LRC: 2008 Women's NCAA Division One Regional Cross-Country Previews
November 13, 2008 By John Kellogg
Ed.: LetsRun.com coaching guru John Kellogg used all of his OCD powers to break down all 9 NCAA regions and amazingly comes up with top 25 individual predictions for each and every one of them. We know there are bound to be mistakes (namely, completely overlooking an obvious stud or two, or including a D2 athlete by mistake), but we'd love to see you do a better job yourself.
Northeast Stony Brook women the class of the Northeast?
Three ranked teams (#23Stony Brook, #24Providenceand #27Boston College) will battle it out for the two automatic team bids, with the 3rd team sitting squarely on a bubble that may burst depending on results from around the country. From the looks of this year's results, the lion's share of the top 20 individual finishers will be members of the three ranked teams.Danette Doetzel(formerly ofMichigan State, which refused to release her, causing her to sit out a year, LRC message board thread here) of Providence is the most accomplished of the athletes in the field and should be right there for the win. Doetzel may have to work hard for this one, though, and in fact could be upset byAndrea WalkonenofBoston U. The undefeated Walkonen has been under the radar this season, eschewing the major invitationals, but is tabbed by some coaches in the region as a possible winner. She proved the validity of those assumptions by thumpingHolly Van Dalenof Stony Brook (no slouch herself) by a whopping 16:48 to 17:22 margin at the America East Championships on Nov. 1. Walkonen's teammateErin Lagassealso broke up the strong Stony Brook pack to take 4th at America East and stands to place well in the Regional. The BU pair also finished 1st and 3rd at New Englands on Oct. 11th ahead of the entire Boston College team, although BC seems to be running a little stronger recently (2nd at ACCs ain't too shabby), and the Eagles have a good shot at an automatic NCAA berth if they continue the upward trend.Claire Richardson(Harvard) deniedPrincetona shutout by coming up for 4th at the Heps and (though possibly better at 5k than at 6k) should be in the hunt for an individual qualifying spot.
Interesting story of the women's Northeast Regional: Stony Brook - that's right, Stony Brook - is quite good!
LRC Top 25 Individual Picks Danette Doetzel (Providence) Andrea Walkonen (Boston University) Holly Van Dalen (Stony Brook) Laura Huet (Stony Brook) Mallory Champa (Boston College) Claire Richardson (Harvard) Nichole Lister (Boston College) Lucy Van Dalen (Stony Brook) Nana Sang Bender (Syracuse) (10) Meaghan Lessard (Columbia) Brielle Chabot (Boston College) Maegan Krifchen (Syracuse) Hayley Green (Stony Brook) Krystal Douglas (Providence) Marie Parks (Cornell) Erin Lagasse (Boston University) Kate Dicamillo (Providence) Jessica Driscoll (Boston College) Breffini Twohig (Providence) (20) Annelore Desaedeleer (Iona) Jessica Hampson (Stony Brook) Hannah Davidson (Providence) Lauren Johnston (Boston College) Stephanie Pancoast (Cornell) Mary Veith (Buffalo)
LRC Team Picks Stony Brook 3-4-8-13-21 = 49 Boston College 5-7-11-18-23 = 64 Providence 1-14-17-19-22 = 73 Syracuse
Mid-Atlantic This is, by far, the most intriguing women's Regional Championship. It beatsOregonvs.Washingtonround II by a long shot. Three distinct teams from the Big East, one from the Big Ten, and the most dominant Ivy team of all time are going to throw down this weekend. #4Princeton, #5Villanova, #6West Virginia, #13Georgetownand #25Penn Stateshould all make NCAAs and should wage a really interesting battle. Villanova vs. West Virginia is a great matchup as the urbane Wildcats pulled a mild upset at Big Easts, upendingMarie-Louise Asselinand her rugged Mountaineer teammates for the team win. Penn State became the best-ever women's team to finish seventh in their conference in the loaded Big Ten meet two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Princeton made mincemeat of the Heps competition, taking 9 out of the top 11 spots at VCP. And Georgetown is good enough to shake things up, too!Liz Costelloof Princeton set the Heps record in the 5k and will have great competition in the form of cross-country stars Asselin and Villanova'sFrances Koons. With so many dominant, Terre Haute-bound squads up front, individual qualifiers for NCAA may be back in the 20s in the race.
LRC Top 25 Individual Picks Marie-Louise Asselin (West Virginia) Frances Koons (Villanova) Liz Costello (Princeton) Clara Grandt (West Virginia) Keri Bland (West Virginia) Bogdana Mimic (Villanova) Bridget Franek (Penn State) Megan Brandeland (Princeton) Katie McCafferty (Georgetown) (10) Reilly Kiernan (Princeton) Alexa Glencer (Princeton) Kaitlyn Tallman (Villanova) Sarah Cummings (Princeton) Megan Hogan (George Washington) Amanda Marino (Villanova) Natasha Labeaud (Georgetown) Jolee Van Leuven (Princeton) Leah Rosenfeld (Penn State) Elizabeth Maloy (Georgetown) (20) Leah Brogan (Pennsylvania) Emily Infeld (Georgetown) Ashley Higginson (Princeton) Cheyenne Ogletree (Rutgers) Sarah Morrison (Villanova) Kaylyn Christopher (West Virginia)
LRC Team Picks Princeton 3-8-10-11-13 = 45 Villanova 2-6-12-15-24 = 59 West Virginia 61 Georgetown Penn State
Southeast This region is cool because one of the automatic team spots is going to go to a currently unranked team. #30Wake Forest,DukeandVirginiahave really similar teams, and only two of them get to go to Nationals. Take your pick because it's tough to handicap those matchups. We'll see if Virginia's head manJason Vigilantecan orchestrate some late-season magic.
Up front, there are 3 huge individual stars inNorth Carolina'sBrie Felnagle(winner at Pre-Nationals),Virginia Tech'sTasmin Fanning, who was second at ACCs behindFSU'sSusan Kujikenand ahead of Felnagle, andWestern Kentucky's Sun Belt Conference championJanet Jesang, whose only loss this season has been a 3rd-place showing at Pre-Nationals. By the way, we were impressed with ourselves in correctly picking the top 6 individuals at the women's ACC meet, in order, including the Fanning-over-Felnagle mini-upset.
But back to the business at hand. This time Brie is going to handle Tasmin in a close one, as both are gearing up for another run at cross-country All-American status.
LRC Team Picks Wake Forest 124 Duke 130 Virginia 134 North Carolina
NCAA South Region, Also Known As SEC Round Deux*
* honestly, it seems a little silly when you look at it. This regional is the SEC minus Arkansas, plus Florida State, and it is run two weeks later.
Two strong teams, #3 Florida Stateand #15Florida,look to advance easily out of the South Regional. The region is short on team depth, but there are some powerful individuals up front, starting with 2008 ACC and Pre-Nationals White race champion, NCAA indoor 3k champion, 5-time All-American and 2-time defending NCAA South Regional champion Susan Kuijkenof Florida State via the Netherlands. Impressive credentials, no? And she's got another year of eligibility!Auburn'sHollie Knight(2nd in Pre-Nats Blue race) andTennessee'sSarah Bowmanare no slouches, either, but Kuijken and her Seminoles again won't be challenged for top honors.
LRC Top 25 Individual Picks Susan Kuijken (Florida State) Hollie Knight (Auburn) Sarah Bowman (Tennessee) Lesley Van Miert (Florida State) Pilar McShine (Florida State) Ali Crabb (Florida) Linzi Snow (Florida State) Jacy Kruzel (Florida) Lydia Willemse (Florida State) (10) Genevieve LaCaze (Florida) Charlotte Browning (Florida) Sara Vaughn (Alabama) Kelsey Johnson (Alabama) Janel Blancett (Georgia State) Brittany Sheffey (Tennessee) Christina Woytalewicz (Florida State) Natalie Picchetti (Georgia) Kiah Vernon (Georgia) Jackie Areson (Tennessee) (20) Rita Jorgensen (Vanderbilt) Laurel Pritchard (Auburn) Hillary Neal (Samford) Brittany Thune (Belmont)
Tara Gietema (Chattanooga) Sabrina Fischer (Auburn)
LRC Team Picks Florida State 1-4-5-7-9 = 26 Florida 60 Tennessee Georgia
Great Lakes WithAlyson KohlmeierandNicole Edwardsat full strength,Michiganwould have a great chance of winning the Great Lakes Regional. Their top 5 average of 21:04 outpaced that of Big 10 rivalsWisconsin(21:10) at Pre-Nationals, although the Badgers ran in a separate race. Michigan's average at Pre-Nats was also slightly ahead of Big 10 team champion Minnesota (21:09), which pegged the Wolverines as marginal favorites heading into the league meet. But Kohlmeier was out and Edwards had a sub-par race, relegating UM to 5th (but still ahead of nationally-ranked squads fromIowaandPenn State). Last year, Edwards andNicole Bush(MSU) took the top two spots and, assuming Edwards bounces back from a one-off bad race, there's good reason to believe this year's Regional will provide some déjà vu. A 100% fit Kohlmeier would almost certainly finish in the top 5 and make Michigan a real contender, but we are unsure of Kohlmeier's status and we'll assume Big 10 runners-up Wisconsin and 3rd placers MSU will stay in front of the Wolverines to take the two auto qualifying spots. Even with a 3rd-place showing, though, Michigan will be at NCAAs by virtue of racking up a boatload of at-large points through mid-season.
LRC Top 25 Individual Picks Nicole Edwards (Michigan) Nicole Bush (Michigan State) Gwen Jorgensen (Wisconsin) Lisa Senakiewich (Michigan State) Wendi Robinson (Indiana) Lilian Jelimo (Cincinnati) Kari Summers (Ohio University) Lindsay Ferguson (Notre Dame) Annie Beecham (Ohio University) (10) Hanna Grinaker (Wisconsin) Rachel Patterson (Miami, OH) Caitlin Comfort (Wisconsin) Marissa Treece (Notre Dame) Kim Lorentz (Akron) Ashley Beutler (Wisconsin) Danielle Tauro (Michigan) Larisa Arcip (Akron) Becky McCormack (Michigan State) Kelly Sampson (Michigan) (20) Jennifer Morgan (Michigan) Crystina Martinez (Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne) Leah Coyle (Wisconsin) Carlie Green (Michigan State) Emily Langenburg (Michigan State) Amanda Mirochna (Miami, OH)
Alyson Kohlmeier (Michigan)?
LRC Team Picks Wisconsin 3-10-12-15-22 = 62 Michigan State 2-4-17-23-24 = 70 Michigan 86
Midwest NCAA 10,000m champion and American Collegiate record holderLisa Koll(Iowa State) won't be running in this meet, as she is taking a redshirt season (along with All-American teammateGrace Kemmey), leaving the individual title up for grabs.Kansas State'sBeverly Ramos(who could probably score for the K-State men), Katie EngelofIllnois,Racheal Marchand(Iowa) andAlex Becker(Tulsa) posted great times of 20:20, 20:23, 20:27 and 20:28, respectively, at Pre-Nationals and continued with solid performances in their conference meets, making the individual battle here a tossup. Throw inMegan DuwellofMinnesota, who beat Engel and was one second behind Marchand at Big Tens, andMissouri State'sPasca Cheruiyot(16:57 XC 5k to win the MVC by 55 seconds, 6th at Chile Pepper ahead of eventual SEC champCatherine White), and the individual honors will simply go to the runner who finds the magic on race day.
Minnesota squeaked out the Big 10 win and, with 4th-place Illinois and 6th-place Iowa from their conference and Big 12 3rd-placersNebraskaas their closest competitors here, the 7th-ranked Golden Gophers should stroll away with a team victory if they take care of business, but they can't afford to sandbag, as all three of those challenging teams are ranked themselves.
LRC Top 25 Individual Picks Rachael Marchand (Iowa) Beverly Ramos (Kansas State) Pasca Cheruiyot (Missouri State) Alex Becker (Tulsa) Megan Duwell (Minnesota) Katie Engel (Illinois) Kelly Waters (Oklahoma) Lara Crofford (Nebraska) Angela Bizzarri (Illinois) (10) Katie Wright (Tulsa) Rachel Carrizales (Nebraska) Gabriele Anderson (Minnesota) Lauren Bonds (Kansas) Mihaela Susa (Oklahoma State) Amy Laskowske (Minnesota) Lilliani Mendez (Kansas State) Kellyn Johnson (Wichita State) Mallory Van Ness (Minnesota) Jamie Cheever (Minnesota) (20) Kristin Sutherland (Illinois) Jessica Engel (Oklahoma) Sarah Perry (Iowa) Natalja Zarenko Callahan (Nebraska) Brooke Eilers (Iowa) Jennifer Pancoast (Nebraska)
South Central Wow, how do we make this meet sound interesting to anyone other than the girls running in the race and their coaches? Just kidding (actually testing to see if anyone is reading)! Well,Baylorand coachTodd Harbour(former 3:50 miler) are having a great year. We thought they would upsetTexas Techat Big 12s, but the Lady Bears' tight pack stretched out too much and were pushed back into 2nd by a comfortable margin. In this race, Harbour's 18th-ranked girls had better get back on the horse because they have a shot to win this one, too.Arkansas,SMUandRicehave excellent teams, all ranked in the national poll (Rice is outstanding 3-deep), but Baylor is better at #5 than almost any team in the country not currently ranked in the top 10.
Also of note, Scandinavia will be well-represented in the South Central meet as SMU's talented Norwegians, sophomoreSilje Fjortoftand freshmanMonika Korra, will compete. Fjortoft was 49th at NCAAs as a freshman last year (3rd freshman at NCAAs) and is the returning South Central Regional XC champion.Catherine Whiteof Arkansas just won SECs and is flying high forLance Harter, so those two will provide an intriguing international matchup in the deep South.
LRC Top 25 Individual Picks Silje Fjortoft (SMU) Catherine White (Arkansas) Erin Bedell (Baylor) Nicole Mericle (Rice) Lennie Waite (Rice) Christina Munoz (Texas A&M) Allison Pye (Rice) Dana Mecke (UT-San Antonio) Denise Bargiachi (Arkansas) (10) Betzy Jimenez (Texas) Christine Kalmer (Arkansas) Anne Ronoh (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) Rachael Forish (SMU) Nichole Jones (Baylor) Danielle Bradley (Baylor) Larkin Geyer (Texas) Stephanie Aldea (Houston) Britany Williams (Rice) Jillian Rosen (Arkansas) (20) Monika Korra (SMU) Stephanie Ganter (Stephen F. Austin) Katie Shaw (Baylor) Laleh Mojtabaeezamani (Texas) Jessi Barnes (Baylor) Tenley Determan (Texas State)
2 Storylines:Last NCAA XC Regional For The Greatest Women's XC Runner In NCAA History, Sally Kipyego
andIt's Now Or Never For Wetmore's Unranked Colorado Girls
We at Letsrun.com are hugeSally Kipyegofans, because we think she is amazingly humble and the ultimate team player. Her team, theTexas TechLady Red Raiders, raided the Big 12 Championships to take home the first XC title in school history, earning themselves a #9 national ranking.Coloradofell to 5th after a decade-plus of domination, but they're Colorado and we're still not counting them out. There are three teams in the region,New Mexico,BYUandNAUwho are solid teams with at-large points, but don't they seem like beatable teams? Colorado's top 5 had only a 22-second spread at the Big 12 meet. Look out if those girls show up a few seconds sharper with positive momentum on their side. Nebraska finished 40 points ahead of Colorado at Big 12s and is ranked right next to NAU and BYU. Let's just say it (nobody is reading these things anyway, right?), Colorado is somehow going to take enough scalps at this meet to make it to NCAAs, and they're going to finish in the top 22 there because that's just howMark Wetmorerolls. MaybeJenny Barringerwill show up to the meet to race Kipyego again? That would be sweet!
LRC Top 25 Individual Picks Sally Kipyego (Texas Tech) Lillian Badaru (Texas Tech) Veronica Pohl (NAU) Angela Wagner (BYU) Lacey Oeding (New Mexico) Nicky Archer (New Mexico) Astrid Leutert (NAU) Carolyn Boosey (New Mexico) Alyssa Abbott (Utah) (10) Gladys Kipsang (Texas Tech) Anna Sperry (BYU) Asia Diaz (Texas Tech) Nell Rojas (NAU) Michelle Guzman (Texas Tech) Katy Andrews (BYU) Katrina Dennan (Montana) Michelle Corrigan (New Mexico) Leslie Luna (New Mexico) Chelsea DiGrazia (Utah) (20) Stacy Slight (BYU) Emily Hanenburg (Colorado) Natalie Haws (Weber State) Ellie Rastall (Colorado State) Laura Thweatt (Colorado) Amy Cook (Weber State)
LRC Team Picks Texas Tech 1-2-10-12-14 = 39 New Mexico 5-6-8-17-18 = 54 BYU 76 NAU 81 Colorado to sneak in?
Upset Special? Not Yet, But The Gap Will Narrow As #1 And #2 Go At It Again
One gets the feeling that all this press can't be the best thing forWashington. The positive attention might not be a bad thing - we're not saying they're going to lose - but having a gigantic bulls-eye on your back isn't exactly what a team led by precocious freshmen wants heading into the biggest meets of the year, especially when the team chasing you is as talented as theOregon Ducksare. Everyone has anointed the Huskies as God's gift to cross-country running, and let's face it, they have been. But another look at those Oregon runners makes us pause and think: maybe this UW dominance is going to fade just a little. Oregon, as we said in our conference previews, has a ton of veteran talent. And we think veteran talent might shine most brightly when it counts most, in Terre Haute on November 24. Look for Oregon - withseasoned star runnersLindsey Scherf,Nicole Blood,Alex Kosinski,Melissa GrelliandZoe Nelson- to close the gap in the next two weeks on an absolutely smoking fast, but young, Washington squad.
Behind UW and UO, #11Stanfordand #16Arizona Statewill come up for spots 3 and 4, closing out the NCAA bids from the powerful West Regional.
LRC Top 25 Individual Picks Kendra Schaaf (Washington) *** Update: Schaaf is apparently not running*** Marie Lawrence (Washington) Christine Babcock (Washington) Nicole Blood (Oregon) Anita Campbell (Washington) Katie Follett (Washington) Lindsey Scherf (Oregon) Amanda Miller (Washington) Kari Hardt (Arizona State) (10) Ali Kielty (Arizona State) Alex Kosinski (Oregon) Laurynne Chetelat (Stanford) Lauren Saylor (Washington) Melissa Grelli (Oregon) Danielle Domenichetti (UC-Santa Barbara) Laura Olvera (UC-Irvine) Mattie Bridgmon (Oregon) Carolyn Ellis (Cal State-Fullerton) Zoe Nelson (Oregon) (20) Kim Conley (UC-Davis) Christina Olivas (UC-Riverside) Kaitlin Gregg (UC-Davis) Zsofia Erdelyi (USC) Katie Harrington (Stanford) Sara Trané (Washington State)
LRC Team Picks Washington 1-2-3-5-6 = 17 *** holding out 2 runners - let's say 24 points *** Oregon 4-7-11-14-17 = 53 *** round about 44 points *** Stanford