Cusick's Column (4/18/18)


This past week was simply just getting us ready for arguably the biggest weekend of the collegiate track and field season. With meets like the Mt. Sac Relays, Bryan Clay Invite and the Beach Invitational on the horizon, athletes were getting their legs ready for some shots at personal bests and qualifying standards for the season.





That said, we still had some meets across the country that produced solid results among the national list. We’ll jump right in.


800

Grand Valley State added to their repertoire of athletes with a chance to represent at the National Championships. David Jones ran 1:50.78 to place himself 11th on the national list. Jones improved upon his personal best time by nearly three seconds while taking the win at the Bison Outdoor Classic.


Ackeen Colley of American International raced the 800 meters for the first time since the preliminaries of the National Championships. While he didn’t set the track on fire, he did win the UCONN Northeast Challenge in a time of 1:51.06. That’s good enough for 14th on the national list. This is a great start for the freshman as he’ll look to build upon that in the coming weeks, if not this upcoming weekend.


Joining the list this week as well were Tom Gifford (Adams State, 1:51.68 @), Elijah Inunwa (Queens N.C., 1:51.73), Ivan Moinat (Eastern New Mexico, 1:51.73 @), and Daniel Wallis (Queens N.C., 1:51.98).


1500

We continue on to the 1500 meters. Only a couple of times that jumped into the qualifying ranks this weekend.


Edinboro’s Corey Wefing was in the same race as the likes of Justyn Knight (Bison Outdoor Classic) and raced himself to a brand new PR while setting himself up to qualify for the National Championships. His 3:47.28 was more than three seconds better than his old PR which was set back in 2016. He currently sits 8th on the list.


Western State hosted their annual combined meet with the Gunnison Cowboys this weekend. As a former competitor of this particular meet, I can say it’s usually filled with pacers looking to get awesome altitude conversions. That again has happened, Ross Husch of the Mountaineers recorded the 12th fastest time after his 3:58.44 converted down to 3:47.94. Since that time will be on the cusp of qualifying, we’ll see if he pursues another race in California.


Also joining the list were Calahan Warren (Embry-Riddle, 3:48.89) and Taylor Stack (Western State, 3:50.40 @).


3000 Steeple

As we keep it weird and move to the 3000 meter steeplechase, we had five new athletes go underneath the provisional mark this weekend. All of the times came from the same heat at the Bison Outdoor Classic.


Finishing 2nd in the event was Edinboro’s Gene Baritot as ran 8:57.23 and now sits 5th on the national list. A two second PR has Baritot heading in the right direction as we near the end of the outdoor season.


Merrimack’s Keith Steinbrecher came up with a six second PR as he clocked a time of 9:04.69. He now sits 12th on the list and with two PR’s within the last three weeks, it seems as if Steinbrecher is poised to continue his breakout season. Grand Valley State’s Jacob Domagalski finished right behind Steinbrecher with a 9:05.45. He also set a new PR by over five seconds.


Concord’s Jason Weitzel ran 9:11.24 and now sits 16th on the list. The redshirt sophomore appears to have benefitted from another year of training under his belt. Finishing right behind him was Walsh’s Jacob Kernell in 9:12.50. He, like everyone else, set a personal best in this race. His three second betterment has him sitting 17th on the list.


If these athletes keep tracking like this, we’d expect to see their names on the final performance list come the end of May.


5000

We only had one major performance in the 5000 meters this weekend and that came from the state of Colorado at the Mines Kit Mayer Invite. The Orediggers’ Nathanael Williams was paced to a 14:45, which of course, converts down to the likes of 14:16.48 and that now places him 4th in the country. His teammate Josh Hoskinson, currently ranked 1st, had pacer duties and looks to have done a phenomenal job.


Mark Hadley of Walsh also joined this last as ran 14:34.09 at the Bison Outdoor Classic. It was only the second 5K of Hadley’s outdoor career and he improved upon the first one by five seconds. He sits 17th.


10,000

The 10,000 meters saw three athletes go under the provisional mark. Two of of those marks came from the Bison Outdoor Classic, while the other came from the Mines Kit Mayer.


Ricardo Ocampo of Colorado Mines was the lone athlete at Kit Mayer in the 10K to run a provisional mark. While he finished 2nd to a Colorado State athlete, his altitude converted 29:55.48 is good enough for 7th on the list. His real time was 31:07.75.


Yeah, go ahead tell me it’s ludicrous for such a conversion.


Tom Goforth of Saginaw Valley ran 29:58.48 and currently sits right behind Ocampo on the list in 8th place. That was the first time Goforth has run the 10K during the outdoor season and he currently sits in very good position to go to NCAA's later this spring.


The final athlete was sophomore Steven Kapes of Walsh. He ran 30:09.07. That’s good enough for 14th on the list and has a chance to squeak into the big dance come May.


We’ve got a huge weekend coming up that I’ve already mentioned above. I expect these lists to be significantly longer after the weekend!