The Camel City Elite meet will take place at the JDL Fast Track in North Carolina this Friday and Saturday, February 7th and 8th. The meet’s fields host some top professional talent as well as some of the best collegiates in the NCAA. Names include Furman’s Ryan Adams, Virginia Tech’s Peter Seufer, Virginia Tech’s Sarah Edwards, and Florida's Jessica Pascoe (to name a few).
There's no question that this will surely be a fast one down in Winston-Salem.
Ryan Adams to Battle Top Mile Field Yet Again
Furman’s Ryan Adams is having one of the best indoor season’s thus far of any Division One collegian. His indoor opener came at the Vanderbilt Invitational back in mid-January where he ran a huge five second PR to take 2nd behind Waleed Suliman in a time of 3:57. He then followed it up a week later at the Dr. Sander Invitational finishing 2nd in 7:49, several spots ahead of the next collegiate athlete.
This weekend, Adams will be pitted against some top pros and other collegians in the Camel City Elite mile. Seeded second at his PR (only behind some guy named Edward Cheserek), Adams will be able to once again chase a PR in a race that will be set up to run very fast. Cheserek’s seed time is under 3:50, so if Adams can stay in some sort of contact with Cheserek throughout the first half of the race or so, he may be able to flirt with a new PR.
In Adams’ first two races this season (both 2nd place finishes), he has proven that he likes to compete at the front, forcing his competition to chase him before they ultimately fade.
At the Vanderbilt Invitational in the mile, Adams finished only 0.6 seconds behind the winner. At the Armory, he was only 0.3 seconds out of 1st place in the 3000 meters at the Dr. Sander Columbia Challenge. Adams will once again have the potential to be near the front of this and have a massive breakthrough performance. With the flat-track conversion that he could receive, Adams may end up with the top mile spot in the NCAA after this weekend, even with the Millrose Games taking place.
Edwards Makes Mile Debut, Can She Earn Facility Record?
Sarah Edwards, the current national leader in the women’s 1000 meters, will run the mile in the Camel City Elite field this weekend. Edwards has not run the mile at this point in the season, but has run 2:44 in the 1000 meters just a couple of weeks ago, making her the nation’s leader just milliseconds ahead of Rhode Island’s Lotte Black.
Like many other top collegians competing at Camel City, Edwards will be in the mix with several top pros and unattached athletes. She is seeded as the top collegian with her PR of 4:36, placing her fourth overall on the start list.
Edwards has shown some impressive range throughout her career and that 3000 meter strength could serve her well over this mile distance, an event she has not run in quite some time. Coming off of two 1000 meter races to start off her indoor season, now seems to be the perfect time for Edwards to run the mile. She used the first half of the season to build up her base and paired that with her recent display of speed. That combo should set Edwards up for a big performance this weekend.
If all goes well, she may end up capturing a new facility record for collegians.
The current collegiate meet record of 4:36.10 (set in 2017) is definitely under fire and on the table for Edwards. If she can attach herself to the slightly faster seeded pro women in the field and maintain some finishing speed, the collegiate facility record (and a PR) becomes very achievable.
Steelman & Pascoe Headline Collegiates in 3000 Meters
Wofford’s Hannah Steelman and Florida’s Jessica Pascoe headline the collegians for the Camel City Elite 3000 meter run. Steelman has only run a mile so far this indoor season which came at the Carolina Challenge last weekend (4:47). Pascoe has had a similar start to her indoor season. She opened up with a mile (4:43) and was a member of Florida's DMR squad at last weekend’s Razorback Invitational in Arkansas. Both women are at similar points in their indoor campaigns and can use a strong field to catapult them into the heart of the season.
Despite both Pascoe and Steelman only running a mile so far this season, they still rank within the top 50 nationwide for their mile performances at their respective opening meets (Pascoe 24th, Steelman 44th). The mile is seemingly an "out of the norm" event for both of these women, but it seems to be relatively clear that they were making an effort to refine their middle distance speed prior to jumping into a longer race like this 15-lap affair.
The top three entrants for this field are pros with seed times under 9:00, so it may be a bit tough for Steelman and Pascoe to hang on for the entire race. However, they can surely work together and potentially move as a chase pack to times under 9:10 (or maybe even 9:05). If that were to happen, the flat-track conversions would comfortably place them in the national qualifying conversation.
Seufer Moves Up To Make 3000 Meter Season Debut
One of the NCAA’s most talented cross country runners will make his 3000 meter debut this weekend at the JDL Fast Track. Virginia Tech’s Peter Seufer has run just two mile races so far this season, both in respectable times of 4:05. However, what most people have been waiting for from Seufer is a long distance debut either in the 3000 or 5000 meters. This Virginia Tech ace is a runner who tends to really show his prowess over the longer distances (specifically the 10k).
In a field that includes pro athletes such as Paul Chelimo and Brian Barraza, Seufer has a great chance of flirting with a national qualifying time. Will his experimentation with the mile earlier this season produce enough turnover for him to contend in a field like this?
In terms of fellow collegiates who could help him push the pace, Seufer may be on his own. Listed as the only collegian in the top six of the field, the next collegiate entrant has a seed time of just 8:06 (which is still plenty respectable).
Chelimo is a runner who, much like Seufer, isn't afraid to push the pace when he wants to. An aggressive race strategy for Chelimo will likely benefit the Hokie veteran who has a tendency to thrive in assertive race situations. If Seufer is comfortable with not holding the lead for the majority of the race, then he'll have a chance to be pulled to a "Ryan Adams-like" 3000 meter time.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run under 7:50 and place himself in the top five nationwide after this weekend.
We said that Steelman and Pascoe are the headliners for the women's 3000 meters as far as collegiates go (and they are), but there are a few other women who could do some pretty special things. Furman's Savannah Carnahan has the potential to be just as good as Steelman and Pascoe in this race after a great cross country season. The same can be said for NC State freshman Kelsey Chmiel who has sky-high potential, but is still growing as far as her big-meet experience is concerned.
The men's mile is far deeper than just Ryan Adams. Jack Joyce is one the more underrated middle distance runners in the country right now. He beat middle distance specialist Matt Wisner en route to a win in the 1000 meters at the beginning of the season. He later pulled off a big upset win in the same event over teammates Mosavel-Lo and Diego Zarate en route to a time of 2:22. In theory, he could scare the four minute barrier this weekend (as could his teammate Diego Zarate).
In addition to the Virginia Tech duo, Nicholas Wareham and Aaron Wier are also entered. Wareham has had a quiet start to the season, but has been a major name to watch this season in terms of his sub-4:00 potential. Meanwhile, Wier has been having a breakout season of his own, running 4:02 at the Vanderbilt Invite. He could also scare the 4:00 barrier if everything goes perfectly.
Norfolk State's Martha Bissah could really thrive in this race. She's not afraid to attach herself to an aggressive pace and this field (which is loaded with high-level professional athletes) could carry her to a fast time. Bissah could realistically end up with the top time in the nation when fans check TFRRS on Sunday morning. More importantly, this will be an interesting race to see how Bissah manages a field that will easily be the deepest she races until the NCAA Championships.
The men's 3000 meters has a ton of interesting names. D2 standout Christian Noble could potentially scare the 8:00 barrier (or at least get there with a conversion) while D3 star Aidan Ryan could aim for a similar time after an excellent season opener at Boston. Meanwhile, Athanas Kioko will be viewed as "the guy" for this Campbell program with Amon Kemboi now gone. How will his wildly ambitious pacing tendencies work in this kind of field?
The Bashir Mosavel-Lo (Virginia Tech) vs Matt Wisner (Duke) rivalry is set to reignite this weekend. This will be a race that helps establish the balance of power for the ACC 800 meter title. Keep in mind that Florida veteran Justin Pacifico is also in this race. He is quietly very consistent, often underrated and has great experience. Don't sleep on him in a race like this.
The women's mile has a slew of talented names, but Gabby Jennings (Furman) and Petronela Simiuc (Toledo) are sub-4:40 milers who are looking to capitalize on their momentum after running encouraging PR's over the past couple of weeks. They are both still on the fringe of earning a more comfortable spot to Nationals, so the incentive for them to run fast is at an all-time high.