Updated: Jan 20
Written by Maura Beattie, Sean Collins, and Sam Ivanecky
Want to know how we rank certain athletes? Click here to learn more.
TSR contributors may value certain aspects and ranking criteria differently between men and women when constructing our Indoor Top 25...
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.
25. Andrea Foster, Senior, Clemson (Unranked)
One of the more overlooked races of the weekend was the 800 meters at the Clemson Invitational. In that race, Clemson senior Andrea Foster had the race of her life, running three seconds faster than she had ever run on the indoor oval, securing a time of 2:05.30 and the win.
There are always a few breakout runners in the middle distance events each and every year. Foster? Well, she may be one of them. Based on last year's NCAA leaderboard, Foster's time will probably be good enough to qualify for Nationals.
24. Julia Heymach, Junior, Stanford (Unranked)
Lost in the sea of talent known as the Stanford roster, Julia Heymach has risen to establish herself as a major name to watch this winter. Despite finishing 2nd in the 1000 meters at the UW Preview, losing only to Oregon's Susan Ejore, Heymach still earned an eye-catching time of 2:45.36. That mark was only .02 seconds behind Ejore who barely held off her conference rival at the line.
While most of our attention has typically gone to Stanford women such as Fiona O'Keeffe, Ella Donaghu, and Jessica Lawson, it has been Heymach who has quietly established some respectable marks leading into this season.
A handful of respectable cross country performances this past fall pointed to a potential breakout track season for Heymach this winter. After seeing her 1000 meter performance, that may end up being the case.
23. Kristie Schoffield, Junior, Boise State (0 / 23)
Schoffield has yet to race. The next race on Boise State’s schedule is the Ed Jacoby Invitational at Boise State.
22. Carmela Cardama Baez, Rs. Senior, Oregon (Unranked)
Cardama-Baez has only raced once this season at the Boston University Season Opener. Although the Oregon star was more than 10 seconds off from the winning time, she still set a 5000 meter PR in 15:25 (which is also a school record).
A lack of eligibility sidelined Cardama Baez this past fall, leaving us wondering what we would see from the Oregon veteran this winter. Of course, it is now abundantly clear that the 2019 10,000 meter runner-up is primed to continue her success from last spring.
21. Hannah Steelman, Junior, Wofford (0 / 21)
Steelman has yet to race. The next race on Wofford’s schedule is the Liberty Kickoff.
20. Carley Thomas, Freshman, Washington (-1 / 20)
Thomas has yet to race. The next race on Washington’s schedule is the UW Invitational.
19. Susan Ejore, Rs. Senior, Oregon (+1 / 20)
Oregon’s Ejore began her season at the UW Preview, but she competed in an off-distance event, the 1000 meters. Ejore won the race in 2:45.34, only two hundredths of a second ahead of Stanford’s Julia Heymach.
Even though we didn’t get to see Ejore compete in the 800 meter or mile, her 1000 meter time gives some insight into what she could accomplish this season. The Duck veteran focused on the mile last indoor season, but after placing 4th in the 800 meters at last year's outdoor national meet and running 2:02, Ejore most likely will turn her attention to the four-lap race later this season.
However, if Oregon wants to run a DMR at Nationals (if they can get one qualified), then the mile would be a more ideal double for Ejore.
18. Katie Rainsberger, Senior, Washington (Unranked)
Rainsberger joins the rankings this week after running a new 3000 meter PR at the UW Preview this past weekend. She placed 7th in a field full of professionals and was the second collegiate athlete to cross the line, falling only to Ella Donaghu. Rainsberger finished the 3k in a time of 9:01 and currently has the second fastest time in Division One this season.
After a strong cross country season where she consistently posted top finishes, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that Rainsberger is seeing even more success. The only caveat is that we didn't expect to see her run a brand new PR halfway through the month of January (which is usually a great sign).
Rainsberger finished 3rd at the 2017 indoor national meet and has the experience to challenge for another All-American finish. Her consistency and experience will prove to be extremely valuable a month and a half from now.
17. Avi'Tal Wilson-Perteete, Junior, UNLV (+1 / 18)
Wilson-Perteete quietly began her 2020 indoor season at the NAU Lumberjack Challenge over the weekend. She did not compete in the 800 meters, but rather opened in the 400 meters. In that race, she placed 3rd in a time of 55.74.
This should be seen as a simple tune-up for a season where she will chase a national qualifying mark in the 800 meters. Wilson-Perteete has typically not seen much success on the indoor oval, but a phenomenal outdoor track season last spring tells us that she should be in contention to make some noise this winter.
16. Anna Rohrer, Rs. Senior, Notre Dame (0 / 16)
Rohrer has yet to race. The next race on Notre Dame’s schedule is the Notre Dame Invitational.
15. Lauren Gregory, Rs. Sophomore, Arkansas (-1 /14)
Gregory has yet to race. The next race on Arkansas’s schedule is the Clemson Invitational.
14. Charlotte Prouse, Rs. Senior, New Mexico (-4 / 10)
Prouse recorded a DNF at Boston in December. We shouldn't look to heavily into one result from over a month ago, but it was a bit of a bummer to not see what she could do in her return to collegiate competition.
The next race on New Mexico’s schedule is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collegiate Invitational.
13. Jessica Lawson, Rs. Sophomore, Stanford (Unranked)
As expected, Lawson broke the 4:40 barrier in the mile after placing 4th at the UW Preview over the weekend. The Stanford runner had a breakout 2019 between outdoor track and cross country, earning All-American honors in both. Lawson took nearly 10 seconds off of her mile PR and is currently leading the NCAA. She is making a name for herself in the mile and could easily add depth to Stanford in the DMR and potentially the 3k.
12. Makena Morley, Rs. Senior, Colorado (+1 / 13)
Morley has yet to race. The next race on Colorado’s schedule is the Colorado Invitational.
11. Martha Bissah, Senior, Norfolk State (+6 / 17)
Bissah has raced quite a few times this season and each time she has come away with a win. She set a 3000 meter PR back in December when she ran 9:48 and has since gone down in distance, each race seemingly leading up to her 800 meter debut.
Bissah raced her signature event at the Gamecock Opener this past weekend and easily won in a time of 2:05, six seconds ahead of 2nd place. As of now, the Norfolk State senior has the second fastest 800 meter time in D1 right now.
10. Carina Viljoen, Senior, Arkansas (+2 / 12)
Viljoen was one of the few women to opt for the 3k instead of the 5k at the BU Season Opener. In that race, she set a new personal best of 9:12.43, an improvement of 18 seconds.
This past weekend, Viljoen raced the mile at the Arkansas Invitational where she ran an NCAA #2 time of 4:37.78. The Arkansas senior is a dynamic talent who could realistically contest the mile, 3k, and/or DMR at Nationals in March. However, with Arkansas' recent rise of middle distance talent, Viljoen may not be needed for a distance medley relay if Lauren Gregory is in top form.
9. Ella Donaghu, Junior, Stanford (Unranked)
The Stanford junior had a wildly successful cross country season, but had little indoor experience to lean on which kept her out of our initial rankings. After posting an 8:58.31 for 3000 meters at the UW Preview, Donaghu has proven that she belongs among the NCAA elites.
Donaghu, similar to Orton, has historically focused on the mile indoors but her success in cross country could lead to her stepping up in distance this season.
8. Fiona O’Keeffe, Rs. Junior, Stanford (0 / 8)
O’Keeffe has yet to race. The next race on Stanford’s schedule is the Razorback Invitational.
7. Whittni Orton, Senior, BYU (+2 / 9)
Coming into the season, Orton had never raced further than a mile on the indoor track. In her first go at anything longer than the eight-lap race, the BYU senior posted a time of 15:22 at the Boston University Season Opener for 5000 meters and currently sits at the #3 position on the NCAA leaderboard.
Orton has historically focused on the mile during indoors, but now it wouldn't be surprising to see her in the 3k or 5k (or both) come NCAA's.
6. Katie Izzo, Senior, Arkansas (Unranked)
There was some skepticism heading into the indoor season as to how Izzo would translate her cross country success to the indoor oval. She had "only" run 16:08 for 5k during her time at Cal Poly which resulted in TSR leaving her out of our initial rankings.
Of course, after her first race this past December, all of that skepticism was blown aside.
Izzo came within a second of the collegiate record at the Boston University Season Opener, running 15:13.09 to improve her personal best by almost a minute. She also dropped six seconds off of her mile time at the Arkansas Invitational over the weekend where she ran 4:39.64 to finish runner-up behind teammate Carina Viljoen.
The only mark left to best is her (outdoor) 3k of 9:29. Based on her results, Izzo could threaten to break the nine minute barrier in her debut. There may not be anyone in the NCAA with as much momentum as her.
5. Nia Akins, Senior, Penn (0 / 5)
Akins opened her season with a 54.90 open 400 meter time at the Penn 8 Team Select competition. The middle distance specialist has not competed in the 800 meters since the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June, but this was a nice indication of speed for the middle of January.
4. Alicia Monson, Senior, Wisconsin (0 / 4)
Monson has yet to race. The next race on Wisconsin’s schedule is the Jack Jennett Invitational. Monson is set to race in the 3000 meters at the Millrose Games in February.
3. Danae Rivers, Senior, Penn State (0 / 3)
Rivers has yet to race. The next race on Penn State’s schedule is Rod McCravy Invitational.
2. Weini Kelati, Junior, New Mexico (0 / 2)
The reigning cross country champion shaved right around half a second off of her 5000 meter personal best at the BU Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener on December 7th. Kelati finished as the 3rd collegian in that race, with Arkansas’ Taylor Werner (redshirting) and Katie Izzo finishing just ahead of her.
Despite the loss, an all-out race in early December fresh off of cross country season is most likely going to produce a very different result than a tactical championship race at altitude in March. Kelati's experience and gradual understanding of how to race on the national stage keeps her at the #2 spot in our rankings...for now.
1. Dani Jones, Rs. Senior, Colorado (0 / 1)
Jones has yet to race. The next race on Colorado’s schedule is the Colorado Invitational.
Taylor Werner (Arkansas) *Redshirt
Erica Birk-Jarvis (BYU) *Out of Indoor Eligibility
Julia Rizk (Ohio State) *Turned Professional
Sage Hurta (Colorado) *Injured
Elly Henes (NC State) *Redshirt
Aubrey Roberts (Northwestern)
Dorcas Wasike (Louisville)
Katie Izzo (Arkansas)
Ella Donaghu (Stanford)
Jessica Lawson (Stanford)
Katie Rainsberger (Washington)
Carmela Cardama Baez (Oregon)
Julia Heymach (Stanford)
Andrea Foster (Clemson)
JUST MISSED (in no particular order)
Bethany Hasz (Minnesota)
Aubrey Roberts (Northwestern)
Dorcas Wasike (Louisville)
Jeralyn Poe (Michigan State)
Annie Fuller (Michigan State)
Savannah Carnahan (Furman)
Laurie Barton (Clemson)
Sarah Edwards (Virginia Tech)
Allie Schadler (Washington)
Lotte Black (Rhode Island)
Megan Hasz (Minnesota)
Joyce Kimeli (Auburn)
HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)
Abbey Wheeler (Providence)
Meg Darmofal (Michigan)
Katy Ann-McDonald (LSU)
Adva Cohen (New Mexico)
Nicole Fegans (Georgia Tech)
Maudie Skyring (Florida State)
Ericka VanderLende (Michigan)
Kayla Johnson (Miami (FL))
Sara Freix (Virginia Tech)
Kennedy Thomson (Arkansas)
Maddy Reed (Arkansas)
Meg Darmofal (Michigan)
Haley Herberg (Washington)