Oregon Holds Commanding Lead in Pre-Championship DI Women’s ITF Rankings
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NEW ORLEANS — While there is some parity in the Pre-Championship Division I Men’s Indoor Track & Field Rankings, as released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday, the same cannot be said for the women’s side, as Oregon holds a 70.08 point lead over 2nd-place Arkansas.
What remains to be seen, though, is if these rankings will hold when it matters most: at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, which take place this weekend in College Station, Texas, at Gilliam Indoor Stadium.
NCAA Division I National Team Rankings Top 5 – Women
While the Ducks have separated themselves handily in rankings, the gap between them and the Razorbacks in terms of national championship entrants is much slimmer. Oregon hopes to capture its 7th title in the last eight years as it leads the way with 15 total entrants to the meet. But Arkansas – who spoiled Oregon’s chances in 2015 for a 6th-consecutive title – has 13 entrants, giving pause to those who may feel that Oregon was set to run away with the championship.
Unfortunately for spectators, there aren’t many head-to-head matchups between the two programs slated for the weekend. Other than the 4×400 relay, distance medley relay and the 3000 meters, there isn’t any crossover between Arkansas and Oregon in events, as the Ducks are sprint-heavy, while Arkansas has a majority of its entrants tied up in jumps and combined events.
And even with Oregon and Arkansas leading the pack in national qualifiers, other teams are incredibly close to the total of the Ducks and Razorbacks, posing a threat for the championship.
LSU (13) and Kentucky (10) – who happen to rank 4th and 5th, respectively, in the pre-championship rankings – are the only other schools with double-digit entrants. Georgia sits at 3rd in the rankings, down a spot from a week ago, and they have entered nine athletes into this weekend’s competition. Like its SEC counterparts, Alabama also has nine athletes entered into the championships, with the Crimson Tide coming in ranked at 7th.
Southern California (6th), Ole Miss (8th), Texas (9th) and Texas A&M (10th) round out the top-10 of the rankings with 8, 5, 6 and 5 athletes entered into the national championships, respectively.
WHEN: March 10-11 | Schedule
Oregon should rack up points in the sprints with the likes of Hannah Cunliffe, Deajah Stevens and Ariana Washington lined up for the 60 meters and 200 meters, but LSU could score major points in the 60 meters with Mikiah Brisco, Kortnei Johnson, Aleia Hobbs, Cassondra Hall and Jada Martin slated to compete. Kentucky could also make a push for an upset in the 60 meters, as Javianne Oliver ranks 2nd in the nation in the event heading into the weekend.
Sasha Wallace and Alaysha Johnson should also come through in the clutch in the 60 hurdles for Oregon. Wallace has the top time in the nation on the season, coming in six one-hundredths of a second faster than 2nd-place Devynne Charlton from Purdue.
Oregon is also loaded in the 3000 meters, as Division I leader Katie Rainsberger is one of three Ducks competing in the event. Rainsberger is also member of Oregon’s national-leading distance medley relay squad.
What Arkansas lacks on the track, it makes up for in the field events. After winning the first women’s indoor title in program history in 2015, the Razorbacks will go to battle this weekend with a stacked deck. Twin pole vaulters Lexi and Tori Weeks are 1-2 in the nation in their event, while fellow sophomore Desiree Freier enters ranked 6th in the nation. The Razorbacks also own three of the top-5 pentathletes entered in the meet in Taliyah Brooks (2nd – 4450 points), Leigha Brown (3rd – 4379 points) and Kelsey Herman (5th – 4278 points).
Can Georgia get over that 3rd-place hump? Having finished in 3rd during the last three seasons, the Bulldogs will rely heavily for points in the jumps with Keturah Orji leading the way in the triple jump, as well as in the long jump. Madeline Fagan and Tatiana Gusin own the top-2 marks in the high jump in the nation, and do-it-all pentathlete Kendell Williams enters the meet with the 2nd-best point total in Division I history set just a week ago at the SEC Indoor Championships.
It’s not as clear cut as one would think. While Oregon is certainly favored, expect a battle down to the wire between the Ducks, Razorbacks and even Bulldogs. Should Oregon get the job done and win its 7th title in eight years, it will become the first Division I women’s indoor program to accomplish that feat. The Ducks are currently tied with LSU as being the only Division I women’s indoor programs to win six titles in seven years, as LSU did so in 1991 and again from 1993-97.
Live results and live video of the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships will be made available in the National Championship Central page of the USTFCCCA site.
USTFCCCA NCAA Division I
Women’s Indoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)
2017 Week #7 — March 6 (pre-championships)
|next ranking: none, NCAA Championships, March 10-11 (FINAL)|
|Rank||Institution||Points||Conference||Head Coach (Yr)||Last Week|
|1||Oregon||239.65||MPSF||Robert Johnson (5th)||1|
|2||Arkansas||169.57||SEC||Lance Harter (27th)||3|
|3||Georgia||165.74||SEC||Petros Kyprianou (2nd)||2|
|4||LSU||132.22||SEC||Dennis Shaver (13th)||4|
|5||Kentucky||101.84||SEC||Edrick Floreal (5th)||5|
|6||Southern California||81.63||MPSF||Caryl Smith Gilbert (4th)||6|
|7||Alabama||81.19||SEC||Dan Waters (6th)||7|
|8||Ole Miss||72.94||SEC||Connie Price-Smith (2nd)||9|
|9||Texas||68.91||Big 12||Mario Sategna (4th)||8|
|10||Texas A&M||64.94||SEC||Pat Henry (13th)||11|
|11||Florida||64.11||SEC||Mike Holloway (10th)||12|
|12||Miami (Fla.)||63.12||ACC||Amy Deem (27th)||10|
|13||Kansas State||58.36||Big 12||Cliff Rovelto (25th)||13|
|14||Purdue||56.31||Big Ten||Rolando Greene (5th)||15|
|15||Baylor||54.53||Big 12||Todd Harbour (12th)||16|
|16||Penn State||53.01||Big Ten||John Gondak (3rd)||17|
|17||BYU||43.64||MPSF||Ed Eyestone (4th)||19|
|18||Iowa State||41.05||Big 12||Martin Smith (4th)||20|
|19||Indiana||35.86||Big Ten||Ron Helmer (10th)||14|
|20||Colorado||35.75||MPSF||Mark Wetmore (22nd)||18|
|21||Michigan||35.32||Big Ten||James Henry (32nd)||21|
|22||Stanford||33.48||MPSF||Chris Miltenberg (5th)||22|
|23||Furman||33.34||Southern||Robert Gary (6th)||24|
|24||Villanova||33.23||Big East||Gina Procaccio (17th)||23|
|25||San Diego State||29.56||Mountain West||Shelia Burrell (8th)||27|
|dropped out: No. 25 Louisville|
|View All Teams Beyond the Top 25|
|Women’s Conference Index Top 10|
|Rank||Conference||Points||Top 25 Teams|
|Women’s Regional Index Leaders (FINAL)|
|View All Regional Rankings|
Women’s #EventSquad Leaders (Best Foursome in the Country By Event)
|Event||Institution||Squad Average||Squad Total|
|400 Meters||Southern California||52.62||3:30.47|
|800 Meters||Virginia Tech||2:05.56||8:22.25|
|60 Meter Hurdles||LSU||8.21||32.84|
|Shot Put||Miami (Ohio)||15.43m||50-7½||61.71m||202-5|