Updated: May 21, 2019
*Honorable mentions below*
Was not ranked during the last update.
First number indicates the change in a runner's ranking from the prior update.
Second number indicates where the runner was ranked during the last update.
25. Justine Kiprotich, Senior, Michigan State (Unranked)
Kiprotich reminded us all that he is one of the best tactical middle-distance runners in the country by beating Oliver Hoare at BIG 10's in the 1500. He doesn’t have PR's that put him at the top of the NCAA leaderboard, but the Spartan ace wins whenever he runs a 1500. This season, he hasn’t lost in a race that wasn’t a prelim.
24. Steven Fahy, Senior, Stanford (Unranked)
The Cardinal has put together a very solid outdoor season after sitting out the cross country season due to injury. His 13:34 at the Cardinal Classic showed that his fitness was back, but his 8:43 win in the steeplechase at PAC-12's shows that he is ready to compete for a national title again. He hasn’t lost in the steeplechase this year and winning by seven seconds shows that he is ready to compete with the best in the country.
23. Conner McMillan, Senior, BYU (Unranked)
McMillan joined his BYU teammates at the top of the 10k with his 28:11 at Payton Jordan. Like his fellow Cougars, he will hope that the regular season is a good indication of what will happen at Nationals. With a group of BYU runners, they should be able to dictate what type of race they want run which should play into their favor.
22. Gilbert Kigen, Senior, Alabama (-4 / 18)
Alabama’s Gilbert Kigen has been very consistent throughout the year. He has run 28:20 in the 10k, 13:34 in the 5k, and won the 10k at SEC's. Most importantly, he has the ability to stay in the race at almost any pace and has experience from last year where he finished 7th in the at NCAA's in the 10k. He's a solid name to have in our Top 25, but a few standout performances from a handful of others pushed Kigen back a bit.
21. Geordie Beamish, Junior, NAU (Unranked)
The indoor mile champ boasts a pair of PR's that are two of the best times in the country. His 3:39 at Bryan Clay might have been expected after his mile win during indoors, but running 13:31 at Payton Jordan came as quite the shock. He could do some damage at Nationals in the 5000 meters.
20. Waleed Suliman, Sophomore, Ole Miss (+1 / 21)
In Suliman’s first meet since Bryan Clay, he took care of business by winning the 1500 at SEC's. This is another good sign for the young Rebel as he continues to improve as a championship competitor.
19. Carlos Villarreal, Junior, Arizona (-11 / 8)
Villarreal didn’t run his best at PAC-12's, finishing 4th in the 1500 and 3rd in the 800. Still, it would be surprising if he didn’t bounce back. His 3:37 at Bryan Clay is still one of the fastest times in the country, and the senior is still one of the favorites in the 1500.
18. Daniel Michalski, Rs. Senior, Indiana (-1 / 17)
Michalski has had a very consistent season, running 8:35 and 8:34 in the steeplechase in his first season as a Hoosier. Losing to Ali at BIG 10's by less than a second shows that he is close to competing for a title at Nationals.
17. Ryan Smeeton, Sophomore, Oklahoma State (Unranked)
Smeeton shocked the track community by running a brilliant race at Payton Jordan to win the steeplechase in a blistering time of 8:27. Is the Cowboy a one-race wonder, or is he the real deal? That is the main question, but either way, he needs to be considered as the primary threat to taking the title away from Obsa Ali.
16. Kyle Mau, Junior, Indiana (-1 / 15)
Kyle Mau bounced back from an underwhelming Cardinal Classic with a 3:40 on his home track. He later secured bronze and silver medal finishes in the 1500 and 5k, respectively at the BIG 10 Championships. Garrett mentioned this here, but I also agree that Mau's speed will be extremely useful in a tactical 5k. Outside of McDonald and Fisher, I think it could be anyone’s race in the 5000 meters whereas the 1500 seems to have so many contenders.
15. Conner Mantz, Rs. Sophomore, BYU (+1 / 16)
Mantz, like many of the BYU Cougars, ran well at Payton Jordan and earned a PR in the 5k running 13:29. The sophomore has been impressive this season running PR's in the 1500, 5k, and 10k as well as flashing some speed. Look for him to pack up with his teammates in whatever race he runs at Nationals.
14. Tyler Day, Senior, NAU (0 / 14)
Day ran the fastest 5k of the year at Payton Jordan with a 13:25 and reestablished himself as one of the top runners in both the 5k and 10k. Since then, he won the 5k at BIG Sky's by seven seconds. The 10k is shaping up to be a rematch from cross country with both NAU and BYU runners stacking the top of the performance list.
13. Yared Nuguse, Sophomore, Notre Dame (0 / 13)
Nuguse continued his sparkling outdoor season with a win in the 1500 at ACC's. In what is becoming a loaded and deep 1500, the Notre Dame product will surely put himself in contention against the likes of Villarreal, Paulson, and Hoare at Nationals. In a year with so much uncertainty in the 1500, Nuguse continues to produce consistently strong results.
12. Cooper Teare, Sophomore, Oregon (0 / 12)
Another week, another stunning performance from Cooper Teare. After finishing 2nd to Grant Fisher at the Cardinal Classic and running 13:32, Teare upped the ante and beat Fisher in the 5k at PAC-12's. The young Oregon Duck will certainly be one of the top favorites in the 5k next month especially with Joe Klecker out for the rest of the year.
11. Robert Brandt, Junior, UCLA (0 / 11)
Brandt continued his very solid, not flashy, and underappreciated season by winning the 10k at PAC-12's. Along with the BYU men, Brandt has to be one of the favorites in the 10k, but he also should have an opportunity to score in the 5k like he did this past winter.
10. Obsa Ali, Senior, Minnesota (-3 / 7)
Ali drops back a few spots after losing at Payton Jordan, but in my eyes, he still is the favorite to take home NCAA gold. The defending steeplechase champ did run 8:31 which was faster than any time he had run last year. Unfortunately for Ali, the steeple field looks much stronger this year especially with Ryan Smeeton throwing his name into the ring. Beating Michalski at the BIG 10 Championships is a good sign that Ali is ready for championship season.
9. Rory Linkletter, Senior, BYU (+1 / 9)
Linkletter has had a short, but productive, outdoor season. He has run twice, producing times of 13:36 and 28:12 so far. Look for him to concentrate on the 10k and use his potent finishing kick to put himself into podium position.
8. Clayton Young, Senior, BYU (+1 / 9)
Young threw down a 13:31 at Payton Jordan and like Linkletter, hasn’t raced since. The BYU runner has top times in both the 5k and 10k. With BYU stacking the 10k, my bet is on Young being the one leading the team like he did during indoors.
7. Devin Dixon, Junior, Texas A&M (Unranked)
After a disappointing regular season, Dixon broke out in a big way to win SEC's in a stunning 1:44 performance. If anyone had forgotten about the Texas A&M runner, then this weekend was a great way for him to reintroduce himself. I still don’t think he’s established himself enough as a favorite in the 800 even though he has the fastest time in the country, but he certainly has put himself back into the discussion. Will this be the year that he gets over the hump at Nationals?
6. William Paulson, Senior, Arizona State (Unranked)
Paulson is in the midst of a breakout season. He’s run PR's in the mile and 1500 and has done extremely well in championship races. He won the mile at the MPSF Championships, finished 5th at Indoor Nationals, and recently beat Grant Fisher to win the PAC-12 1500. He ran 3:38 at Bryan Clay to finish just behind Hoare, Villarreal, and Nuguse. I’m as guilty as anyone, but we have been underestimating this Arizona State runner all year. Paulson deserves to be one of the favorites in the 1500, especially now that Hoare looks beatable.
5. Marco Arop, Sophomore, Mississippi State (+1 / 6)
While Arop did lose to Dixon at SEC's, he still deserves to be the top favorite in the 800 behind Hoppel. The Canadian has run well in championship races going back to last year’s outdoor 800 where he finished 2nd to Isaiah Harris. During indoors, he again finished 2nd to Hoppel at the national meet, and at this point, it seems like we are headed towards the same result.
4. Oliver Hoare, Junior, Wisconsin (-1 / 3)
After Hoare’s statement race at Payton Jordan, he helped Wisconsin win the DMR and 4xMile at the Penn Relays. Everything seemed to be back on track for the reigning 1500 meter national champion. However, Hoare was recently upset by Justine Kiprotich in the 1500 at BIG 10's. While it is only one race, it does show that Hoare may be more vulnerable than we thought, especially when you think back to Indoor Nationals...
3. Grant Fisher, Senior, Stanford (-1 / 2)
Not a great weekend for Grant Fisher. The senior failed to win any PAC-12 titles after getting out-kicked by Paulson in the 1500 and Teare in the 5k. No reason to overreact, though. We must remember that he has run 3:39 and 13:29 already this season and will be one of the favorites with McDonald in the 5k.
2. Bryce Hoppel, Senior, Kansas (+3 / 5)
Bryce Hoppel makes the big jump to the #2 spot this week. The guy has been unbeatable all year. Literally, he hasn’t lost yet. He has run 1:45 twice including this past weekend to win the BIG 12 title. Even with Dixon’s fast 800 at SEC's, Hoppel has to be the big favorite to win his second 800 title of the year.
1. Morgan McDonald, Senior, Wisconsin (0 / 1)
McDonald has had a strange season up to this point. He hasn’t raced any of his national competitors yet, instead he has settled for earning regional qualifying marks and winning a Penn Relays Wheel. I’m tempted to drop him from the top spot, but, after what he did indoors, he deserves the benefit of the doubt until we see him lose. On another note, it was interesting to see McDonald run the 10k at conference to earn himself a spot to regionals. This seems to indicate that he will be attempting the 10k/5k double at Nationals.
Honorable Mentions (no order)
Thomas Ratcliffe (Stanford)
Ryan Forsyth (Colorado)
Sam Worley (Texas)
Reed Brown (Oregon)
Illias Auonai (Syracuse)
Cole Rockhold (Colorado State)
Matt Owens (BYU)
Clayson Shunway (BYU)
Edwin Kurgat (Iowa State)