2019 NCAA DIII Indoor Track & Field Rating Index – Preseason
NEW ORLEANS – It appears to be a two-horse race out of the gate for the team titles in NCAA Division III Men’s Indoor Track & Field and NCAA Division III Women’s Indoor Track & Field.
If the Preseason Edition of the National Rating Index has its say, UW-Oshkosh will try to hold off a strong effort from North Central (Ill.) for the men’s title, while Williams will have its hands full trying to fend off Washington (Mo.) for the women’s crown.
A No. 1 ranking is nothing new for one of those teams, as the Ephs were the top-ranked squad five times in 2018. The Titans are in fairly new territory as they haven’t been the national No. 1 since Week 3 of the 2013 season.
The 2019 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships will be held March 9-10 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
UW-Oshkosh is looking for its first national title since 2009 and wants that trophy to be theirs alone. Back in 2009, the Titans shared the team title with UW-La Crosse after both teams finished with 32 points at the NCAA meet. UW-Oshkosh is hoping that a team effort can get it to that point as seven different athletes are expected to score big points for them at the NCAA meet in 2019: Justin Skinkis (800), Ryan Powers (200/400), Roman Hill (long jump), Erik Schwandt (60), Jonathan Wilburn (triple jump), Johnny Auer (long jump) and Joe Vils (pole vault).
North Central (Ill.) is expected to spread the wealth around a little bit between disciplines. The Cardinals return Luke Winder for one season, as he was granted a hardship waiver to compete during the indoor campaign only. Winder is the NCAA DIII record holder in both the indoor and outdoor pole vault. You can’t forget about North Central (Ill.)’s distance corps either, as Dhruvil Patel, Matthew Norvell and Nolan McKenna are likely to be in the running for individual titles come March. The Cardinals will also have Peyton Piron as an individual title threat in the 400.
Defending national champion Mount Union is slotted at No. 3 to begin the season. The Purple Raiders return a plethora of talent from last year’s team, including Louis Berry and Mason Plant, who won NCAA individual titles in the 60 and 60 hurdles, respectively. Don’t overlook what Matt Keim can do in the pole vault or what A.J. Digby is capable of in the 400, either.
MIT is the last podium threat on the men’s side according to the computers. The Engineers, who have only been ranked in the preseason top-5 twice since 2010, own top-ranked athletes in both the triple jump (Yorai Shaoul) and the 3000 (Dennis Maloney).
Williams finished runner-up last year and is hungry to win its first indoor national title since 2007. The Ephs will combine a strong presence in the field with a blossoming mid-distance group. Emma Egan and Summer-Solstice Thomas are ranked No.1 and No. 3 in the high jump, respectively, while Izabelle Ith and the aforementioned Thomas come at No. 5 in the long jump and pentathlon, respectively. Anna Passannante is a top-3 threat in the 800 and Audrey Rustad is seeking big points in the mile.
Washington (Mo.) is only 5.55 points off the lead thanks to high expectations of Eka Jose, Paige Lawler, Heidi Nassos and J’Laan Pittman. Jose is ranked No. 1 in the triple jump according to the TFRI with her leap of 12.29m (40-4) earlier this season. She is also among the leaders in the long jump. Lawler is ranked No. 1 in the 5000, while Nassos sits No. 2 in the pole vault. Pittman opened the season with a mark of 8.80 in the 60 hurdles, which has her third nationally.
It’s a neck-and-neck race for third place in the preseason as Johns Hopkins and MIT are only separated by 0.20 points. The third-ranked Blue Jays own the edge thanks to high projections for Felicia Koerner in both the 3000 and 5000, Maya Hammonds in the long jump and Therese Olshanski in the mile. The fourth-ranked Engineers counter with the No. 1 and No. 2 pole vaulters in the nation (Jacqueline Ahrens and Kari Stromhaug), as well as the No. 2 runner at 800 (Bailey Tregoning) and the No. 3 miler (Marissa McPhillips).