Women's XC Top 25: Week 10 (11/13)

Updated: Nov 15, 2018


KEY

(Unranked)

Was not ranked the week before.

(#/#)

First number indicates how much the team has moved in the rankings.The second number indicates where that team was ranked the week before.

25. Princeton Tigers (Unranked)

After a huge upset over Penn State, there was no way Princeton did not make the rankings this week. Although Penn State’s number one had a rough day, the Tigers put together a great showing that would have pushed Penn State even if Paternain had run better.


The most impressive part of Princeton’s run was that they managed a 19 second spread for their scoring five. Not even Villanova managed a gap that small. If the Tigers can keep a similar spread at NCAA's, they should have a strong team showing even in a deeper field.

24. Oklahoma State Cowgirls (0 / 24)

Oklahoma State did not have a particularly impressive regional meet, but they made it through to NCAA's and that is the only thing that matters on Saturday. Given the team is largely made-up of mid-distance runners who are (more) speed-oriented, the conditions for their regional meet were likely extra challenging for the Cowgirls. The Midwest regional course is fairly flat, but due to snow melting the night before in Peoria, the course became a giant mud bath.


Sinclaire Johnson had a rough day and finished 16th when she normally should have been contending for the win. Last time OK State ran in Madison they finished 15th and anything similar to that this weekend would be a great showing.


23. Florida Gators (-2 / 21)

Although the Gators dropped in the rankings and did not win their region, making NCAA's as a team that started the season ranked 11th in their region should be considered a massive success.


Jessica Pascoe looks like a probable All-American after placing top two in every meet thus far and teammates Elisabeth Bergh and Morgan Hull have been a strong 2-3. The Gators are going to be hard pressed to move up too far at NCAA's but if Pascoe can provide a low-card finish, they could possibly jump into the top 20.


22. Florida State Seminoles (Unranked)

The South region was one of the hottest topics this year after the massive amount of team shuffling in the rankings each week. The Seminoles had been a bubble team all season before finally breaking through for an impressive team win over Florida to take the region title by four points.


Militsa Mircheva has emerged as a probable All-American this season and took the individual region title over Florida’s Jessica Pascoe. Freshman Elizabeth Funderburk also had an impressive showing to finish 8th overall as the only other Seminole in the top 10.


The Seminoles were deadlocked with Florida through four runners, but their fifth finished four places ahead of the fifth Gator which was enough to take the regional win.

21. Southern Utah Thunderbirds (+2 / 23)

The Thunderbirds continue to rise after a solid showing at the Mountain regional. While the team finished 4th in the region, all three teams ahead are ranked in the top 10. Angie Nickerson provides a solid low-stick up front and behind her the pack of 2-5 runners is fairly tight. This will be SUU’s first team appearance at NCAA's for the women and while any showing would be a new team best, finishing in the top 20 is a realistic goal for this group.


20. Portland Pilots (-1 / 19)

Through three runners, the Pilots were essentially even with Stanford and ahead of Washington. After that, they fall off pretty hard. Portland’s first three all finished in the top 20, led by Lauren LaRocco with an 8th place finish. However, the fourth and fifth Pilots were 44th and 64th and were outscored by at least 45 points compared to the 4-5 of teams ahead of them.


In a deep NCAA field, LaRocco as a low-stick should help Portland substantially compared to teams around them, but she could be countered by the point-heavy backend.


19. Penn State Nittany Lions (-5 / 14)

One of the biggest surprises from Friday was Princeton beating Penn State for the second auto-qualifier in the Mid-Atlantic. Not only did Penn State lose to Princeton, they were not even close. The Nittany Lions finished 27 points off of Princeton which seems like it should automatically drop Penn State from the rankings. However, analyzing the results gives an obvious reason to why Penn State ran so poorly and that is because Julia Paternain absolutely tanked. All season, Paternain had been Penn State’s number one runner and on any other day she should have been (at worst) top five in the region. On Friday, she was all the way back in 35th. A quick calculation shows that had she run like she has every other meet this fall, Penn State beats Princeton. In this case the Nittany Lions are still the better team, but it does show how volatile the team’s performance can be if Paternain struggles.

18. Columbia Lions (+4 / 22)

The Lions tied for the biggest jump of any ranked team, shifting up four spots, after a dominant win in the Northeast region. While the Northeast is not a particularly strong region, Columbia put four runners in the top 10 and their fifth was just outside in 13th. Regardless of how deep the field was, a showing like that deserves attention. The team had their fifth runner ahead of every other teams third and all but Dartmouth and Yale’s second runners.


While the Lions do not have the individual talent of many teams ahead of them, their pack of five scorers has proven to be enough after winning the Ivy League and just missing the top 10 at Nuttycombe.


17. Furman Paladins (+1 / 18)

The Paladins finished runner-up to NC State in the Southeast and were not too far out of the team title. Savannah Carnahan lead the team with a 3rd place finish and two other Paladins finished in the top 16. The team was only four points off NC State through three runners, but lost a lot ground with their 4-5.


The fourth and fifth Paladins finished 28th and 36th, 20 points behind the bottom two scorers of NC State. While the gap is not huge, moving into a deeper NCAA field will expose this more and push Furman further down in the team finish.

16. Indiana Hoosiers (-1 / 15)

Indiana started the season on fire, but have faltered in their past two meets. The team was 5th in the Great Lakes, but finished 37 points out of 4th and still seem to struggle after their second runner.


Margaret Allen led the team with an 8th place finish, but her counterpart Katherine Receveur struggled, placing only 19th compared to winning the meet a year ago. Receveur should bounce back by NCAA's and both her and Allen should be All-Americans if they run to their potential.


Outside of these two, Indiana looks to be okay at best. Lexa Barrott, Haley Harris, and Bailey Herenstein have been the 3-4-5 runners much of the season, but the trio will all need to have better races for the team to move up at Nationals. All four teams ahead of the Hoosiers had their fourth runners ahead of Indiana’s third and two teams had all five ahead. For Indiana to be a top 15 team, they will need to close the 2-3 gap at NCAA's.


15. Iowa State Cyclones (+2 / 17)

The Cyclones once again won the Midwest regional and were relatively uncontested in the process. Callie Logue won the race and has gone much of the season without getting much attention. She has now beaten Sharon Lokedi in back-to-back competitions and was also 21st at Nuttycombe. Heading into NCAA's, she looks like a top 20 talent and could provide to be a great low-stick for Iowa State.


Anne Frisbie and Amanda Vestri continued to fill the 2-3 spots, finishing 6th and 12th respectively. The Cyclones have four other women who can fill the 4-5 spots with the contingent of Abby Caldwell, Larkin Chapman, Kelly Naumann, and Karly Ackley all finishing as scorers at some point this fall.


With Logue leading the way and the duo of Vestri and Frisbie behind, the Cyclones should be in the mix of teams between 11th and 20th. Much of their performance will be determined by how their 4-5 finish, but having Logue as a low-stick should give them the edge over some other teams.

14. Washington Huskies (+2 / 16)

While the Huskies did not turn any heads with their performance on Friday, they did close the gap on Stanford and appear to be steadily improving as a team. Katie Rainsberger continues to be the top Husky and although she barely broke into the top 10, she has been very consistent this season and provides enough scoring potency for Washington to score well.


Allie Schadler has been a solid number two runner and Emily Hamlin and Lilli Burdon look like reliable scorers going into NCAA's. It is likely too late for Burdon to make any big jumps, but providing a consistent scorer should be enough for Washington on Saturday.


While the team has been somewhat underwhelming this year with elevated expectations after the transfers and coaching change, they will definitely be one to watch moving into 2019 as the top seven features no seniors.


(Note: I mistakenly referred to Burdon as a senior in a previous article, but she is listed as a junior in the West regional results)

13. North Carolina State Wolfpack (-2 / 11)

NC State won the Southeast region, but the meet was a lot closer than some would have predicted. The team finished with 70 points, 24 points ahead of runner-up Furman, but they did not appear to dominate the meet in any way.


Elly Henes looks poised for another All-American finish this fall after placing 2nd behind Dorcus Wasike for the second meet in a row. Teammate Dominique Clairmonte had a great run to finish 5th and looks to have an outside chance at being an All-American this year.


NC State will be relying heavily on the freshman pair of Heather Holt and Savannah Shaw to fill the fifth scoring spot on Saturday. Shaw has been consistently in the team’s scorers, but Friday was Holt’s first time scoring for the team. She spent much of the season running in the "B" lineup before finishing as the seventh runner at ACCs and earning a regional roster spot. While she will not be a headliner at NCAA's, she could play a key-role in NC State’s attempt to finish in the top 10.

12. Stanford Cardinal (-2 / 10)

The Cardinal essentially ran the same race they have all season. Cranny and O’Keefe had great showings upfront to finish 4th and 5th while everyone behind them ran decently.


Besides the top two, no other Stanford runners finished in the top 20 which makes it hard for the team to move up much as the race fields get deeper. The Cardinal have been limited by the absences of Christina Aragon and Ella Donaghu, two runners who are both listed in the entries, but will likely remain absent from the race.


Given Cranny and O’Keefe both have potential to be in the top 10 at NCAA's, Stanford should see a big boost from their low-sticks who can supplement for the lack of depth behind them. That said, unless Aragon and/or Donaghu suddenly appear, it is hard to see the Cardinals breaking into the top 10 on Saturday.


11. Notre Dame Irish (+1 / 12)

After this weekend, it is safe to say the Great Lakes is the deepest region in the NCAA for the women. Notre Dame may have finished 4th, but they were only 17 points out of 2nd and could be vying for a top 10 finish on Saturday.


Anna Rohrer appears to be back in form after a few up-and-down results this season. The redshirt junior finished runner-up to Alicia Monson and was well ahead of the 3rd place finisher. Following in Rohrer’s footsteps is freshman phenom Jacqueline Gaughan. She has been in the Irish’s top three all fall and finished 6th overall on Friday. Rachel DaDamio had somewhat of an off day, only placing 20th. Normally, DaDamio is much closer to Gaughan and Rohrer and assuming she returns to form by Saturday, the Irish will have a strong trio upfront.


Like many teams, the biggest concern for Notre Dame is their fifth runner. Annasophia Keller was 30 places (and almost a whole minute) behind the fourth Irish runner which leaves some concern going into a deeper field at NCAA's. If she does not close the gap on Saturday, the front three will have added pressure to perform if the Irish hope to break into the top 10.

10. BYU Cougars (-2 / 8)

The Cougars had a solid showing at the Mountain regional to finish 3rd behind New Mexico and Colorado, but will need more from their fourth and fifth runners to challenge some of the Great Lakes teams at NCAA's.


Erica Birk is a strong number one, finishing just behind reigning champion Ednah Kurgat for a 3rd place showing. Teammate Courtney Wayment also broke into the top 10 and has an decent shot at being an All-American on Saturday if she has a similar performance.


Besides these two, BYU has looked solid, but not spectacular. The team has enough talent to push for a top 10 finish, but would look a lot different if sophomore Whittni Orton made a reappearance. She has been absent all fall except for Joe Piane when she was runner-up to Birk and ahead of Anna Rohrer. While Orton is listed on BYU’s entries for Saturday, teams are allowed to tentatively enter 12 athletes, so it only means Orton’s return is possible, not necessarily probable.


9. Michigan State Spartans (0 / 9)

The Spartans had a less than ideal showing by their top two runners at Great Lakes, but still managed a 3rd place showing and were only seven points out of 2nd.


Junior Annie Fuller had a huge performance to finish 6th overall which helped make-up for Maggie Farrell and Erin McDonald dropping to 12th and 13th. Going into the meet, both Farrell and McDonald looked like top 10 talent and both of them finishing outside was a bit surprising. Amber Way also appeared to have a rough day, finishing back in 43rd after placing 27th at BIG 10's. Assuming all three bounce back for NCAA's, Michigan State has the depth to be a top 10 team.

8. Wisconsin Badgers (+5 / 13)

The Badgers are on the rise again as they head into NCAA's on their home course. The team is coming off a runner-up finish at the Great Lakes regional where Alicia Monson came away with yet another win this fall. Right now, Monson is among the top five individually in the NCAA and scoring that low will be huge for the Badgers at the national meet.


Behind her, Amy Davis had another solid showing, just missing out on the top 10. Shaelyn Sorensen and Alissa Niggemann both finished in the top 25 and freshman Lucinda Crouch was only a few seconds back in 27th.


The biggest concern for Wisconsin is they have no room for error at NCAA's. Their sixth runner was 56 places behind Crouch. Had anyone in the top five had a bad day, the Badgers are suddenly looking at a 5th place finish. As long as all five run well at NCAA's, the Badgers should be looking at a top 10 finish with Monson leading the charge.

7. Villanova Wildcats (0 / 7)

The Wildcats rolled through the Mid-Atlantic with ease, winning with 33 points, over 30 ahead of runner-up Princeton. The only surprise for Villanova was a breakthrough performance by sophomore Rachel McArthur who took the individual win.


McArthur has consistently been the second or third Wildcat this season, but made a big jump to finish ahead of teammate Caroline Alcorta (3rd) who has led the team all fall. Nicole Hutchinson finished 5th as the third Wildcat, only a few second off of Alcorta. The freshman duo of Lydia Olivere and Taryn O’Neill rounded out the top five for Villanova.


The Wildcats likely do not have the talent through five runners to challenge anyone above them, but at the same time, they also have a lot of unknown potential in their freshmen. If Olivere and O’Neill have big days at NCAA's, Villanova could challenge for a top five finish, but it is more likely they should fall in the latter half of the top 10.

6. Michigan Wolverines (0 / 6)

Michigan has looked good all season, but may have reached a new level this past Friday. The team won Great Lakes with only 46 points, almost half the point total from runner-up Wisconsin. All five scorers for Michigan finished in the top 16 and their fifth runner was ahead of the third on every team except Michigan State.


Anne Forsyth might be the best true freshman from an American high school after her 3rd place finish. The two women ahead of her, Alicia Monson and Anna Rohrer, are two of the best in the NCAA, and teammate Avery Evenson was close behind for a 4th place finish. For how good Forsyth is, her freshman compatriot Camille Davre has been equally as impressive. Davre has been a scorer for Michigan all season and finished 14th as the fourth Wolverine on Friday.


Both Forsyth and Evenson look like All-Americans with their success this season and it would not be surprising if another Wolverine found their way into the top 40. While the top five teams in the rankings seem to be in their own tier, Michigan could challenge for a podium finish on the perfect day.

5. Colorado Buffaloes (0 / 5)

The Buffs finished runner-up to New Mexico at the Mountain regional, but were only 12 points back and comfortably ahead of 3rd place BYU. Dani Jones looked like she ran somewhat conservatively, finishing alongside teammates Makena Morley and Tabor Scholl for a 6-7-8 finish.


Behind this trio, Val Constien was 14th and Taylor Tuttle finished 18th to round out the scoring group. Interestingly, Colorado did not run Sage Hurta, who likely would have been with the front trio had she raced. Swapping her and Tuttle puts the Buffs much closer to New Mexico in the team score and it would be surprising if she does not return for NCAA's.


Realistically, Colorado is a podium team on a good day, but would need an almost perfect day to win NCAA's. It is a bit hard to gauge the team’s true potential with the absence of Hurta, but they will definitely be in the hunt for a team title on Saturday.

4. Arkansas Razorbacks (0 / 4)

The Razorbacks absolutely dominated the South Central region with the lowest regional score of any team in over ten years. Arkansas scored only 21 points and went 1-2-3-4 on the individual side, easily ousting every other team in the region.


While the region is not particularly deep, the dominant showing was one of many for the Razorbacks this fall. This fall they have already taken down Oregon at Pre-Nationals and dominated SECs. Katrina Robinson is one of the NCAA's best individuals and Werner, Gregory, and Viljoen all have All-American potential.


The only concern for Arkansas’ title hope is whether Sydney Brown or Maddy Reed are good enough as a fifth runner. They will be competing with the likes of Brauer and company for which team’s fifth will cross the line first, potentially as the deciding factor on the team title.


3. Boise State Broncos (-1 / 2)

It is hard to justify shifting any team in the top five going into NCAA's as the team race is setup to be incredibly close. Boise State narrowly lost to Oregon (44 to 49) at the West regional, but will surely be looking for revenge this weekend.


Similar to last fall, Allie Ostrander is coming around at just the right time, winning the regional meet in dominating fashion. She gapped the field early on and never looked back, winning by 13 seconds over a field that featured some of the best individuals in the NCAA.


Her Bronco teammates all ran about expected with O’Brien finishing in 6th and Venters finishing in 11th. Behind them, Fuller and Paholek came in 15th and 16th, giving Boise State the first five women across the line. At previous meets, Venters has been closer to O’Brien and had that been the case this weekend, the Broncos may have edged Oregon. Then again, Paholek ran better than expected and really closed the gap on Fuller, which helped balance Venters falling off. Boise State definitely has the talent to win the national meet, but will need everyone to run to their full potential on Saturday.

2. New Mexico Lobos (+1 / 3)

The Lobos might have finally found their fifth runner(s). All season, the concern has been how far back the fifth Lobo has been from the other scorers, but at the Mountain regional, both Emily Martin (5th) and Sophie Eckel (6th) had great showings to finish only 13 seconds back of Adva Cohen (4th). Normally, a gap of 13 seconds would be considered large, but with how good the first four Lobos are, they can get by with this. Last year, the team won NCAA's with a huge gap of 47 seconds, so anything close to 13 seconds would be a major improvement.


Looking at this year, it is unlikely New Mexico could win with a gap anywhere near what they had in 2017. The team race this season is much deeper up-front and while Adva Cohen is good, she does not appear ready to replicate Alice Wright’s 14th place finish from 2017. Similar to every other race, this weekend will likely come down to the fifth Lobo determining where New Mexico places as a team.


1. Oregon Ducks (0 / 1)

The Ducks remain on top after narrowly winning the West region over now TSR#3 Boise State. Oregon had a very similar showing to PAC 12's with Jessica Hull leading the team as the 2nd place individual. Right behind her was Susan Ejore, a promising finish for someone who came into the season known primarily as an 800 meter runner. Besides her 61st place showing at Pre-Nationals, Ejore has been excellent this fall and should be a reliable 2-3 runner at NCAA's.

Pyzik was 6th and the only other Duck in the top 10. Both Baez and Brauer finished in the top 20. The scoring group for Oregon has remained consistent all season and there is no reason it should change at NCAA's. All five of these women have All-American potential on the right day and if they can put it together at NCAA's, they will be hard to top.


The only concern for Oregon is the gap between their fourth and fifth. While Brauer finished only seven spots behind Baez, it should be noted that Boise State had five in before the Ducks. Given how talented the top three of Oregon are, they should be able to get by with a small gap but it will be an area to keep an eye on at NCAAs.

Added

Florida State Seminoles

Princeton Tigers


Kicked Off

Minnesota Gophers

Syracuse Orange


Other NCAA Qualifying Teams

Dartmouth

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Minnesota Gophers

Ole Miss Rebels

Oregon State Beavers

Texas Longhorns


Surprise of the Week

Princeton Tigers

The Tigers getting 2nd in the Mid-Atlantic over Penn State was a huge upset and one that not many people outside of Princeton would have predicted. It has been said multiple times now, but even though Penn State ran poorly, the Tigers showed they have potential to be a top 25 team at NCAA's regardless of how the competition performs.


Team of the Week

Michigan Wolverines

The team features no runners on the “superstar” level, but the depth of their top seven and the emergence of freshman Anne Forsyth and Camille Davre have put the Wolverines in position to challenge for a podium finish. Any other year, it seems like this team would be guaranteed podium squad, but the NCAA race up front is so deep that Michigan will need an almost perfect day to earn their spot.