lot more interesting with Norris and the Falcons.

46. Kathryn Munks, Senior, Penn State (Unranked)

Despite facing minimal competition, Munks looked fairly dominant in her win of the Penn State Open, placing 12 seconds ahead of the next woman in the field. Earlier this season, she finished 4th at the Buckeye Preview, finishing just behind Rebecca Craddock of Illinois who placed 33rd at Pre-Nationals this past weekend. Munks should get a true test at BIG 10's when she faces women from Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State (among others).

45. Lauren Gregory, Junior, Arkansas (-17 / 28)

In her first uniform-race of the 2019 season, Gregory finished 38th in a deep field. Greogry is very capable of finishing in the top 25, she just needs to race a couple more times. Arkansas will rely on Gregory to bring in as few points as possible if she remains as the team’s #5. SEC’s will be another chance for Gregory to get her racing legs underneath her.

44. Abbey Wheeler, Senior, Providence (+5 / 49)

Despite having two wins this season, this weekend was the first time Wheeler saw real competition this season. The Providence senior had a good showing, placing 26th at Nuttycombe. Now, in her final season at Providence, Wheeler is on her last chance to earn a top 40 finish at NCAA's. Historically, she has faded as the season has gone on, never placing higher than 101st at Nationals. She will be one to keep an eye on in the coming weeks as things evolve into make-or-break scenarios.

43. Poppy Tank, Junior, Utah (Unranked)

The women of Utah have made their presence known in the NCAA this fall and Tank has been instrumental in that. She began her season with a 16th place finish at Joe Piane and has now taken down more top individuals at Nuttycombe. Tank crossed the line alongside teammate Bella Williams in 23rd in Madison this past weekend. Tank could slide into the top 40 by the end of the season if she continues to improve at a tough PAC-12 meet and Mountain Regional Championships.

42. Lilli Burdon, Senior, Washington (+1 / 43)

Burdon finished 21st at Pre-Nationals this past weekend and although that the performance is a little underwhelming, it shouldn’t be much of a concern for the Washington senior. Last fall, Burdon placed around 30th at her only two meets before NCAA's, but still managed to earn All-American honors. This fall, she appears to be slightly better than where she was at last year, which should give her a good chance at being top 40 in 2019.

41. Bella Williams, Junior, Utah (+9 / 50)

The Utah junior had only finished in the top 20 of a cross country race once in the previous two years (and it was the "B" race for the meet). This year, she has done it twice - both times in deep, talented fields. She finished 24th at Nuttycombe this past weekend alongside fellow Ute Poppy Tank. Williams now has two strong showings this season and will have a chance to continue that consistency when Utah lines up at the PAC-12 Championships in two weeks. That meet should serve as proving grounds for Williams as NCAA's approach and give her an idea of her chances at being an All-American this fall.

40. Taryn O’Neill, Sophomore, Northern Arizona (Unranked)

O’Neill was just what NAU needed this fall. In her two races, O’Neill has led the Lumberjacks to high team finishes. In Madison, she placed 20th and beat some tough competition. O’Neill is in a good spot heading into conference and regionals because she isn’t afraid to stick her nose into high-level competition. An improvement of her 174th place finish at NCAA's from 2018 is surely going to happen at this rate for O’Neill.

39. Elizabeth Funderburk, Sophomore, Florida State (Unranked)

Funderburk showed flashes of potential in 2018 and seems to be maximizing it in 2019. The Seminole sophomore had a good showing at Joe Piane where she was 23rd and made another big jump this past weekend with her 11th place finish at Pre-Nationals. She has a chance to backup this run in two weeks when Florida State competes at the ACC Championships against NC State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and a few others.

38. Kelsey Chmiel, Freshman, NC State (-8 / 30)

Chmiel hasn’t needed to waste much time since entering the college scene to adapt to a more strenuous training routine or tough racing competition. After a 15th place finish at Joe Piane, Chmiel took to the course at Nuttycombe and walked away with a 34th place finish. Although this may not appear stellar, Chmiel is still only a freshman and has put herself in contention to earn All-American honors this fall. ACC’s will be a chance for Chmiel to gain more experience when she races against the Notre Dame duo of Rohrer and Denner, a tough Florida State pack, and a few challenging individuals.

37. Clare O’Brien, Senior, Boise State (-8 / 29)

After the losses of Emily Venter and Allie Ostrander, O’Brien appeared to be the new leader for the Broncos. She started her season with a good performance at Dellinger, but this weekend’s showing at Nuttycombe raises some doubts. O’Brien finished all the way back in 40th, her lowest finish in a cross country race in three years (discounting NCAA's). It’s too early to panic, but the Mountain West meet should be a good chance for O’Brien to bounce back against strong competition in Air Force and New Mexico.

36. Jessica Drop, Senior, Georgia (-10 / 26)

Georgia’s Drop did not have her best race at Pre-Nationals as she finished 27th. She had started the season well with two runner-up finishes, but neither of those races had tough competition. Against some of the best in the nation, Drop couldn’t find her legs and was 14 seconds back from the top 10. Drop will need to recollect herself before heading into SEC’s if she wants redemption.

35. Olivia Hoj, Senior, BYU (Unranked)

Hoj has come on strong this season and took down some big names at Pre-Nationals. She was BYU’s #3 for the day and placed 14th overall. Last fall, Hoj finished 86th at NCAA's, but has shown that she is capable of improving off of that finish this fall. Hoj is definitely benefiting from training with Birk-Jarvis, Orton, and Wayment.

34. Taylor Somers, Junior, Oklahoma State (Unranked)

Somers had a strong showing at the Chile Pepper XC Festival earlier this fall, but given the lack of depth at the meet, it was uncertain as to how strong that performance was overall. This weekend, Somers backed up that run with a 9th place finish at Pre-Nationals where she finished ahead of numerous big names. Somers is having her best XC season to-date and will be making her case for All-American honors in the coming weeks.

33. Susan Ejore, Rs. Senior, Oregon (-11 / 22)

After an incredible run at Bill Dellinger, Ejore’s performance this weekend was a bit underwhelming. She finished 17th at Nuttycombe, but was beaten by a couple of women she had finished ahead of at Dellinger. Ejore is a bit of a wild card in cross country. She has finished near the front in a number of big meets, but has never done well at Nationals. She will have a chance to rebound in two weeks where she faces a number of ranked women at the PAC-12 Championships.

32. Amy Davis, Senior, Wisconsin (+2 / 34)

Davis has greatly improved since last fall. With having a training partner like Monson at Wisconsin, Davis is paving her own road to success. At Nuttycombe, Davis was 15th overall, 10 places higher than her 2018 finish. Davis will get to race the Indiana and Michigan individuals next at BIG 10’s.

31. Bailey Hertenstein, Sophomore, Indiana (+7 / 38)

Hertenstein has continued to make big strides this season as she finished 16th at Nuttycombe, two weeks after placing 7th at Joe Piane. Last fall, Herenstein finished 55th at this meet. Right now, she appears to be on pace to earn her first All-American honors and start filling the shoes as the next Indiana distance star.

30. Molly Born, Sophomore, Oklahoma State (Unranked)

Oklahoma State really needed a new #1 and they have been fortunate to have a solid #1 and #2 as both Molly Born and Taylor Somers have led the Cowgirls in their last two meets. At Chile Pepper, she finished 5th and then went on to finish 8th at Pre-Nationals. Only a sophomore, Born has shown tremendous growth from the 2018 season. After gaining some experience, she appears to be an underdog heading into the championship portion of the season and could vie for the BIG 12 individual title if everything goes perfectly.

29. Cailie Logue, Junior, Iowa State (-13 / 16)

Logue did not have the greatest of days at Nuttycombe. For someone who could be a top 20 runner at Nationals, Logue placed 25th and lost to individuals who were either ranked behind her or unranked. Logue will have a chance to show that her race was just a fluke when she toes the line (possibly as the favorite) at the BIG 12 Championships.

28. Maddy Denner, Rs. Freshman, Notre Dame (Unranked)

The Notre Dame freshman was arguably the biggest surprise of the weekend, finishing right with teammate Anna Rohrer for an 11th place run at Nuttycombe. Denner started the season with two wins at smaller competitions and placed 25th at Joe Piane. This weekend’s performance was a huge jump up from that race and vaults Denner into contention for the nation's top freshman, along with Kelsey Chimel, Ericka VanderLende, and Melany Smart.

27. Winny Koskei, Junior, Wichita State (+12 / 39)

Koskei rebounded after her performance at Bill Dellinger with a 7th place finish at Pre-Nationals. She put together a strong race by sticking her nose into the front early on in Terre Haute. Koskei was an All-American last fall and if she continues to improve, she could replicate her 2018 season.

26. Gabrielle Jennings, Senior, Furman (Unranked)

After a strong run at Bill Dellinger, the question was “Just how good is Jennings?”. That was answered this past weekend when she placed 8th at Nuttycombe, crossing the line as the top Paladin and taking down a handful of women ranked ahead of her in the process. Jennings quietly won two small races to open the season and appears to be on a completely different level in 2019. While she has never been an All-American in cross country, that certainly looks ready to change this fall.

25. Jessica Lawson, Junior, Stanford (+12 / 33)

Stanford has only competed twice this fall at Joe Piane and Nuttycombe. Both times, Lawson has turned in solid performances. Most recently at Nuttycombe, Lawson placed 12th in a deep individual field. She finished her 2019 track season on a high note and has carried that momentum over to the cross country course this fall. Between O’Keeffe, Donaghu, and Lawson, the Cardinal are trending in the right direction.

24. Annie Fuller, Rs. Junior, Michigan State (-1 / 23)

In her first big competition of the season, Fuller had a solid race, placing 13th at Nuttycombe. After finishing runner-up to Jessica Pascoe and ahead of Hannah Steelman at Panorama Farms, Fuller seemed poised for a top 10 run this past weekend. She finished right around that mark and should be near the front of a deep BIG 10 field in two weeks.

23. Ella Donaghu, Junior, Stanford (+18 / 41)

For someone who did not race cross country last fall, Donaghu has taken back to the grass well. Two 6th place finishes highlight Donaghu’s season thus far, once at Joe Piane and the other at Nuttycombe. Donaghu’s 6th place finish at Nuttycombe sets her up nicely for a strong finish at PAC-12’s. It should be noted that Donaghu has not been an All-American on the grass yet, but that looks to be changing this fall.

22. Savannah Carnahan, Senior, Furman (-10 / 12)

Carnahan finished 19th at Pre-Nationals which is still a very strong result, but it doesn't put her in the same territory where we originally thought she would be. The Furman senior will have a chance to bounce back at the Southern Conference Championships in two weeks where she will face Hannah Steelman of Wofford and fellow Paladin Gabrielle Jennings.

21. Carina Viljoen, Senior, Arkansas (+6 / 27)

Similar to her teammates, Viljoen appears to keep getting better with each week of the season. She came across the line in ninth at Nuttycombe this weekend, placing ahead of many talented women including #10 Anna Rohrer and #12 Ednah Kurgat. Viljoen looks like a top-twenty finisher at NCAAs, meaning Arkansas could potentially put four women into that group...

20. Melany Smart, Freshman, Washington (-3 / 17)

Smart didn’t race this past weekend at Pre-Nationals with her team because she was being rested before the championship portion of the season begins.

19. Whittni Orton, Senior, BYU (-8 / 11)

Orton didn’t compete at Pre-Nationals with the rest of her BYU teammates. It can be assumed that she was rested before conference and regionals. Orton has still had a great season thus far, winning her first two meets of the season.

18. Jessica Pascoe, Senior, Florida (0 /18)

For the second year in a row, Pascoe took the individual win at the Arturo Barrios Invitational. She won the race by 15 seconds, but should have a better test of fitness in two weeks when she faces Arkansas at the SEC meet.

17. Ericka VanderLende, Freshman, Michigan (-2 / 15)

Michigan’s VanderLende has been consistent over the course of the season. She has finished in the top five in all four of her meets thus far and has been the top freshman each time.

Recently, VanderLende competed at Pre-Nationals and finished 5th, only four seconds out of 2nd. With BIG 10’s coming up, VanderLende will get to see how she fares against the Wisconsin duo of Monson and Daivs.

16. Devin Clark, Senior, Arkansas (+16 / 32)

Right on the heels of teammate Katie Izzo, Clark came in 7th at Nuttycombe this weekend to continue her great rebound season. In 2018, Nuttycombe was the only race of Clark’s season and she finished in 102nd. Like Izzo, Clark has transformed into an integral piece of the Razorbacks roster that is chasing a national title.

15. Tabor Scholl, Senior, Colorado (-5 / 10)

Scholl has strung together two solid races for Colorado this season and has taken over the #2 position. She has been key in keeping the point total low for the Buffaloes. At Pre-Nationals, Scholl finished 10th in a deep field. PAC-12’s will be another opportunity for Scholl to progress forward against some of the nation’s best.

14. Hannah Steelman, Junior, Wofford (0 / 14)

One of the few women to race somewhere that wasn’t Pre-Nationals or Nuttycombe, Steelman cruised to victory at the Royals XC Challenge in what was largely an uncontested race. She will face a bigger test in two weeks when Wofford lines up against Furman at the Southern Conference Championship.

13. Katie Rainsberger, Senior, Washington (+8 / 21)

Pre-Nationals was by far Rainsberger’s best race of the season so far. She put together a phenomenal race and finished 6th in a field full of talented individuals. Rainsberger led the Huskies to a 1st place finish, beating out BYU and Colorado. If Rainsberger is able to grow off of this performance, big things could happen not only for her, but for the Washington team as well.

12. Ednah Kurgat, Senior, New Mexico (-6 / 6)

Kurgat started the Nuttycombe Invitational strong, but fell off as the race went on, managing to finish only 18th. While the performance certainly wasn’t “bad”, it was a bit underwhelming for someone who was once unbeatable. With New Mexico’s team hopes all but gone, the remainder of the season will be for Kurgat to try and pull herself together. Initially she would have been considered a threat to win it all, but after her two races this season, a top 10 finish at NCAA's appears to be more realistic.

11. Courtney Wayment, Senior, BYU (+9 / 20)

Wayment had a big race at Pre-Nationals over the weekend. She finished 4th overall, just eight-tenths of a second behind Sage Hurta. Wayment has now picked up three 4th place finishes this season and seems to be on the upward heading into the championship season. We really like her consistency and haven't found a reason to dislike her finishes.

10. Elly Henes, Senior, NC State (-2 / 8)

Henes did not underperform at Nuttycombe, she just didn’t put together her best race. The NC State senior placed 14th and led her team to a 3rd place finish in a deep field. Henes has the ability to finish in the top 10 at Nationals this fall, but will need to believe in her training as the season progresses. The ACC Championships will see Henes go head-to-head with TSR #10 Anna Rohrer (and others).

9. Anna Rohrer, Rs. Senior, Notre Dame (-2 / 7)

Despite having yet to return to the top form of her early years at Notre Dame, Rohrer always puts herself into the mix of things and continues to be one of the NCAA's strongest runners. This past weekend, she finished 10th at Nuttycombe, seven places better than her finish in a weaker Pre-Nationals field (on the same course) a year ago. Last year, she ended her season 10th at NCAA's. So far, all signs point towards her matching or bettering that result.

8. Katie Izzo, Senior, Arkansas (+16 / 24)

Since transferring to Arkansas, Katie Izzo has been on an absolute tear. As a junior at Cal Poly, she finished 50th at Nuttycombe a year ago, making huge improvements to finish 5th this past weekend. With Lauren Gregory not at 100% and no Katrina Robinson, Izzo has become a vital part of the top-ranked Arkansas team and could find herself vying for a top 10 finish come NCAA's.

7. Joyce Kimeli, Junior, Auburn (+30 / 37)

At Joe Piane, Kimeli placed a very strong 3rd place in her season debut and recently backed that performance up with a 2nd place finish at Pre-Nationals. The Auburn junior will need to stay confident as she takes on Werner at SEC’s, but following that, Kimeli has the potential to finish in the top 10 at NCAA's.

6. Sage Hurta, Rs. Senior, Colorado (+3 / 9)

After a 10th place finish at Joe Piane, it was a bit unclear where Hurta was at this fall. Would she be a top-tier runner contending for the win? Or would she fall into that next group of women stretching for a top 10 finish? With Pre-Nationals done, Hurta clearly is ready to compete for wins and fill the shoes of Dani Jones from 2018.

The Colorado redshirt senior finished only 0.6 seconds out of 2nd while narrowly edging 4th place finisher Courtney Wayment of BYU. Hurta will need to continue running well up-front as Colorado looks to find their identity without Emily Venters or Emily Covert.

5. Fiona O’Keeffe, Senior, Stanford (0 / 5)

In her two races of the season thus far, O’Keeffe has finished 2nd (John McNichols) and 4th (Nuttycombe). Her most recent finish solidifies her as one to watch as we enter the championship portion of the season. With PAC-12’s on deck next for Stanford, O’Keeffe is the favorite to win the individual championship.

4. Erica Birk-Jarvis, Senior, BYU (0 / 4)

After finishing runner-up to teammate Whittni Orton at Bill Dellinger, Birk-Jarvis claimed her first victory of the season in dominating fashion, putting seven seconds on runner-up Joyce Kimeli over the final straightaway in Terre Haute. Since returning to NCAA competition last fall, Birk-Jarvis has been one of the best in the nation and her performance this weekend solidifies her as an NCAA favorite.

3. Taylor Werner, Senior, Arkansas (-1 / 2)

A 3rd place finish at Nuttycombe is not disappointing, but it does move Werner back in the rankings because of the two women who finished 1st and 2nd. Werner has been vital to the success of Arkansas this fall and her low points are key. Werner was 3rd at the 4000 meter mark and remained in that position for the remainder of the race. SEC’s and the South Central Regional Championships will be a final tune-up for Werner before NCAA's.

2. Weini Kelati, Junior, New Mexico (-1 / 1)

Earlier in the week, it was discussed whether Kelati had the national title locked up already. If there was any remaining debate, it was ousted with this race as Kelati simply could not hang with Monson. One of the concerns with Kelati coming into the season was her ability to close hard at the end of races and Monson was able to expose that weakness this weekend at Nuttycombe. All that said, Kelati will still be one of the favorites to win NCAA's and one loss shouldn’t tarnish her record.

1. Alicia Monson, Senior, Wisconsin (+2 / 3)

Monson ran a smart race at Nuttycombe and she came away with her second individual championship at said meet. She set herself up well for a good race right from the beginning as she was 7th at 2000 metres and 2nd at 4000 meters. Monson put a move on Kelati and Werner that broke the competition and led Monson to a nine second victory.


Gabrielle Jennings (Furman)

Maddy Denner (Notre Dame)

Molly Born (Oklahoma State)

Olivia Hoj (BYU)

Taylor Somers (Oklahoma State)

Elizabeth Funderburk (Florida State)

Taryn O’Neill (NAU)

Poppy Tank (Utah)

Kathryn Munks (Penn State)

Malaha Norris (Air Force)

Jordan Oakes (Stanford)


Aubrey Roberts (Northwestern)

Katrina Robinson (Arkansas)

Dorcas Wasike (Louisville)

Christina Aragon (Stanford)

Emily Venters (Colorado)

Samantha Drop (Georgia)

Dominique Clairmonte (NC State)

Maggie Farrell (Michigan State)

Winny Koech (UTEP)

Jacqueline Gaughan (Notre Dame)

Adva Cohen (New Mexico) *Expected to race at Mountain West Conference Championship

JUST MISSED (in no particular order)

Rebecca Craddock (Illinois)

Kathryn House (Michigan)

Dominique Clairmonte (NC State)

Adva Cohen (New Mexico)

Katie Wasserman (Columbia)

Shona McCulloch (Washington)

Annie Hill (Colorado)

Maudie Skyring (Florida State)

HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)

Alissa Niggemann (Wisconsin)

Sara Freix (Virginia Tech)

Abby Nichols (Ohio State)

Alison Willingmyre (Penn State)

Katie Thronson (Tennessee)

Laura Dickinson (Syracuse)

Julia Paternain (Penn State)

Egle Morenaite (Iona)

Ashley Tutt (Northern Illinois)

Sarah Feeny (Utah)