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How This Works
Each writer picks five teams.
Snake draft order is determined by random selection.
Scoring determined by placement at Nationals. If a team does not qualify for Nationals, then the team scores 32 points. Lowest point total wins.
If a team wins their regional meet in a region that sends less than four teams to Nationals, then the writer who drafted that team gets a one point reduction.
If a team wins their regional meet in a region that sends four or more teams to Nationals, then the writer who drafted that team gets a two point reduction.
If a team wins their conference meet in a conference that sends less than three teams to Nationals, then the writer who drafted that team gets a one point reduction.
If a team wins their conference meet in a conference that sends three or more teams to Nationals, then the writer who drafted that team gets a two point reduction.
Round One Selections
Ben: Arkansas is the clear number one choice. They have been, by far, the steadiest team in the NCAA with Taylor Werner leading the way and Katie Izzo and Devin Clark supporting her as pleasant surprises. Throw in the fact that they are the favorites to win the SEC and South Central titles, and they could score negative points for me.
Garrett: Stanford is the best option at #2. They are just super deep and have proven to be a consistent podium contender year in and year out. They have outstanding firepower and a number of options on their backend. Plus, we haven’t seen Christina Aragon yet, so there’s more potential upside there if she does run this season. They are very close to a lock for the 2nd place spot at Nationals.
Sam: The third pick was challenging because I think BYU, Stanford, and Washington could win it all on the right day. Washington has somewhat of an unknown star in Melany Smart and Lilli Burdon always seems to come out of nowhere at NCAA's. I think Smart, Rainsberger, and Burdon could all be in the top 25 if everything breaks perfectly for them which would be huge for the Huskies. Heck, I even think that they could win it all - especially if Arkansas doesn’t run Robinson and someone has a bad day.
Maura: I’ve got to stay true to the Beehive state and go with who I know is the best...and that is the BYU women. Whittni Orton, Erica Birk-Jarvis, and Courtney Wayment are a great trio leading this team and each of them have the potential to finish in the top 20 at NCAA's. Runners #4 and #5 are easily interchangeable for BYU and that will work to their advantage. If Orton and/or Aubrey Frentheway had raced at Pre-Nationals, BYU would have easily placed ahead of Washington.
Logan: I like this pick. Colorado always finds a way to make it work come NCAA’s and it’s just hard for me to believe they won’t place inside the top five, if not the podium. It may seem like a gamble, but I like their odds. I thought about taking NC State, but I just couldn’t bring myself to take them over a team like Colorado.
Brian: I feel like the top five was pretty clear-cut, so when I landed up at the #6 spot, I had some choices. I went with an NC State team who raced well at Wisconsin where they finished 3rd, but were only 16 points ahead of two other teams. This team is deep, but they're relying on some youth and there are a few inconsistencies here and there. I’ll be honest, I’m worried about this pick.
Michael: I picked Wisconsin here because I think Alicia Monson can win the individual title and lead the Badgers to a finish worthy of a first-round pick. What makes me nervous about it is that Wisconsin might not even be the best team in their conference or region. That’s why I picked Michigan State next. If Wisconsin can’t win the BIG 10 and/or Great Lakes region, then I think Michigan State can, which will give me the reduction bonus.
Round One Discussion
Ben: For Maura to get BYU at four is really good value especially if they get Whittni Orton back. With the possibility for two point reductions - and Washington and Stanford fighting over the PAC-12 and West region titles - I think they had a case to be the number two pick given their regional and conference point incentives.
Garrett: Colorado is a bit of gamble given their recent struggles with backend scoring, but they ALWAYS peak at Nationals and have two veteran low-stick All-Americans on their roster. I don’t totally hate the pick while others may have been more cautious.
Logan: I’ll agree with Garrett, it is a bit of a gamble, but one I’m willing to take. With Colorado on the board still, I just couldn’t bring myself to go against them. No one else seemed like a safer pick in my eyes, and they have the best shot of placing in the top five of who was left.
Sam: Honestly, I think any of the top five drafted teams could win Nationals. Stanford hasn’t run Aragon. Washington didn’t run Smart at Pre-Nats. BYU didn’t run Orton at Pre-Nats. Arkansas hasn't run Robinson. Colorado hasn’t run Covert or Venters. There are still a few unknowns that could potentially swing the team title race. Who knows?
Ben: I hate how down I am on Colorado because they are going to make me look dumb and peak at NCAA's to finish on the podium.
Maura: Sam is 100% correct. Each of the top five teams have questions surrounding their rosters, but just wait because a team may come out with some tricks up their sleeve in the coming weeks.
Brian: No real surprises here as the first seven teams selected are (in my eyes) the best seven teams in the country at this moment.
Michael: Nothing here shocked me either, this lineup seems pretty clear-cut at this point. Teams like Utah have made things interesting at times, so we will have to wait and see if a surprise team that was picked later in the draft can come up big at NCAA's.
Round Two Selections
Sam: The Lobos have Kelati (possibly #1) and Kurgat (top 10?). They should be a top 10 team at NCAA's if Adva Cohen returns. If others run better than expected, they may take down a team or two ranked ahead of them.
Maura: NAU has proven that they are on another level this fall after posting superb finishes at John McNichols and Nuttycombe. Taryn O’Neill has definitely performed better at NAU than she did at Villanova last fall, although part of that can be attributed to simply being another year older. Mikayla Malaspina and Miranda Myers have created a great pack in the middle of their lineup and their #4 and #5 runners have held their own. The entirety of their top five is what will lead NAU to major success this postseason.
Garrett: I went with Utah, but I really didn’t want to. Maura and Sam both took of my picks (NAU and New Mexico) because I thought they would be strong favorites to win their respective conference meets. That said, I think people are overlooking Utah. They didn’t run Scarlet Dale at Nuttycombe and if they had, they are competing for a top five spot in that meet. If she returns, then the Utes are a solid choice at the national meet.
Ben: My second round pick was tough. I was hoping Utah would fall, but Garrett grabbed them right before I could. Boise State has been a very solid team so far, and I think they are a safe bet to be a top 15 team at NCAA's. At the 14th overall pick, I’ll take that.
Brian: I liked this Michigan pick. They had their five runners in before Colorado’s #5 runner at Pre-Nats. If they can move their deep pack closer to freshman Ericka VanderLende, don’t be surprised if the Wolverines pull off an upset or two at NCAA’s.
Logan: I was really hoping to snag Michigan, but if it wasn’t the Wolverines, I was going with the Seminoles. I like this team a lot and with Skyring and Funderburk acting as interchangeable low-sticks, I think they have the potential to break inside the top 10.
Michael: Michigan State has great depth this year, and as we saw at Nuttycombe, they have a lot of women to choose from for their lineup. Look out for the Spartans later this season because I think it will take a lot for them to have a bad day.
Round Two Discussion
Ben: Man, I was hoping that either Utah or New Mexico were going to fall to me and it looked like they were going to. I think both are high upside picks who could be top five teams at NCAA's on the right day.
Sam: Boise State could surprise. Some may argue that Clare O’Brien has been underperforming this fall, but she could make a jump at NCAA's where she ends up as a top 30 talent. Maybe top 20 on the right day...
Garrett: I was thinking that Ben should have taken Air Force after Boise State. If there were odds that either of those teams would win the Mountain West title over New Mexico, I would have taken that bet.
Ben: Dang, that was a good idea. I went with the guaranteed conference title with Furman.
Sam: Wait...Garrett, you could have taken them both and you didn’t...
Garrett: Yeah...I only thought of it after he took Boise State. I never said I was smart.
Sam: No one said any of us were smart...
Brian: I feel a lot better about my picks now.
Michael: So do I! There’s no chance my picks from the first two rounds don’t make it.
Logan: Like Michael, I could say the same with my first two picks. Colorado and FSU could almost be considered locks to advance to NCAA’s. I’m still pretty confident with my pick thus far.
Maura: If anyone has been keeping count, we have drafted seven teams to qualify out of the Mountain region. One of us is going to go home upset after the at-large bids are announced.
Ben: Maura, that is terrifying considering we have only picked 14 teams. I feel a lot worse about my pick now...
Brian: I actually love the Utah pick by Garrett and see it as an upside selection. They didn’t race well at Wisconsin, but their #4 and #5 runners had off days in comparison to their other races. Plus, they didn't race Scarlet Dale.
Round Three Selections
Ben: I went with Furman for my third round pick. They have two massive studs, Savannah Carnahan and Gabrielle Jennings who are both in our XC Top 50, and they are coming off a solid 10th place team finish at Nuttycombe. If the backend of their lineup can improve a bit, this is a team that will surprise some people this November.
Garrett: I went with Penn State here. There were plenty of teams ranked ahead of them, but I just wanted to find a team that was favored to make it out of their region. Truthfully, I’m not a huge fan of Penn State this year (I was at the beginning), but the rest of the Mid-Atlantic region has severely underwhelmed and I just don’t see how Penn State doesn’t make it to NCAA’s now. If they win their region, that’s an added bonus.
Sam: Like Garrett said, if New Mexico slips up, Air Force could win the Mountain West. If not, they should still make NCAA's. They have been an under-the-radar team that could surprise a lot of people.
Maura: The Midwest regional meet will be Illinois’ coming out party this fall. The women of Illinois have been steadily improving each week and look to be a possible automatic qualifier for NCAA's if they run to their potential. Rebecca Craddock is the team leader and is followed by a great pack of four teammates.The Illini' may not have a star finishing in the top five, but the pack in the middle portion of their lineup is what a coach likes to see heading into the postseason. I mean, only 17 seconds separated their 2-3-4.
Logan: I’m actually pretty happy that I picked the Irish women. They have a solid 1-2 punch in Rohrer and Denner and I think they have what it takes to advance to NCAA’s. Now, I don’t see them improving from their 11th place finish last year, but a top 20 finish seems reasonable, right? They do fall off a bit after their #3, but hopefully they can figure it out in time for Nationals.
Brian: I really didn’t want to take Oregon here, but I didn’t like my other options. That being said, this team is senior-heavy and I love the experience that comes with it. They have relied on Susan Ejore to be their low-stick this season, but they will need their 3-4-5 to step up in order to be competitive.
Michael: Columbia looks to be a favorite to win the Ivy League title and the Northeast region title right now, so this was an easy pick for me. They might not be a strong pick to finish in the top half of the field at NCAA's, but I’ll gladly take at least one reduction point. Columbia definitely has some work to do, especially in terms of depth, but I think they are a safe pick at this point in the draft.
Round Three Discussion
Garrett: I think this round was A LOT like the 4th round of the men’s draft. Some potential, but a lot more concerns than there was upside. Lack of depth, inconsistencies, loaded conferences or regions...all of those are issues that doesn’t make me love these picks.
Ben: I liked the Illinois pick especially with a good chance at a point reduction out of the Midwest region. Like Maura mentioned, they are going to surprise some people over the next few weeks.
Sam: Personally, I think Penn State, Illinois and Air Force are all teams that were deserving of their picks in this round.
Maura: Even though I didn’t get Columbia, I wanted to pick them somewhere in the draft, but I’m a little concerned about how far back their #5 has been finishing.
Logan: Even though I said I was happy with my pick in Notre Dame, I am still a little worried. Not much though. The fall off at their 3-4-5 is what scares me, but I think they’ll get it together and find themselves in the top 20, if not a little better.
Michael: That’s definitely a valid concern for Columbia. We’ll see how they stack up against teams like Penn and Boston College at their conference and regional meets. I have to say, I was hoping for Penn State here.
Brian: I really really really wanted Notre Dame, but Logan took them before I had the chance in the 3rd round. That being said, I think the first three picks of this round were really strong.
Round Four Selections
Ben: Back-to-back 10th place finishes at Joe Piane and Pre-Nationals doesn't exactly inspire a ton of confidence, but I think the Rebels' pack-running style will pay off at the South regional meet. They should finish 2nd behind Florida State and then be a top 20 squad at NCAA's (at least I hope they will be).
Michael: Indiana may be a risky pick here as qualifying will be tight out of the Great Lakes region. However, if the Hoosiers can make it into NCAA's, they should be able to beat some teams from weaker regions with a solid low-stick in Bailey Hertenstein, who should be able to produce an All-American finish.
Sam: We’re getting to the point of reaching. I think Minnesota will make the national meet. I don’t think they’re that great without the Hasz twins, but hey, maybe they come back...right? Regardless, I think Illinois, Oklahoma State, and Minnesota should all advance out of the Midwest regional.
Maura: Oklahoma State’s Molly Born and Taylor Somers have put themselves in a good position heading into the postseason after finishing in the top nine at Pre-Nationals. An 11th place finish at Pre-Nats wasn't great, but in a Midwest region that lacks scoring potency, that 1-2 punch could be what the Cowgirls needed if they want to contend for an automatic qualifier.
Logan: Ohio State seems like a steal to me. I know they’re not a guaranteed team to make Nationals, but I think they had the best shot of who was left. My only concern is the ability to get someone up front. They really need someone up their in the lead pack to offset the fall off of their 3-4-5. That will most likely have to be junior Abby Nichols. Still, I’m not to worried about this pick. They should still get an at-large bid.
Brian: I liked this Virginia Tech pick. They finished 7th at Pre-Nats in a strong field and that was with their #5 runner being almost 100 points behind their #4! If their #5 runner finishes closer to their #4, then they are very close to Florida State and easily beat Illinois. Of course, that is a lot of ifs...
Garrett: Texas is not good this year, but everyone in the South Central region outside of Arkansas is...well, worse. They’ll easily make it to Nationals and that’s just something I feel comfortable about in terms of qualifying security.
Round Four Discussion
Ben: This was a tough round to choose from, not a lot of great options.
Garrett: Further thinking about my Texas strategy...I really rushed that one. Not my best choice. There were a few better choices.
Maura: I was surprised by your Texas pick in the 4th round. The Longhorns would be a better 5th round pick because they just don’t perform well when it comes to NCAA's.
Brian: Texas? *Enter confused GIF*. I think there were some options left on the board in the 4th round, but overall a mostly solid group of picks.
Garrett: Again, I never said I was smart...
Garrett: Also, for what it's worth, I feel like Minnesota probably should have been a 3rd round team. I don't know who I would have replaced with the Gophers (maybe Columbia?), but I think they're a pretty decent choice.
Michael: I agree with Garrett that Minnesota probably should have been a 3rd round team. I’m kicking myself for brushing over them now!
Ben: Definitely should have thought more about Minnesota and Ohio State, I like both of those picks.
Logan: I honestly thought Ohio State would be gone before I could snag them, but I’m glad you overlooked them Ben. I like the Buckeyes potential and I think they will really come together at NCAA’s.
Round Five Selections
Ben: This was a tough one, but I’m going with a Georgetown team that should have a good chance at making NCAA's out of the Mid-Atlantic region and could win the BIG East title. Do I trust them? Not really, but I think they have more scoring potential than anyone else available.
Sam: At this point, I was just spit-balling. Butler was a team that made the USTFCCCA rankings and we considered ranking them in our XC Top 25. They may have enough Kolas points to get out of the Great Lakes meet which would be huge. They could be a sleeper team just to scrap a couple of points at NCAA's.
Maura: Boston College, for me, was a team I am using to just fish for points. They put up a decent performance at Pre-Nationals with a 9th-place finish, I’m just hoping they can compete well against the rest of the nation when it matters the most.
Logan: This was my probably my least favorite pick. Obviously being the last round, there wasn’t much to pick from. At this point, I had to think...who could realstically make NCAA’s? Penn? Maybe. I should've just went with Tulsa, and they honestly didn’t even cross my mind. Dumb on my part, but I’m not totally disappointed with this pick. There's still hope.
Garrett: The Syracuse women did not run well at all when they traveled for Nuttycombe, but I still feel strongly that they can finish inside the top two at their regional meet and even win it. Columbia will challenge them, but I think there is still upside potential for the Orange after what we saw from them at Beantown. Plus, the rest of the Northeast region (on the women’s side) is lacking quite a bit with the possible exception of Boston College who is halfway decent.
Michael: At this point, I’m just shooting for teams that I think will make NCAA's. Georgia Tech looks to be in a good position to do so in a South region that lacks depth.
Brian: I was happy with this Tulsa pick late in the 5th round. Tulsa came in a respectable 18th place at Wisconsin, beating out teams like Georgetown who were picked earlier in the draft. Led by Caitlin Klopfer, this team has some potential to make NCAA’s and surprise some people. They will need to see their 4-5 improve for my sake and hopefully they can.
Round Five Discussion
Maura: If Syracuse regroups within these next few weeks, they could be a surprise to some.
Ben: I wasn’t brave enough to pick the Orange, but I commend the courage from Garrett.
Garrett: Georgetown is a bit of a gamble bet, especially if they don’t make it to NCAA’s, but they could honestly win the BIG East title because of how weak the conference is this year. In all, that makes this a pretty high value pick considering how late in the round this was.
Michael: A lot of bold picks in this round. Georgetown and Syracuse just don’t instill a lot of confidence in me. They have the potential to win their respective regions, or they could both be staying home. My guess is that either Boston College or Syracuse make it out of the Northeast region, and right now, BC is just looking like a more solid team to me. Good pick by Maura. Butler could also be a total wildcard here. The Great Lakes region is deep, but I doubt anywhere near all seven teams that we picked from the region can make it (Editors Note: This draft was done before the release of our Kolas projections. All seven teams that we drafted are projected to qualify for Nationals in our Kolas projections. That, however, may not be the case after conference results are completed).
Maura: I have to give Michael credit for choosing Georgia Tech. They have been pretty silent this fall, but they could be a sleeper-pick.
Brian: I agree with Michael. Georgetown and 'Cuse weren’t high up on my board, but that being said, they are gutsy picks and they may prove to be well worth it come conference and regionals.
Logan: I can’t believe I let Tulsa slip by. I would've been so much more confident with my team.