Updated: Dec 12, 2019
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TSR contributors may value certain aspects and ranking criteria differently between men and women when constructing our Indoor Top 25.
These lists were written prior to the weekend of December 6-7th. Times from that weekend are given some consideration, but do not completely dictate our rankings.
25. Ezekiel Kipchirchir, Junior, West Texas A&M
Fresh off of a 12th place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, Kipchirchir has found his name amongst some of the best in the country. Despite not qualifying for an NCAA meet yet, Kipchirchir has run 4:24 for the mile and 8:34 for the 3000 meters, leading us to believe that he's at least capable enough to make one.
So far, every standout star from the cross country season has had tremendous success in their indoor debut, and that will likely be the case in 2020. However, until we see that from Kipchirchir, we've opted to start him off at the TSR #25 spot.
24. Joshua Chepkesir, Sophomore, UNC Pembroke
We don't have much data on Chepkesir as he didn’t race indoors or outdoors after his strong cross country season in 2018. Despite no times from last year to support our claim, we think Chepkesir is going to be one of the top runners in the country and his recent season debut of 8:13 in the 3000 meters (flat-track converted) encourages that thought process.
He’s being ranked on the safer end here at TSR #24 in large part due to the lack of times. He finished 8th at the NCAA meet just two weeks ago and showed us that he wants to run with the leaders no matter the pace. He’ll likely do the same thing when it comes to the indoor track season.
The 5000 meters should probably be his best event. He can challenge the favorites with his front-running. The only concern is that if it becomes a tactical race, will he be at a disadvantage?
23. Jhordan Ccope, Junior, NW Missouri
This is the first season for Ccope in the Bearcat uniform, but coming from Iowa Central CC, he brings PR's with them that are in the range of national qualifying times.
Prior to this season, he had run 4:21 for the mile, 8:31 for 3000 meters, and then 14:38 for 5000 meters. All of these are solid marks from the junior. While none of those times would have gotten him to the NCAA meet last year, his results from the cross country season speak to his ability as a runner.
Oh, and he ran 14:08 this past weekend.
His 9th place finish at the national meet proved to us that he has the strength to race against some of the best in the country this year. There’s no doubt that Ccope will lower his personal bests (as evidenced by his recent 5k) and we should see him in either the 3000 or 5000 (or both) come March.
22. Jack Mastandrea, Senior, Charleston (W.V.)
Mastandrea brings enough experience into his final season that he finds himself on this list. Despite being an arguably better 10,000 meter runner (29:36) in his career, his recent new PR of 14:08 from the GVSU Holiday Open this past weekend makes him one of the more dangerous names in the NCAA when it comes to the longer distances. It also helps that he has a 4th place at NCAA's in the 10k.
Despite his anomaly of a performance at the cross country national meet meet two weeks ago, Mastandrea is still one of the best distance runners in the country for Division Two.
21. Dylan Ko, Sophomore, Colorado Mines
Generally speaking, most of the times on Ko's TFRRS profile are relatively underwhelming compared to some of the other top names on this list. But there's a good reason for that...
Ko has run all of his races at his home indoor track in Golden, Colorado outside of the RMAC Championships which were contested at 7500+ feet of elevation. When you factor in altitude conversions, Ko is one of the top distance runners in the nation. In fact, this past weekend, Ko earned a 14:15 conversion after factoring in flat-track and altitude conversions.
20. Kyle Moran, Sophomore, Colorado Mines
Moran has run one event in his collegiate track and field career. The 5000. He’s run 14:31 during the indoor season (recently running a 14:12 conversion this past weekend), and then 14:29 during the outdoor season.
He qualified for both races with altitude converted times and while that’s an argument for another time, Moran has proved his legitimacy after his most recent cross country season. Despite finishing outside the top 10 during the NCAA championships for the track seasons, he was 4th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past fall.
Moran, much like his teammate Ko, is going to be two of the top performers in whichever event they choose to run in March.
19. Seb Anthony, Sophomore, Queens (N.C.)
Anthony was one of the toughest runners to rank this year. He makes our list at TSR #19 in large part because he was an All-American last year during the indoor season. He ran 1:50 last winter and then lowered that to a marquee time of 1:49 during outdoors.
The only (minor) concern for Anthony was that his range was somewhat limited. His 4:18 mile PR is respectable, but it doesn't necessarily standout. Luckily, this past cross country season was extremely strong for Anthony, indicating to us that his new-found endurance could lead to major success this winter.
18. Christian Noble, Junior, Lee (Tenn.)
Noble feels like a forgotten runner with his absence from the Flames roster this past fall. However, with a handful of big-time achievements throughout last year, Noble has rightfully deserved a spot on this list.
His times from the indoor season aren’t the fastest, but his PR's of 4:10 and 14:30 are both very respectable. He’s most recently finished 5th at the Outdoor National Championships in the steeplechase. For what its worth, his personal best in that event is 8:55.
Noble likely will focus on the 3000 this upcoming season, but should see success in both that and the 5000 this indoor season. After all, he's already run a jaw-dropping time of 8:10 this season.
The Lee junior has the strength to run with the best runners in the country and his 4:13 mile shows us that he has enough speed to take on any type of race.
17. Hugo Arlabosse, Junior, Franklin Pierce
Arlabosse is another 800 meter runner who should be racing for a top spot this year. He boasts the rare sub-1:50 indoor PR of 1:49 which was run last year at the BU Last Chance Qualifier. He finished 5th at Nationals two weeks later.
Speed is not an issue for him as he’s run 1:20 over 600 meters, complementing his already strong half-mile achievements. Much like Anthony, Arlabosse had the best cross country season of his career and that only bodes well for him moving forward.
16. Titus Winders, Sophomore, Southern Indiana
Winders was really tough to rank. Partly because there is no data outside of two 5000 meter races, both of which were run right after the completion of cross country. In his most recent 5000 meter race, he ran 14:06 which is now the #5 fastest time in the NCAA.
Ironically, he also ran 14:06 for 5000 meters almost a year ago to the day. Even crazier? That time ended up staying as the #5 time in the NCAA last winter.
Winders is extremely talented, and that was showcased with his 13th place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past fall. We’ll wait to see what else he does on the indoor oval before moving him higher, but he's off to a hot start (just like last year) so far.
15. Luke Julian, Junior, Colorado Mines
Julian was one of the best in terms of range in Division Two last year. He’s run 4:09 for the mile, 8:13 for 3000 meters, and 14:10 for the 5000 (outdoors). Julian’s PR of 3:44 for 1500 meters suggests that he’s likely a little quicker than the 4:09 mile time suggests.
Last year, he barely lost the battle to Rowan Doherty on the final leg of the DMR which saw his team place 3rd instead of 2nd. However, he got the last laugh the next day as he finished 5th in the 3000 meters.
Julian went on to finish 6th at the Outdoor National Championships in the 1500 metersand doubled in the 5000 (which didn’t go as expected). Regards, it tells us that he’s capable of running two events at the national meet in March.
He’ll have to make a decision though, as he’ll likely be part of the DMR team and his range gives him the ability to run the mile, 3000, and 5000.
14. Ayman Zahafi, Junior, TAMU Kingsville
Zahafi was one of the biggest threats to Thomas Staines last year, eventually ending last indoor season with a 3rd place finish at the national meet before upgrading to a runner-up performance in the spring.
He’s run 1:49 on the indoor track, and then 1:48 on the outdoor track. He comes in as one of the favorites to take home this year’s 800 meter titles with Staines opting to redshirt this season.