D2 Nationals Indoor Preview (3k + 5k + DMR)

Men's 3k - Elliott Portillo

Women's 3k - Garrett Zatlin

Men's 5k - Quenten Lasseter

Women's 5k - Quenten Lasseter

Men's DMR - John Cusick

Women's DMR - John Cusick

A quick message from your TSR Admin

The Division Two National Championships are set to take place tomorrow and The Stride Report crew couldn't be more pumped. Our D2 admin John Cusick will be on-site (in Kansas) tomorrow and Saturday with a media pass sporting the blue TSR t-shirt. He'll also be snapping some pictures and taking over our Instagram for the weekend (assuming his phone battery doesn't die in five minutes). If you see him at the meet, be sure to say hi!

In other news, our official predictions for both the Division One and Division Two national meets are now live on the site! You can see all of our All-American picks by clicking the link here. We will likely be keeping you updated on our draft picks as well as our predictions throughout the weekend and potentially offering up some reaction articles after each day of competition.

So hang tight! We've got more content coming your way this weekend.

Finally, if you haven't already, be sure to enter our D1 prediction contest! The winners of the men's and women's contest will receive a free TSR t-shirt. Just enter your top eight picks for the distance events and press submit. It's that easy!

Alright, let's get to the previews...

3000 (Men)

The NCAA Division II men’s 3k may be one of the most anticipated distance races of the weekend. The last individual event of the championship meet definitely looks like it may pack the biggest punch as a handful of athletes seek to solidify the end of their indoor collegiate careers with a hard earned victory at the highest level before heading to outdoors.

The top names in this event have been here before, and will know just what it takes to come out on top. Behind them, a deep and lethal field looks to make a statement, and perhaps even come away with an upset when everything is said and done.

If we take a look at just seed times alone, three individuals automatically stand out. Sydney Gidabuday and Elias Gedyon are the only two entries in the field with times under the eight minute barrier. Gidabuday ran his time of 7:54.5 at the end of January at the Dr. Sander’s Challenge, while Gedyon ran his 7:58.63 in early December at the ASU Early Grizzly Open. His time comes from an 8:28.71 conversion due to Alamosa’s location at 7,500 feet above sea-level (which is definitely an impressive feat)

Zach Panning of Grand Valley State also has a strong case for the crown after running his 8:01.12 at the GVSU Big Meet on February 8th. Of the three, Panning’s time is the most recent, which may help in terms of confidence going into this weekend.

Behind the titular trio lies a field ripe with athletes with legitimate podium hopes. Josh Hoskinson comes in ranked #4 in this field with a time of 8:08, nearly seven seconds behind Panning, but still well within podium-shot, especially if the pace goes tactical as many championship races are prone to.

The Colorado contingency only grows from there, as four of the next five fastest seeds hail from yet another RMAC institution. Charlie Sweeney of Western Colorado is the only freshman in the field, but could make some serious noise as well when all is said and done. He is joined by his teammate Taylor Stack, who looks like a quality candidate to take control of the RMAC once Gidabuday and Gedyon graduate.

Kale Adams is another one of the Adams State seniors looking to go out with a bang as well. Luke Julian and Luc Hagen of Colorado Mines, as well as Isaiah Rodarte of Adams State, also could make noise depending on how the race unfolds.

Washburn junior Jacob Klemz is the highest seeded non-Coloradoan in the field with his 8:11.79. He is joined by the likes of Daniel Wallis of Queens (N.C.) and Victor Moreau of Academy of Art. All of these men sport times under 8:12 and all could potentially sneak into those coveted all-American positions.

What will be the most interesting to see is how this race unfolds after all the racing that occurs beforehand. According to the start list, 13 of the 16 men entered in this race have at least one other race before, with some committed to multiple events preceding the 3k. Some guys such as Gidabuday, Panning, Stack, Hoskinson, Hagen, Klemz and Sweeney, will attempt to run the 5k the day before.

On top of that, Gidabuday, Panning, Julian, Gedyon, Adams, Sweeney, Zach Lundberg of Sioux Falls, Rowan Doherty of Simon Fraser, and Austin Pasch of Minnesota State are all slated to run as members of their respective distance medley teams only 30 or so minutes after the 5k on Friday night. Scratches may definitely come into effect, which definitely opens up the rest of the field to take the victory. It also means that this 3000 meter race will be a test of which individuals can endure multiple races over a very short time. This definitely will play into the hands of the most experienced racers and could definitely lead to slow, tactical, championship style races.

Regardless of what happens, the 3k could turn out to be a truly spectacular event to watch. All premonitions and preconceptions will be tossed aside once the athletes toe the line and the gun fires.

3000 (Women)

The women's 3000 meter race will likely mirror the 5000 as the favorites for the national title are relatively similar. Alaska Anchorage's Caroline Kurgat is well ahead of the rest of the field by over 10 seconds with an NCAA leading time of 9:07 and will be racing with a target on her back.

However, Roisin Flanagan of Adams State has proven to be a legitimate title contender on the track this year with a season best of 9:18 (which sits at NCAA #2). Kurgat may be the favorite, but she'll need another solid performance if she wants to beat Flanagan.

Let's talk about the #3 seed Eilish Flanagan (Adams State) who has been just as good as her sister and even holds the #2 seed in the 5k. She's very consistent and could make the pace aggressive if Kurgat chooses not to.

We could talk about the rest of this field in order, but it simply makes more sense to talk about all of the other Grizzlies in this race. Outside of the Flanagan sisters, Adams State is also fielding Tiffany Christensen, Kaylee Bogina, and Malena Grover. The crazy thing is that all five of these ASU women could finish as All-Americans. They are all experienced veterans with big meet experience on a powerhouse program. What's not to like?

I'm a big fan of Leah Hanle (Mount Olive) and Allie Ludge (Grand Valley State). I think both of these women bring really impressive range to the table. If the race is tactical, both Hanle and Ludge have a chance to thrive. Expect them to pull a few surprise finishes.

Gina Patters (Grand Valley State) has been a key leader on this Lakers team for quite some time now. She has put up strong performances in championship meets and I can't help but think that she'll do that again.

Joining Patterson will be teammates Hanna Groeber, Jessica Gockley, and Stacey Metzger. I would not all be surprised to see Groeber find her way onto the podium. The race is expected to be fast and Groeber has seemingly done better in longer distance races where the pace is relatively honest.

I like the U-Mary contingent as well. They will field Jaiden Schuette, Emily Roberts, and Ida Narbuvoll. Truthfully, it feels like almost anyone in this field could be an All-American and these ladies certainly fall into that category. That said, it's wild to think that none of our contributors opted to predict any of these women to finish in the top eight. Knowing their resumes and experience, they may prove us wrong. They know how to peak at the right time.

One underrated name that hasn't earned as much attention this season is Colorado Mines' Chloe Cook who has posted some impressive performances. She is ranked #10 in both the mile and 3000 meters this season. That lethal mix of speed and endurance makes her a dangerous competitor.

Eileen Stressling (Azuza Pacific) and Kennedy Rufener (Western Colorado) are two names that our writers are big fans of. They are a bit under the radar, but have continued to post strong result after strong result. No one picked Rufener to podium in the 3k, but her strength has allowed her to get through a handful of big-time races this season that were no shorter than 3000 meters. If anyone can double and succeed in the 3k, it's Rufener.

Hannah Thompson (Malone) should take comfort in the fact that she is a veteran with range which is something that very few women can boast. She was a top 25 runner in the mile, 3k, and 5k this year and has shown that she can race with anyone in any event. She could quietly sneak her way onto the podium.

As for Alexa Shindruk, the Central Washington senior doesn't necessarily have a mind-blowing resume that pops out at you. However, she is arguably the most consistent woman in this field. She has seemingly never had a bad race and you can look at her results if you don't believe me. If she's not posting a top mark, she's winning races. That's an underrated racing aspect that very few people recognize.

5000 (Men)

The predominate favorite in the 5000 is Sydney Gidabuday of Adams State. The interesting aspect of Gidabuday is that he has only run the 5000 once this season. Not only has he run it only once, but it was actually three months ago at the ASU Early Grizzly Open which was held in December. At the ASU Early Grizzly Open, Gidabuday ran a converted time 13:52.50, which gives him the fastest time in the NCAA this year. We should not be too worried about the Adams State senior running the 5000 one time this season, because he ran a blazing fast mark of 7:54.77 at the Dr. Sander Columbia Challenge in January. Not to mention, Gidabuday also has an outdoor PR of 13:29.31 at the Bryan Clay Invitational in 2018. Needless to say, he's plenty fit.

The man expected to give Gidabuday the most trouble in this event is Zach Panning of Grand Valley State. Panning has also run the 5000 once this season, but just like Gidabuday, he made it count. Panning ran a time of 13:58.19 at the GVSU Holiday Open in December. The senior from Grand Valley State has also run a fast time of 8:01.12 in the 3000 at the GVSU Big Meet in February, so expect Panning to be right there in the mix for the National Championship.

Taylor Stack from Western Colorado had a very impressive outing at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships, which was held at Adams State in Alamosa, CO. Stack won the 5000 over top competitors in the race with an unconverted time of 15:15.53. Entering the National Championships, Stack has the #3 fastest time of 14:06.65 which was run at the 2019 Husky Classic.

Josh Hoskinson of Colorado Mines has only run the 5000 once this season at the Mines Alumni Classic & Multi. Hoskinson’s converted time of 14:08.73 ran at that meet puts him in great contention with the top group and could be a big sleeper pick for this weekend.

Dalton Graham from Adams State had a breakthrough race at the 2019 Husky Classic, running a time of 14:09.25 and giving him the #5 fastest time entering the meet. It will be interesting to see how Graham will handle the big stage because just two weeks after his break out performance, Graham was just #13 overall in the 5000 at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Tom Goforth of Saginaw Valley opened his season in December with an impressive time of 14:10.89 at the GVSU Holiday Open. This was the only time Goforth has run the 5000 this season, but he's proven to be a top-tier contender at the longer distances.

Luc Hagen is entering the NCAA National Championships with the 7th fastest time of 14:11.87. Hagen ran this converted time in the 5000 at the Mines Alumni Classic & Multi. Hagen recently placed 8th at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships with an unconverted time of 15:46.90.

With the 8th fastest time entering the event is Jacob Klemz from Washburn. Klemz has run 14:12.49 at the GVSU Big Meet, this time is a huge improvement for Klemz as he ran 14:28.75 at the Mel Tjeerdsma Classic in December. Expect Klemz to lower his time at NCAAs.

The start of Charlie Sweeney’s (Western Colorado) season was very impressive as he finished 4th in the 5000 with an unconverted time of 15:10.56 at the ASU Early Grizzly Open against heavy competition that included Sydney Gidabuday (Adams State) and teammate Taylor Stack. Continuing his success, Sweeney ran a personal best of 14:13.02 at the 2019 Husky Classic giving him the #9 fastest time entering the race. He's the name no one is talking about and has the potential to surprise a few names.

Karim Achegli of NW Missouri and Gideon Kimutai of Missouri Southern have some history together from earlier in the season. While Achegli has a faster time in the event of 14:13.09 over Kimutai’s 14:13.17, Kimutai just recently beat Achegli at the MIAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. It will be very interesting to see who wins this battle at NCAA' as these two men are seemingly the exact same runners.

Tanner Chada of Grand Valley State holds the #12 fastest time coming into the race with a time of 14:16.51 ran at the GVSU Holiday Open in December. This was the only time Chada has run the 5000 this season.

At the 2019 Husky Classic, Dane Blomquist from Adams State ran a personal best of 14:16.70 giving him the #13 fastest time in the race. Recently, Blomquist placed 12th at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships with an unconverted time of 15:53.14 in the 5000. It may not be the most encouraging result, but don't look too much into that result. Running sub-14:20 puts him in good company and it's better to have an off-day at the conference championships than at Nationals.

Luke Greer of Carson-Newman just recently won the South Atlantic Conference Championship in the 5000 with a time of 14:48.74. The impressive win and a personal best of 14:16.82 at the 2019 Husky Open will make Greer a dark horse in the 5000.

Jack Mastandrea from Charleston (W.V.) has improved drastically this season. In January at the 2019 Spire Midwest Open Indoor T&F Meet, Mastandrea ran a time of 14:34.31. However, just one month later at the GVSU Big Meet, he dropped his time to the #15 fastest mark in the country (14:17.20).

Just a couple of weeks ago, Kyle Moran of Colorado Mines impressively placed 5th in the 5000 at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships over great competition. Earlier this season, Moran ran a converted time of 14:17.56 at the Mines vs CSU-Pueblo vs MSU-Denver meet.

This will definitely be a two-man competition at the top between Gidabuday and Panning. It’ll be interesting to see if there is anyone that wants to step up to the forefront and throw their name into the hat. Panning is the most recent 5000 meter champion (outdoors) while Gidabuday is looking to repeat as the 5000 meter distance for indoors and add a seventh national title to his trophy case.

5000 (Women)

Caroline Kurgat has been dominating just about every distance this season. Kurgat is entering the national meet with a time of 15:28.46 in the 5000 meters. This time was run at the 2019 UW Invitational and is over 50 seconds faster than the next competitor. Not only that, but Kurgat has also run a personal best of 9:07.05 in the 3000 meters at the 2019 UW Preview. We also can't forget that Kurgat just recently won the mile at the GNAC Indoor Track & Field Championships with a fast time of 4:47.86.

The senior from Adams State, Eilish Flanagan, will look to challenge Kurgat for the national title. Flanagan is entering the race with the #2 fastest time in the country with a 16:19.45. Like Kurgat, Flanagan also has great range as she just won the 3000 meter title at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championship with an unconverted time of 10:01.23.

Leah Hanle of Mount Olive enters the race with the #3 fastest time of 16:23.52. Hanle is recently coming off an easy win in the 5000 at the Conference Carolinas Indoor Track & Field Championships with a time of 19:18.22. She may be one of the more underrated competitors in this field and holds plenty of upset potential.

Hanna Groeber had a very impressive start to the season at the GVSU Holiday Open where she ran the #4 fastest time in the nation with a time of 16:25.99. However, just recently, Groeber finished 3rd in the 5000 at the GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships with a time of 17:23.98. It will be interesting to see how Groeber bounces back at NCAA’s where she will likely be aiming for a podium spot.

Emily Roberts from U-Mary is coming off an outstanding performance at the 2019 NSIC Track & Field Indoor Championship where she took home 1st place in the 5000 meters with a time of 16:58.65. Earlier in the season at the SDSU Indoor Classic, Roberts ran her personal best of 16:37.74, giving her the #5 best time entering the race. She may not win a national title, but she is incredibly consistent and may have the highest probability of finishing as an All-American.

Malena Grover of Adams State did not start her indoor campaign early like many others. Grover opened up her season in January and hit her stride a month later, running 16:38.88 at the 2019 Husky Classic in February. Grover recently showed out at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships winning the 5000 meter title with an unconverted time of 18:06.86.

Kennedy Rufener of Western Colorado is entering NCAA’s with the #7 fastest time of 16:39.26. Earlier this season at the ASU Early Grizzly Open, Rufener was beaten by Kaylee Bogina of Adams State and will likely want revenge this weekend.

Bogina holds the #8 fastest time in the race with a 16:40.74 ran at the 2019 Husky Classic, where Rufener beat Bogina. It will be fascinating to see who wins the battle this time around.

Gina Patterson from Grand Valley State has raced the 5000 once this indoor season, running 16:42.50 at the GVSU Big Meet. Despite not racing the 5k a lot this season, it will be interesting to see how she handles this race on the biggest stage with some of the country's best athletes.

Eileen Stressling of Azusa Pacific had a very impressive outing at the 2019 UW Invitational, running 16:43.33 to put her at the #10 spot on the NCAA leader board. She looked a little iffy at the Husky Classic, but should still be in the All-American conversation.

Jessica Gockley of Grand Valley State has majorly improved throughout this season in the 5000 meters. At the GVSU Holiday Open in January, Gockley ran 17:01.43 in the event. Three months later at the GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships, Gockley impressively dropped her time by almost 18 seconds to win the 5000 in a time of 16:43.63. If Gockley keeps improving the way she is, she can be a contender for a top spot.

Hannah Thompson of Malone popped off her season running the #12 mark in the nation at the GVSU Holiday Open in December with a time of 16:43.68. At the Kent State Tune-Up, a very tactical 5000 forced Thompson to settle for 4th. Based on that result, it's fair to say that Thompson may benefit from a quicker race.

The two teammates from Grand Valley State, Malea Teerman and Stacey Metzger, will also look to compete for All-American status. Teerman is currently entering the race with the #13 time in the country (16:45.57) while Metzger is right behind her teammate with the#14 fastest time (16:48.06).

Alexa Shindruk of Central Washington is coming into NCAA’s with the 15th fastest time in the event with a 16:48.43 ran at the 2019 Husky Classic. Shindruk has great range whereas she has a personal best of 9:42.19 in the 3000.

Madison Goen from Grand Valley State only had to run the event just once this indoor season to get her into NCAA’s. At the GVSU Big Meet, Goen ran 16:53.46 to seed her at #16 spot in this field.

Within three month’s time, Allison Dorr from Saginaw Valley dropped her time from 17:14.87 at the GVSU Holiday Open to 16:53.60 at the GVSU Big Meet. This improvement will give Dorr a shot at All-American status.

Ida Narbuvoll of U-Mary ran a personal best of 16:54.38 at the SDSU Indoor Classic to get her into the national meet. Recently Narbuvoll placed 2nd in the 5000 at the 2019 NSIC Track and Field Indoor Championship with a time of 17:08.51.

Lauren Bailey of Indianapolis made a 10-second improvement in the event to give her a ticket to NCAA’s. At the GVSU Holiday Open in December, Bailey ran a time of 17:05.54. Three months later at the GVSU Big Meet Bailey dropped a time of 16:55.44.

This race is Kurgat’s to lose and there’s no real question about it as she holds a 50 second lead over her next competitor. She will likely take it from the gun and see if anyone can hang with her. The race for second place could be one of the most interesting races of the weekend.

Distance Medley (Men)

Editors note: Entries / lineup orders could change

The top three teams on this list are all from the RMAC and all have altitude converted times that have put them under the automatic qualifying mark.

The rankings are led by Western Colorado who set the nation's leading time on their home track in the middle of February. The squad of Woodrow Murray-Wood, Juman Randall. Gage Mayo, and Charlie Sweeney were able to knock off the team from Colorado Mines. They ran a raw time of 10:12.19 and saw it convert down to 9:45.61.

Murray-Wood and Randall are entered in the mile and 800 individually and it’ll be interesting to see how their legs feel just a couple hours after their events.

Colorado Mines sits at a 9:46.17 conversion after a 10:09.61 on their home track back towards the end of January. Their squad was Miller Kettle, Triston Sisneros, Josh Evans, and Luke Julian. Evans will be racing in the mile prelims earlier in the day while everyone else will be fresh for the Orediggers. Colorado Mines is going to have a great shot at living up to their #2 seed on Friday.

Adams State is the #3 seed and the team that qualified for this meet is very interesting. Elias Gedyon, Augie Larranaga, Kale Adams, and Sydney Gidabuday ran a time of 10:08.41 at the Power 5 meet a week before Mines ran their top mark. At the time, it was the #1 performance in the country.

That being said, with Gidabuday running the 5000 right before the relay, it’d be hard pressed to see him running the anchor leg. Gedyon will be racing the mile beforehand and he seems to be more of a fit to anchor this team given he is individually entered in the mile and 3000.

With the loss of Austin Anaya due to eligibility reasons, the Grizzlies could be in a bind to find someone to help them stay competitive with the other teams in this event.

Stonehill qualified on the last weekend possible with a team of Nickolas McNamee, Joseph Connolly, Stephen Vercollone, and Lucas Taxter. They ran a raw time of 9:47.24 to lock them in as the #4 seed. Vercollone is entered in the 800 while Taxter is entered in the mile. Both should be a part of this relay that looks to upset some of the nations best.

Grand Valley State reminds me of Adams State with their roster that ran 9:47.55. It consisted of Dennis Mbuta, Thomas Capers, Nick Salomon, and Zach Panning. Mbuta is only entered in the mile individually, Capers is entered in the 400, and Panning is entered in the 5000. I am not sure that Panning will take part in this relay, but if he does it’ll be an interesting weekend for him. I’d expect Mbuta to be on the anchor which gives the Lakers their best chance at winning the title.

CSU-Pueblo is another team that enters with an altitude converted mark. They consist of Patrick Scoggins, Shawn Horne, Devundrick Walker, and Thomas Staines. They ran 10:13.92 at the RMAC Championships to take home the victory. Walker and Staines are both entered in the 800 earlier in the day and they both should still be entered on the relay.

Staines anchoring here is an interesting choice as he is clearly in great shape and has run 1:46 earlier this year for 800 meters. If there’s any reason on why the race slows down at the mile leg, I would not be surprised at all to see him try and blow the doors off the competition the last half.

Sioux Falls is an interesting team and a potential dark horse coming in. Zach Lundberg, Trey Furgeson, Billy Beseman, and Mason Phillips ran 10:01.83 at the Stinger Open and saw their time convert to 9:48.17. Lundberg opted for the 3000 instead of the mile, leaving him fresh for the relay while the rest of his team will only be competing in the DMR. Expect a full-blown effort from them to take home this title. I wonder if there will be a change in Lundberg and Phillips in terms of who runs the 1200 and mile...

Simon Fraser ran 9:49.47 at the Seattle Pacific Final Qualifier and moved themselves up into the #8 seed coming in. Pierre-Louis Detourbe, Nate St. Romain, Carlos Vargas, and Rowan Doherty looks to be the roster that is running for the Clan this weekend. Detourbe is entered in the mile and is the only athlete that is racing beforehand. Their attempt to ensure they qualified on the final weekend leads me to believe that they are all in on the DMR and would love to show that the GNAC is more than just Western Oregon.

Black Hills State ran their qualifying time at the same meet Sioux Falls did. They ran 10:03.69 and saw it move down to 9:49.99. Jordan Theisen, Tristan Hepp, Levi Fried, and Jonah Theisen are the team for the Yellowjackets. This the only race for all four members of the team. Look for them to play spoiler.

Alaska Anchorage was apart of that Seattle Pacific Final Qualifier that saw three GNAC teams move themselves into qualifying position. Felix Kemboi, Nathanial Brunett, Eduardo Orozco, and Drew Johnson were the four to run 9:50.19. Like Black Hills State this will be the only race for these four athletes.

Western Oregon was that final GNAC team to make it into Nationals on the final weekend with a 9:50.69. The two-time reigning champs will be looking for a three-peat with a lineup of Justin Crosswhite, Gave Arce-Torres, Curt Knott, and Tyler Jones. Not having Dustin Nading may hinder their chances a bit, but this will be the only race for these four meaning that emptying the tank is a must for them. They’ll be competitive, that I am sure of.

The final team getting in is Minnesota State who was the 3rd place team at the Stinger Open behind Sioux Falls and Black Hills. They ran 10:05.43 with their constructed roster of Jacob Wahlers, John Schuster, Aaron Mayfield, and Austin Pasch. The only athlete with a race before the DMR is Schuster who is entered in the 400. Luckily, the 400 leg can be minimal in terms of affecting the outcome of this relay.

This is a tough race to predict as many things happen during the course of each leg, but I think that if it does slow down on the final leg, teams are going to have a hard time holding CSU-Pueblo off with Staines being their anchor. Taxter from Stonehill is a great miler as well and if Gedyon of Adams State is the anchor, it’ll be interesting to see who wins out. Teams that will be in play should be Sioux Falls, Simon Fraser, and Grand Valley State.

Distance Medley (Women)

The women’s DMR sees Alaska Anchorage sit three seconds clear of the #2 team in Adams State. Ruth Cvancara, Vanessa Aniteye, Danielle McCormick, and Caroline Kurgat ran 11:23.47 at the GNAC Championships and are favorites for the national title. McCormick is looking to defend her title in the 800 as she races in the prelims earlier in the day. Kurgat is an interesting topic as she is entered in the 5000 right before. She is 50 seconds clear of the #2 seed in that event so the double can conceivably be done if she wanted to race the 5000 and then the DMR.

Adams State ran 11:54.83 at the RMAC Championships to move into #2 on the seed list. Eilish Flanagan, HaLeigh Hunter-Galvan, Stephanie Cotter, and Roisin Flanagan was the team that took home the championship on that day. Roisin Flanagan and Cotter are both slated to run the mile prelims earlier in the day while Eilish Flanagan is racing the 5000 right before. It’ll be interesting to see how the Adams team is shuffled around in order for the best success as there is sure to be changes.

Grand Valley State ran 11:27.31 at their home meet at the beginning of February with a roster of Rachael Walters, Heather Johnson, Abby Crouch, and Allie Ludge. Just like Adams State, there could be changes coming for the Lakers as Walters is running the 800, and Ludge is running the mile. If this team doesn’t change any of its members they have a great chance at competing for the DMR crown. If AAU and ASU change theirs, they’d be the favorites in my book as they are eight seconds ahead of the #4 seed.

Simon Fraser ran 11:35.62 at the UW Invitational in late January and boasted a team of Paige Nock, Renate Bluschke, Sophie Dodd and Addy Townsend. This is a team that I feel like could sneak in and take home the title because they have two very good runners in Dodd and Townsend. Both Dodd and Townsend are entered in the 800 and will be looking to make noise there. It’s worth noting that Townsend had the #2 fastest mile time in the country and she dropped the race in a likely attempt to bolster their chances at winning the DMR.

Southwest Baptist enters as the #5 seed with their time of 11:37.16. Stephanie Penticuff, Tamia Rayford, Oluwabukola Pereira, and Elysia Burgos make up the team. Burgos is the only runner that will be participating in an individual race on the weekend and it’ll be in the mile.

The CSU-Pueblo women come in ranked the same as the men as the #6 seed with their time of 11:37.93. They consist of Hailey Streff, Tatianna Clanton, Yasmine Hernandez, and Nicole Bouma. None of these runners are entered in any individuals events and with fresh legs, they’ll be looking to find their way into the top five.

Cedarville finds themselves sitting in the #7 seed after their 11:48.27 time from the G-MAC Championships was given a track conversion that bumped it down to 11:40.77. They are three seconds back of CSU-Pueblo and it presents a possible break within our list. With Sarah Hoffman, Olivia Hoffman, Rachel Sweeney, and Carsyn Koch-Johnson, the possibility of finishing inside the top eight is a realistic endeavor as Koch-Johnson is the only athlete that is running an individual event over the weekend (800). The fresh legs should bode well for them.

Mount Olive is another team that looks to be in good position to place well. Celine Ritter, Jacqueline Thring, Shona Blades, and Leah Hanle ran a time of 11:49.13 at the JDL DMR Invitational. The time converted down to 11:41.62. The question at hand here is if Hanle will run the 5000 and then come right back and anchor the mile for her team. The likely guess is no, especially since she is also entered in the 3000 the next day.

UC-Colorado Springs has the potential to be a team that upsets a lot of other teams. Their team of Maia Austin, Dejah Glover, Layla Almsari and Skylyn Webb ran 12:05.05 at the Colorado running Company Mountain Lion Open the second weekend of February. It converts down to 11:41.65 and has them sitting #9 right now. A big reason the Mountain Lions could be a factor at the end is because of Webb. She is running the 800 beforehand, but if they are close at the end, Webb’s backend speed could be deadly as she could be picking athletes off.

Winona State is the #10 seed after they ran 11:50.74 at the Maverick invite. With a team of Hope Willenbrink, Brittany Schyvinck, Allison Johnson, and Anna Rogahn there’s a strong possibility that they can improve upon their current seeding. Schyvinck and Rogahn are penciled into running events earlier in the day with Schyvinck in the 200 and Rogahn in the mile. You could easily see this lineup change with an emphasis on individual results.

Walsh comes in as the #11 seed with a time of 11:43.70 that was run at the GVSU Big Meet in February. Alexa Leppelmeier, Jetaiya Smith, Megan Soehnlen, and Andra Lehotay were on the team that ran that mark, but considering they have an almost identical time with a different athlete on the 800 leg, we could see a variation of this team. Lehotay is the only athlete that is entered in an individual event and she’ll be running the mile. It’s a possibility that she could be replaced for someone else.

The last team making into the national meet is Malone. They have a time of 11:44.54 that was run at the GVSU Big Meet where they finished behind the likes of Walsh. Their team consists of Jasmine Penrod, Rebekah Carr, Katie Grimes, and Hannah Thompson. It’s more than likely that Thompson will not be running the mile leg for Malone as she is entered in the 5000 and the 3000 on the weekend.

This race is obviously dependent upon who is entered and a part of the relay team. I don’t think that Alaska Anchorage and Adams State are going to be running the same squads as they did earlier in the year. I think Grand Valley State has the greatest opportunity to run away with this even though they have athletes in some preliminary heats beforehand. I also really like the team of Simon Fraser if they run the same team that they did in January.