Author’s Note: I had great help from Scott Jedlicka on this post and just want to give credit where credit is due.
All times CST.
Weight Throw (12:30 p.m.)
The favorite has to be senior Felisha Johnson (Indiana State), who finished fourth a year ago and won this event in 2011. She comes into the meet as the only athlete to have surpassed 23 meters this season. Other top contenders include seniors Brittney Waller of Clemson (season best: 22.30m), Beth Rohl of Michigan State (SB: 22.17m; 5th in 2012; 8th in 2011), and Brittany Smith of Illinois State (SB: 21.51m; 3rd in 2012). Also be sure to keep an eye on Kansas’ Alena Krechyk (senior; SB: 21.76m) and LSU’s Denise Hinton (junior; SB: 21.57m), as both are seeded to score and could have an impact on the team race.
High Jump (3:15 p.m.)
Rarely does an event get dominated for four years in the way that two-time defending NCAA champion and 2012 Olympian Brigetta Barrett of Arizona has owned the indoor high jump. After finishing third as a freshman, Barrett has claimed the last two national titles in this event, winning last year by an astounding five inches over second-place Krystle Schade of Alabama (who is in the 2013 field as well). This year, the Wildcat senior enters the Championships tied for the season lead with junior Jeannelle Scheper of South Carolina (8th in 2012); both have cleared 1.91m. Others to watch out for include Arkansas senior Makeba Alcide (SB: 1.89m), who will be looking to score crucial teams points for the hometown Razorbacks; junior Shanay Briscoe of Texas (SB: 1.88m; 4th in 2012; 2nd in 2011); and East Carolina senior and four-time national qualifier Tynita Butts (SB: 1.90m; 7th in 2012; 4th in 2011; t-10th in 2010).
Long Jump (5:30 p.m.)
This event will go a long way toward deciding the team race. Second-ranked Kansas has the first- and second-seeded jumpers, and a 1-2 finish could push the Jayhawks toward an upset of #1 LSU. Seniors Andrea Guebelle (SB: 6.69m; 8th in 2012) and Francine Simpson (SB: 6.59m; 6th in 2012) will be looking to top the podium, but doing so will not be easy. Four-time national qualifier Christabel Nettey of Arizona State comes in with the third-ranked 2013 performance (6.54m), and Karimah Shepherd (senior, NC State), Erica Bougard (sophomore, Mississippi State), and Chanice Porter (freshman, Georgia) have all cleared the 21-foot mark (~6.40m) this season.
Mile (semifinals: 5:30 p.m.; finals: Saturday, 6:00 p.m.)
Colorado senior (and 2012 Olympian in the steeplechase) Emma Coburn comes in as the heavy favorite, having broken the 4:30 barrier earlier in the year at the Millrose Games. Coburn finished eighth in this event in 2011. Junior Cory McGee of Florida (SB: 4:32.10) is back for the third consecutive year in the mile and will be looking to break into the top eight after missing the finals last year and finishing tenth as a freshman. The Oregon Ducks, who have an outside shot at the team title, will be looking for points from their senior duo of Becca Friday (SB: 4:35.34; 4th in 2012) and Anne Kesselring (SB: 4:35.33; 10th in 2012; 4th in 2011; 6th in 2010). Other top contenders include seniors Amanda Winslow of Florida State (SB: 4:33.22; 5th in 2011) and Rebecca Tracy of Notre Dame (SB: 4:33.53).
60m Hurdles (semifinals: 6:00 p.m.; finals: Saturday, 6:20 p.m.)
A truly loaded field highlights what is typically a dynamic and exciting event. Clemson senior, four-time qualifier and 2011 national champion Brianna Rollins tops the national rankings and is the only athlete to dip under eight seconds this season. Rollins took second in 2012. Hot on her heels are Baylor junior Tiffani McReynolds (SB: 8.02; 4th in 2012; 2nd in 2011) and LSU junior Jasmin Stowers (SB: 8.06; 8th in 2012; 6th in 2011), both of whom could easily stand atop the podium on Saturday night. In an event as short as the 60m hurdles, anything can happen—in terms of seed times, less than half of a second separates #1 from #16!
400 Meters (semifinals: 6:25 p.m.; finals: Saturday, 6:40 p.m.)
Hometown favorite and two-time national runner-up Regina George of Arkansas comes in with an NCAA-best time of 51.40, and will be looking to finally break through and take home a national title in the 400 meters. She will have to contend with Kansas junior and defending national champion Diamond Dixon (SB: 52.52; 6th in 2011), who was a part of the 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning US 4×400 relay team in London. Others to keep an eye on include junior Phyllis Francis of Oregon (SB: 52.03; 4th in 2012) and three-time NCAA qualifier Marlena Wesh of Clemson (SB: 52.84; 5th in 2012; 8th in 2011).
60 Meters (semifinals: 6:55 p.m.; finals: Saturday, 7:00 p.m.)
Like the 60m hurdles, the 60m dash hinges on reflexes and explosiveness, characteristics this field has in spades. Defending national champion and Oregon sophomore English Gardner (SB: 7.19) returns in an attempt to make it two in a row, but will have her hands full. UCF junior Aurieyall Scott (SB: 7.13; 3rd in 2012; 7th in 2011) and sophomore Octavious Freeman (SB: 7.19; 2nd in 2012) will be looking to give the Knights a 1-2 finish, while decorated LSU senior and three-time national qualifier Kimberlyn Duncan (SB: 7.16; 8th in 2012) is being counted on to deliver some important team points for the Tigers. Clemson sophomore Dezerea Bryant (SB: 7.19; 6th in 2012) and Texas A&M junior Ashley Collier (SB: 7.26; 4th in 2012) will attempt to improve on their impressive finishes from a year ago.
800 Meters (semifinals: 7:15 p.m.; finals: Saturday, 7:20 p.m.)
Like the long jump for Kansas, the 800 will be a key event for LSU in the team race. Three-time national qualifier and 2013 national leader senior Charlene Lipsey (SB: 2:02.48; 7th in 2012) along with junior teammate Natoya Goule (SB: 2:03.08) are seeded 1-2 in this event, and a corresponding final result would provide some insurance to the Tigers’ team title hopes. Last year’s runner up, junior Natalja Piliusina of Oklahoma State (SB: 2:04.35), has opted out of a berth to compete in the mile, so it seems safe to assume that she will be gunning for the top spot. Illinois junior Samantha Murphy (SB: 2:04.17), Oregon junior and three-time qualifier Laura Roesler (SB: 2:04.66), Arizona State sophomore Shelby Houlihan (SB: 2:04.94) and BYU junior Kelsey Brown (SB: 2:04.94) have all broken the 2:05 barrier this season.
200 meters (semifinals: 7:35 p.m.; finals: 8:35 p.m.)
The only running event with prelims and finals on the same day, the 200 (like many of the sprint events this year) features a loaded field. LSU senior, two-time defending national champ and 2013 national leader Kimberlyn Duncan (SB: 22.54) will be in the field, doubling back after the 60m dash prelims. A trio of Texas A&M Aggies—sophomores Ashton Purvis (SB: 22.70) and Kamaria Brown (SB: 22.73), and junior Ashley Collier (SB: 23.14)—will all be looking to make the finals and score points; Brown was third last year in this event. The UCF duo of Aurieyall Scott (SB: 22.68; 8th in 2011) and Octavious Freeman (SB: 23.35; 4th in 2012), like Duncan, will be pulling double duty after the 60m prelims. Kansas senior Paris Daniels (SB: 23.15) is seeded to score points and will be trying to neutralize Duncan’s impact on the team race.
5000 meters (7:55 p.m.)
Based on this season’s performances, two runners stand out in this field: seniors Betsy Saina of Iowa State (SB: 15:21.66) and Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton of Wichita State (SB: 15:25.47). Throughout their careers Saina, has had Tuliamuk-Bolton’s number in the indoor 5000: in 2012, Saina won the event while Tuliamuk was third; in 2011, it was Saina taking third while Tuliamuk was eighth. Both athletes have been consistent top placers not only in indoor track but outdoors too, as well as in cross country. Expect another great head-to-head battle. The rest of the field all has seed times under 16 minutes, so the competition for the rest of the scoring positions should be fierce. Texas senior Sara Sutherland (SB: 15:52.99; 5th in 2012) will certainly be in the mix, as well as Dartmouth junior Abbey D’Agostino (SB: 15:47.02), Providence sophomore Emily Sisson (SB: 15:44.40), Boston University senior Katie Matthews (SB: 15:46.13; 6th in 2011), and decorated Oregon senior Jordan Hasay (SB: 15:46.30).
Distance Medley Relay (8:45 p.m.)
Friday’s final event is the DMR, a four-person relay with legs of varying distances (1200m-400m-800m-1600m). Consistently one of the most anticipated events of the indoor championships, the DMR will be an exciting way to end Day 1 of the competition. Last year’s winner, Washington, will not be back to defend its national title, but 2011 national champ Villanova is in the field and seeded second behind Michigan. Other teams to have dipped under 11 minutes this season are Florida State, Notre Dame, and Georgetown, with Kentucky narrowly missing that feat. With the exception of Oregon, most relay squads feature runners who will be entirely fresh for this race, so we may see one or more teams challenge the NCAA meet record (which also happens to be the overall collegiate, American, and unofficial world record) of 10:50.98, set in 2009 by a Tennessee team of Phoebe Wright, Brittany Jones, Chanelle Price and Sarah Bowman.