2024 NCAA Women’s Indoor Preview: Parker Valby and Olivia Markezich To Clash

Can Valby remain unbeatable at the NCAA level or will Markezich win her first indoor crown in the 3,000?

The 2024 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships will take place at a sold-out The TRACK at New Balance in Boston on Friday and Saturday. Below we preview the women’s mid-d and distance events for you as well as the team battle in the order that they occur. Our men’s preview is here: 2024 NCAA Men’s Indoor Preview: Nico Young Looks For NCAA Titles #1 & 2 & Can Anyone Stop The UW Milers?

*Schedule & Heat Sheets *TV & Streaming

8:20 PM ET Friday – Women’s 5,000 – Valby looks for her first indoor title

Event 23  Women 5,000 Meter Run
           Name                        Year School                 Seed           
  1    153 Parker Valby                  JR Florida            14:56.11 
  2     13 Doris Lemngole                FR Alabama            15:04.71 
  3    474 Amy Bunnage                   FR Stanford           15:11.68 
  4    377 Taylor Roe                    SR OK State           15:12.71 
  5     14 Hilda Olemomoi                JR Alabama            15:17.44 
  6    373 Molly Born                    SR OK State           15:23.31 
  7    176 Chloe Scrimgeour              SO Georgetown         15:24.36 
  8    316 Samantha Bush                 SR NC State           15:25.59 
  9    132 Ella Baran                    SR Colorado           15:26.66 
 10    137 Phoebe Anderson               JR Columbia           15:26.87 
 11    578 Kenzie Doyle                  SR UMass Lowell       15:27.42 
 12    317 Grace Hartman                 SO NC State           15:29.92 
 13    106 Jenna Hutchins                SO BYU                15:30.99 
 14    103 Lexy Halladay-Lowry           JR BYU                15:31.03 
 15    102 Aubrey Frentheway             SR BYU                15:31.69 
 16    477 Lucy Jenks                    JR Stanford           15:33.98
Photo courtesy James B Daves/NCAA

Florida’s Parker Valby missed last year’s NCAA indoor meet with injury but she’s been unbeatable since as she won the NCAA outdoor 5,000 crown as well as cross country. With her old rival Katelyn Tuohy having gone pro after the XC season, one might assume there is no way Valby loses in 2024.

Valby, the first collegian to break 15:00 in the 5,000, certainly deserves to be the heavy favorite but the NCAA is always full of talent and nothing is guaranteed. The #2 seed Doris Lemngole of Alabama ran a 14:40 road 5k last year. That being said, Lemngole lost to Valby at NCAA XC (Lemngole was 2nd but gaining on Valby late), the BU 5,000 in December, and then at SECs in the 3,000. At SECs, they were in different heats but Valby won by 24 seconds.

If there is an upset, my pick for the win would be Oklahoma State’s Taylor Roe. The 2022 NCAA indoor 3,000 champ is undefeated on the year and has been killing everyone she races. When she ran 8:51 this year, second place was 9:12. When she ran 15:12, she lapped everyone in the field as second was 15:51.

#3 seed Amy Bunnage of Stanford is from Australia. She won Pac-12s in XC but was only 59th at NCAAs.

Rojo’s Pick: Valby FTW.

Who wins the women's 5000?

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9:00 PM ET Friday – Women’s DMR 

Event 26  Women Distance Medley
     School                                                  Seed           
  1  Washington                                          10:43.39 
  2  Providence                                          10:44.07 
  3  Notre Dame                                          10:44.62 
  4  BYU                                                 10:44.67 
  5  Stanford                                            10:47.03 
  6  Oklahoma State                                      10:47.20 
  7  Oregon                                              10:47.50 
  8  Penn State                                          10:49.05 
  9  Arkansas                                            10:49.41 
 10  Boston College                                      10:50.00 
 11  Virginia                                            10:50.58 
 12  Florida                                             10:52.06

Seed times don’t necessarily mean a ton in the DMR as many of the legs might end up being run by people who are tired from their individual events. But in this race, I know one of the best runners will be fresh on the anchor. Notre Dame’s Olivia Markezich, the 2023 NCAA steeplechase champ and 3,000 runner-up, will be fresh as she’s running the 3,000 individually on Saturday night.

I called a top NCAA coach of another team and asked him for his take on this race and he said, “Notre Dame. If Markevich is anywhere near the front when she gets the stick they will win.” That makes sense as Markezich will be fresh and is a 4:27 miler. He also thought Oregon and BYU would do well. They too will have fresh legs. Oregon has five milers under 4:35 this year — only two of which are in the individual mile. BYU has four milers under 4:34 on the year — only one of which is in the individual mile.

Rojo’s Pick: Notre Dame FTW.

Who wins the women's DMR?

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7 PM ET Saturday – Women’s Mile: Can Ramsden stay on top as she comes back from World Indoors?

Event 21  Women 1 Mile Run Prelims
           Name                        Year School                 Seed           
  1    200 Maia Ramsden                  JR Harvard             4:24.83 
  2    145 Flomena Asekol                SR Florida             4:26.47 
  3    440 Kimberley May                 JR Providence          4:27.85 
  4    637 Chloe Foerster                SO Washington          4:28.14 
  5    376 Billah Jepkirui               SO OK State            4:29.64 
  6    343 Maggi Congdon                 SR No. Arizona         4:30.16 
  7    661 Ceili McCabe                  JR West Virginia       4:30.24 
  8    404 Klaudia Kazimierska           SO Oregon              4:30.33 
  9    396 Silan Ayyildiz                SO Oregon              4:30.38 
 10    175 Melissa Riggins               JR Georgetown          4:30.73 
 11    437 Shannon Flockhart             JR Providence          4:30.83 
 12    607 Margot Appleton               JR Virginia            4:30.87 
 13    433 Laura Pellicoro               JR Portland            4:31.39 
 14    614 Anna Workman                  JR Virginia            4:31.91 
 15    424 Kileigh Kane                  SR Penn State          4:32.97

Defending champ Olivia Howell has left Illinois for Texas and didn’t make the meet so we will have a new champ in 2024. The #1 seed is Kiwi Maia Ramsden of Harvard, who is the reigning outdoor 1500 champ. Last weekend, Ramsden was in Glasgow at World Indoors where she turned in her senior thesis and ran 4:06 for 1,500 twice. While she made the final, she left Glasgow maybe a little disappointed as she finished 10th and you needed to finish 8th to pick up bonus points for the World Athletics Rankings used to get into the Olympics.

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Based on those back-to-back 4:06s, Ramsden is in good shape as that means she can run 4:26 consistently, which few women in this field can do. But what if the pace is slow? I imagine some of you think Ramsden would be really vulnerable as she has a 2:09 800 PR whereas the #2, #3 and #5 seeds in Flomena Asekol of Florida, Kimberley May of Providence, and Billah Jepkirui of Oklahoma State have all run 2:04. That would be a mistake. I talked to two NCAA coaches who both described Ramsden as a “closer” and she closed great in both races at NCAA outdoors. Harvard coach Alex Gibby thinks she could probably run 2:01-2 in the 800 if it was a priority.

Rojo’s Pick: Asekol and Jepkirui also have good endurance for milers as they were 6th and 7th in cross country (Ramsden was 10th). May is the most improved woman in the race as she had a 4:37 PR to start the year (4:13 for 1500). Ramsden’s had a lot on her plate recently. This goes one of two ways. Ramsden, freed from her thesis obligations and being at home in Boston, crushes it … or Ramsden, a bit tired from World Indoors gets beaten. I’m going with the former. Ramsden FTW.

Who wins the women's mile?

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7:3o PM ET Saturday – Women’s 800: Does Michaela Rose Get NCAA Title #2?

Event 20  Women 800 Meter Run Prelims
           Name                        Year School                 Seed           
  1    284 Michaela Rose                 JR LSU                 1:59.25 
  2    481 Juliette Whittaker            SO Stanford            2:00.09 
  3    207 Kelly-Ann Beckford            SR Houston             2:00.65 
  4    374 Gabija Galvydyte              SR OK State            2:00.73 
  5    644 Carley Thomas                 SR Washington          2:00.95 
  6    199 Sophia Gorriaran              FR Harvard             2:01.68 
  7     45 Sanu Jallow                   SO Arkansas            2:01.77 
  8    425 Hayley Kitching               SO Penn State          2:01.77 
  9    122 Gladys Chepngetich            FR Clemson             2:01.83 
 10    482 Roisin Willis                 SO Stanford            2:01.99 
 11    105 Meghan Hunter                 SR BYU                 2:02.17 
 12    343 Maggi Congdon                 SR No. Arizona         2:02.20 
 13    640 Wilma Nielsen                 SR Washington          2:02.26 
 14     39 Ainsley Erzen                 SO Arkansas            2:02.46 
 15    575 Kate Jendrezak                SR UCLA                2:02.64 
 16    623 Lindsey Butler                SR VA Tech             2:02.86

Last year, Stanford freshmen Roisin Wilis and Juliette Whittaker went 1-2 as LSU’s Michaela Rose was third. Outdoors, Rose got the win and she enters as the #1 seed and favorite. #4 seed Gabija Galvydyte of Oklahoma State was third outdoors last year but she was beaten by #3 seed Kelly-Anne Beckford of Houston at Big 12s.

Rojo’s Pick: Rose is seemingly better than ever and there is no chance she’ll be tired from DMR duty the night before like Willis and Whittaker. Rose adds an indoor crown to her outdoor.

Who wins the women's 800?

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8:00 PM ET Saturday – Women’s 3,000: Valby vs. Markezich

Event 22  Women 3,000 Meter Run
           Name                        Year School                 Seed           
  1    359 Olivia Markezich              SR Notre Dame          8:40.42 
  2    153 Parker Valby                  JR Florida             8:42.29 
  3    200 Maia Ramsden                  JR Harvard             8:46.84 
  4    141 Amina Maatoug                 JR Duke                8:46.89 
  5    376 Billah Jepkirui               SO OK State            8:49.08 
  6     14 Hilda Olemomoi                JR Alabama             8:50.07 
  7    400 Maddy Elmore                  SO Oregon              8:50.43 
  8    176 Chloe Scrimgeour              SO Georgetown          8:50.97 
  9    103 Lexy Halladay-Lowry           JR BYU                 8:51.00 
 10    412 Kaylee Mitchell               SR OR State            8:51.06 
 11    100 Riley Chamberlain             SO BYU                 8:51.21 
 12    377 Taylor Roe                    SR OK State            8:51.60 
 13    145 Flomena Asekol                SR Florida             8:52.57 
 14    175 Melissa Riggins               JR Georgetown          8:52.82 
 15     13 Doris Lemngole                FR Alabama             8:53.10 
 16    108 Sadie Sargent                 SR BYU                 8:54.12
Embed from Getty Images

This one could be really interesting if Markezich and Valby star on day 1. By all accounts this appears to be a two-woman affair. Valby, the only sub-15 woman in NCAA history, versus Markezich, who has run 4:27 in the mile this year.

Rojo’s Pick: Markezich. When I asked a top NCAA coach who he gave the edge to, he said Markezich. He said, “Valby needs to run 8:35 to be able to drop her.”

Who wins the women's 3000?

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Only one woman in NCAA history has broken 8:40.

Top 5 Indoor 3,000 Women In NCAA History Per TFN
8:35.20 Katelyn Tuohy (NC State) 2/11/23
8:40.42 Olivia Markezich (Notre Dame) 12/02/23
8:41.60 Karissa Schweizer (Missouri) 2/03/18
8:42.03 Jenny Simpson (Colorado) 3/14/09
8:42.29 Parker Valby (Florida) 2/24/24

Team Battle – Arkansas Continues To Roll

Looking at the USTFCCCA’s computer rankings, it looks like the Arkansas Razorbacks aren’t missing a beat after the retirement of longtime coach Lance Harter. The Hogs are the heavy favorites to repeat this year in their first year under Chris Johnson. It would mean the Hogs have won 4 out of the last 5 NCAAs as well. If you score the accepted entries list like I did below, they are projected to outscore Florida 66 to 47.

Arkansas – 66 points

200 – 19 points
2 Rosey Effiong SR Arkansas 22.51
3 Amber Anning SR Arkansas 22.60
5 47 Nickisha Pryce JR Arkansas 22.62
8 44 Shawnti Jackson FR Arkansas 22.77

400 – 28 points
1 Amber Anning SR Arkansas 50.43
2 Kaylyn Brown FR Arkansas 50.83
3 Nickisha Pryce JR Arkansas 50.83
4 Rosey Effiong SR Arkansas 51.00

800 – 2 points
7 Sanu Jallow SO Arkansas 2:01.77

4 x 400 – 10 points
1 Arkansas 3:25.59

High Jump – 6 points
3 Rachel Glenn SO Arkansas 1.94m

Long Jump – 1 point
8 Nia Robinson JR Arkansas 6.51m

Florida – 47 points

Mile – 8 points
2 Flomena Asekol SR Florida 4:26.47

3,000 – 8 points
2 Parker Valby JR Florida 8:42.29

5,000 – 10 points
1 Parker Valby JR Florida 14:56.11

60H – 8 points
2 Grace Stark SR Florida 7.90

Long Jump – 8 points
2 Claire Bryant SR Florida 6.72m

Shot – 5 points
4 Alida Van Daalen SO Florida 18.59m

More: 2024 NCAA Men’s Indoor Preview: Nico Young Looks For NCAA Titles #1 & 2 & Can Anyone Stop The UW Milers? Will Nico Young arrive as a collegiate track star like Katelyn Tuohy last year or will Ky Robinson continue to dominate? Can anyone stop the UW milers? And who has the edge in the team battle?

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