We're days away from the 2023 DI outdoor women's track and field championships. There's no better time than now for my championship predictions, event-by-event. Let's dive in.
Heptathlon - Allie Jones, Southern California
USC's Allie Jones has scored 6200-plus points in each of her heptathlons this year after finishing second nationally in the combined events during the indoor season. I think Jones can break 6200 again at outdoor championships, continuing her rise.
100 meters - Julien Alfred, Texas
Julien Alfred will be running on her home track at NCAA Championships, and she should run away with the 100-meter title. If the wind cooperates, she could push for the collegiate record, fittingly set the last time Texas hosted the outdoor championships by former LSU Tiger Sha'Carri Richardson.
100 meter hurdles - Masai Russell, Kentucky
Kentucky's Masai Russell has the collegiate record in a loaded field in the 100 meter hurdles. LSU's Alia Armstrong and Arkansas' Ackera Nugent remain threats to win the event, but I have to go with Russell here because all signs point to a collegiate record being needed to win the 100 meter hurdles title. Who better to pick to do that than someone who currently owns the mark?
200 meters - Julien Alfred, Texas
The 200 meters is a closer call than the 100 meters, but I still have Julien Alfred sweeping the short sprints. Alfred is arguably the best out of the blocks at the collegiate level, and that should help her hold off competition from Ole Miss' McKenzie Long and others.
400 meters - Rhasidat Adeleke, Texas
Only two women have run sub-50 400 meter times this year, Texas' Rhasidat Adeleke and Arkansas' Britton Wilson, the collegiate record holder. I have Adeleke knocking off the collegiate record holder thanks to having fresher legs entering Day 2 of the championship meet.
400 meter hurdles - Britton Wilson, Arkansas
Even a tired Britton Wilson — which she might be after running in the 400 meters 25 minutes before — should be fast enough to win the NCAA title in the 400 meter hurdles. She still has the collegiate record left on her checklist, and she'll surely be gunning for the mark if she doesn't get it in the semifinals. And in this scenario, a motivated Wilson — after not winning the 400 meters — pulls a Denzel Washington and "leaves there with something."
800 meters - Michaela Rose, LSU
The No. 2 NCAA 800 meter runner all-time is LSU's Michaela Rose. She's broken two minutes twice this year outdoors and still has her sights set on redemption after losing the indoor 800-meter title. It'll be Rose's time to bloom and take home the 800-meter crown in Austin.
1500 meters - Katelyn Tuohy, NC State
One of the few distance records Katelyn Tuohy doesn't have is in the outdoor 1500 meters. Knocking six seconds off her personal-best time to break four minutes sounds crazy, and it just might be. Yet, I wouldn't be surprised if Tuohy still runs a personal best to win the title, even if it's not a record.
3000 meter steeplechase - Greta Karinauskaite, California Baptist
Greta Karinauskaite ran a 9:26.88 steeplechase IN THE PRELIMS. Not only is that time a personal best by almost 10 seconds for Karinauskaite, but it also resets her collegiate lead in the event. Karinauskaite running a time like that in the prelims makes me think an even better time could be in store come the championship final.
5000 meters - Katelyn Tuohy, NC State
Katelyn Tuohy is the collegiate record holder in the 5000 meters, running 17 seconds better than the next fastest competitor this year. That gap should be insurmountable, even if Tuohy is fatigued since the 5000 meters is the second-to-last race of the championship meet.
10,000 meters - Mercy Chelangat, Alabama
Alabama's Mercy Chelangat may not be at the front of your mind when thinking about potential 10K champions after only running the 14th-fastest time in the country exiting prelims, but she should be. Chelangat is the defending 10K champion and finished second in the event in 2021. This year, Chelangat has run the second-fastest 10K time this year outside of prelims. I see the Alabama distance star repeating as champion.
4x100 meter relay - Texas
Texas has run the three fastest 4x1 times this year. The 4x1 opens the final day of competition at the NCAA Championships. The NCAA Championships will be run at Mike A. Myers Stadium, Texas' home track. The Longhorns are taking this one, opening Saturday with a bang.
4x400 meter relay - Texas
This race is a toss-up at this point. Why? Because if a team has already secured the title entering the 4x4, it might not even run it. That said, my prediction here does a bit of projecting.
Given the individual titles I already have Texas winning, Texas might be that team to sit out the 4x4. However, the Longhorns have every collegiate record in the relays this year except... the 4x4. I think even if Texas has things wrapped up, they'll still send out their best 4x4 team in search of one more record.
Pole vault - Chloe Timberg, Rutgers
The pole vault title will be headed to the Garden State after Rutgers' Chloe Timberg wins the event. Timberg isn't the indoor champion nor the collegiate leader, but she has vaulted over 4.40 meters four times this year, something no other woman can say this year.
High jump - Lamara Distin, Texas A&M
It's Lamara Distin vs. the field in the high jump, with the Texas A&M leaper's biggest competition being the height of two meters. It's more likely Distin attempts to break the collegiate record than it is that she fails to win her fourth-straight high jump title across the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Long jump - Jasmine Moore, Florida
I can't pick against Florida's Jasmine Moore here after her continued dominance at championship events. However, Texas' Ackelia Smith and her second-best long jump in NCAA history will be stiff competition. Yet, Moore still gets the nod here as the defending champion.
Triple jump - Jasmine Moore, Florida
Jasmine Moore will go 16-for-16 across the last two years, sweeping the horizontal jumps for the second-straight year. I see Moore winning the triple jump more easily than the long jump, with the Florida Gator potentially reaching a collegiate record.
Shot put - Jorinde Van Klinken, Oregon
Jorinde Van Klinken has a few indoor shot put NCAA titles but hasn't gotten over the hump during the outdoor season. I think that changes come June, with the shot put on Day 1 of women's competition. The Oregon Duck will have to outthrow Nebraska's Axelina Johansson, the collegiate leader, but Van Klinken finally broke 19 meters during the outdoor season at west prelims and appears to be peaking at the right time.
Hammer - Anna Purchase, California
Cal's Anna Purchase will keep the hammer trophy with the Bears this year as the top woman in the event. While she could see competition with Harvard's Stephanie Ratcliffe — the only other woman with a throw over 73 meters this year — I think Purchase's previous championship experience will benefit her in Austin.
Discus - Jorinde Van Klinken, Oregon
Van Klinken is the collegiate record holder in the discus and she's been at a different level than the rest of the field this year.
Javelin - Maddie Harris, Nebraska
Nebraska has an impressive roster of throwers and Maddie Harris is chief among them. Behind five throws greater than 55 meters this year and momentum from prelims, Harris gets the job done at nationals.