The transition from high school to collegiate athletics is one that all freshmen athletes go through, though some navigate the difficulty of the increased competitiveness with general ease.
Over the fall cross country season, we saw familiar athletes take center stage and make statements at the conference and NCAA Championship level for their collegiate programs, with names such as Brie Oakley (Cal), Cailie Logue (Iowa State), Maggie Farrell (Michigan State), Casey Clinger (BYU), Cooper Teare (Oregon), Sam Worley (Texas) and Luis Grijalva (NAU) standing out among their class, among others.
But now with the indoor season back in session we have an even greater list of freshmen vying for top times and marks throughout the country.
Which have fared better than others?
Today, we'll look at at both the men's and women's categories separately. We'll start first with the men's field, where we are looking exclusively with where freshmen are positioned among the top 10 in each event nationwide in Division I action.
We've found that immediate success comes harder in the field events, where no freshmen have marked a top 10 effort in either the triple or long jump or heptathlon. There are no freshmen in the top 10 nationally in the 60m, or in the mile, or in the weight throw, either.
Indiana redshirt freshman Ben Veatch, a graduate of Carmel (IN) High, isn't really a freshman. While he redshirted his indoor and outdoor campaign last year, he's competed for the Hoosiers in two consecutive cross country seasons, winning the Big Ten Freshman of the Year honor from 2016-2017 and was 87th at this year's NCAA Championship. He's tops in the nation in the 5K and third in the 3K in his first indoor campaign. He's the only freshmen leading a men's category so far.
If we're breaking down "true" freshmen impact, four names come to mind:
Cunningham is the high school indoor national record holder in the 60mH and has transitioned smoothly with the Seminoles, running the sixth-fastest time in the event with a time of 7.76 seconds -- another freshman, former Florida standout Damion Thomas, is 10th overall.
Turner, meanwhile, had a remarkable senior season for Yukon (OK) High in 2017, earning the second highest clearance in the high jump all-time with a mark of 7 feet, 6 inches. Competing for the first time over the indoor season, he's calmly gone 7-3.75.
And two names we heard a lot about last year, Piperi and Geist, are currently No. 2 and No. 4 in the shot put. Surely, those two will continue to battle all season long -- No. 3, Nate Esparza, by comparison, is a redshirt freshman.
Check out the full list of top 10 NCAA freshmen performers below.
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NCAA Men's 200m -- Freshmen Inside Top 10
|2||Texas Tech||20.56||Red Raider Invitational||Jan. 19|
|3||Kentucky||20.73||Clemson Invitational||Jan. 19|
|6||Texas||20.87||Texas A & M Quadrangular||Jan. 20|
|9||Florida||21.02||Clemson Invitational||Jan. 19|
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NCAA Men's 400m -- Freshmen Inside Top 10
|5||Howard Fields III||Baylor||46.41||Texas A & M Quadrangular||Jan. 20|
|9||Kentucky||46.55||Kentucky Invite||Jan. 12|
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NCAA Men's 800m -- Freshman Inside Top 10
|2||Mississippi State||1:48.21||Vanderbilt Invitational||Jan. 19|
|5||Ole Miss||1:48.94||Vanderbilt Invitational||Jan. 19|
|9||Missouri||1:49.84||Vanderbilt Invitational||Jan. 19|
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NCAA Men's 3000m -- Freshmen Inside Top 10
|3||Indiana||7:58.83||Gladstein Invitational||Jan. 19|
|7||BYU||8:05.00||BYU Cougar Indoor||Jan. 11|
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NCAA Men's 5000m -- Freshmen Inside Top 10
|1||Indiana||13:57.27||Hoosier Open||Dec. 8|
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NCAA Men's 60mH -- Freshmen Inside Top 10
|6||Florida State||7.74||Larry Wieczorek Invitational||Jan. 19|
|10||LSU||7.8||Larry Wieczorek Invitational||Jan. 19|
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NCAA Mens' High Jump -- Freshmen Inside Top 10
|4||Oklahoma||7-3.75||Leonard Hilton Invitational||Jan. 12|
|5||Indiana||7-3||Hooser Open||Dec. 8|
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NCAA Men's Pole Vault -- Freshmen Inside Top 10
|10||Virginia Tech||17-7.25||Nittany Lion Challenge||Jan. 13|
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NCAA Men's Shot Put -- Freshmen Inside Top 10
|2||Texas||63-11.75||Corky Classic||Jan. 13|
|3||UCLA||63-11.5||MLK Collegiate Invitational||Jan. 19|
|4||Arizona||63-9.75||Friday Night Duals||Jan. 12|