Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NCAA Women's Cross Country Top 31 Teams- September 17, 2013

After having the chance to do 31 different team previews for the upcoming season, solidifying who transferred where and who is hurt, this is my updated Top 31 Women's teams as of September 17, 2013. The points tab is how many points (according to my calculations) they will score at the NCAA meet. 

1 Duke 144- The main core of studs at Duke have yet to compete, but Botorff, Frazier and Lakowske are ready to prove they are just as good as the trio at Providence (see below). This Friday could be some of the ladies' first race in Cary, NC. The real test will be at Notre Dame in a few weeks.

2 Providence 172- The three headed monster of Collins, Nagel and Sisson have gone 1-2-3 in the first two races this season. With the amount of depth the friars have, Providence is REAL good.

3 Oregon 204- Getting Crevoiserat and Zrinyi from UCONN make this team even better. Grabill, Leonardi and Patrignelli have had their rust buster already this season and seem to be ready to lead the Ducks this year.

4 Florida State 244- Hannah Walker from the U.K. is real good and can roll with Colleen Quigley. The Seminoles have brought in some nice pieces (additions to depth) to replace the five scorers lost from 2012. Pippa Woolven, Anna Holdiman and Bridget Blake are all capable of being top five on any given day.

5 Arizona 276- Kayla Beattie and Maria Larsson (incoming transfers) really make the Wildcats much better and give Elvin Kibet and Nicci Corbin someone to run with up front.

6 Washington 280- Katie Flood appears to be back and ready to lead the Huskies. Losing Goethals is obviously a blow and the major reason why Washington dropped in the polls. Katie Knight ran well in her collegiate debut and Eloise-Neale still has not spiked up. The Huskies are still somewhat a mystery because of the amount of quality freshman they have that will need to step up in the place of Goethals.

7 Georgetown 311- Haley Pierce proved herself as the real deal this weekend at Dartmouth and is ready to step up and be a scorer for the Hoyas. She adds to the depth that Coogan and Chambers need to keep them a top ten team.

8 Stanford 314- Losing Cayla Hatton really hurts the Cardinal's hopes at a podium spot. Granted they are so deep and have so many quality athletes that they should be able to find someone to step up. Rebecca Mehra, Julia Foster and Tate Murray looked good at USF and are candidates to fill the roles left by the graduating seniors and Hatton.

9 Cornell 319- I was way off on my original poll position for the Big Red as they are much better than I had originally advertised. Sorna, C. Kellner, Shearer and Freshman Spillane are very talented. If they can get something out of Iacone, Devoe or MacMahon, this is a dangerous team.

10 Arkansas 337- The Hogs are so deep that I am not sure where to began to break down in a few sentences where they are at. Stephanie Brown looked good leading the way at their first meet a week and  a half ago. It is also interesting to see Sandie Raines already suiting up for the Razorbacks in the first meet of the season. Obviously, Coach Harter has a lot of trust in her ability and she will be a scorer for Arkansas this year.

11 Michigan 363- The first race of the year showed how good the Wolverines could be this year. If they decide not to red-shirt Jaimie Phelan. They have a very good core of girls that can be a top 40-60 finisher at NCAAs. Taylor Pogue, Shannon Osika, Erin Finn, Jaimie Phelan, Taylor Manett, etc. If they can get some consistency out of these girls, they will be much better than 11th.

12 William and Mary 380- Stites and Balouris are the real deal, McGovern, Hennessey and co. will be counted on to keep the spread as close as possible. Having these two low-sticks will come in handy at NCAAs where low-sticks have more of an impact.

13 Colorado 416- Shalaya Kipp will come around nicely towards the championships portion of the season and so we won't see much out of her early on. The good news is that the Buffs are actually pretty deep. Carrie Verdon, Jana Stolting, Courtney Bouchet are ready to help youngsters Erin Clark, Hagen Reedy and Melanie Nun make the transition to the NCAA. If they can do so smoothly, this is a very good team that will be scary come Terre Haute.

14 Villanova 416- Frosh Julie Williams looks pretty good early and adds depth to the Wildcats front five. It will be interesting to see where she marks up with Emily Lipari and Nicky Akande. Villanova will show where their fitness is at the Main Line invite next weekend.

15 Butler 431- Although this team lacks a bit in depth, the Bulldogs do have some very quality front runners. Katie Good from the U.K. won her collegiate debut against Bradley and Kirsty Legg was fifth at the same race. Legg is a 9:19 3k girl and had to have been tempo-ing the race or is coming off of injury. When Mara Olson and Katie Clark can get in the mix those are four pretty dang good athletes.

16 Oklahoma State 434- Samantha Nightingale looked good in her second ever race in a Cowboy uniform, finishing 8th after a slow start at the Bluegrass Invite this weekend. With Adela Hofmannova not too far off of her they are looking to be solid scorers for the 'Pokes. The main squad will be out in full force at the Cowboy Jamboree next week.

17 San Francisco 450- The Dons still haven't opened up the main scorers this season. Rumor has it that they are better than 17th and I'm intrigued how they will look at the Stanford Invite on the 28th of September. They have some pieces (Elena Burkard, Laura Suur, Eva Krchova, Jana Southeout--read my preview on them) and if they can do on the xc course what they have done on the track, they are better than 17th. Only time will tell.

18 Michigan State 455- Leah O'Connor won their home invite this past weekend going away. She is very good and with Sara Kroll and Julia Otwell in the mix the Spartans look to be good enough to challenge their Ann Arbor rivals at the Big 10 level. Saw some good things out of newcomers Shelby Jackson and Rachele Schluist (4:56 miler in HS) which is encouraging to the Spartan depth. Watch for the rest of the crew at Griak in a few weeks.

19 Notre Dame 466- The Fighting Irish women are probably better than 19th. It proves to be difficult to know where a team is at, fitness wise, when they have not raced anyone. When Molly Seidel, Kelly Curran, Gabby Gonzales, Meg Ryan and the Aragon sisters can finally spike up, we'll have a better clue if this ranking is true to reality. They host their big invite in a couple of weeks, but first the Catholic Championships are this weekend.

20 Penn State 467- Perfect scoring their home meet this past weekend, the Nittany Lions have a very solid core of athletes from 1-5. With only a :14 second differential between the first and fifth runners, this kind of grouping is indicative of a team that is capable of big things later on in the season. Emily Giannotti is good and is a great cross country runner that looks to be the leader of this talented squad.

21 Florida 486- Still holding out hope that McGee will be as good as I think she will be in cross this season. With her low points along with Agata Strausa, they are bound to be a low-20s finishing team at NCAAs. The Gators will need to see something from Shelby Hayes and Stephanie Strasser when they open up to help them score points early on in the season. Julie Macedo looked pretty good in her opener, which is good news for the Gators.

22 New Mexico 500- The Lobos did not run anyone at their home meet that will be a scorer for them later on in the season (maybe Sophia Torres). Interested to see Joanne Harvey and the kind of impact she can have off the bat. She is seemingly a very talented athlete and she will help push the pace with Charlotte Arter, Chloe Anderson, and Janna Mitsos.

23 Texas 510- No one has competed for the Longhorns so far this season that will score for them and the verdict is still out on the potential of this team. Marielle Hall and Sara Sutherland are a good 1-2 punch. Who will step up to support those two? Maybe Megan Siebert or Rachel Harper? We will find out this weekend (if Herbster decides to open them up) at the Ricardo Romo Classic (he might not because of the Texas Invite the following weekend).

24 Minnesota 558- I feel like this team is better than 24th and am excited to see where they finish at Roy Griak in a couple of weeks. They opened up early this season by perfect scoring poor Drake and South Dakota State. Griak will be fun to put their big guns up against some of the best in the NCAA.

25 NC State 565- Getting another year of eligibility for Emily Pritt could be huge for the Wolfpack. She was 17th NCAAs in 2009, but has not run a cross country race in uniform since. If she is actually healthy, and if Laura Hoer is too, this is another very underrated team. They open up this weekend in their home invite.

26 Vanderbilt 566- In a seemingly controlled effort in their home invitational Vanderbilt was good, but there still is much to be seen of the 'Dores. If Lily Williams can roll with Liz Anderson and they can find more production from their big time recruiting class, this is a top 20 team. They'll be seen at Griak in a few weeks and we can judge where this team is at a little better.

27 BYU 569- The Cougars looked good in their first race of the season, their home meet. BYU has a very good pack of girls that have improved quite a bit since last season (where they did not qualify to NCAAs). With a few other girls that are very talented that could be added to the mix in the next couple of weeks BYU could continue to get better. As for now, though, I like them at no. 27.

28 Iowa State 582- If the Cyclones can get as good of an effort out of Ejiro Okoro this season as they did last weekend, they will be deeper than initially thought. The transfer of Bethanie Brown adds to their depth as well. The drop from 26th is purely based on a few teams having run their main girls already and moved up through the rankings a bit. Iowa State's first real test will be at Griak in a few weeks.

29 Weber State 656- Without Amber Henry and Kayla Blackford (no. 5), Weber State almost beat BYU on their home course this past weekend. Had Henry been in the mix they would have won, but the Wildcats saw some nice running out of true frosh Summer Harper and redshirt frosh Kelsey Braithwaite. Those are a good three, if local product Jamie Stokes can continue to develop and Blackford can run like she did last season, Coach Paul Pilkington has nothing to worry about.

30 Harvard 736- The Crimson saw some nice things out of freshman Madeleine Ankehlyi this weekend whom I had failed to mention in their preview. She is a nice scorer to add to their mix and with Viviana Hanley running as well as she is now, Harvard should be sticking around in these rankings for much longer.

31 Texas A&M 762- Karis Jochen proved she is the real deal in her collegiate debut at the Rice Invite this past weekend where she finished second overall. Some help will be needed fromHillary Montgomery and the others to tighten the gap from 1-5 as :52 seconds probably isn't going to get it done towards the championship portion of the season.

Other teams of note: Toledo, Virginia, West Virginia and Princeton

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