Analyzing the Top Contenders: Women's NCAA National Race Prediction
Updated: Nov 12
Trying to predict results for over 100+ NCAA Triathletes is not a simple task. As a former NCAA Coach who helped bring Queens 2x DII National Championships, and someone who has been to NCAA Nationals multiple times, I decided to create a formula to see how 2023 NCAA Nationals plays out. After hours of crunching the data and cross referencing this season's NCAA races I used this formula to predict the results for the top 100 athletes. Disclaimer, a majority of these are weighted more heavily based on the most recent Eastern and Western Regional Qualifiers. Therefore, if a athlete underperformed at one of those races, this may not accurately reflect how they will perform at nationals. Also, races are not won on paper, and there is 0% chance this plays out exactly as my formula predicts. So coaches, athletes, and parents: please understand this is merely a prediction tool and it does not mean I think lower ranked athletes or teams have no chance of performing well. Its impossible for me to know the very important things that go on behind the scenes: 1. Team culture. 2. Stress Management.
3. Who was tapered or rested at previous races.
4. Who had a "off day".
5. Who can elevate their game at Nationals.
6. Who is overtrained or injured. Lets jump into the numbers!
Here are the top 25 out of the water in this prediction formula:
I believe there will be either two small break away groups or one larger break away group of 8-12 athletes total. In this break, based on previous NCAA races from this year I have the following athletes: Amber Schlebusch - ASU Zoe Adam - ASU Sidney Clement - ASU Faith Dasso - ASU Molly Elliott - USF Kira Gupta-Baltazar - USF Grace Reeder - U of A Dana Prikrylova - U of A Maira Carreau - Denver Cara MacDonald - Queens Sam McInnes - Queens Beth Cook - Queens Total athletes per team in break: Asu (4), Queens (3), USF (2), U of A (2), Denver (1) Sam McInnes and Faith Dasso are two I am interested to watch out of the water. The formula had them at 50/50 of making the break, but both appear to be very strong cyclists which is why I included them in the break. So on race day, if only one of them makes that break it will greatly effect ASU and Queens in their championship battle. More on that later. Now, lets assume this break away does come together into a 12 woman break away, I believe they have the firepower to establish a 0:20-45 second lead into T2 depending if they work together or not. If it gets political and they argue, they could also very easily get caught prior to T2. I believe USF and U of A will be motivated to work, Queens and ASU could possibly get political. Maria from Denver is a incredible runner so she can play this any way she wants on the bike. Assuming they do work together, I had them with about a 30 second gap heading into T2 over a pretty main pack. I also should notify this is not a Bike TIME predicting model but more of a Bike Place / Pack predicting model, so the bike times themself will most likely be slightly slower on this course depending on the conditions. The bike times were more correlated to the previous regional qualifiers and then averaged into a formula. Below is a screenshot of the athletes heading into T2: *Athletes in Gold made the break away, athletes in grey made the main chase group.
They say swim for show and run for dough. If the race places out this way, the run will be very important. Break away athletes will be trying to hold off the large main group which contains a lot of strong runners. Amber Schlebusch from ASU has also not raced yet this year at a NCAA race, so my predictions for her are more based on her most recent international results and also as the defending 22' NCAA Champion. I also bumped up Naomi Ruff to a much better result than her region qualifier where I heard she had a mechanical.
Here are the final results in my prediction:
For the Team competition this would mean the race came down to a mere 7 points with ASU again taking the Championship: 1. ASU - 457 Points 2. Queens - 450 Points 3. USF - 397 Points
4. Denver - 379 Points 5. TCU - 368 Points
Also, this formula was based on the top 100 Ranked individual athletes, meaning ASU has 10 athletes in the field, however, each team is limited to 7 athletes at nationals and there is no way to know who the coaches will select to race for their team. Best of luck to every athlete and all the coaches who sacrifice so much for this special day.
Full Excel Sheet Below: