Follow our 2019 FloXC Countdown, where FloTrack ranks the top 10 cross country teams in NCAA DII/DIII this season. The 2019 NCAA Cross Country Championships will be LIVE on FloTrack for all three divisions. And be sure to watch our LIVE FloXC Podium Reveal Show Monday, Aug. 26, at 10 AM CT. The No. 5 DII women’s spot goes to Seattle Pacific and here's why:
Projected Top Five:
SO Kaylee Mitchell (10:37 3K SC; 35th at ‘18 NCAA XC)
SR Kate Lilly (4:27 1500; 16:51 5K; 120th at ‘18 NCAA XC)
SR Katherine Walter (85th at ‘18 NCAA XC)
SO Krystal Kaufman (4:44 1500; 136th at ‘18 NCAA XC)
JR Dania Holmberg (4:31 1500; 176th at ‘18 NCAA XC)
No women’s team in DII is better positioned to make a significant jump than Seattle Pacific in 2019, as the Falcons return their entire top seven from last year’s 15th place team. Yes, 15th to fifth is a monumental leap in just one year, but SPU has all the ingredients to make such an improvement.
It all starts with sophomore Kaylee Mitchell, who earned All-American honors as a true freshman in 2018. Mitchell backed up that immediate success with an NCAA qualification in the steeplechase, and her track credentials-- 4:32 1500, 10:37 steeple and 17:16 5k-- suggest bigger things are coming in year two on the XC course.
But Mitchell isn’t alone, as the true potential of this team lies in the untapped ability of the other scorers behind her. Senior Kate Lilly has the best track resume on the team, and yet that hasn’t been reflected in cross country. Perhaps that changes this year now that she finished fifth in the NCAA outdoor 5k in May. Katherine Walter is another woman to watch as she was second in the conference 10k.
In picking the Falcons to finish in the top five, I’ll acknowledge that I’m taking a bit of a flyer given that SPU was 214 points away from fifth place in 2018. But this roster clearly is better than what they’ve shown on the grass, and if they succeed this fall, they could be one of the best stories of the year in DII.