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D2 National Meet Scouting Report: 800 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.


Berenice Cleyet-Merle (Indianapolis)

Other Events: Mile

Analysis: Cleyet-Merle has the fastest seed time heading into this weekend with an impressive 2:06.80. She is doubling in the mile and is likely to earn two All-American awards, but this could be at the cost of a national title. She has had an incredible season thus far, setting PR’s in the 400 meters, 800 meters, the mile and winning two conference titles. The Indianapolis junior has an exciting weekend ahead of her and NCAA gold would cap off a phenomenal breakout season.

Addy Townsend (Simon Fraser)

Other Events: DMR

Analysis: While Addy Townsend doesn’t have the fastest time this year, she is easily the favorite to win the event. The 800 meters is Townsend’s trademark event, although her 1500 meter and mile performances could say otherwise. What separates Townsend from the rest is her experience and the fact that she’s all-in. She is qualified for the mile, 800, and DMR, but decided to opt out of the mile. It’s obvious Townsend’s main focus is winning the title, but she’ll have to fight hard for it in a top-heavy field.

Bailey Sharon (Western Colorado)

Other Events: Potentially DMR

Analysis: Sharon is another experienced 800 meter veteran. Her fastest time this year is 2:08, but she has a PR of 2:07, not to mention a 400 meter PR of 55.67. If the race is tactical, Sharon could out-kick the field in what would be an incredible upset. For someone who always seems to peak at the right time, it's not totally out of the question.

Yasmine Hernandez (CSU-Pueblo)

Other Events: DMR

Analysis: Hernandez leads a plethora of runners who have seed times between 2:09 and 2:10. She is likely going to be an All-American in the event. While the top three seeded women seem to be ahead of the rest of the field, the 800 meters is an unpredictable and unforgiving event and race strategy is vital. Hernandez has a shot at the title if she perfectly executes her race strategy.

Kelly Ann-Beckford (Lincoln (Mo.))

Other Events: Mile, DMR

Analysis: Kelly Ann-Beckford is the star freshman of the field. She doesn’t have the experience or consistency that some of the other names on this list do, but she shocked us when she ran 2:09 to have the top-ranked time earlier in the season. Ann-Beckford decided to double in the mile which might hurt her performance in the 800, but she is talented and has a lot in store in the years ahead.

Andra Lehotay (Walsh)

Other Events: DMR

Analysis: Andra Lehotay will run the 800 and the mile legs of the DMR. Her seed time of 2:09 puts her in a big group of runners who will be battling for a spot to the finals. Lehotay seems to be the best long distance runner in the field with her 41st place at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past fall. She has run plenty of races from the 800 meters up to the 3k this season and is coming off a G-MAC title in the 800 meters. Her experience and impressive range makes her a favorable pick to make the finals.

Haleigh Reindl (Minnesota-Duluth)

Other Events: N/A

Analysis: Reindl is another year wiser and more experienced. She ran 2:10 and qualified for both the indoor and outdoor national meets last year, but finished 14th and 17th in those races. Since then, Reindel set a new PR of 2:09 and has seemingly been much more consistent this season. In theory, that should lead her to her first All-American accolade, but that's easier said than done.

Dawnel Collymore (Benedict)

Other Events: N/A

Analysis: Collymore finished 13th at this meet last year with a 2:13, but she should easily improve upon that finish with her seed time (and PR) of 2:10. Collymore only has the 800 meters to worry about this weekend which should benefit her as she battles to make the finals.

Kinga Szarzynska (Harding)

Other Events: N/A

Analysis: Szarzyska of Harding has a seed time of 2:10, but ran a modest time of 2:21 at the GAC Championships which is a bit concerning heading into the national meet. It's good that she can put that poor performance behind her, but Szarzynska will need to replicate her personal best (and then some) to be in contention for the finals.

Carly Rahn (Augustana (S.D.))

Other Events: N/A

Analysis: Rahn competed at the Outdoor National Championships last spring, but came short of qualifying for the finals. She has a PR and seed time of 2:10 which puts her in the middle of the pack in this race. She'll need to find a way to standout in a crowded middle portion of the field.

Serenity Andrus (Alabama-Huntsville)

Other Events: N/A

Analysis: Andrus has a PR and seed time of 2:11 which is solid, but may not be enough to get her to the finals. She won her first conference title last weekend at the Gulf South Indoor Championships, but this is her first national meet and a lack of experience will be a tough challenge to overcome.

Ukeyvia Beckwith (Embry-Riddle)

Other Events: N/A

Analysis: Like Andrus, this is Beckwith’s first appearance at a national meet. She has an 800 PR of 2:11 and 400 PR of 56.14, which shows she could have more finishing speed than her competitors. Her sprinting ability and turnover could propel her into the finals if the prelims become slow and tactical.

Chrissani May (Lincoln (Mo.))

Other Events: N/A

Analysis: Lincoln has not one, but two talented middle distance freshmen. May enters the meet with her PR and seed time of 2:11. May has shown more consistency throughout the season than some of the other runners in the field, which helps her chances of thriving in the prelims.

Ruth Cvancara (Alaska Anchorage)

Other Events: DMR

Analysis: Cvancara has a PR of 2:10, but her best time this season is 2:12. The 800 is the only event she excels at, but it seems that she’s had some difficulties this season and has been running mostly around 2:14. This is worrisome heading into Nationals and she hasn't been able to qualify for finals in the 800 meters in her previous two showings at Nationals.

Courtney Dembrowski (U-Mary)

Other Events: N/A

Analysis: The U-Mary sophomore qualified for her first national meet after showing impressive improvements throughout her two years of collegiate track and field. We believe this weekend is a big first step into Dembrowski showing her full potential.

Sintayehu Vissa (Saint Leo)

Other Events: N/A

Analysis: Vissa is the last freshman in the field and enters the meet with a seed time of 2:12. Similar to Dembrowski, this meet will most likely be a stepping stone in Vissa’s development as an All-American runner.

Taryn Ceglowski (Sioux Falls)

Other Events: Mile

Analysis: Taryn Ceglowski has a seed time of 2:13, but has impressive PR’s of 2:10 in the 800 and 4:52 in the mile. She has qualified for Nationals in both these events before, but never made it to finals. The consistency and competitiveness we’ve seen from her this season shows that this weekend could be different.

Mairin Shields-Brown (Simon Fraser)

Other Events: DMR

Analysis: Shields-Brown joins Simon Fraser teammate Addy Townsend in the 800 meters. She just barely qualified by running 2:13 at the Seattle Pacific Final Qualifier two weekends ago. She has only competed in the DMR at Nationals before, but now she’ll be doubling this weekend. She has a PR of 2:10, so she is fully capable of making it to finals, but it all depends on how prelims play out.

Morgan Fuerst (Saginaw Valley)

Other Events: 4x400

Analysis: Fuerst will be doubling in the 800 and the 4x400. Despite being part of that 4x400 relay, she’ll definitely be focusing on the 800 meters. She has a PR of 2:12 and a seed time of 2:13 as well as a mile PR of 4:57. She should be able to handle any style of race given her foot speed and endurance.


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