D1 National Meet Scouting Report: 3000 Meters (Women)

Our TSR staff is previewing each athlete in each distance event for the Indoor National Championships. Below, we offer analysis and evaluate how each of these athletes will fare at the National Championships. Names are ordered by seed time.

View Predictions Here

Whittni Orton (BYU)

Other Events: DMR (expected to run)

There is a legitimate case that can be made for Orton being the top distance runner in the country right now. The BYU senior is the top-ranked runner in this event and only one of two women with a personal best under 8:50. Even with a DMR the day before, Orton should be the favorite coming into this one as she can win in any way imaginable.

Alicia Monson (Wisconsin)

Other Events: N/A

After winning the 5k and struggling to bounce back for the 3k last year, Monson has opted to put all of her focus on the shorter event this time around. Although she has not looked as dominant as she was in 2019, the Wisconsin senior boasts a lifetime personal best of 8:45 and has the second-fastest NCAA mark this season. She is more than capable of taking down Orton, especially with the 3k being her only event.

Weini Kelati (New Mexico)

Other Events: 5k + DMR (not expected to run)

With her 10k title last spring and cross country title this fall, the only one remaining is an indoor track title. Kelati will likely come into this event a bit tired from the 5k the day before, but running at altitude and on her home track could sway the cards in her favor. The New Mexico junior has better title odds in the 5k, but will still be a factor in this one.

Ella Donaghu (Stanford)

Other Events: DMR (expected to run)

Donaghu is presumably running the mile leg of Stanford’s DMR after scratching out of the individual mile. The junior has been one of the biggest surprises this indoor track season and has gone sub-9:00 in her only two attempts at the 3k distance. Her mile personal best of 4:33 should give her solid closing speed in what figures to be a tactical race.

Katie Izzo (Arkansas)

Other Events: 5k + DMR (not expected to run)

Similar to Kelati, Izzo is doubling down in the 3k and 5k at NCAA's and has better odds of winning a national title in the longer race. The Cal-Poly graduate transfer has been an integral part of Arkansas’ team results over the past six months and has produced individual marks well beyond anyone’s expectations. Will her recent momentum be enough to give her the national title? It's very possible...

Katie Rainsberger (Washington)

Other Events: DMR (expected to run)

Rainsberger is arguably the most consistent runner in the NCAA and continues to keep getting better every season. The Washington senior is coming off a 1500 meter personal best of 4:12 at the BU Last Chance meet, showing some incredible speed which should make her a dark horse in the 3k. She also set a new personal best of 8:56 in this event during the regular season. Given her experience, she should know how to handle a loaded field of elite talent.

Carina Viljoen (Arkansas)

Other Events: Mile + DMR (expected to run)

The biggest concern for Viljoen in the 3k is whether or not she will have any energy left by the time the gun goes off. The Arkansas senior is slated to run the mile prelims and DMR on day one, followed by the (potential) mile final and 3k on day two. Due to her workload, Viljoen figures to be fighting for an All-American spot rather than the overall win in this one.

Grace Forbes (Rice)

Other Events: N/A

If you predicted Grace Forbes to be running at the National Championships in the 3k at beginning of the season, you either attend Rice University or you're a liar. In all seriousness, Forbes has had a spectacular indoor season and dropped a massive personal best of 8:56 at the BU Last Chance meet to qualify for Nationals at the last possible minute. All-American honors would be a good goal for Forbes in her first national meet on the track.

Jessica Lawson (Stanford)

Other Events: DMR (expected to run)

Lawson figures to be involved in the Stanford DMR on Friday night, but shouldn’t be too impacted by the time the 3k rolls around. Only a sophomore, Lawson set personal bests in the mile and 3k this season and figures to be one of the faster closers in the field. She could be a dark horse candidate for a top six finish if everything goes her way.

Makena Morley (Colorado)

Other Events: 5k

There’s one woman not being talked about enough and that's Makena Morley. The Colorado senior has raced all of two times this season, putting down incredible marks in both races. While I tend to favor Morley more in the longer distances, she should surprise quite a few people in this one. She almost always peaks at the right time.

Allie Schadler (Washington)

Other Events: DMR (expected to run)

Despite being a 1500 meter specialist during outdoors, Schadler focused primarily on the 3k during this indoor season and was able to sneak in with a time of 9:00 from the BU Last Chance Meet. While I imagine the DMR will be her bigger priority, Schadler does have great top-end speed which could be crucial in a championship-style race.

Carmela Cardama Baez (Oregon)

Other Events: 5k + DMR (not expected to run)

Cardama Baez set personal bests in the mile, 3k and 5k this indoor season and will be looking to go out in style. The Oregon senior had never qualified for an Indoor National Championship until this season where she earned a bid in both the 3k and 5k. The 5000 meters is likely to be her main focus, but with nothing to lose at the end of the meet, Cardama Baez will surely be putting her name in the ring for All-American honors in this event.

Melany Smart (Washington)

Other Events: DMR (not expected to run)

I’ve been big on Mel Smart since she first entered the NCAA and she has yet to let me down. The true freshman has raced like an experienced veteran and her loads of championship experience from Australia should help in New Mexico this weekend. It’s probably too early to count on her as serious top five threat, but an All-American finish would be huge in such a deep field.

Nicole Fegans (Georgia Tech)

Other Events: N/A

If you had never heard of Nicole Fegans until right now, you’re probably not alone. That said, you should keep her in mind. The Georgia Tech junior has made massive strides in 2020 by dropping 32 seconds off of her 3k personal best, ultimately earning a qualifying mark with her 9:06 result from the ACC Indoor Championships. Feagns has quietly put together a handful of wins this season, meaning that she could be a sleeper pick in a tactical race. She also seems to be peaking at the right time.

Sara Freix (Virginia Tech)

Other Events: DMR (expected to run)

Considering Freix is normally a 10k runner during the outdoor season, I imagine the only reason she would scratch from the 5k is because she plans on being in Virginia Tech's DMR. The Hokie veteran has shown plenty of potential this year, making promising progression and displaying impressive range. She has all of the necessary tools to succeed this weekend...

Hannah Steelman (Wofford)

Other Events: N/A

After an incredible cross country season, Steelman has struggled a bit on the indoor track. She has not set a personal best at any distance this season, but still managed to earn a qualifying bid to the national meet. Although she comes in with the slowest time in the field, Steelman will not be the last finisher on Saturday. She has proven to be someone who peaks at the National Championships. Her multiple All-American finishes seemingly support that argument.