Updated: Mar 3, 2018
In Jay-Z's 2003 release of The Black Album (which went three-times platinum), Hov asked his fans "Can I get an Encore? Do you want more?" in one of the best tracks on his album.
Yes, it is one of the best tracks on the album (and I'm not talking about the Linkin Park remix). Don't debate me on this one.
If there was any song more relevant to this indoor track season, it would have to be that one. The regular season has come to an end and although we still have Nationals in one week, I can't help but think of all of the talented names that we won't be seeing for the rest of the indoor season.
These individuals may not have qualified for the Big Dance, but they did have a lot of great performances that deserve some attention...
Cooper Teare (Oregon)
When you look at the final NCAA rankings, it may be a little disappointing to see Teare as the First Man Out in the 3000 and five spots away from qualifying in the Mile. With that in mind, we still need to realize that this guy had a phenomenal season. He ran under 4-minutes for the first time in his collegiate career with a 3:59.29 and later followed that up with a 7:53 and a 7:56.
Did I mention that all of this was done as a true freshman? The future is bright for Teare and with the performances he's thrown down already, it's tough not to think about what he could do in the future. Of course, the same was said about Matthew Maton who was the last true freshman to run 7:53 or faster (in 2016).
At the same time, we don't know for sure if Teare's season is 100% done. Oregon may decide to field a DMR that has him in their lineup...
Marc Reinas (Northeastern)
The 2017 indoor and outdoor track seasons had plenty of breakout names, but one of the biggest had to be Northeastern's Paul Duffey. As a senior, Duffey threw down times of 1:48, 2:22 (1K), and 3:59. After he gradated, the Huskies were on the look-out for a new mid-distance star.
Enter Marc Reinas.
Just like Duffey during his senior year, Reinas was at the top of his game this season after opening up with a 1:48.86, improving that time to a 1:48.60 (NCAA #21), and winning the NEICAAA title over an underrated talent in Tyler Gleen from UCONN. Although he ended the season with a 1:49.87, Reinas has to be commended for setting the tone earlier in the season and displaying some impressive consistency.
Trevor Guerrera (Sacred Heart)
Speaking of mid-distance runners who set the tone early, how about Trevor Guerrera? The Sacred Heart star had a strong indoor season in 2017 with times of 1:48.75 and a 4:09.
As we entered the 2018 season, Guerrera began catching some early-season attention with a 4:10, 2:24, and 1:48.41 (NCAA #20), all before the end of January. On top of that, he also earned three wins on the season. Don't sleep on some of the performances that Guerrera could produce during the spring. This season may have just been a precursor for what he could do on the outdoor oval.
Addison DeHaven (Boise State)
Admittedly, DeHaven didn't run a whole lot more than the 3000 meters this season. He ran an early season 4:08 in the mile, but his focus eventually shifted to the longer distances for the rest of the season.
DeHaven would begin his 3K assault with a 7:59 at the UW Invite and improved that time to a 7:54 (NCAA #21). He would follow up on those times with a 3rd place finish at the Mountain West Championships.
DeHaven had some great times, but what was most impressive was that his previous personal best was an 8:17 from 2016. After failing to improve upon that time in 2017, DeHaven dropped 23 seconds off of his PR in a single season. He'll return in 2019 as one of the top 3K runners in the nation.
Edwin Kurgat (Iowa State)
One of the biggest headlines of the indoor track season was hearing that XC All-American Edwin Kurgat had transferred from Tennessee-Martin to Iowa State. Based on his previous personal bests, it didn't seem like Kurgat would have an impact on this Cyclone squad during the track season.
Yet, as fate would have it, Kurgat had one of the biggest breakout seasons of his life. Prior to Iowa State, Kurgat had personal bests of 8:29 and 14:27. Now, after just one season with a completely new program, Kurgat dropped a 33 second PR in the 3000 (7:56...NCAA #26) and a 25 second PR in the 5000 (14:03). Kurgat ended the season with two silver medals at the BIG 12 Championships.
There are plenty of runners who have breakout years and drop a lot of time. But to drop as much time as Kurgat did with a new coach, new teammates, and new environment is incredibly impressive.
We don't give Bradley enough credit. Over the past few years, the Braves have become the next Furman - a small school capable of producing talent that can compete at the highest level of Division One athletics.
Taylor FloydMews, a senior, had one of the best seasons of his career with a 4:04 mile as well as a pair of wins. Michael Ward had a huge performance at the UW Invite with a 7:58 (NCAA #36). Daniel Gagne put together a series of clutch mile performances with 4:06, 4:00, and 4:01.
By the time Alex Wilson rolled around, Bradley had assembled one of the better DMR's in the nation with a NCAA #19 time of 9:32.
They may not have the same big-name status as a Stanford or Oregon or any other Power Five team, but this is a program of the future. Do not sleep on the unknown depth of the Bradley Braves.
Ryan Forsyth (Colorado)
We've talked about big improvements a lot in this article and Ryan Forsyth is no exception. After winning the Colorado Invite with a 8:11 (at altitude), Forysth clipped off a 13:56 at the Husky Classic and later followed that up with personal bests of 7:56 (NCAA #29) and 13:51 (NCAA #25).
In a season where Buffalo stars Joe Klecker and John Dressel were nowhere to be found, Forsyth stepped up big-time and showed that he could be one of the focal points of this squad. He ran big times, earned top finishes, and never had a bad race. Forsyth may have been one of the more reliable and consistent distance runners in the nation this season.