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2021 D1 Indoor Top 25 Rankings (Women): Update #2


With a month to go until the indoor national meet, TSR has made the decision to remove any athletes who have not yet competed on the indoor oval this year from these Top 25 rankings.

 

KEY

(Unranked):

Was not ranked in our last update.

(#/#):

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

The second number indicates where they were ranked in our last update.

 

25. Kennedy Thomson, Senior, Arkansas (0 / 25)

This ranking marks Thomson’s second appearance in our indoor Top 25 and she is holding steady at our TSR #25 spot. The Arkansas senior put down a couple of notable results since her original appearance, running 4:39 for the mile and acting as a member of the NCAA's leading DMR.


Thomson’s mile puts her at the NCAA #14 position and she is currently listed at NCAA #9 in the 800 meters. Despite running only 2:09 at the Tyson Invitational, she had run the DMR the previous day which produced an NCAA-leading mark, so that's hard to overlook. That 2:09 was also the first "off" day that Thomson has had all season long despite that being her eighth race of the season.


This Arkansas veteran is talented, consistent and has made promising improvements this winter. However, she will need to exhibit an uptick in her times over the next few weeks. Her fastest 800 meter mark is 2:05, but a faster time would make us feel more comfortable about her chances of becoming an All-American lock.


24. Ericka VanderLende, Sophomore, Michigan (Unranked)

Joining the rankings this week is Ericka VanderLende following her promising 15:48 (5k) personal best at the B1G Indoor T&F Invite. The Michigan sophomore hadn’t raced since recording a mile best of 4:47 in mid-January after the Michigan Athletic Department postponed athletic competitions for two weeks due to COVID.


VanderLende's recent 5k effort was a remarkable 22 second personal best and it shot her up the national leaderboard to NCAA #5 in the event, although there is still plenty of potential for more women to run faster times.


Even so, we're finally seeing VanderLende have similar a level of success on the track as she has had on the grass, making her far more dangerous on the indoor oval than some people realize.


23. Lindsey Butler, Sophomore, Virginia Tech (Unranked)

After a breakout performance at the Doc Hale Virginia Tech Elite meet, Butler enters our rankings for the first time this year. The sophomore threw down a massive personal best of 2:04.00 in the 800 meters the other week which was 3.77 seconds faster than her previous best. That mark places her at NCAA #5 which should not only qualify her for the national meet, but it should also put her in the All-American conversation.


Butler is a bit hard to gauge given her 2021 season so far. The only event she has raced more than once is the 4x400 and her massive personal best in the 800 leaves us wondering if she can replicate that performance in the future.


Still, the talent is clearly there. Only a sophomore, Butler fits into that second-tier of top half-milers and may have further room to improve. She has posted multiple personal bests in a handful of different races this winter, leading us to believe that Butler still has a high ceiling and plenty of potential that she hasn't tapped into...yet.


22. Aneta Konieczek, Junior, Oregon (Unranked)

Konieczek was a star talent in D2 while competing for Western Colorado before transferring to Oregon at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year. She had quiet cross county and indoor track seasons in her first year as a Duck, but after just one indoor meet in 2021, Konieczek finds herself amongst some of the NCAA’s best, specifically in the mile.


At the Tyson Invitational at Arkansas, Konieczek started her stellar weekend with the DMR on Friday night. She was the lead-off leg who posted a very strong 3:21 split on the 1200 meter leg, which also happened to be the fastest first leg of the entire race.


However, what really stood out for Konieczek was her out-of-nowhere 4:35 mile performance. This time would typically win any other race, but given the depth of the field that she was racing in, Konieczek finished 6th overall.


This was a 13 second PR for the Oregon junior and it currently lists her at NCAA #8 in the event. We still need to see more from Konieczek as proven consistency will give us a greater idea of what to potentially expect from her during the postseason.


21. Logan Morris, Senior, Arkansas (+1 / 22)

Not much has changed for Morris since our last rankings update. She toed the line for two races at the Tyson Invitational where she matched her personal (and seasonal) best in the 3k with a mark of 9:09 and also ran 4:42 for the mile, missing her personal best by three seconds.


Morris has shown great depth in her debut track season as a Razorback, but still seems to be waiting on one true breakout performance. While she is ranked between NCAA #12 and NCAA #16 across three events, she does not have the dominance in any singular race that makes her a lock for the podium.


With conference and national meets on the horizon, the next couple of competitions should be a good chance for Morris to dial in on one event. Based on her previous performances, it seems likely she would/should lean towards the 3000 meters, although the 5000 meters could also come into play if she's confident about her chances to double.


20. Jessica Drop, Rs. Senior, Georgia (-3 / 17)

Drop has arguably had the best indoor track season of her carer, running top times in the 3k and 5k. She entered this past weekend coming off of a stellar 3k effort where she secured a personal best of 9:03, taking down Krissy Gear who we're now realizing is much better than we originally thought.


Racing against SEC foe Joyce Kimeli this past weekend in the 5000 meters, Drop finished 2nd in a respectable, but somewhat unexciting time of 16:07. Drop will need to lower that mark to under 16 minutes if she wants to secure her spot at the indoor national meet in that event.


However, given her recent success in the 3000 meters, she may want to be completely fresh for that event and instead work on her finishing speed. Don't be surprised if Drop toes the line for a few mile races over the next few weeks.


19. Joyce Kimeli, Senior, Auburn (-5 / 14)

It’s hard to say how good Kimeli might be this indoor season. She was a stud during the 2019 cross country season, but has never been as dominant on the track. This season, she has run only twice, once in the 3k and once in the 5k.


The Auburn veteran did take down Drop this past weekend in the 5k, but she lost to a doubling Maudie Skyring earlier in the season, only by a narrow margin. Although both of Kimeli's times are listed in the top-20 on the national leaderboard, we'll need to see her put down something faster in order to give her resume a spark and help her standout in these rankings.


The best chance for Kimeli to make NCAA's will be finding a fast 5k -- and hopefully soon. Her personal best in the 3k is only 9:14 and unless a huge number of women opt-out, she will not make it to the national meet in that event.


In 2019, Kimeli ran 15:37 for 5000 meters and while it may be hard to match this season, anything around 15:50 should be close to a lock for national qualifying purposes.


18. Hannah Steelman, Senior, NC State (0 / 18)

Has not raced since our last update.


17. Jenna Magness, Junior, Michigan State (Unranked)

Quietly putting together an excellent 2020-2021 academic year is Magness of Michigan State. The Spartan won the B1G Indoor T&F Invite this past weekend weekend in the 5k by six seconds over Michigan’s Ericka VanderLende.


Not only was the win a massive boost in her overall seasonal resume, but her time of 15:42 was a 26-second personal best which catapulted her to the NCAA #3 spot in the 5000 meters.


Earlier in the season, Magnes recorded a 3k personal best of 9:20 en route to yet another win over VanderLende. Given how well her in-state rival has run, Magness' stock only has a reason to rise.


The Michigan State veteran recently earned a 3rd place finish at the BIG 10 XC Championships and in a few weeks, she will get the opportunity to compete for her first individual BIG 10 indoor title after picking up the silver medal in the 5k during the 2020 indoor season.


16. Maudie Skyring, Rs. Junior, Florida State (Unranked)

Skyring put down two big performances this past weekend to go from unranked, all the way up to TSR #16. The first eye-catching performance was in the DMR at the Tyson Invitational where Florida State clocked a nationally competitive time of 10:57 which now sits at NCAA #3. Barring any last-week heroics from other teams, that mark should send the Seminoles to the NCAA Indoor Championships.


In her second race of the weekend, Skyring knocked three seconds off her mile personal best, clocking a huge time of 4:34.98 to move her up to an NCAA #6 time. Pairing that mark with her wildly impressive 3k/mile double victory the other weekend has given Skyring all the momentum that she needs to be a top talent.


The Florida State ace was a consistent veteran throughout the 2020 indoor track season, but now has the top-tier mark and finishes ahead of big names to be named as one of the better distance runners in the NCAA.


15. Shafiqua Maloney, Senior, Arkansas (+6 / 21)

Maloney keeps impressing during the 2021 indoor season in the 800 meters and is now a key member on the Razorbacks DMR team. At the beginning for the season, Maloney had a 2:08 personal best, but she has since dropped that time down to 2:04 after this past weekend's Tyson Invitational.


In the half-mile, Maloney won the event by almost a second over a strong contingent of underrated talents. This win came less than 24 hours after Maloney recorded an 800 split of 2:03 on her team’s winning DMR.


Maloney has the potential to pick up two top-five finishes at the indoor national meet, one in the 800 meters and the other in the DMR. Her progression throughout the winter has been some of the best in the NCAA and we think she could carry this hot streak of performances into the national meet.


14. Mercy Chelangat, Junior, Alabama (+1 / 15)

Chelangat earns a slight bump from her previous ranking after a big performance in the 3k. The Alabama junior dropped 14 seconds off of her previous personal best with a 9:02 mark which places her at NCAA #7.


Now ranked in the top-10 in both the 3k and 5k, Chelangat is looking like a strong contender to double at the national meet. Based on previous performances in track and cross country, the 5k appears to be a better fit for her, but she actually sits higher on the national leaderboard in the 3k right now.


Either way, she hasn't had a bad performance this year and we're led to believe that she'll be a main contender for an All-American finish in March if the Crimson Tide race at the indoor national meet.


13. Laurie Barton, Senior, Clemson (-6 / 8)

It’s hard to drop Barton this weekend after running 2:03 at the Tiger Paw Invite, but there were simply other women who had better performances and/or have shown better range over multiple events.


Barton matched her 2:03 personal best in the 800 meters this past weekend and has been consistently improving this indoor season. She is ranked at NCAA #4 and is in a very good position to challenge for a top-three finish at the national indoor meet if she continues on the path she is on now.


Her display of speed this season in other events like the 600 meters and 1000 meters has been very encouraging and we think that extra turnover could help her at the national meet if things require a faster finish than usual.


12. Aaliyah Miller, Senior, Baylor (+12 / 24)

Making a big jump in the rankings this indoor season is Baylor’s middle distance stud Aaliyah Miller. The veteran has been a name floating around the top of the NCAA in the 800 over the course of her career, but this has to be Miller’s best season yet when taking both indoor track and outdoor track into account.


Before this weekend, Miller had a 2:02 personal best from the 2018 outdoor season and this past weekend at the Iowa State Classic, she matched that 2:02 personal best with her two-second victory.


Miller has yet to compete in an 800 meter final on the national stage, but her most recent performances have resulted in a pair of wins and a personal best on the always more difficult indoor oval. That has improved her stock in our rankings and our initial suspicions that she could be a rising name in the now-loaded half-mile seems to be valid.


11. Allie Schadler, Senior, Washington (+5 / 16)

This past weekend was a big one for the Washington senior. After clocking a time of 9:00 for 3k to close out 2020, Schadler finally managed to dip under the 9:00 barrier with a two-second personal best of 8:58 at the UW Invite this past weekend.


Anything under 9:00 is usually a safe bet to qualify for NCAA's, so it looks like Schadler will be heading there in at least one event this winter.


She also has a decent chance at making it in the DMR. Washington sits at NCAA #6 right now and the DMR/3k double is very feasible considering they are on opposite days. Schadler is also ranked at NCAA #11 in the mile, but she has not run a personal best in that event since 2019 and that event is looking like the most loaded distance event in the NCAA this year.


Schadler hasn't had much success against the BYU women this season, but she has still run multiple fast marks in a variety of different events. You could actually argue that she has been just as good this winter as she was last winter.


10. Amaris Tyynismaa, Sophomore, Alabama (Unranked)

It’s not often that an unranked athlete jumps all the way into the top-10 right off the bat (despite Wayment doing that in our last rankings update), but Alabama’s Amaris Tyynismaa has been on a tear in her last two races.


The sophomore had two respectable performances during the abbreviated fall 2020 cross country season and was a reliable scorer for the Crimson Tide at the SEC XC Championships. However, Tyynismaa has made dramatic improvements since coming to the indoor oval, emerging as versatile distance threat who can not only run fast times, but take down some of the top names in the NCAA.


At the South Carolina Invite, Tyynismaa ran her way to a 9:03 personal best in the 3000 meters which was a 41 second improvement off her 2020 best. And if that wasn't enough, Tyynismaa went on to run a jaw-dropping 4:33 mile only one week later, taking down established veterans such as Maudie Skyring, Lauren Gregory and Katie Izzo.


The Alabama ace is ranked at NCAA#3 in the mile and NCAA #10 in the 3k on the national leaderboard. She is on an entirely new level this indoor season and it feels realistic to suggest that she could win a SEC title a few weeks from now.


9. Bethany Hasz, Rs. Senior, Minnesota (0 / 9)

How does a 12-second personal best AND breaking 9:00 for 3000 meters sound? Hasz accomplished both of those things this past weekend when she won the 3k at the Hawkeye B1G Invitational in a time of 8:59. She now sits at NCAA #6 in the 3k, NCAA #8 in the 5k, and also won the BIG 10 XC title a few weeks ago.


Right now, everything seems to be going right for the Minnesota senior. She is essentially locked-in for the 3k/5k double at the NCAA Indoor Championships, has an individual bid in the cross country national meet and is a major contender in all three races.


Given her cross country background, Hasz seems to be like a better fit for the 5k during indoors (she did run 15:25 last winter) and her 4:38 mile speed should help her in a tactical championships setting.


Right now, Bethany Hasz can do no wrong. When it comes to longer distance specialists who focus on events like the 3k and 5k, Hasz probably has the most momentum out of anyone with the possible exception of Lauren Gregory, Katie Izzo and maybe Wayment if she ends up running the 5k later this season.


8. Olivia Hoj, Senior, BYU (+15 / 23)

Hoj finds her way into our top-10 this week following her incredible 8:56 (3k) performance at the UW Invite. This was a huge 15 second PR for the senior and it currently ranks her at TSR #2 on the national leaderboard, only trailing teammate Courtney Wayment by two seconds.


Hoj was on the cusp of something big after her 4:37 mile from two weeks prior, as well as her strong contributions on BYU’s DMR team. We knew she was talented, but 8:56 puts her in a different tier.


The Cougar runner hadn’t raced since the 2019 national cross country meet where she finished 56th in a deep field on a crummy day in Terre Haute, Indiana. Hoj benefits from the fact that she has plenty of teammates right around her to train with and it also helps that she can focus solely on preparing for the indoor national meet sine she doesn't have cross country eligibility remaining.


Hoj may be new to being a top-ranked individual, but that doesn't mean that she's inexperienced or that hasn't run fast before. We sometimes question if breakout stars can continue to contend with top names on a consistent basis given their newness to this level of racing, but we don't necessarily have that same concern with Hoj.


7. Elly Henes, Rs. Senior, NC State (-1 / 6)

Has not raced since our last update.


6. Krissy Gear, Senior, Arkansas (+5 / 11)

A 4:31 mile proves that Gear is truly one of the nation’s most dynamic talents in the NCAA. Gear’s dominating win in the mile this past weekend not only ranks her at NCAA #2 on the national leaderboard, but it also earned her the Arkansas school record, taking down Razorback legend’s Dominique Scott’s time of 4:32.


The winning time was a five second personal best for Gear who came back less than 24 hours after she anchored the Razorback DMR to a collegiate leading time of 10:53. Gear ran away from the competition with her 4:34 1600 meter split in that race.


The Arkansas ace is now in a position where she'll be a title favorite in both the mile and the DMR as we get closer to the indoor national meet. Seeing her run 9:08 for 3000 meters also gives her resume a boost, although that performance doesn't truly do Gear justice when talking about her incredible range.


5. Sage Hurta, Rs. Senior, Colorado (0 / 5)

In our last rankings update, we said that Hurta was back in a big way after she clocked a time of 2:02.54 for 800 meters which now puts her at the NCAA #3 position. This past weekend, she made yet another statement by taking the NCAA #1 spot in the mile with a blistering 4:31.80 at the Iowa State Classic.


Just how good was her mile performance? Well, she bettered her prior personal best (from 2017) by seven seconds and was 16 seconds faster than anyone else in the field. How fast could she have run if she actually had competition?


Hurta is now amongst the national title favorites in both the 800 and mile and likely will be in the 3k if she opts to run one before NCAA's. With multiple All-American honors in cross country, she is clearly capable of contending in the longer distances, but her recent success in the 800 and mile has simply been too impressive for her not to pursue those one of those races at the national meet.


Truthfully, Hurta could be ranked as high as TSR #2 right now. She has been flat-out amazing in only two races this season. However, the women's 800 meters is very top heavy and the women's mile field just produced another title contender in Gear and a ton more depth than we were expecting.


For that reason, we're settling at ranking Hurta at TSR #5...but she could certainly be ranked higher.


4. Courtney Wayment, Rs. Senior, BYU (+6 / 10)

My goodness, Wayment has been wildly impressive over her past two races. At the UW Invite over the weekend, Wayment placed 3rd in the 3000 meters with an incredible personal best of 8:54, finishing behind teammate Anna Camp-Bennett, who was racing unattached, and professional runner Alli Cash.


Wayment just seems so much sharper than she has been in year's past, although she did record a 5k personal best 15:37 in December of 2019 while racing unattached, so maybe we should have seen some of these performances coming.


The Cougar senior has also developed some newfound speed, just look at her recent 4:35 mile personal best. With this speed, fortified endurance and nationally-elite resume, Wayment’s title chances in the 3k and 5k feel fairly high...and she hasn't even run a 5k this season! That may end up being her event when all is said and done.


3. Lauren Gregory, Senior, Arkansas (-2 / 1)

Gregory appears to have her redemption tour in full-swing after a weekend at the Tyson Invitational. The Arkansas senior ran two seasonal bests, clocking times of 8:58 for 3000 meters and 4:34 for the mile.


Gregory is now ranked top-five across three different distance events and is a legitimate title contender in all of them. It’s also worth noting that for how good she has been this winter, Gregory has not even run personal bests in either the mile or 3k this season, meaning that she still has room to grow.


However, the most impressive part of Gregory's winter season has been her progression and consistency. She has yet to have a bad race this season and has consistently been neck-and-neck with a top talent like Izzo. That should be factored in to her overall ranking just as much as her fast times and range.


2. Katie Izzo, Rs. Senior, Arkansas (+1 / 3)

Izzo is currently ranked in the top-five of the NCAA in the mile, 3k and 5k right now, so essentially, she has her pick of events when it comes to the national meet, although the 3k and 5k is probably her sweet spot.


A few weeks ago, Izzo ran 15:36 for the win on her home track and just ran 8:57 for the win at the Tyson Invitational, both instances taking down Gregory. She followed up her 3k win with a new 4:34 mile PR.


That recent spike in speed is going to come in handy for Izzo later in the season as she looks to challenge for wins in what will likely be tactical races at her conference and national meets.


1. Athing Mu, Freshman, Texas A&M (+1 / 2)

There’s no getting around it -- Mu is flat-out dominant. The freshman superstar is now the NCAA leader in two events and the women behind her really aren't that close.


At the Charlie Thomas Invitational, Mu set an NCAA-leading mark of 50.52 for 400 meters. The second-fastest time this season is a whopping 1.4 seconds slower. Those two times aren’t even in the same ballpark. Her NCAA-leading time in the 800 meters is still 1.2 seconds faster than anyone else.


And in case that wasn’t enough, she was also on Texas A&M's 4x400 meter relay team that ran 3:26, establishing an NCAA lead by three seconds.


Mu could realistically win three NCAA titles in her first season of competition at the collegiate level. Yes, it's true, we don't often look at events shorter than the 800 meters, but we aren't going to penalize an athlete in these rankings if their range is in the 400 meters and 800 meters rather than the 800 meters and the mile.

 

ADDED

Amaris Tyynismaa (Alabama)

Maudie Skyring (Florida State)

Jenna Magness (Michigan State)

Aneta Konieczek (Oregon)

Lindsey Butler (Virginia Tech)

Ericka VanderLende (Michigan)


KICKED OFF

Katie Rainsberger (Washington)

Ella Donaghu (Stanford)

Jessica Lawson (Stanford)

Julia Heymach (Stanford)

Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes (BYU)

Lotte Black (Rhode Island)

JUST MISSED (in no particular order)

Mallory King (Iowa)

Gabrielle Wilkinson (Florida) Sarah Hendrick (Kennesaw State)

Valery Tobias (Texas)

Gracie Hyde (Arkansas)

Kate Hunter (BYU)

Haley Herberg (Washington)

Anna Elkin (Ole Miss)

Abby Gray (Arkansas)

Haley Herberg (Washington)

Nicole Fegans (Georgia Tech)

Grace Forbes (Rice)

Lynsie Gram (Michigan State)


HONORABLE MENTION (in no particular order)

Andrea Foster (Clemson)

Grace Fetherstonhaugh (Oregon State)

Mahala Norris (Air Force)

Hannah Reinhardt (Oregon)

Rebecca Clark (Florida State)

Quinn Owen (Arkansas)

Aubrey Frentheway (BYU)

Naomi Smith (Washington)

Imogen Barrett (Florida)

Simone Plourde (BYU)

Taylor Roe (Oklahoma State)

Amanda Vestri (Syracuse)

Quinn Owen (Arkansas)

Mia Morck (Oregon)

Grace Boone (Virginia Tech)

Marian Ann Block (Georgia)

Sintayehu Martin (Ole Miss)

Alyson Churchill (Florida State)


Notes

- N/A

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