Penn State’s Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track has been home to a number of record attempts at the 600 and 1000 meter distances throughout the years. While this year’s group does not appear to be tackling any all-time NCAA marks, a number of 800 meter runners are dropping down in distance in preparation for conference races and a little bit more speed work.
Headlining the field is Olivia Arizin of Georgetown who has not appeared since December 1st. Arizin has a collegiate PR of 2:09.00 for 800, but has run 2:06.80 during her high school career. Arizin’s teammate Lexi Del Gizzo could also contend for the race win this weekend. Del Gizzo has only raced the 500 and 600 so far this indoor season and could use her experience at the event to spell an upset. Cathilyn McIntosh will also represent the Hoyas.
The home team’s Victoria Tachinski should be considered the favorite, however. Tachinski has already raced the 600 this season, finishing in 1:30.79 and has run 2:10.54 over four laps in 2019. That 600 is the fastest in the field by three seconds. Fellow Nittany Lion Antoinette Bradley raced the 600 last weekend as well and comes in with the second fastest time in the field, 1:33.33.
Cornell sports two contenders for the title as well with Elise Burdette and Allyson Gaedje. Both have already run 1:17 for 500 meters earlier this season. Penn’s Ellen Byrnes has run 1:16 for 500 and 1:35 for 600. Pittsburgh’s Alexis Leech has also run 1:15.83 and 1:36.80 before, but does not appear to be at that level of fitness just yet. Closing out the field is UMBC’s Ariella Garcia who has PR's of 1:17.90 and 1:37.51 for 500 and 600.
1. Victoria Tachinski (PSU)
2. Antoinette Bradley (PSU)
3. Olivia Arizin (Georgetown)
4. Ellen Byrnes (Penn)
5. Elise Burdette (Cornell)
This race has the potential to be the single best race in the nation this weekend. NCAA 1000m record holder Danae Rivers returns to action after her record setting run two weeks ago. Her PR of 2:02.53 is the top of the field and obviously Rivers has the strength from her 1000m and mile experience. Rivers could definitely challenge the NCAA #1 mark in the 800 of 2:03.77 if the race goes out quickly enough. Penn State’s Victoria Tachinski is also entered in the 800 alongside Elyse Skerpon. Skerpon has never raced a full 800m before while Tachinski is returning from the 600. Both could challenge late in the pack if they complete the race, or could be pacers for the early part of the race. Grace Trucilla was added to the field as a late addition as well.
Martha Bissah of Norfolk State is the closest competitor to challenge for the win with her PR of 2:03.75 and a 6th place finish at the NCAA Championships. Bissah has shown her own strength this indoor season as well with a solo 2:45 victory in the 1000 meters last weekend. Bissah will also want to return to the NCAA Championships so expect her to challenge Rivers to a quick time.
Penn’s Nia Akins has also reached an NCAA Championships in the past and just set a top five NCAA time in the 800 of 2:05.86. Her Penn teammates Katherine Devore and Melissa Tenaka could also make a splash with a top five placing. UMBC’s Kaya Knake has also run sub 2:05 and should make it a foursome of individuals attempting to earn top NCAA marks.
Army West Point’s Cassie Mundekis ran an impressive 800/1000 double last week and could challenge for a spot in the top five. Richmond duo, Brooke Fazio and Maria Acosta, both have some impressive marks which could make this race very interesting. Fazio has run 2:07 for 800 and gone 1:14 for 500 meter this winter. Acosta sports the same past results.
University of Toronto’s Jazz Shukla and UT UC’s Madeleine Kelly will also be in the race. Shukla has run 1:30.27 for 600 and could become a major player as well.
With 14 athletes entered, Penn State has opted to run two heats. The fast section is slated to include only six athletes: Elyse Skerpon (PSU), Danae Rivers (PSU), Kaya Knake (UMBC), Madeleine Kelly (UTUC), Martha Bissah (Norfolk State), and Nia Akins (Penn). The other eight athletes will compete in a second heat. While this does alleviate concerns about a single heat being too crowded, it is certainly surprising to see a heat of only six athletes.
Hopefully that decision facilitates some quick times.
1. Danae Rivers (PSU)
2. Martha Bissah (Norfolk State)
3. Nia Akins (Penn)
4. Kaya Knake (UMBC)
5. Jazz Shukla (Toronto)
The 1000 is probably one of the weaker events this weekend, but still has some opportunity for quick times. Monmouth will provide three members of the nine-person field which includes Sarah Crissman, Amber Stratz, and Kyra Velock. Velock has the best credentials of the group with a 2:08 800 PR, while Stratz and Crissman are stronger at the mile than the 800. Stratz ran 4:54 last week.
Penn’s Caroline O’Sullivan has run 4:59.60 for the mile in her first collegiate season. Bucknell’s Tiara Tardy has run 2:51 for 1000 meters before, but has been a number of seconds off her PR's from previous seasons. Her best result so far in 2019 is a 2:14 at 800 meters.
Cornell’s Sara O’Malley has run 2:55 for the 1k this year at Boston. Vermont’s Caroline O’Shea has also attempted the 1000 this year and has run 2:59.26. Teammate Lauren Trumble has attempted only longer races so far in 2019, but has one of the better results in the field with a 4:57.19. Toronto’s Avery Garrett-Patterson might actually claim this victory for Canada with a PR of 2:52.59.
The non-invitational section might actually come away with the fastest time of the weekend over 1000 meters. Hayley Jackson of West Virginia has predominantly been a longer distance star, but could drop a quick time. Penn State’s Grace Trucilla has run 2:11 and 2:53.87 in the past and could certainly top the results of the invitational section.
1. Kyra Velock (Monmouth)
2. Avery Garrett-Patterson (Toronto)
3. Lauren Trumble (Vermont)
4. Amber Stratz (Monmouth)
5. Sara O’Malley (Cornell)
Danae Rivers returns for the double this weekend to earn a mile qualifier alongside the 800. Rivers will be the favorite in this race as well because of her 4:32 PR and her collegiate record run from two weeks ago. No one should be able to really challenge her if she’s anywhere near her best. An interesting addition to this race is Marissa Sheva, also of Penn State, who has bounced between soccer and track throughout her college career. Sheva has a best time of 4:45 for the mile, but ran only 5:02 last weekend. She will need to return to her best form to be a factor.
Georgetown sports a foursome of athletes, led by Paige Hofstad. Hofstad ran 9:39 for 3k at the Nittany Lion Challenge and established herself as a strong threat throughout this past cross country season. Kennedy Weisner has one of the fastest mile PRs in the field at 4:37.92, but has only run 2:50 for 1000 meters this year. Meg Mathison is also in the field after running 4:56.83 for the mile at the Nittany Lion Challenge. Josette Norris has run 4:46 during her collegiate career and could push her teammates to quicker times.
The two Cornell athletes in the field, Briar Brumley and Annie Taylor, could also be a factor. Brumley’s best result on the year was a flat track 2:54 for 1k, while Taylor has range from 1000 to 3000 with a 2:52, 4:58, and 9:47 this season all on flat tracks. Penn’s Danielle Orie has run 5:01.64 this year and 4:51 in the past. Army West Point’s Abby Halbrook has a 4:54 to her name this season and should be a top five threat. The final athlete is Nuria Tillo-Prats of East Carolina who ran a 2:16/2:54 (800/1000) double last week.
1. Danae Rivers (Penn State)
2. Paige Hofstad (Georgetown)
3. Annie Taylor (Cornell)
4. Kennedy Weisner (Georgetown)
5. Abby Halbrook (Army West Point)
Taylor Knibb of Cornell enters this race with a flat-track time of 9:42. That times converted into the NCAA top five when it was run in earlier in December and still remains in the top 30. Her teammates Audrey Huelskamp and Gabrielle Orie could also have an impact in the race. Orie ran 9:25.52 a year ago, but has struggled to find form this academic year. This race might change that.
LaSalle sports the Mancini sisters in this race. Grace was a surprise 2nd place finisher at the Mid-Atlantic Regional XC meet and has run 9:43 for 3k. Her sister Elizabeth is entering her first collegiate 3k.
Penn State’s Jordan Williams should also be considered for a good race after running 4:55 and 10:02 this year. Teammate Kathryn Munks leads the Nittany Lions at 3k so far this year with a time of 9:54. We also can't forget about Moria O’Shea who ran 4:56 last weekend.
Maryland’s Brittany Lang leads the Terapins at 5:03 in the mile this season and will be moving up this weekend for this race. St. Joseph’s (PA) Lindsey Oremus will be a contender for a top five finish as well after running 10 flat earlier this winter.
A spoiler for the collegiate field could be Marlee Starliper, a high schooler representing Northern (PA). Starliper has run 9:45.92 for 3k before and has set US Top 10 marks in the 3k (9:55.39) and 1k (2:50.25) in 2019.
1. Taylor Knibb (Cornell)
2. Marlee Starliper (Northern (PA))
3. Kathryn Munks (PSU)
4. Moria O’Shea (PSU)
5. Gabrielle Orie (Cornell)
Cornell, East Carolina, and Richmond all have three entries in this 13 person field. Cornell’s Eve Glasergreen should lead the Big Red with her career PR's of 16:49 and a 9:47 over 3k this season. Teammate Gracie Todd has run 10:03 on a flat-track this season on the double and could make a good run, while Big Red runner Isabella Dobson will look to improve on her 17:38.83 PR.
Richmond’s group contains Jordan Angers, who PR’ed in her last race – a 10:02.97 over 3k. Eryn Mills will also represent the Spiders with her 17:04 PR as will Courtney Thompson with her 17:12 best.
East Carolina’s trio contains two freshman Abby Yourkavitch and Anna Bristle. Bristle leads the team at the mile and 3k so far in 2019 with a 5:02/10:03 pairing. Yourkavitch is within a handful of seconds of her teammate at both events. Junior Mikayla Stoudt has run 10:05.70 for 3k this year for her PR.
LaSalle’s Megan Connell is the only Explorer in the race with a 10:26 effort earlier this season. Penn’s Alyssa Condell has run 5k already this season with a 17:14 result prior to the winter break. Allegheny’s Emily Forner has run 10:15.87 this season and has broken 17 minutes in her collegiate career. Vermont’s Samantha Sayer rounds out the field with a PR of 17:08. Her best race this indoor season is a 10:15 3k.
1. Eve Glasergreen (Cornell)
2. Eryn Mills (Richmond)
3. Emily Former (Allegheny)
4. Alyssa Condell (Penn)
5. Anna Bristle (East Carolina)
This race features five teams: Penn State (x2), Penn, Richmond, and Cornell. With the DMR on Friday night, we could see a number of quick efforts with athletes doubling back for Saturday. Penn State will probably leave Danae Rivers off their relay due to a potential double, but they have a number of individuals to choose from. Kathryn Munks and Jordan Williams in particular could run mile legs before running the 3k the next day. Marissa Sheva could also appear alongside Antoinette Bradley or Moria O’Shea. Regardless, without Victoria Tachinski and Danae Rivers, Penn State will likely not be running a full A team. If they do, this race could establish the new NCAA #1.
Cornell has a strong potential team lined up with Annie Taylor and Taylor Knibb running the 1200 and mile legs. Both have shown strength over multiple events. Christina Welzer would be a likely figure on the 800 leg.
Penn could also load up a relay led by Nia Akins. Akins, alongside a team of Melissa Tanaka and Katherine Devore for 1200 and 800 could certainly challenge . for the current NCAA #1 spot. Richmond could also challenge with a lineup of Caroline Robelen, Ave Grosenheider, Claire Brown, and others.
Without full team lineups, there will be no predictions here. However, if each of these teams attempt a full lineup, Penn State should be the favorite ahead of Penn and Cornell. With a full A-squad, expect a time between 11:10 and 11:20. Results in the mid to high 11 minute range should be expected with makeshift squads.