Follow our 2018 FloXC Countdown, where FloTrack ranks the top 25 cross country teams and individuals in the NCAA this season which will be LIVE on FloTrack. The No. 3 women’s spot goes to Oregon, and here's why:
Probable Top Five:
SR Weronika Pyzik (15:59 5K; 32:37 10K; 5th at ’17 NCAA XC)
JR Isabelle Brauer (16:27 5K; 33:44 10K; 15th at ’17 NCAA XC)
SR Carmela Cardama Baez (15:55 5K; 33:24 10K; 34th at ’17 NCAA XC)
SR Philippa Bowden (15:52 5K; 32:33 10K)
SR Jessica Hull (4:08 1500; 8:58 3K; 93rd at ’17 NCAA XC)
Weronika Pyzik via San Francisco (15:59 5K; 32:37 10K; 5th at ’17 NCAA XC)
Isabelle Brauer via San Francisco (16:27 5K; 33:44 10K; 15th at ’17 NCAA XC)
Philippa Bowden via Great Britain (15:52 5K; 32:33 10K)
The new-look Oregon women quickly filled the vacant roster spots left behind by All-Americans Katie Rainsberger and Lilli Burdon by adding Weronika Pyzik and Isabelle Brauer, two All-Americans from San Francisco who followed their coach, Helen Lehman-Winters, to Eugene. Those additions, plus Brit transfer Philippa Bowden, give the Ducks an abundance of firepower to chase a podium spot in 2018.
Oregon will have a highly accomplished top three this season, as Pyzik and Brauer were top 15 at nationals last fall, while Carmela Cardama Baez finished 34th in Louisville. If those three all place in the top 20 in Madison, U of O will be nearly assured of a top four finish. The Ducks were fifth at NCAAs last year.
Oregon will also enjoy the luxury of having two of the best No. 4 and 5 runners in the country this year. Philippa Bowden is new to the NCAA this season, but the 23-year-old’s 15:52/32:33 PRs show her All-American potential. Bowden originally signed with San Francisco, but like Pyzik and Brauer, she followed Lehman-Winters to the Pacific Northwest.
Jessica Hull, the 2018 NCAA 1,500m champ, will occupy Oregon’s No. 5 role, and she should be much improved this season after her big breakthrough on the track. Hull had never qualified for indoor or outdoor nationals before 2018, but she promptly led-off Oregon’s champion DMR squad and finished third in the 3k indoors in March before winning the NCAA 1,500m title at Hayward Field in June.
If Hull’s progression translates to cross country, Oregon could be looking at five All-Americans in 2018, and possibly a national title.