We’re narrowing in on the 2023 season, and it wouldn’t be a new year without some predictions! We’ll be answering one pressing question over the course of eight days as we gear up for the first meet on January 6. Check out the previous days’ questions and predictions here.
Every year brings teams that excel more than normal—and it’s one of our favorite things to watch throughout the season. Will a new team break into the nationals conversation? Or maybe a program will win its first NCAA title or make regionals after years away.
Which Team Will Outperform Its Traditional Standing in 2023?
Winner: North Carolina (2 votes), Alabama (2 votes)
Runners-up: Stanford (1 vote), Illinois (1 vote), Washington (1 vote)
Elizabeth: I almost chose Washington, but I think I’m going to choose North Carolina. Not only will the Tar Heels make regionals, but they’ll secure a first-round bye to boot.
Peri: Stanford, with its star-studded freshman class. It’s had a few seasons of trying to find its “new normal” since 2020, and started to gain the right momentum last spring.
Alyssa: The Tar Heels have not finished the season ranked higher than 30th since 2011, and I see North Carolina eclipsing that mark in 2023.
Emily M: The Crimson Tide hasn’t finished better than fifth since 2016. I think this year Alabama returns to the top four.
Rebecca: Illinois has been slowly rising for years and now looks poised to challenge for a regional final spot.
Savanna: I ranked Alabama in my top four in our preseason poll, and I stand by that statement. I think the Crimson Tide will make a push into the final for 2023.
Allison: I’m pretty split, as I think Stanford could do it, but I honestly think Washington could make it happen this year. Washington jumped from 42nd to 21st, and while, yes, the program did finish in eighth in 2017, I think this could be the year the Huskies prove they’re back.
READ THIS NEXT: All 2023 Predictions
Article by Elizabeth Grimsley, Peri Goodman, Alyssa Van Auker, Emily Minehart, Rebecca Scally, Savanna Whitten, Allison Freeman
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