The following article is a conversation among TSR writers. These draft results are for the Division 1 women. You can find all of our picks for both the men and women by clicking here...
Garrett Zatlin (TSR Founder + Admin)
John Cusick (D2 and Mountain/West regions specialist)
Ben Weisel (D1 men and South region specialist)
Michael Weidenbruch (D1 men and Mid-Atlantic/Northeast regions specialist)
Sam Ivanecky (D1 women and Midwest region specialist)
Sean Collins (D1 women and Mid-Atlantic/Northeast regions specialist)
Elliott Portillo (D2 and West region specialist)
Sean: So this is the Women’s NCAA Indoor Draft. We will work through a six-round snake draft with a random start order. Teams will be judged based on how many points at NCAA's their team will score in the distance events (800-5k and DMR), with DMR points going to the individuals so no team DMR picks. Ben was voted the best drafter in our Men’s draft so let’s see if the rest of us can dethrone him. Sam, you get to start us off this time!
Round 1 Draft Picks
Sam: Dani Jones is an easy number one. She has won the 3k indoor national title, was runner-up in the mile (and top returner), AND she also just won NCAA XC. I could see her taking a win in either the mile or 3k and probably coming back in a DMR. Basically, she could be a huge factor in numerous events.
Sean: Ednah Kurgat just ran an NCAA #3 All-Time 5k with her win at Boston University leading a super fast overall race. Kurgat was also 2nd last year behind Schweizer in the 5k and should be much better in the 3k this year. Her track prowess tells me this is going to be her season. Plus, having a time that’s guaranteed to qualify for NCAA's is always helpful.
Elliott: I am a big fan of individuals who show range. To me, Jessica Hull is a great example of an athlete with exceptional range. She's coming off of an impressive 3rd place finish at the NCAA XC champs and is looking to carry that momentum into the indoor season. A mile PR of 4:31 makes her a solid pick for the eight lap event, and her range could help cover events such as the 3k and/or 5k. She could even hop into a DMR if Oregon is up to the challenge.
Garrett: I’m going with Danae Rivers. The Penn State junior had a phenomenal sophomore campaign and I think she’ll make some noise this indoor season. She may be a top five runners in NCAA when it comes to range and I think her experience from last year gives her a ton of upside. Between the 800, Mile, DMR, and maybe even the 3000 (if she ever ventures into that area) she could be a real problem for her opponents.
Ben: Weini Kelati, the sophomore sensation, has already run 15:15 in the 5k right behind teammate Ednah Kurgat. She was 3rd in both the 3k and 5k indoors last year which, if replicated, means big points from this Lady Lobo. After a stellar campaign in cross country that saw her finish 2nd, only losing to a terrific kick by Dani Jones, I think Kelati will pick up where she left off last year.
Zach: Allie O is just an all around beast. She has proven time and time again that even despite injuries she only needs about two weeks of training to be national class. With some consistency, she could be lethal in the 5k and 3k.
Michael: Elly Henes is coming off a 16th place finish at NCAA's in XC and has the potential to score in both the 3k and 5k. I like her versatility and she comes from a powerful program at NC State. I think she is an extremely underrated athlete who has the potential to make the podium in March.
Round 1 Quick Thoughts
Garrett: Elliott stole Hull from me. I thought people were going to go for the elite distance stars like Kurgat, Kelati, Lokedi, or Ostrander due to their 3k/5k/DMR potential, but that was clearly not the case. I still like my pick a lot, but would have preferred someone a bit more established.
Elliott: Why wouldn’t Hull be a solid distance star? She’s already proven that over the 6k xc distance. To me she has enough experience to race comfortably and confidently with anybody in the country.
Garrett: I think I meant more of a long-distance star. Like Jones, she could definitely go up to the 5000 if she wanted to, but I think she’s proven to be a mile/3k runner.
Ben: I really wanted Hull as well for all the same reasons. The versatility and how well she ran in cross makes her very valuable.
Sam: Hot take - Elly Henes is an incredibly bold pick. She is certainly very talented, but I don’t see her winning an event or even being top three in anything. I also don’t see her running more than one event which hurts her ability to score points.
Sean: Henes is a great runner, but boy is the 5k crowded right now. Henes’ 5k conversion would have been 3rd in the NCAA last year, but it’s only 10th this year and I’m not really sure how many people are going to go faster. I think Henes might end up struggling because NC State goes for most of their times at JDL Fast Track and she may not get quite enough conversion seconds if there ends up being super fast 5k's or 3k's later in the season somewhere else. Amazing runner, just really bold.
Garrett: Would have to agree on Henes. She’s a great pick and someone who was definitely going to be drafted, I just didn’t expect her to go in the 1st round.
Michael: To be fair, Henes is a bit of a dark horse in the national conversation, but her cross country performances paired with her season opener in the 5k tell me that she can be in the mix at NCAA's. The 5k will be stacked this year, so she may have better chances in the 3k.
Ben: Was hoping that Allie O would drop because of injury concerns and I could snag her in the second round.
Sam: Allie O is interesting because she has a lot of potential, but it’s also hard to see her winning something. The 5k is so loaded and I don’t know if she has the raw speed
to win the 3k in a championship setting, but I’m also probably incredibly wrong.
Sean: Sam, I think Ostrander might have the biggest upset potential of anyone. She has a national qualifying 5k time already, is a beast in the 3k, and has been known to go for the DMR as well. I think that Ostrander is the most committed to finding the right spot for her and her team, and that’s a huge plus in this draft in terms of maximizing points.
Zach: Allie O is always in contention, she doesn’t need to win an event for me to win this.
Round 2 Draft Picks
Michael: I’m excited to get Rainsberger here. After a tough outdoor season last year where she missed out on a trip to NCAA's, she rebounded with her second consecutive XC All-American performance. Rainsberger has a 3rd place finish in the indoor 3k and a 4th place finish in the outdoor 1500 under her belt, proving that she can compete with the very best in either distance. Following the Powell’s to Washington shows that she believes in their training philosophy and I think she will be a force on the track this year. Washington should also have a competitive DMR lined up that could take home some points.
Zach: I am stoked to be getting Lokedi in the second round. She has drastically improved her foot speed over the last year. She ran extremely well at both the indoor and outdoor national meets last year. She has got to be one of the top returners in the long distance events. I believe she is of the caliber that could potentially pull off 20 points on the right day.
Ben: I’m thrilled to pick Sammy Watson here. The top returner from last year’s indoor championships also won the 800 outdoors. I think she is a lock to earn at least a top three spot in this year’s 800. Texas A&M’s potential to field a very good DMR team with both Watson and teammate Jazmine Fray could give Watson even more points.
Garrett: I’ll happily take this Virginia Tech star in the 2nd round. Just like Rivers, Pocratsky is a mid-distance stud who has shown that she can be a key player in the 800, mile, and DMR. She is probably one of the most underrated distance runners in the NCAA and I like that she’s a veteran.
Elliott: Prouse is a big risk for me to take right now in the second round. Not because of her talent (which is exceptional), but because of the saturation of fast individuals that will be in the 5k this year (as Sean pointed out earlier). If she can have an exceptional race and break through, I believe she has the potential to score big points. A UNM DMR also wouldn’t hurt either.
Sean: I love the Stanford women when it comes to track and Christina Aragon has all the perfect qualities to be a multi winner for the Cardinal. Aragon had qualifying times in both the 3k and mile last year, but decided on DMR/3k where she had the fastest anchor split. Aragon could easily do any combination of those events and win them.
Sam: Burdon is someone who has been under the radar given her absence for the majority of cross country season. That said, she essentially matched her performance from last year at NCAA XC and she was 3rd in the 5k during outdoors. Washington also has the threat of the DMR with both Burdon and Rainsberger joining from Oregon so I could see Burdon showing up in more than one event.
Round 2 Quick Thoughts
Sam: Michael…Elly Henes and Rainsberger? You are a crazy man...
Garrett: I actually like the Rainsberger pick. She has solid versatility and has proven that she can a national contender in years prior. She was a little rusty during cross, but she still ended up as an All-American after changing schools. Solid pick for Round 2 in my mind.
Ben: I like Rainsberger too, but this seems early especially after the cross season which was good, but not great.
Michael: Maybe a bit early with Rainsberger as well, but I think her past experience will help her a lot. Sometimes familiarity in high-pressure situations can go a long way! She could potentially pick up points in three events (Mile, 3k, DMR) so I like my chances here.
Elliott: Damn, Ben. Watson was on my radar for a good amount of time. Now who else am I supposed to lock up for my 800 pick?
Ben: I just love her consistency, but there are definitely some other studs out there in the 800!
Garrett: Yeah Watson is someone who just happened to slip my mind. She’s may be the closest thing you can get to a national title lock
Sam: Damnit Sean… I was so set on Aragon…
Sean: Aragon and Burdon are really similar picks in my mind and could have gone either way, I just prefer the assurance of the DMR option at Stanford and I’m not sure what they’re going to try at Washington. I think Burdon actually has a little bit more range.
Sam: Agreed about Burdon and Aragon. This is why we are the women’s “experts”.
Round 3 Draft Picks
Sam: Jazmine Fray was 5th during indoors last year and I only see her going up this year. With Watson as a training partner, I think the Texas A&M duo will be great this indoor season and if Fray is top two, she will provide solid points in an event that seems pretty set right now.
Sean: I AM SO HAPPY!! Caitlin Collier!!! Collier was the 2017 USATF Junior Champion and the 2018 USATF Junior runner-up behind Sammy Watson. Collier ran 2:00 for the 800 in high school and that puts you ahead of almost the entire field by PR. Plus, add in that she’s now at Stanford and with some amazing training partners and I think Collier could affect the mile too (if they want to do that). Still, I think Collier should be the favorite for the 800 with Watson.
Elliott: With my third pick, I select the 5th (or 6th, I don’t really remember) year senior from Michigan. Finn has been a mainstay in the NCAA for years now, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the wily veteran has some tricks up her sleeve come indoor championships time. (Editors Note: this is her 6th year)
Garrett: I’ll take Millie Paladino out of Providence. Despite running 4:31 and 9:05, she somehow gets no love. The senior is a two-time All-American in the mile and I really like the security of points she brings to the table. A veteran with top-tier PR’s who has had success on the national stage multiple times before? Yes, please.
Ben: Going with someone a little off the radar. Susan Ejore seems to be in the best shape of her life. She had a very good cross country season finishing 3rd in a tough West region before struggling a bit at Nationals. The Oregon Duck made it to regionals in the 800 last outdoor season, and also qualified for indoor Nationals in the mile. I think she competes in the mile and uses her 800 speed to put herself in contention. The real reason I couldn’t pass on Ejore was her helping Oregon win the DMR last year. Oregon may not be as strong as last year, but they should put together a competitive team that includes Ejore.
Zach: O’Keefe has not proven herself on the big stage quite yet, but I believe she is ready. She obviously has a great training group and great weather thanks to living in Palo Alto. She was 17th at Cross Country Nationals and was 10th in last year’s 3k. I would expect her to move up in the 3k as well as potentially going for a double.
Michael: I’m surprised we went this long without Monson getting picked up. The 4th place finisher from this past XC season has undergone drastic improvements (139th in 2017!) and will most likely run the 5k, but could realistically run the 3k as well. She may be unproven in championships as she made the final in the 5k both indoors and outdoors last year, but has not finished in an All-American spot. With her cross country performance this year, I think she can be considered a podium contender in the 5k.
Round 3 Quick Thoughts
Sam: Sean, once again you read my mind. Collier was my other option with Fray but I preferred knowing Fray has experience and won’t be redshirting. Is there any chance Collier will?
Elliott: I like Collier a lot as well. My one issue was her youth. I think she will be solid, but to me it’s a big risk given her experience and the caliber of the field she will be up against.
Sean: No idea if Collier would redshirt. That’s definitely a risk, but I think they’ll have her run this year. Just a gut feeling. And Sam, it’s not bad to be able to take an NCAA Indoor Record Holder in the 3rd round as you did with Fray.
Ben: Collier’s inexperience worried me a bit in a very good 800 field, but her talent is undeniable.
Elliott: I actually was considering picking up O’ Keefe in a later round considering I'm a California runner and I've seen her run in HS. I’m a little biased in saying that I have faith she will come around. But yes, only time will tell in seeing if this was a good pick.
Garrett: Erin Finn is a great pick, although injuries are a major concern. If she stays healthy, she’s easily a double All-American in the 3k/5k and could maybe even snag a national title…
Zach: Not too happy with this round, I really wanted Erin Finn and Jazmine Fray. Good picks there.
Michael: I also really wanted Finn here. The injury concern is valid, but she brings so much scoring potential that any injury concern is outweighed.
Sean: 2019 is Finn’s year for a national title. Might come outdoors in the 10k, but this is her year.
Sam: To counter Sean, and somewhat to play Devil’s advocate, Finn could also very easily not win a title indoors or outdoors this year.
Sam: I think Monson could be a great pick, but my one concern is how loaded the 5k is… It’s hard to see anyone breaking up Kelati/Kurgat/Lokedi but it’s also indoor racing in a championship setting which pretty much means logic does not apply.
Elliott: Yeah screw logic.
Michael: Monson is a bit of a dark horse for sure, but her trajectory is unparalleled. She certainly broke up the Kelati/Kurgat/Lokedi trio in cross country! Sharon Lokedi wasn’t even an All-American this fall. Cross country is unpredictable and Lokedi’s 45th place finish proved that people have bad days and that one race isn’t indicative of her ability. I think if Monson was able to flourish in that championship setting, there’s no reason she can’t do the same during indoors. Watch out for her to make some noise again!
Round 4 Draft Picks
Michael: I choose Dorcas Wasike in the 4th round. Wasike is the reigning runner-up in the outdoor 10k and finished in the top 15 during cross country. Wasike may be more long-distance oriented, but I think she has the potential to hang with the Kurgat's and Lokedi's of the world in the 5k. Wasike’s ACC cross country performance this fall stands out to me as she ran a hell of a race. If she can continue to race with that type of prowess, she can contend in either the 3k or the 5k (or maybe even both).
Zach: I had to go off of our generic draft board for Sage. She ran well in cross country and hopefully that bids her well come the indoor mile. With a 4:13 1500 PR, I felt that I couldn’t let her slip anymore than the 4th round. I know Wetmore doesn’t seem to care about indoors all that much, but they’ve got DMR potential as well, and I never bet against the GOAT.
Ben: Continuing my theme of picking runners who can earn points by helping their team in the DMR is Katherine Receveur. The Hoosier helped Indiana finish 4th in last year’s DMR where they only lose one of their members. She came in 6th in the 3k two years ago and owns a 9:03 and 15:28 PR's which put her in an elite class of women.
Garrett: I feel like I continue to snag some very underrated distance runners here. Makena Morley is a Colorado distance stud who can easily be an All-American in both the 3k and 5k. The junior has experience on the national stage and owns PR’s 9:06 and 15:40. She’s got some flexibility when it comes to the event of her choosing and I like that my draft picks aren’t forced to enter one event because they have no other choice. It also helps that her PR’s rank her among some of the best for 2019.
Elliott: Being a distance junkie, it is very difficult for me to understand and get into the ideology of middle distance runners. Specifically, 800 meter runners. Aaliyah Johnson stood out to me because of the potential she has to be a solid indoor contributor. Her 2:02 outdoors attests to that. If she can string together a good indoor season, she could be a dark horse threat in the finals.
Sean: I feel torn in a ton of directions, but I just can’t leave Anna Rohrer on the board. She’s one of the few 5k runners who hasn't run sub-15:35 already that I trust to run a qualifying time and she’s been very good at the indoor championships after placing 3rd in 2017 and 4th in 2016. Plus, in a championship race, Rohrer has never been afraid to stick with the pace, something that will be important with such a quick field.
Sam: Katrina Robinson is someone who has phenomenal range and could be racing in a number of events come March. She owns personal bests of 4:14 for 1500 and 9:09 for 3000 meters which makes her competitive in multiple events. Her first season in the NCAA was filled with plenty of strong showings in cross country and I think her chances to get a lot of points during indoors are pretty high given the range she has.
Round 4 Quick Thoughts
Ben: Darn it, Sam. I was really hoping that Katrina Robinson was going to make it one more round. I think she’s a great pick.
Garrett: Agreed, great snag. She could light up the NCAA and demolish some of best women in the country. We haven’t seen her race on the indoor oval, but that’s a great value pick for the for 4th round.
Sean: I really like the Dorcas Wasike pick. She just ran 15:25! I know she doesn’t have 3k power so far, but I feel like her entire outlook changed after last year’s 10k, so I think she’ll make both this year.
Garrett: Really? I wasn’t big on Wasike as much as a few other people, although she is a very legitimate All-American candidate. She just has so much competition between Lokedi, Ostrander, Kelait, and Kurgat (among others) and that just seems like a lot to deal with.
Sam: Can I call Morley a sleeper? Yes she was 8th at NCAA XC, but she has never been a big name and certainly doesn’t get mentioned alongside the likes of Monson, Lokedi, etc. That said, she may be the greatest value pick from this round.
Michael: I was considering taking Morley this round. I agree that she has incredible value in this draft.
Elliott: Damn. I didn’t even realize Rohrer was still on the board, now I feel like a complete moron.
Zach: I thought people were afraid to take Rohrer… guess I was too.
Round 5 Draft Picks (Lightning Round)
Sam: Ruby Stauber of Oregon. After watching her run in high school I am very biased, but I also think she could be great under Oregon coaching.
Sean: Kamryn McIntosh, Clemson.
Elliott: We neglected Portland in the men’s draft. Not forgetting this time. I have a decent feeling about this one: Lauren LaRocco
Garrett: I’m going with yet another Virginia Tech runner, Laurie Barton. Is my bias that obvious?
Ben: Abike Egbeniyi from MTSU who was 2nd in the 800 outdoors to Sammy Watson.
Zach: Jaci Smith. She just got 8th at the stacked Boston meet. She is definitely a long distance runner (as in the 5k may be short for her). That said, I bet she’ll get things figured out and I always choose strength over speed.
Michael: Nicole Hutchinson was 40th in cross country this year and 14th in the 5k during outdoors last year. Still, I’m picking her for her potential in the shorter events like the mile and DMR.
Round 5 Quick Thoughts
Sean: So I had texted Garrett about Barton’s teammate Sarah Edwards in hopes of seeing how Barton might end up in the DMR or open events, but that strategy apparently did not work out.
Garrett: I’m just trying to hustle you out of a good pick.
Sam: Hutchinson is interesting because I honestly have no idea what event she will run, but she could end up as a DMR entry with McArthur and Alcorta (if she has eligibility?).
Michael: I was between Hutchinson and McArthur here, but went with Hutchinson for her experience. Who knows if I made the right choice between those two.
Garrett: Checked Villanova’s roster and it looks like she still has indoors left (plus she’s still listed on their website). Nice grab for the 5th round.
Zach: I’m really struggling to find solid middle distance women, I like my team but they are all 3k/5k athletes.
Ben: I feel like the opposite. I’m worried that the 5k is too deep so I’m trying to stick with middle distance runners.
Sean: Ben, Egbeniyi was the top person left on my board before this round, but I think there’s more risk there for some reason than other places. She is the current NCAA leader though.
Ben: Yeah, I hear you. I think it was worth the risk in the 5th round and she gives me another 800 runner to pair with Sammy Watson.
Round 6 Draft Picks (Lightning Round)
Michael: Carina Viljoen. She hasn’t made an appearance at NCAA's on the track, but she always shows up strong at the SEC Championships and I think that could translate to a deserved spot at NCAA's during indoors this year.
Zach: Aubrey Roberts. I had to go 5k again…just based on next best available. She was 9th in Boston.
Ben: Whittni Orton of BYU was having a good cross country season, but was unable to finish the season. She’s run 2:07 and 4:14 and finished 7th in the mile last year. Worth a shot in the 6th round.
Garrett: Too much upside, too much potential. I’ll take Rachel McArthur.
Elliott: One of the last New Mexico girls on the board. She 15:42 at Boston and I like her DMR potential. I’ll take Adva Cohen from UNM.
Sean: Kaylee Dodd of Oklahoma State. She's been just outside of the 800 every year. It’s her time. Plus DMR potential!
Sam: I like OK State on the track better than on the grass and Sinclaire Johnson ran great on grass so...
Round 6 Quick Thoughts
Zach: I was eyeballing McArthur for several rounds…
Garrett: On paper, she was not the obvious choice. I just can’t help but think that she’ll be a star.
Michael: Maybe I should’ve gone with Villanova athletes twice in a row and taken McArthur too! I may regret not going for her...
Sean: McArthur and Orton both have to be the picks of the round.
Garrett: I was thinking about Orton in rounds 2 and 3. Admittedly, I sort of forgot about her. Great pick and someone who could really do some damage.
Ben: I think Orton will have a shot to compete in the mile with not a whole lot of depth outside of the top few favorites.
Sean: Before I go onto my overall draft look, I’m surprised not to see Jessica Drop, Taryn Rawlings, or Avi’Tal Wilson Perteete picked. Obviously, I could have picked them myself, but didn’t. I just think they have some great upside and experience that I could not pull the trigger on.
Overall Draft Analysis
Each Person gives a sentence or two on why their team is the best. Then, order the final remaining six teams (best to worst) and that will give us a final ranking for who wins the preseason draft...
Garrett: Much like the men’s draft, I really like my team. With the exception of McArthur, I have established veterans who could eventually end up as All-Americans in multiple events. All of these ladies have been to NCAA’s before and have super impressive times. I imagine Rivers and Pocratsky will score some big points for me in March. I may not have soon-to-be legends like Watson, Kurgat, Jones, or Hull, but I feel like I have reliable scorers with each pick. With so much upside and so many opportunities to score, I think I have the best team. As for everyone else…
Zach: Between Allie O and Sharon Lokedi, I’ve got a solid one-two punch in potentially both the 3k and 5k. Given my draft position, I don’t think I could have possibly done better. I also think my later rounds can score some points in the 5k or 3k as well. If Sage comes up big in the mile and/or DMR, I will come out on top.
Michael: My initial draft position left me out of contention for the top few favorites, but the double picks with the snake draft gave me a bit of help later on. Some of my picks may be dark horses, but I like their chances. I’ve got some solid contenders in Wasike, Rainsberger, and Monson, and I still think Henes can mix it up with the favorites. DMR points could also help me out a lot here! My only regret is not going for an 800 meter runner…
Ben: After earning the top spot in the men’s draft, I was pretty nervous going into the women’s draft where I admittedly know a lot less. This said, I really like my team. I got Kelati who should get me points in both the 3k and 5k. In the 800, I have the favorite and top returner Sammy Watson. These two studs should earn me most of my points. After those two, I looked for versatile women who could score in their event and the DMR. This, in my opinion, softens their risk profiles because I think they will all at least score some points. Susan Ejore is a perfect example of that. Finally, I like my team because I stayed away from the 5k and 3k. I think both of those events are so deep that it was wise to look in the middle distance events where there is more parity.
Sam: Having Dani Jones lead any team makes it hard to bet against but besides her I think my team is great across the board. Stauber and Fray are both in the 800, Robinson and Jones are milers, and everyone else can fill in as needed. Also, lots of my team has DMR potential to add to their primary events.
Sean: I tried to put a true NCAA favorite in every event on my team and I think I’ve done that. Ednah Kurgat is one of the most consistent top runners in the NCAA. She was #3 All-Time for the indoor 5k and is a threat for earning double gold in March. Aragon and Collier can win the mile/3k and 800 respectively, and contribute to a championship DMR with Stanford’s massive depth. Rohrer might focus on the 5k which could drop a few people early with a quick pace if they’re worried about doublers or a big kick. McIntosh is another 800 meter favorite and I think she will get through the rounds better with a season under her belt. Dodd is the same way. I think she can make a final and contribute to a fast DMR in her last indoor season.
Elliott: The key strength of my team lies in experience. With the exception of Cohen and Miller, all of my picks have competed at the Indoor National Championships at least once. I believe Finn, with the experience and racing poise that only a veteran could have, has a solid chance at breaking through and snagging a title in what looks to be an overly saturated 5k. I also believe that even though Cohen may not quite have the wheels to contend for an individual title, that she, paired with Prouse, could throw together a solid DMR which could give me valuable points. Also, simply stated, Jessica Hull is a beast. I think she will be the MVP of #teamElliott. She could easily overthrow Dani Jones in the mile and/or 3k. It should be a very awesome battle come January.
THE OFFICIAL RESULTS BASED ON OUR WRITER RANKINGS….(Low score wins)
Sam 10 (three first place votes)
Ben 13 (one first place vote)
Sean 16 (two first place votes)
Elliott 21 (one first place vote)