Cusick's Column (4/10/18)


By: John Cusick


WHAT IS UP LADIES AND GENTS! We’re back for this week’s Division II recap of track and field.


While we had a slower weekend than last, it certainly gave us a good idea of what we can expect from athletes in the upcoming meets (we’ll get into that next week).



Here are some notable performances that made it on the NCAA qualifying list this past weekend...


Colorado Invite

800

Colorado gave us some quick times in the 800 meters as we saw three new athletes put their names onto the national list. The runner-up at 800 meters during Indoor Nationals, Decano Cronin, won the CU Invitational in a very impressive time of 1:48.66. That result converts down to 1:47.98 which is just .02 off of the current leader (Thomas Staines).


Joining Cronin on this list is Colorado Mines’ Patrick Weaver who ran 1:50.69 and now ranks 6th after his converted time is 1:49.99. Cronin’s teammate Brett Meyer finished 5th in the race, but still came away a time fast enough to place him 8th on the list.


Western State’s David Moenning, who had compartment syndrome last year, looks to be back in shape as he clicked off a 1:51.62 at the Don Kirby Tailwind Open in Albuquerque. He currently sits 12th with a converted time of 1:50.96.


1500

As we move to the 1500, it’s not a surprise that Colorado gave us a new leader for Division II. What we maybe didn’t expect was someone would run close to 4:00 mile pace at 4500+ feet. Austin Anaya won the CU Invite in a time of 3:46.72 giving him a phenomenal converted time of 3:41.31. His teammate, and former Trinidad State College standout, Elias Gedyon finished 4th in a time of 3:49.28 which was fast enough to sit him 2nd with a converted time of 3:43.81.


THAT’S NOT ALL FOLKS! CSU-Pueblo had three athletes all run under the provisional mark as they went 8-9-10 led by Staines’ 3:52.81. His teammates Derrick Williams and Michael Duran finished .10 within each other and ran times of 3:53.43 and 3:53.44 respectively. They currently sit 7th, 9th, and 10th on the national list.


3000 Steeplechase

Evan Verbal of Colorado Christian and Grant Colligan both made their season debut in the steeplechase as Verbal took the win in a time of 9:10.33. That time currently has him sitting 3rd with a converted time of 8:55.42. Colligan finished 3rd in the race (9:16.56) and now owns the 9th spot on the national list with his converted time of 9:01.48.


Colonial Relays

1500

Not to be outdone, Mount Olive added a pair of athletes to the national list as well. Jonathan Dahlke enjoyed a successful day as he PR’d in this event and now ranks 6th on the list with a time of 3:46.53. His teammate Adam Craig also set a PR in the event as he sits 16th with a time of 3:48.88.


10,000

We have no new names that appear on the list for the 5000 meters. I’m sure we will see the top 18 get shuffled around in the coming weeks as some of the bigger meets begin to sprout up during the peak meet season of outdoor track and field.


However, in the 10,000 meters, the Colonial Relays played home to some fast times that are now recognized on the national list. We had four athletes add their names to the list early in the season. Leading those four was Tai Smith of Mount Olive. He barely dipped underneath the 30:00 barrier with a 29:59.89 (a new personal record). Jose Rosas joined his teammate Tom Bains on the list as he ran 30:06.75. UNC Pembroke’s Silus Kipkoech ran 30:09.07 to put himself 12th on the list. Mount Olive added a second athlete to the qualifying conversation in Jeremay Hall who ran 30:10.37.


Closing Remarks

I’m sure you’re thinking that me recapping the lists is rather mundane and unnecessary. However, as we progress through the weeks it’s going to be quite clear which athletes are really ready for the national stage. Just think back to this past indoor season. Adams State seemed to struggle at the Indoor Championships outside of their stud Sydney Gidabuday. Or what about CSU-Pueblo? They are looking to avenge their heartbreaking loss in the DMR and they showed it this past weekend with some strong results.


Queens N.C. is quietly putting together a very solid distance squad that will look to make more noise in Bradenton come this fall. The same can be said for Grand Valley State, Colorado Mines and Mount Olive. What does it all mean currently? Absolutely nothing.


We are coming up on meets at Azusa, Long Beach, and Torrance that provide some of the fastest marks in the country for Division II athletes. With the times we have already seen this season, we wouldn’t be surprised if even faster times come with more competition and the ability to breathe.


While I’m a firm believer in the altitude conversions (and at this rate, after what Cheserek did, everyone should) there are some that still may discount those times. I guess time(s) will only tell, right?