D1 National Meet Scouting Report: Mile (Women)

Updated: Mar 12

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

Dani Jones (Colorado)

Other Events: 800 + DMR (Jones is not expected to run in the DMR)

Two year ago, Jones was a finish line lean away from winning a national title in the mile, only to come up just short to newly-minted American mile record holder Elle Purrier. This year, no one appears capable of stopping Jones at the 1609 meter distance. The Colorado senior has won NCAA titles at almost every distance, with only the 800 meters and the mile/1500 distances left. She could get both this weekend. With a season best that is five seconds faster than anyone else in the field, you would be foolish to bet against Jones who is one of the best to ever do it.

Danae Rivers (Penn State)

Other Events: N/A

Rivers made the bold (and surprising) choice to focus on the mile rather than the 800 meters at Nationals. The Penn State senior was the NCAA leader in this event last season and may be opting for the longer distance after multiple seasons of struggling in 800 meter prelim rounds. Although Rivers has not been as strong as previous seasons, she is the only other woman in the field with a personal best faster than 4:30 and her middle distance speed could make her dangerous in a sit-and-kick race.

Julia Heymach (Stanford)

Other Events: DMR (expected to run)

Heymach is my dark horse for this event. The Stanford junior has shown exceptional aptitude over the 800 meters and the mile this indoor season and has set new personal bests in both. On paper, Heymach is just a hair slower than Rivers, but with a lot less pressure on her shoulders. The one concern would be how much the DMR could take out of her heading into finals, assuming she moves through. Still, there are few women who have made the leap in fitness that Heymach has this year.

Sarah Edwards (Virginia Tech)

Other Events: DMR (expected to run)

Without any races at Washington, Boston or the Armory, it’s been easy to forget how good Sarah Edwards has been this season. She has set personal bests in the 1000 meters (2:44), the 3000 meters (9:15) and the mile (4:34, flat-track converted) while also helping the Hokies earn an NCAA bid in the DMR. Like Heymach, my one concern with Edwards is that the DMR may take too much out of her come finals. Still, Edwards has exciting versatility which can be useful in any race scenario.

Petronela Simiuc (Toledo)

Other Events: N/A

The standard response to finding out Simiuc dropped eight seconds off of her mile personal best this season would be “Holy Toledo!” All puns aside, Simiuc is headed to the first NCAA Championships of her career and comes in with encouraging momentum. She might be considered a long-shot to win, but earning All-American honors in her first competition at the national level would be a big success for someone who was seemingly always with the top pack during the regular season.

Kathryn Gillespie (Texas)

Other Events: N/A

Gillespie really burst onto the scene when she dropped a 4:34 mile PR at the BU Terrier Classic. The Texas senior raced sparingly after earning her NCAA qualifying mark, but cruised through the BIG 12 Championships with wins in the 800 meters, the mile and the DMR. The former Harvard runner will be competing in her first National Championship on the track, with her only other postseason experience coming from cross country this past fall. Still, this is an established veteran who understands what it takes to compete at this level. She has one of the better 800 meter PR's in the field which could make her dangerous in latter portions of the race.

Gabrielle Jennings (Furman)

Other Events: N/A

Gabrielle Jennings has blown expectations out of the water during this academic calendar. This past fall, Jennings took over as the top Furman runner and hasn't taken her foot off the gas since. She has set personal bests in the 800 meters, the mile and the 3000 meters this indoor season and only narrowly missed qualifying in the 3k as well. Jennings would be my pick as a dark horse to finish in the top three as we have yet to really find any flaws.

Carina Viljoen (Arkansas)

Other Events: 3k + DMR (expected to run)

Viljoen has been having a fantastic senior season and will be competing in at least two events this weekend. The biggest concern for the Arkansas senior is that she may be a bit fried by the time the mile finals roll around. Viljoen will have both the mile prelims and the DMR on Friday, and will also have the 3k after the (presumed) mile finals on Saturday. With her projected workload, Viljoen looks more like an All-American contender than the overall winner. Even so, this is someone who has just as much championship experience as Rivers and Jones. If anyone can handle all of this potential triple, it's Viljoen.

Abbe Goldstein (Harvard)

Other Events: N/A

If you’re surprised to see Goldstein’s name here, you’re not alone. The Harvard junior has been an entirely new runner in 2020, dropping 12 seconds off of her previous mile personal best. Goldstein only ran one 1500 meter in 2019, a 4:27 result which roughly converts to 4:45 for the mile. This season has been a huge breakthrough for Goldstein and making the finals in her first NCAA meet would be another big step forward.

*Goldstein will not be competing after being scratched by Harvard due to Coronavirus concerns

Lotte Black (Rhode Island)

Other Events: N/A

After focusing primarily on the 800 meters, Lotte Black decided to step up in distance this season and the move has paid off incredibly well. The Rhode Island junior has run 4:36 twice, setting a personal best each time and earning the NCAA #16 mark this season. Black also ran personal bests in the 1000 meters and 3000 meters this season, narrowly missing the 3k national qualifying cutoff. There are few women who have been as consistent as Black has been over the past few seasons and her 4th place finish from the Outdoor National Championships in the 1500 meters exhibits her understanding of racing tactically.

Millie Howard (Temple)

Other Events: N/A

Looking at Howard’s results, her qualifying mark of 4:36 stands out in a huge way. Why? Well, Howard has run the mile 16 different times in her collegiate career. Excluding her personal best, she has broken 4:50 only once, running 4:46 back in 2018. If NCAA distance running has a Cinderella story, I think Howard is the winner, no questions asked. She has nothing to lose this weekend and will likely want to mix it up with the leaders early-on in the prelims in an attempt to earn a spot to the finals.

Kristlin Gear (Arkansas)

Other Events: DMR (expected to run)

Since transferring from Furman to Arkansas, Krissy Gear has seen massive breakthroughs on the indoor track. This season, she has chopped eight seconds off of her mile personal best with a 4:36 performance that earned her a trip to this meet. She was also a member of Arkansas’s national-qualifying DMR team and could see double duty again in New Mexico. A lot of the attention at this meet will (rightfully) go to Jones who is looking to prove that she has the best range in the NCAA. However, Gear is the clear #2 option. Her dynamic talent makes her a major threat in everything from the 800 meters to the steeplechase to the 6k during cross country.

Maudie Skyring (Florida State)

Other Events: N/A

Skyring has been consistently chipping away at her marks and finally had the breakthrough performance that earned her a trip to the Indoor National Championships. The Florida State junior dropped three seconds off of her mile personal best from 2019 to 2020, ultimately running 4:37 on the final qualifying weekend to earn her bid to NCAA's. Aiming for an All-American finish would be a great goal for Skyring in her first postseason meet on the track as she has quietly found ways to stay competitive in some challenging races.

Christina Aragon (Stanford)

Other Events: DMR (not expected to run)

After presumably dealing with injuries over the past couple of years, Aragon has not been the same runner that we saw back in 2018. It has been two years since the Stanford senior has set a personal best on the indoor track, but her 4:37 mark this season was still good enough to get her to the national stage. It’s hard to imagine Aragon emulating that magic from a few years ago, but knowing that she hasn't yet returned to her top form arguably gives her the most upside out of anyone in this field.

Anna Juul (Harvard)

Other Events: N/A

Up until this season, Juul has had a somewhat limited history on the indoor track. Her mile personal best coming into 2020 was only 4:44, but the Harvard sophomore did run 4:20 for 1500 meters last spring to qualify for the Outdoor National Championships. Despite coming in as the #15 seed, Juul holds the upper-hand on a number of women who have no national meet experience in events with prelim rounds. She has also been one of the few women who has been consistently great since December without any hiccups.

*Juul will not be competing after being scratched by Harvard due to Coronavirus concerns

Katie Wasserman (Columbia)

Other Events: N/A

Wasserman is another woman who will be running in her first national meet on the track this weekend. The Columbia senior was listed at NCAA #22 for the mile at the end of the national qualifying window, but earned a qualifying bid after a handful of women ahead of her opted to scratch for other events. After an excellent cross country season, Wasserman's four second personal best in the mile solidifies that idea that the Columbia Lion has elevated her fitness to a new level this year.