Checks & Balances

Updated: Dec 17, 2018


The indoor season has finally concluded and with that has come plenty of insights, predictions, bold statements, and projections. As we prepare more content throughout this week, we decided to look back at some of our articles and see how accurate (or inaccurate) we were throughout the season. Here are a few quotes from a handful of articles and the end result...



Destined For The D-Med?

"If you're looking for a sleeper pick to emerge in the DMR, you might want to look at the Texas Longhorns."


"There are plenty of other teams like Texas that have strong potential in the 1200 and mile legs...One of those teams is the Iona Gaels"


"...a team like the Washington Huskies may spark your interest"


"...the Michigan Wolverines are a team that may be a little easier to predict"


"...the Southern Utah Thunderbirds seem to have all of the necessary pieces for a respectable DMR."


"...the Iowa State Cyclones are a team that could really surprise this season with a solid amount of depth and a superstar leading the way"


Result: MOSTLY WRONG


To be fair, this article was mainly to talk about sleeper teams who could come out and surprise us. I didn't expect all of these teams to qualify for Nationals. However, half of these teams didn't even put together a serious DMR (Iona, Southern Utah, Washington) while the other half were just a couple seconds off from making it to the Big Dance (Michigan, Iowa State, Texas). Those three teams had all of the pieces they needed to succeed (which I mentioned in the article), but there was always one weak spot on each squad. For Texas and Michigan, that weak link was the 800 while Iowa State was unable to find an elite miler to contend on the anchor.


TSR Mailbag: Part 3

"After this weekend...Michael Saruni or Isaiah Harris?" - Jack L.


"If you forced me to pick a guy right now, I'm probably taking Isaiah Harris."


Result: FLAT-OUT WRONG


Saruni was simply the best half-miler in the nation. There was no question about it. Yes, Harris was the only guy who could contend with him, but whether it be on the overside oval, regular 200 meter track, or with an altitude conversion, Saruni proved why he was the best.


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"When are we going to see that first sub 4 minute mile and who will run it?" - iEatTidePods


"Overall, history suggests that we won't see that sub-four minute mile until this upcoming weekend (January 20th). At the very latest, that sub-four minute mile will come no later than January 27th."


Result: MOSTLY CORRECT


The first sub-4 minute Mile of the season didn't come on January 20th, but it did happen on January 26th after races at the Armory, Washington, and a few others. A lot of big-time events have certain meets where they run fast, so this shouldn't come as a surprise. Until coaches at the NCAA decide that they want to run fast miles earlier in the year, this will historically be the weekend where we'll see the first sub-4 minute performances of each winter season.


Life After Cheserek

"...with so many options to choose from and plenty of time to allow these individuals to grow, the Ducks could very easily return to being one of the most feared programs in the NCAA."


Result: MOSTLY CORRECT


They weren't the single most feared program in the NCAA, but they definitely jumped back into the elite tier this season and their depth was unfathomable, arguably the best in the nation.


Yes, Virginia Tech may have had three All-American milers and a national championship DMR, but Oregon had two All-American milers (out of three qualifiers), an All-American DMR, five sub-4 milers in all, an All-American in the 3000 meters, and a qualifier in the 5000 meters. All of this was done without guys like Matthew Maton and Austin Tamagno. Oregon is trending upwards at a rate that most didn't expect.


TSR Mailbag: Part 4

"Is there any team like this who doesn't have many runners chasing individual goals so they could focus on the DMR?" - EtrainFan


"I think there is one team that might surprise a few people: the Wisconsin Badgers"


Result: NAILED IT


I like to think that this was a bold and tough call to make. As I mention in the article, Wisconsin has historically been a team that has not put a lot of emphasis on indoor track. It was even rarer to see them pursue a DMR. However, with veterans on the first few legs and a breakout star in Oliver Hoare, it was difficult to not see the potential this squad had. Sure enough, the Badgers qualified for NCAA's and finished with an All-American 6th place finish.


The Entry Enigma

"I expect at least one of these two Virginia Tech guys to enter the 800. It would be the best way for the Hokies to maximize their team points."


"With the 800 field so wide-open in terms of All-American spots, the 800 may be the best option for Joseph"


"...after pulling off the upset win at ACC's with a 1:47.04 (NCAA #2), it's tough to argue that Gourley should pursue the Mile where he is ranked 10th."


Result: NOT EVEN CLOSE


The Virginia Tech men were the only entries that really threw me off. I expected that they would split up their individual event between the Mile and 800 so that they could maximize their team score at Nationals. That, of course, was not the case as they opted to stack the Mile. It was a bold move, but in retrospect it does make sense. Only eight individuals get into the 800 meter final. In the Mile, there are four more openings in the final. At the same time, the Mile also gives the Hokies more time to recover. The 800 only gave them about an hour and a half.


Going For Gold (Part 2)

"After his upset win over Grant Fisher at Iowa State, it seems pretty clear that Andy Trouard could be a legitimate threat to take gold. Much like Knight, he can handle a fast pace and still throw down a pretty strong kick. Don't be surprised if you see a repeat of the ISU 3K this weekend."


Result: NAILED IT


While everyone was convinced that Knight would secure his two titles, there were a lot of hints that told us Trouard could kick him down for the win. Sure enough, that was the case as Trouard was able to lead from the gun, keep the pace relatively honest, and throw down a strong last few laps to stay in contention. If he gives up the rail to Knight, he doesn't win this title. A great race by him backed my point that consistency and varying race tactics do play a huge role in the outcome of certain performances.


Digits: Conference Impact

"If you're in the last few qualifying spots for the 3000 meters or 800 meters, the Conference Championships have a good shot at pushing you out of qualifying based on annual averages."


Result: HALF TRUE, HALF FALSE


Our Digits article was simply based on averages, so it wasn't really meant to be a prediction. Still, it does act as a great guild-line.


When we look at those who qualified for the 3000 meters this year, none of them came from the conference championships. Nope, not even the MPSF produced an NCAA qualifier in this event. Typically, the MPSF Championships produces (roughly) three qualifiers for NCAA's each year in the 3000 meters.


The 800, however, was a different story. On average, conference championship meets produced an average of 2.5 NCAA automatic qualifiers in this event. However, in 2018, conference championship meets produced six automatic qualifiers for the Big Dance. If you count those who got in on scratches, they actually produced seven NCAA qualifiers which is significantly more than the annual average. Of those six (or seven) qualifiers, five of them came from the ACC.


Basically, we were correct in assuming that you could get pushed out of NCAA's in the 800. However, we were wrong in our assumption that you would get kicked out of an NCAA qualifying spot in the 3000.