Why Karissa Schweizer Will Still Win The NCAA XC Title

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When Elinor Purrier out-kicked Karissa Schweizer at the DI Pre-National Invitational this past Saturday, a collective gasp went out around the NCAA cross country circuit. Was the prohibitive favorite for November's national crown no more? Just a year ago, the Mizzou runner completed the distance triple crown by winning NCAA XC, indoor 5K, and outdoor 5K titles.

Ednah Kurgat of New Mexico had put her own dominant mark on the Wisconsin Invitational the previous day, finishing just three seconds outside the course record, and we gave her the elusive No. 1 FloXC ranking for her efforts. So maybe Schweizer's days as No. 1 have been numbered anyway.

But the following is an explanation of not only why the Missouri senior gets to retain the FloXC No. 2 ranking ahead of Purrier (who moved from No. 9 to No. 3), but why the 21-year-old should still be considered a title favorite.

Karissa Schweizer reacts to her runner-up finish at Pre-Nats:

Schweizer Is Never Undefeated In An NCAA Title-Winning Season

Don't forget that Schweizer's NCAA XC win was a huge shock in 2016. Erin Finn of Michigan had soundly defeated her by 30 full seconds at the Pre-Nationals Invitational in Terre Haute, 19:44 to 20:14, as Schweizer finished fourth behind Finn, Erin Clark of Colorado, and Peyton Bilo of Cal Poly. 

But in the final stages of the national championship race, it was the SEC champion who quietly snuck up on Finn and Notre Dame's Anna Rohrer to secure her first national title. Schweizer put three seconds on her foes in the final sprint stretch to finish in 19:41, while Finn and Rohrer nearly crossed together in 19:44.

The same thing sort of happened outdoors, as she didn't win a race until the SEC Championships 5K in May.


Photo via @Nikki_Hiltz

Prior to her 17-second trouncing of the SEC 5K field, Schweizer had placed runner-up to Nikki Hiltz of Arkansas in the SEC 1500m (Hiltz went on to be runner-up in the 1500m at NCAAs), eighth in the Drake Relays 1500m (albeit, vs. a professional field), second in a 1500m at Alabama, and second to Washington's Amy-Eloise Neale in a 5K at the Stanford Invitational. Schweizer and Neale's sprint-to-the-finish 15:39.3 to 15:39.75 nail-biter was very similar to Purrier's 19:28.5 to 19:29.7 win at Pre-Nats.

Watch Amy-Eloise Neale out-kick Karissa Schweizer in the Stanford 5K, 15:39.3 to 15:39.75:

Of the seven races that Schweizer ran during the '16-'17 indoor season, she lost just once. Unfortunately, it was at the apex of the season in the NCAA indoor 3K final vs. hard closer Dani Jones of Colorado, who had anchored the Buffs to the DMR victory the previous day. Schweizer did win the NCAA indoor 5K title with an 18-second PB of 15:19.14, eight and 10 seconds ahead of XC foes Finn and Rohrer.

The Women's NCAA DI XC Champion Has Usually Lost At Least Once


Let's take a look back at the past 11 years of women's NCAA DI XC championship history.

If you take out an outlier like Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech, who won a record three straight cross country titles from 2006 to 2008 (no one else has ever won more than twice), then the individual women's NCAA DI XC champion is actually more likely to have lost at least once during the regular season.

Five to three, to be exact.

Schweizer in 2016 (5-1 record), Molly Seidel of Notre Dame in 2015 (3-2), Betsy Saina of Iowa State in 2012 (4-1), Sheila Reid of Villanova in 2010 (4-1), and Angela Bizzarri of Illinois in 2009 (3-3) all suffered at least one and as many as three losses during the season prior to their NCAA win.

For her second NCAA XC title in 2011, Reid was undefeated (4-0), as was Abbey D'Agostino of Dartmouth in 2013 (6-0) and Kate Avery of Iona in 2014 (3-0).

2016Karissa SchweizerMissouri(5-1)(4th @ Pre Nats, 1st @ SECs, 1st @ MW Region)
2015Molly SeidelNotre Dame(3-2)(3rd @ Notre Dame, 2nd @ Wisco, 1st @ ACCs, 1st @ GL Region)
2014Kate AveryIona(3-0)(1st @ MAAC, 1st @ NE Region)
2013Abbey D'AgostinoDartmouth(6-0)(1st @ Wisco, 1st @ Heps, 1st @ NE Region)
2012Betsy SainaIowa State(4-1)(1st @ Griak, 2nd @ Wisco, 1st @ Big 12, 1st @ MW Region)
2011Sheila ReidVillanova(4-0)(1st @ Wisco, 1st @ Big East, 1st @ Mid-Atlantic Region)
2010Sheila ReidVillanova(4-1)(1st @ Penn State National, 2nd @ Notre Dame, 1st @ Big East, 1st @ Mid-Atlantic Region)
2009Angela BizzarriIllinois(3-3)(11th @ Spiked Shoe, 2nd @ Wisco, 1st @ Pre-Nats, 2nd @ Big 10, 1st @ MW Region)
2008Sally KipyegoTexas Tech(4-0)(1st @ Chile Pepper, 1st @ Big 12, 1st @ Mtn Region)
2007Sally KipyegoTexas Tech(5-0)(1st @ Chile Pepper, 1st @ Big 12, 1st @ Mtn Region)
2006Sally KipyegoTexas Tech(6-0)(1st @ Chile Pepper, 1st @ Big 12, 1st @ Mtn Region)

Allie Ostrander defeated Molly Seidel, 19:19 to 19:22, at the 2015 Wisconsin Invitational. A month later in Louisville, Seidel prevailed over Ostrander, 19:28 to 19:33. Watch their Wisconsin battle below:

Ednah Kurgat And Elinor Purrier Have Never Won An NCAA Title


Experience is key. Schweizer's top competitors to this point in the season are Kurgat and Purrier, neither of whom has ever won an NCAA title. Schweizer has won three. Let's take a closer look at each of their NCAA championship records.

Karissa Schweizer NCAA Championship Record

2017 Outdoor 5K1st
2017 Indoor 5K1st
2017 Indoor 3K2nd
2016 XC1st
2016 Outdoor 5K3rd
2014 XC155th

Ednah Kurgat NCAA Championship Record

2016 Outdoor 5K4th
2016 Indoor 5K9th
2015 XC12th

Elinor Purrier NCAA Championship Record

2017 Outdoor 3K SC4th
2017 Indoor Mile2nd
2016 XC7th
2016 Outdoor 3K SC3rd
2016 Indoor Mile3rd
2015 Outdoor 3K SC7th
2014 Indoor Mile14th (prelim)

If you're betting on experience, it's tough not to place your money on Schweizer.

Buze Diriba, Ben True Kick To United Airlines NYC Half-Marathon Titles

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By Rich Sands, @sands© Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (18-Mar) -- Slow early paces led to fast finishes at the United Airlines NYC Half here, with Ben True of Hanover, N.H., and Buze Diriba of Ethiopia using blazing kicks to take the victories on a cold, windy morning. More than 22,000 runners started the race, an event record.

Ben True Victorious In Half Marathon Debut

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Ben True’s first foray into the half marathon went about as well as possible. The 32-year-old, best known for his abilities in the 5000 and 10,000m, used his track speed to outkick Dathan Ritzenhein to win the New York City Half Marathon in 1:02:39, becoming the first American man to win the race. Prior to Sunday, True had never raced longer than 10 miles. But he did have years of experience in shorter distances -- something that was especially useful after the conservative early pace turned the race tactical and put a premium on a fast finish. 

Briana Williams Passes Marion Jones' World Age Group Record in 100


Briana Williams just made history. 

On Saturday at the Bob Hayes Invitational in Jacksonville, Florida, the Oakland Park Northeast (FL) High sophomore broke a 27-year-old record held by Marion Jones in the 100m run, setting a new 15-year-old world age group record with a wind-legal time of 11.13 seconds (+1.7).

After Eight-Month Layoff, Costello Returns To Racing At NYC Half

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By Rich Sands, @sands(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Photo: Liz Costello (third from right, back row) visiting Public School 1 in New York City in advance of the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half.  

NEW YORK (16-Mar) -- When Liz Costello toes the line in Sunday's United Airlines NYC Half it will be her first race in eight months. The Princeton grad had to scrap most of her summer and fall racing plans after her debut marathon left her in a physical and emotional crater.

MSU T&F Grad Assistant Resigns In Protest Of Nassar Case Handling

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Michigan State track and field graduate assistant Kassie Powell resigned from her position on Thursday in protest of the university's handling of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

Ritz Gears Up For Boston, Sisson Takes On Tough Field: NYC Half Preview

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With the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships scheduled for next weekend and major marathons in Boston and London on tap for April, the spring road racing season is in full swing. 

House Of Run: When A World Record Isn’t A World Record

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On this week’s episode of the House of Run, Jason and Kevin discuss the abundance of records at the NCAA Indoor Championships including Michael Norman’s world record in the 400m, Kendall Ellis and Sydney McLaughlin both running under the 400m American record, Eli Hall’s 60/200m double and the nonsensical tale of why USC’s men’s team won’t hold the 4 x 400m world record.

WATCH: Clarence Munyai Runs 19.69, Smashes South African 200m Record

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Clarence Munyai stunned the track and field world on Friday with a 19.69 clocking in the 200m. The 20-year-old from South African entered with a personal best of 20.10. The mark lopped 0.15 seconds off Wayde Van Niekerk’s South African national record and makes Munyai just the 10th man ever to run under 19.70. 

The Houston Men Might Break 31-Year Power Five Win Streak At NCAA Outdoors

TL2_0798.JPG Workout Wednesday: Inside Houston Sprints' Race Day Routine

The Houston men finished seventh overall in the team standings at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships with 26 total points, 20 of which came from Eli Hall's impressive 60/200 sweep. But don't expect the Cougars to be anywhere near the bottom of the top 10 this outdoor season. In fact, the Houston men are legitimate outdoor team title contenders for three reasons.

The New Mexico XC Team Might Score 50 Points At The 2018 NCAA Outdoors

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The New Mexico women have an opportunity to pull off an incredible feat at this year's 2018 Division I NCAA Outdoor Championships.