Written by Sam Ivanecky, Maura Beattie and Sean Collins
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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. Michaela Meyer, Senior, Delaware (Unranked)
Michaela Meyer jumps into our rankings after a huge 800 meter PR at the BU Last Chance Qualifier. Entering the meet, Meyer had run only 2:07.07 for the season (just hundredths off her PR of 2:07.02), yet absolutely demolished that time with a new NCAA #4 mark of 2:03.40. Meyer becomes the first Delaware Blue Hen to enter our TSR rankings. Look for Meyer to fight hard in the prelims to make sure the field knows that her 2:03 wasn’t a fluke.
24. Sarah Edwards, Senior, Virginia Tech (Unranked)
Edwards’ mile qualifying time came all the way back at the Camel City Invitational where she ran a flat-track converted 4:34.28 which landed her at NCAA #7 at season’s end. Edwards has also been a crucial member of the Virginia Tech DMR, whether that’s at the 1200 or 1600 legs. She may not be the biggest name in any race she runs in, but Edwards is primed for a quietly impressive and productive meet at NCAA's. She won the mile at ACC’s as well, indicating that she can thrive in championship-style racing.
23. Lotte Black, Junior, Rhode Island (-4 / 19)
Black had a very busy weekend at the Atlantic-10 Championships, winning the mile and placing 2nd in 800 meters and 4x800 relay. That sort of weekend shows that Black will be ready to handle the rounds at Nationals should she be able to maneuver her way through the prelims. Black’s 4th place finish in the 1500 meters at last years Outdoor National Championships should tell us that she knows what to do when the pressure increases at the Big Dance.
22. Carmela Cardama Baez, Rs. Senior, Oregon (-1 / 21)
Cardama Baez endured an up and down MPSF Championship meet, helping Oregon win the DMR but failing to finish the 3k. Their DMR performance cements the Ducks’ place at NCAA's, where Cardama Baez will likely be left off the relay after electing not to scratch the 5k. Cardama Baez will return to the longest indoor distance after her 15:25 PR from the BU Season Opener and will challenge in the 3k as well.
21. Grace Forbes, Freshman, Rice (Unranked)
It’s tough to have a more surprising performance than Michaela Meyer’s 800 meter performance in Boston, but it could be argued that Forbes has found a way. The Rice freshman had dropped two 4:40 mile results this season, including one to win the Conference USA title and was already looking like Rice’s biggest name in recent time. With a conference 3k title as well, Forbes decided to go all-in at the 3k distance and slots in at NCAA #8 with a mark of 8:56.82. Forbes will fall behind only Monson in terms of fresh 3k runners at Nationals and could grab a high All-American spot.
20. Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes, Junior, BYU (0 / 20)
Sadly, Ellsworth-Barnes will not be attempting an individual event at NCAA’s. Over the last few weekends, Ellsworth-Barnes dropped her season best to 2:04.79, taking 2nd to teammate Anna Camp-Bennett at the MPSF Championships. After choosing to skip the individual 800 in order to attempt the DMR fresh, Ellsworth-Barnes and the entire BYU Cougars relay will be ultra-focused as they aim to earn an NCAA title which barely eluded them in cross country.
19. Anna Camp-Bennett, Senior, BYU (+4 / 23)
There’s almost nothing true about Camp-Bennett that was not true for Ellsworth-Barnes. In addition to winning the 800 meters at the MPSF Championships, Camp-Bennett also grabbed a 4:38 mile PR. Expect to see Camp-Bennett leading on the 1200 leg of the DMR as she tries to open up a gap over the other top teams. After giving up a very likely All-American slot in the 800 meters, Camp-Bennett will be all-in for the DMR.
18. Gabrielle Jennings, Senior, Furman (0 / 18)
Jennings put together a very impressive weekend at the Southern Conference Championships, earning a mile title, runner-up honors in the 800 meters and running the 4x400 relay for Furman. She set a new PR over the four-lap distance in 2:07.87. She will need that speed in order to handle the finishing kicks of the NCAA mile field this upcoming weekend. With PR’s in each of her three last meets, Jennings is having the season of her life and will surely be aiming for the podium in Albuquerque.
17. Krissy Gear, Junior, Arkansas (0 / 17)
A mid-year transfer from Furman to Arkansas, Gear has put up numerous solid times this indoor season, especially in the mile. Gear has run 4:36 this season and will be toeing the line at the indoor national meet in said event with the 12th best time in the field. The junior is also a key member of the DMR team for the Razorbacks. After a 2nd place finish in the mile at SEC’s, Gear should be ready for NCAA’s.
16. Amber Tanner, Senior, Georgia (0 / 16)
Tanner has yet to finish outside of the top three in the 800 meters this indoor season. She recorded her 2:03 national qualifier at the Tyson Invite, winning by over nine seconds and recently won the 800 meters at SEC’s in a time of 2:04, taking down LSU’s Katy-Ann McDonald. The Georgia senior hasn’t been in a tactical race this season, but she will surely face one in the 800 meter prelims at the indoor national meet.
15. Susan Ejore, Senior, Oregon (0 / 15)
Who would’ve thought that Ejore would compete in the 800 meters at the indoor national meet after she ran 4:34 in the mile? Ejore was the 4th place finisher in the 800 meters at the 2019 outdoor national meet and will be looking to improve upon that finish next weekend. She will be coming off of a 4th place finish at the MPSF Championships in the 800 meters, but also a DMR win and national qualifier.
14. Jessica Lawson, Sophomore, Stanford (-1 / 13)
Stanford’s Lawson has had to compete against her teammates all season and has been hiding behind their times, but her marks are just as stellar. Lawson has run 4:35 and 8:59 this season, two times that would’ve qualified her for two individual events at NCAA’s. However, Lawson has opted to compete in the 3k and the DMR.
13. Danae Rivers, Senior, Penn State (+1 / 14)
Rather than just focusing on the 800 meters at NCAA’s, Rivers is jumping up to the mile. Rivers is coming off of winning gold in the 800/mile double from BIG 10’s. She edged out Michigan’s Meg Darmofal at the conference championships, winning the mile in a time of 4:35. Another close race at BIG 10’s was the 800 meters where Rivers only won by two tenths of second. After her NYRR Millrose Games mile performance, Rivers must have confidence in her mix of speed and endurance.
12. Makena Morley, Senior, Colorado (-1 / 11)
Even though she has only raced twice this indoor season, Morley is not one to be slept on heading into the indoor national meet. Her altitude-converted 9:00 (3k) and 15:26 (5k) puts her right up there with the top women in the NCAA. Morley has experience and has been an All-American before, so nothing should be new at NCAA’s.
11. Katie Rainsberger, Senior, Washington (+1 / 12)
Rainsberger just keeps getting better as the season goes on. The Washington senior skipped the MPSF Championships to compete at the Boston Last-Chance Qualifier in the 1500 meters. Although the 1500 is not a contested event at the indoor national meet, Rainsberger ran a 4:12 which was a PR. That time gave her a great placement in a field full of professionals. She is slated to compete in the DMR and 3k at NCAA’s and will surely be in the conversation for a top three finish in both events.
10. Julia Heymach, Junior, Stanford (0 / 10)
Heymach has been consistent all indoor season and has recorded two PR’s, one in the 800 (2:04) and the other in the mile (4:33). At the MPSF Championships, she finished 3rd in the 800 meters with a 2:05 behind the BYU duo of Camp-Bennett and Ellsworth-Barnes. That's a promising result heading forward for this middle distance ace.
Heymach will be competing in the DMR and the mile at the indoor national meet and will be going after her first All-American honors on the track.
9. Carley Thomas, Freshman, Washington (0 / 9)
Thomas has been everything we expected this season. She currently sits at NCAA #2 after running a new indoor best of 2:02.75 at the BU Last Chance meet and will likely run the 800 leg for Washington’s DMR in New Mexico. Although her fastest time of 2020 is two seconds slower than NCAA leader Nia Akins, Thomas is also the only collegiate to have beaten Akins in an 800 this year.
8. Carina Viljoen, Senior, Arkansas (-1 / 7)
Viljoen has quietly put together a very strong season, running 4:35 in the mile and 8:56 for 3000 meters. She also was a member of the Razorback DMR team that ran 10:57 back on January 31st. The biggest question for Viljoen heading into the Indoor National Championships is load management. If Arkansas utilizes Viljoen how we expect them to, then she will run the mile and DMR on Friday, followed by (presumably) mile finals and the 3k on Saturday.
7. Alicia Monson, Senior, Wisconsin (-2 / 5)
Monson has been a strong runner all season long, but hasn't done a ton outside of her 3000 meter performance from Millrose. Although she currently sits at NCAA #2 in the 3k, the Wisconsin senior made a surprising decision to pass on the 5k at Nationals and go all-in for the 3k.
Last year, Monson won the 5k national title, but struggled coming back in the 3k. While that will not be a problem this time around, she will have to contend with Whittni Orton of BYU, the only other runner with a personal best below 8:50.
6. Ella Donaghu, Junior, Stanford (0 / 6)
Donaghu looked very strong during cross country, but even we wouldn’t have predicted she would be this good on the indoor track. The Stanford junior dropped 10 seconds off of her mile personal best this season and has broken the 9:00 barrier in both of her 3k races. Donaghu looks likely to be the anchor for Stanford’s DMR next weekend and will double back in the 3k on Saturday.
5. Nia Akins, Senior, Penn (+3 / 8)
Akins displayed excellent range at Heps when she won both the 1000 meters and the mile. The 800 meter specialist narrowly missed the collegiate record earlier in the season and will come into the Indoor National Championships having run two seconds faster than anyone else this season. The Penn senior has only lost to one collegian, Carley Thomas of Washington, in a middle distance event this season
4. Katie Izzo, Senior, Arkansas (0 / 4)
If there was an award for NCAA D1 Newcomer of the Year, Katie Izzo would win it by a landslide. The Arkansas graduate-transfer was a stud during the cross country season and has big indoor title aspirations as she comes into the NCAA's with the fastest 5000 meter time of the season.
She will also be doubling back in the 3000 meters to face-off with Whittni Orton, Weini Kelati and Alicia Monson on the second day of competition. Izzo bested both Orton and Kelati at the BU Season Opener in the 5000 meters to start the year.
3. Weini Kelati, Junior, New Mexico (0 / 3)
The one season Weini Kelati has yet to win a national title is indoor track. After winning her first cross country title this fall, the New Mexico junior will toe the line in the 3k and 5k on her home track with hopes of completing the trifecta.
Kelati is one of only three women to have run top three times in multiple events this season, along with Whittni Orton and Dani Jones. Despite being ranked below Katie Izzo on the NCAA Performance List, Kelati will be the title favorite heading into the 5k this weekend.
2. Whittni Orton, Senior, BYU (0 / 2)
Does Whittni Orton actually have a ceiling? The BYU senior seems to exceed expectations every time she races, as noted by her NCAA-leading 3k and DMR marks. Orton is the only collegiate to have run sub-8:50 in the 3k this year and one of two women to have run sub-4:30 in the mile. Orton will be the anchor leg of the Cougars' NCAA-leading DMR (the favorites to win it all) on day one of the Indoor National Championships this coming weekend.
1. Dani Jones, Rs. Senior, Colorado (0 / 1)
Although Jones rarely raced this season, she lit up the track every time she did. Jones currently holds the top time in the mile this seaons, while also being in the NCAA #5 position for the 800 meters and the NCAA #3 position in the 5000 meters. The Colorado senior will be looking to pull off a tough double in the mile and 800 meters this coming weekend.
Bethany Hasz (Minnesota)
Petronela Simiuc (Toledo)
Kathryn Gillespie (Texas)
Grace Forbes (Rice)
Michaela Meyer (Delaware)
Sarah Edwards (Virginia Tech)
JUST MISSED (in no particular order)
Meg Darmofal (Michigan)
Melany Smart (Washington)
Mercy Chelangat (Alabama)
Alena Ellsworth (BYU)
Sara Freix (Virginia Tech)
Maudie Skyring (Florida State)
Katy-Ann McDonald (LSU)
Abbe Goldstein (Harvard)
Abby Wheeler (Providence)
Bethany Hasz (Minnesota)
Petronela Simiuc (Toledo)
Kathryn Gillespie (Texas)
HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)
Lindsey Rudden (Michigan State)
Christina Aragon (Stanford)
Millie Howard (Temple)
Egle Morenaite (Iona)
Maria Mettler (Air Force)
Hannah Steelman (Wofford)
Aubrey Roberts (Northwestern)
Kelsey Chmiel (NC State)
Allie Schadler (Washington)