Written by Sam Ivanecky, additional contributions by Garrett Zatlin
Sammy Watson (Adidas)
Watson took a somewhat unprecedented approach towards turning professional when she announced in the middle of this past indoor track season that she would be foregoing her eligibility at Texas A&M to take on the professional track world. Watson won the NCAA Outdoor Championships as a true freshman after a 3rd place finish at the indoor national meet. After her stellar freshman year, expectations were high coming into this season.
Up until turning professional, she had only raced one indoor 800 in a time of 2:06.89 (her PR is 2:02.20) and since she signed with Adidas she has "only" run 2:03.00. Watson currently has the USA standard for outdoors (it’s 2:03.00), but the IAAF qualifying mark is 2:00.60 which means she will not be eligible for the championship meet unless she smashes her personal best later this summer.
Sabrina Southerland (Nike)
The 2018 NCAA Indoor 800 meter champion was added to the Oregon Track Club Elite roster last summer and her first year with the team has been off to a somewhat rocky start. Southerland kicked off her professional career by finishing 8th at the USA Outdoor Championships. Since then, she has only run 2:03.80, over three seconds off her personal best of 2:00.70 which is not good enough to qualify for USA's this summer. She still has eight days to run at least 2:03.00, but with her two most recent races coming in at 2:05 and 2:06, it would be surprising if she could turn it around by then.
Nikki Hiltz (Adidas)
Hiltz has been on an absolute tear since turning professional and joining the Mission Athletic Track Club which is based out of San Diego. As a collegiate, Hiltz spent time at both Oregon and Arkansas and finished runner-up in the 1500 meters at NCAA's during her senior season. Hiltz has raced nine times during 2019, five of which has resulted in a win for her. The Adidas runner smashed her collegiate 1500 best of 4:09.14 when she ran 4:05.57 at the Portland Track Festival, a time that qualifies her for the IAAF World Championships.
Hiltz also demolished her 800 personal best this season, running 2:02.96 to better her old mark of 2:05.12. Hiltz will face strong competition at USA's in the coming weeks from Jenny Simpson and Shelby Houlihan, but since the United States will be taking three women to Doha, there is a very good chance that Hiltz could be on that plane in September. Only a handful of women have run faster than Hiltz this season and her ability to put together a string of wins should go a long way in Des Moines.
Elise Cranny, Vaness Fraser, and Karissa Schweizer (Nike)
The women of Bowerman TC might be the most prestigious training group in the country and they gained three of the NCAA's best last summer. Fraser and Schweizer both joined BTC last summer after NCAA's when they debuted at the USA Outdoor Championships with Schweizer finishing 3rd overall. Normally, that would qualify her for the World Championships, but 2018 was a non-World's year and consequently, she will have to wait until this summer to try again. Cranny still had eligibility remaining for cross country and competed this fall for Stanford before joining BTC upon graduation.
Schweizer and Fraser have been off to a great start with BTC and their full year of training under Jerry Schumacher appears to be coming to fruition. At the Sunset Tour this past week, the duo both ran IAAF World qualifying marks of 15:01 and 15:07 in the 5000 meters, two times that are well under the standard of 15:22. Both will look to compete in Des Moines for a spot on the Doha roster this September.
Cranny has yet to quite put up big times like the other two but she has only been in the system for around six months and once she gets more time under Schumacher, the times will likely come. She has run 4:08.89 for 1500 meters which qualifies her for USA's in two weeks. However, she will need to cut another four seconds off her time to earn the IAAF qualifier.
Elinor Purrier (New Balance)
The NCAA 2018 indoor mile champion has been off to a stellar start since joining New Balance. Although she was primarily a miler in college, she has bounced between the 1500 and 5000 meters since then.
In her first professional meet, she was 6th at the USA Outdoor Championships in 2018 and will be looking to better that showing in two weeks. In the month of June, Purrier has run two IAAF standards: 4:02.34 for 1500 meters and 15:08 for 5000 meters. It would be a challenging double to attempt at USA's, which means she will have to choose in the coming weeks which event gives her a better chance at making the Doha roster.
Hannah Green (Nike)
You could make the argument that Hannah Green has been one of the most successful first-year professionals in the United States since she signed with Nike last summer. The OTC Elite member has seen major success since moving from Blacksburg to Eugene. She recently ran 1:58.75 at the Nike Prefontaine Classic after running a 1500 PR of 4:06 at the beginning of June. Simply put, Green is one of the better middle distance runners that United States has to offer right now. She could very easily find herself a spot to the World Championships come September.
Allie Buchalski (Brooks)
The only collegiate woman to join the Beasts last summer, the Furman standout has found quite a bit of success under coach Danny Mackey. Coming out of college, Buchalski had personal bests of 4:17.73 in the 1500 meters and 15:35 in the 5000 meters. In the past two months, both the marks have been improved upon after she ran 4:14.77 and 15:22.29, respectively. Her 5k time is agonizingly close to the IAAF standard of 15:22.00, but she will have a few weeks to better that mark with hopes of making the world team.
The move to the Beasts was a bit surprising given the only other woman in the program at the time was Katie Mackey. The additions of Allie Ostrander and Karisa Nelson this summer will provide Buchalski with more training partners and hopefully even more improvement.
Jamie Morrissey (Hoka One One)
The Michigan graduate quietly put together a strong indoor track season this past winter. In her first year with Hoka One One, Morrissey posted a very strong mile time of 4:32 at Boston University and ran 2:43 for 1000 meters just a week prior to that. However, Morrissey's outdoor season has essentially been non-existent. Her only result for this spring and summer is a 10:31 steeplechase from the Music City Distance Carnival in early June.
Amy-Eloise Neale (Reebok)
The former Washington Husky, who signed with Reebok last summer, has been on absolute fire this year under the direction of Coach Fox. Her past few races have been extremely impressive after posting a personal best of 15:11 for 5000 meters at Adrian Martinez Classic. Prior to that, Neale posted a time of 4:09 for 5000 meters. When you add in her 8:59 for 3000 meters from earlier this winter, it's safe to say that Neale is thriving as an athlete on the pro circuit.
Alice Wright (Hoka One One)
The former New Mexico standout has held her own as a professional ever since signing with Hoka One One. In April, she ran a respectable 15:45 for 5000 meters at Mt. SAC, but the real highlight of her pro career so far has been her 31:56 10k from Payton Jordan. It was the first time she's ever run under the 32 minute barrier. Despite the great time, the Great Britain athlete will need to dip under the 31:50 mark if she wants to secure the World Championship standard.
Charlotte Taylor (Saucony)
Taylor was a star at the University of San Francisco, but has not raced since the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2018. Her most recent post indicates that she is still with Saucony, but it remains unknown as to why she has been out for over a year now. Taylor is a citizen of Great Britain which means she is not eligible for the USA Championships in two weeks.