The 2022 women's outdoor track and field season is underway and a new season brings new athletes. As freshmen in the sport take the outdoor track for the first time, let's look at some who could garner headlines by the season's end.
8 true freshmen who can burst on the scene in 2022
Freshmen considered for this article have not competed in any season before the 2021-22 academic year.
Mia Barnett | Virginia
Virginia's Mia Barnett earned First-Team All-American honors for her performance in the DMR this winter. Individually, she finished 10th in the mile finals with a time of 4:42.92. Barnett has great potential in distance events this year and beyond.
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Kenondra Davis | Georgia
At the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Invitational, Georgia's Kenondra Davis won first place in the 200 meters, finishing in 23.23 seconds. That time would've ranked 13th in the 2021 outdoor championship prelims. With improvement to come, Davis could be a freshman we see come June.
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Allison Johnson | Penn State
Penn State's Allison Johnson won the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award during the indoor season. Johnson finished 14th in the 800 meters with a time of 2:08.69. She's one to watch in the mid-distance/distance events.
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Elena Kulichenko | Georgia
The accolades came in droves for Georgia's Elena Kulichenko this winter. She was named SEC Field Freshman of the Year and earned First-Team All-American honors in the high jump. At the indoor championships, Kulichencko jumped 1.78 meters, the eighth-highest mark. Yet, that mark is still below her career-best jump of 1.83 meters. Kulichenko is quickly rising up — literally — and has star potential.
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Lia Love | Iowa
Iowa's Lia Love has already run 11.42 in the 100 meters this season. That time would've been the 12th fastest in the 100 meter prelims at the 2021 outdoor championships. While Love is still looking for her first first-place finish, she's off to a great start in her freshman season.
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Micaela De Mello | Washington State
Micaela De Mello is a name to remember. Early in the season at Baldy Castillo, the Washington State freshman ran 13.08 in the 100 meter hurdles. To put that time in perspective, it would've been the seventh-fastest time in the 100 meter hurdles finals at the 2021 championships. De Mello might be the next elite hurdler in the sport.
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Samirah Moody | USC
At the Trojan Invitational, Southern California's Samirah Moody took first place in the 200 meters, finishing in 23.43 seconds. Moody also won first place running in the 4x400 meter relay A squad for USC alongside standout Bailey Lear. Moody could be a key piece in the Lady Trojans' quest for back-to-back titles, both individually and in relays.
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Akeila Smith | Texas
During the indoor season, Akeila Smith earned First-Team All-American honors in the triple jump, finishing in sixth place with a mark of 13.75 meters. Smith has quickly made her presence known in the event and is one to watch.