Where Your Dreams Become Reality
LRC: A Fan's Guide To The 2009 NCAA Championships - Women's Preview
June 5, 2009 - Below you will find a preview of all of the events included in our 2009 NCAA Track & Field prediction contest which are all mid-d and distance events plus both relays, the 100 and the team competiton. Our men's preview can be found here. For a preview of all events, we recommend the T&FN Men's Form Chart as well as Women's Form Chart.
Ahoure will face tough competition as she wasn't even the fastest 100m runner on Regionals weekend. That title belongs to Texas' Alexandria Anderson, who ran 11.05. Anderson, an American, must be called the favorite in this race because she has run 11.10 or better 5 times. Her 200m indoor PR, by the way, is 0.01 slower than Ahoure's (22.81). It would be great to see Anderson win as in HS she won virtually everything (beating a ton of Jackie Joyner-Kersee's records) and she's had a great college career (Texas' web site says she's been All-American 17 times; we're not sure if that's counting this year's indoors or not) but she's never won an NCAA individual title.
2008 Final Results
Kuijken was the second-best runner in the NCAA at the cross-country championships behind only Sally Kipyego and has the best seed time in the country coming in at 4:08.90 (and she has run 2:02 in the 800 this year). The indoor champ at 3k in 2008, Kuijken was the only athlete not to be lapped in the 3k at the 2009 NCAA where she was 2nd. She was only 8th last year outdoors in the 1,500m.
Bowman, the indoor mile champ over Kipyego, has been there when it matters most for the Vols this season, most notably when she ran a superb 4:10 1,500m split at the Penn Relays to run away from Georgetown's Maggie Infeld on the final leg of the collegiate- and world-record setting Tennessee squad. After coming in 2nd three times at the 2008 Penn Relays, Bowman led the Vols to the sweep in 2009 of the DMR, 4 x 800 and 4 x 1,500m relays over three days. Another part of Bowman's frustrating junior season included her 3rd-place finish at the 2008 Outdoor NCAAs (photo, left) where she was beaten by NCAA record-setter Hannah England (FSU via Great Britain) and Kipyego (Texas Tech via Kenya).
We're a bit surprised to see Stanford's Lauren Centrowitz, the sister of Oregon redshirt freshman NCAA leader Matt Centrowitz Jr, in the 1,500. She ran a stellar 4:10 performance in early May, but she was only fifth in the PAC-10s in the 1,500 and she was defeated at the West Regional by UC Riverside's JR Brenda Martinez. She did win the 5k at PAC-10s and thought she might run that event, but she's in the 1,500 (ironically, the PAC-10 1,500 champ, Katie Follett, is in the 5k at NCAAs). As mentioned earlier, Georgetown's Maggie Infeld could be a force as she leads 3 Hoyas in the 1,500m field. Both Martinez and Infeld made the 1,500m NCAA final last year though they finished last and next-to-last.
Outdoors, she has done just as well, currently in front in the world steeplechase standings courtesy of a 9:26 solo effort in the Midwest Regional run in Norman, Oklahoma on a day where temperatures were over 90 degrees at times.
Barringer is running the Pre Classic this weekend in the 1,500m, and may break Sonia O'Sullivan's collegiate record of 4:05.81. To get an idea of what the end of Friday's steeplechase may look like, one needs only to look at the end of 2008's steeplechase to the left (replace the blue track with a red track).
Barringer will likely be trailed by a trio of excellent runners in their own right - Penn State's Bridget Franek (3rd last year), Michigan State's Nicole Bush, and Washington's Mel Lawrence. All three of these women won their region and they line up with the 2nd - 4th fastest seed times coming in. In our minds, Bush will be second. She redshirted last year and just missed the Olympics by .1 of a second for the USA. She's 5 seconds faster than 3rd, plus she beat Franek at Big 10s, so the question in our mind is who gets third, Lawrence or Franek?
Of note, Norway's and SMU's Silje Fjortoft, the 2008 NCAA steeplechase runner-up (nearly 30 seconds behind Barringer) as a freshman, ran a sub-10:00 back in late March but has only run one other steeple, a 5th place showing at the Midwest Regional meet in 10:16. She could factor in for second place if she is running well but her recent results haven't been that good.
Back to Barringer. She and Anna Willard both have run 9:22 and were America's Olympic steeplechase reps last year. Barringer holds the American record at 9:22.26, and Willard is enjoying a very strong season. If good conditions prevail in Fayetteville on Friday evening, we may see a new American record and world leading time, and a message to Willard that the American title is not going to come easily.
From a world's perspective, Barringer is the 14th-fastest steeplechaser in the history of women's running. Granted, it's a relatively new event, but we could see Barringer move into the top 10 of all time this year. To contend for a medal (depending heavily upon how many Russian women make it to the event without getting busted for a large-scale doping conspiracy), she will likely have to be fit enough to run about 9:10 in a championship final. Take the Russians out (which, no offense Russian fans, WADA is hopefully trying to do), and 9:15-9:20 may get it done.
High school superstar Nicole Blood has the 2nd-best NCAA time on the year among those who have declared for the 5k. A win by Blood would surely boost the title hopes of the Ducks, who will be battling with the sprint-heavy Texas A&M Aggies for NCAA supremacy.
Other candidates for top spots come from the East (Villanova's Frances Koons, who was 2nd indoors, and West Virginia's Mary Louise Asselin), the Mideast (Wisconsin's Gwen Jorgensen) and the West (Washington's Follett). Asselin, running in a rain storm in Greensboro, NC last weekend, took off from the gun in the women's regional 5,000m and put Koons in a world of her own. Koons eventually caught up but Asselin was able to pull away at the end. Despite times that are outside of the top 5, these two girls run really tough and could be factors. An NCAA title for Koons would be the perfect story-book ending for the cancer survivor.
It's good to see Washington's cross-country stars like Mel Lawrence, Follett, Christine Babcock and Anita Campbell running at the NCAA outdoor meet.
A subplot that interests us is Mattie Bridgmon running for Oregon. In an event like the 10k, a runner like Bridgmon, who sits as the 5th-fastest seed time, could score significant points for the team or perhaps get shut out. Her performance early in the meet on Thursday could help set the tone toward pushing the Ducks to the title or leaving them too far behind A&M.
Women's 4 x 400
Indoor champ Texas A&M is only seeded #11. Last year's runner-up LSU is the top seed.
Women's 4 x 100
Women's Team Standings
Florida State has several stars that could score major points, but they don't seem to have the firepower of the top two teams.
T&FN's Women's Form Chart will have it broken down with way more depth than we have here.
Texas A&M Women Team Points: 51
100m Lucas & Mayo 3rd and 5th 10 pts
Oregon Women Team Points: 46
400m Baker 3rd 6 pts