The Wood Report is starting a NCAA Indoor Women's Preview and is starting off with the 800m. The women's side of things is not what I specialize in, but due to many people requesting me to do a preview of the women's side, here it is.
The number one returner in the country for 800m is Lithuanian native Natalja Piliusina who comes off of an outstanding 2012 indoor and outdoor campaigns. At first glance it does not appear that Piliusina is the top returner because according to every source possible it seems that Nachelle Mackie is. If Mackie were to read this should we be doing so from her 5th grade classroom. Because of Mackie’s decision to end her career to teach and start a family Piliusina is in a perfect position to take the reins of the 800m at nationals. Piliusina has been a solid championship racer in her past and should be the same in 2013 where she will take her PR of 2:02.12 and pit it against the best in the country. Finishing second indoors in 2012 for 800m and 10th outdoors for 1500m and good DMR finishes in Head-to-head it is hard to see anyone beating someone with the kind of strength she has. A 1500m PR of 4:09.51 and 55.4 400m speed, Piliusina is very-well rounded with nice range and is the favorite going into the 2013 indoor season.
With the second fastest time returning from last indoor season, Charlene Lipsey is poised for a run at the national championship in 2013. In terms of winning, Lipsey is no slouch in the 800m. The three – time All-American is the SEC indoor returning champion for 800m where she ran 2:05.55 for the win. After placing seventh at indoor nationals, Charlene followed up that with an amazing outdoor season, left short of a national title. As is the case with most of the 800m runners last year, none of them had the ability to get past Nachelle Mackie, and Lipsey is no different. She ran an amazing race at the outdoor national championships where she ran a PR of 2:01.40, but came up just short behind Mackie. This season Lipsey is one year older and wiser and should be ready for a shot at the national crown in Fayatteville.
With a national championship already at this event outdoors, Kesselring is primed and ready for a push for a national title indoors in 2013. Having run the mile indoors in 2012, if Kesselring does run the 800m in 2013 she has a legitimate chance to be in the mix with Piliusina, Lipsey, and others. She already has great PRs at both the mile and 800m with a 2:02.15 and 4:32.61, respectively. Coming off a 5th place finish outdoors in 2012 for 800m, Kesselring is a favorite in 2013 indoors for a national championship.
The 2011 indoor season was Addison’s coming out party when she ran 2:03.79 at the GVSU Big Meet and also won the Meyo Invite mile in 4:40.62. That year she went on to place eighth overall at the national championship for 800m. Since then Addison has been considered one of the top middle distance runners in the country. Another 8th place finish indoors for 800m in 2012 and solid outdoor season where she set a PR of 4:17.16 for 1500m has Addison ready for 2013 as a contender for another strong finish at nationals. Look for her to crack the top five at the national championships in Fayatteville for 800m.
Since her 10th place finish for 800m indoors in 2012, Brown has run only one 800m on any track and that was at the U.S. Olympic Trials where she ran 2:06.36 and finished 24th overall. One of only few women on this list that have run sub-2:03 for 800m, Brown is ready to finish off her senior season with a bang. Stephanie has good strength which will come in handy this indoor as she has a very strong field to compete against, but her 4:15 1500m PR strength will help her down the stretch in 2013.
A disappointing campaign in 2012 indoors for Roesler has her ready to roll in 2013 with one of the best resume’s of for 800m in the country. Last indoor, Roesler finished 16th overall at the national championships at 800m in Boise and her DMR team came up one place short of first. From indoor to outdoor in 2012 Roesler continued to race well and a lot, running the 800m nine times outdoors alone (not counting the Trials). Roesler is a veteran for 800m and has been on the radar as one of the nation’s best for a while now, having run in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008 and 2012 being a semi-finalist both years for 800m. This year one of the most experienced 800m runners will be looking for her first individual national title (won the 4X400 outdoors in 2012).
The wildcard of this group is the freshman from Stanford Amy Weissenbach. She owns the National Federation High School Record for 800m with a PR of 2:02:04. In this group of outstanding 800m runners, that would put her near the top of the list purely off of PR alone, and she is only a freshman. Weissenbach is a proven winner having won the California state championship three times for 800m. With a great group of women to train around at Stanford, Weissenbach has a legitimate chance to shock a lot of people at the national championships.
Oberg approaches her junior season (indoors) as a Cal Bear as one of the most consistent 800m runners in the country having broken 2:07 7 times since 2010. Oberg has a very good PR of 2:03.93 that she ran in Sweden. After being hurt for most of 2012 outdoors, Sofia comes in to the 2013 indoor season with one of the faster PRs in the country and is a legitimate contender for a spot in the final indoors for 800m and could surprise some people with her strength at the end of the race (4:17.72 1500m PR).
As the 2013 season is already underway, Smith has started her season with a win at the Jack Harvey invite for 800m running 2:11.80. Smith is a very good indoor 800m runner and is deserving a spot in the top 10 in the country at the event. Last season Smith finished 12 overall at 800m running 2:07.82 in the prelims at the national championships. Was runner up at the Big-10 800m indoors and her and teammate Addison will push each other to strong finishes at the 2013 indoor national championships in Fayetteville.
Throughout OgunMokun’s career she has run for three different universities (Temple, Seton Hall, and Baylor) and is finally settled on Baylor and is ready for 2013 indoors as one of the better 800m runners in the country. A second place finish outdoors at the Big 12 Championships was good, but a poor finish at the west regional left her out of the national championships in an individual event. Her 4X4 team made it there though where she helped her team to a 13th place finish. With some good leg speed and a good 800m PR of 2:05.30, OgunMokun will be seen mixing things up this season for a spot in the top 10 at the national championships indoors in Fayetteville.