Columbia and #23 Princeton women have the talent and spread that they could finish anywhere in the top 5 spots of this conference. That is how deep this conference has become in recent years.
Columbia has Waverly Neer (Russiaville, Ind.) back in full force this season after missing last year due to an injury. Back in 2011, she was the only runner who was able to keep up with Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino in the Heps XC snowmegeddon. This year, she is still the closest Ivy runner to D’Agostino when they have raced on the same course. Leila Mantilla (Penfield, N.Y.), Olivia Sadler (Bristol, U.K.), and Aryn Foland (Mira Costa, Calif.) stepped up last year at Heps when Neer was injured. Meanwhile, Danika Simonson (Clifton Park, N.Y.) and Chelsea Carrick (Casper, Wyo.) have been strong all season and can help the Lions get necessary points to put them on the podium.
But Princeton has a force of strength in their star freshman, Megan Curham (Warren, N.J.). In each of her three races this season, she has been the top freshman in the race, and that includes the high tier Notre Dame XC and Pre-National invitationals. It is possible that Curham could run down Neer as their FloRatings (an attempt to normalize cross country times across all major cross country meets) are within 1 point of each other (Neer 156.3, Curham 155.5). But the Tiger strength does not end at Curham – Curham has strong support in Emily de la Bruyere (New York, N.Y.), Molly Higgins (Randolph, N.J.), Catherine Gallagher (Greenwood Village, Colo.), and Lindsay Eysenbach (Belmont, Mass.) as each of these ladies are strong distance runners who have Heps XC experience.