D2 Headlines & Highlights (4/15/19)

The Royals are Back on Track

The Queens milers who went 1-2 at the NCAA indoor national meet had only run one race this outdoor season prior to this weekend. I am of course talking about Felix Wammetsberger and Daniel Wallis. They ran personal bests in the 5000 meters just a few weeks ago, but what they did this weekend was just as impressive (if not more).

Competing at the Bison Outdoor Classic, they saw themselves in a heat with a pacer that was assigned to come through 800 meters just under 2:00. It wasn’t long after when Wallis took the lead and never looked back en route to his four second personal best (3:43) and a win over a strong field. Wammetsberger was not far behind as he finished 7th on the day and also lowered his personal best (to 3:45) by three seconds.

In a field, with Aidan Tooker (Syracuse) and Colin Abert (Penn State), I don’t think there were many people expecting Wallis to be the winner when it was all said and done. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the race, go and do so as it was Wallis’ to lose after 900 meters of racing.

The Royals duo posted the fastest and second fastest raw times of all D2 NCAA competitors this season. Wallis currently is listed at #3 on the TFRRS list while Wammetsberger is #8. It’s safe to say the success at Indoor Nationals was not a fluke and that they’re both coming for the top spot (again) during the outdoor season.

Triton Invitational Posts Top Mid-Distance Provo Marks

Looking through results from this past weekend, it’s a wonder that more teams don’t head to San Diego for more competitions...at least on the Division 2 side.

We saw the #9, #10, #11, and #19 fastest times in the women’s 800 this past weekend and it was all from names we didn’t entirely expect. Simon Fraser’s Paige Nock and Sophie Dodd were both entered, but it was senior Alana Mussatto who led the pack as she finished 2nd overall in a time of 2:09.68.

From the second heat, it was Casey Monoszlay from Cal Poly Pomona and Brianna Bartello from Point Loma who battled it out to the line. Monoszlay came away from the race with a personal best as she ran 2:10.49 while Bartello was right behind her running 2:11.79. The last woman in the 800 who hit a provo mark was freshman Haleigh Reindl from Minnesota Duluth. She ran a personal best from the third heat and was three seconds clear of the next finisher in her heat.

Both Mussatto and Reindl are fresh off of the indoor NCAA meet where they missed the final, but are looking to get back to the highest level of competition. Meanwhile, if Monoszlay and Bartello’s times were to hold up, they’d be competing in their first national track and field championship meet.

We also had a provo time in the 1500 as well as Simon Fraser’s Miryam Bassett posted a two second personal best and a 2nd place overall finish. Her time is currently the 11th fastest in the country at 4:28.91.

By no means did any of these girls jump immediately into the contender tier when May rolls around, but they did position themselves in a nice spot to compete for All-American status. There is lots of experience here between the athletes and I think we could see most of these athletes in the final vying for one of those eight coveted All-American spots.

Grand Valley is a Contending Team on Both Sides

Look, we knew coming into the indoor season that Grand Valley was stronger than it had ever been before given that they won their first team titles at the Cross Country National Championships. What we didn’t know is that they would be this well-rounded after one and a half track seasons in 2019.

The Lakers added eight more athletes to the top 25 times this past weekend after they competed at the Bison Outdoor Classic. Jacob Domagalski dropped three seconds off of his PR to run 8:59.48 in the steeplechase for the #3 time in the NCAA this year. Hanna Groeber cut her time down by eight seconds with an 10:23.52 that has her sitting at #2 in the country. Madison Goen joined the provo list with her first ever steeple race while running 10:54.38. She is currently ranked #19 on the NCAA leaderboard with lots of room to improve.

Tanner Chada ran the #4 fastest 5000 meter time when he crossed the line in 14:10.32 this past weekend. It was his first time running a 5000 on an outdoor track and he dropped his overall PR down by six seconds. Stacey Metzger ran 17:12.96 for the #18 fastest time on the women’s side and while that likely won’t get her to Nationals, it does set her up to go under the 17 minute barrier like she's done in her career.

Lastly, Colin Herrmann and Ben Zaremba joined the sub-30 minute club as they ran 29:44 and 29:54, respectively. It was Zaremba’s 10,000 debut and I’m sure Laker nation is ecstatic about that performance. Meanwhile, Herrmann dropped 1:12 off of his personal best from last year at this time. They’re #8 and #10 on the TFRRS list. Jessica Gockley was the last athlete to make a leap as she ran 35:00 for 10,000 meters as she dropped a huge 2:56 off of her PR. She is currently #5 in the nation.

Now, add these athletes with the likes of Zach Panning, Dennis Mbuta, Rachael Walters, Allie Ludge, and Gina Patterson and there is a legitimate shot for team titles on both sides. Granted, everything must go right for the Lakers come the last weekend of May. The distance team can power them to enough points to be in contention and if the field athletes and sprinters can hold their own based on their current rankings, we could see something spectacular happen.

Underappreciated Performances

Corey Wefing (Edinboro)

The senior got somewhat lost in the results of the Bison Outdoor Classic, but he nearly ran an identical time to his PR. He ran 3:46.84 which was good enough for 11th overall. He is just three-tenths of a second off of his best that he set last year at the NCAA Championships where he finished 9th in the final. His time from this weekend locks him in for another trip to Nationals where he should likely get a shot at an All-American bid.

Liz Bloch (Michigan Tech)

Bloch was 10th at the Bison Outdoor Classic where she ran 4:24.67. That’s a three second improvement off her personal best. She qualified for last year’s Outdoor National Championships where she placed 15th. Given how she’s already surpassed her fitness from last year, it’d be nice to see her replicate that another time. She’ll be back at Nationals in May with her sights set on making the final.

Matthew Pahl (Michigan Tech)

Pahl dropped 19 seconds off of his 5000 personal best this weekend. It’s already his second personal best this year in terms of events he plans on competing in (10,000 meters). He ran 14:23.68 which has him sitting #9 on the national performance list. Coincidentally, he’s also #9 in the 10,000. There’s a good chance you’ll see Pahl double at Nationals if he gets the chance to.

Quick Thoughts

Saginaw Valley Duo

Tom Goforth and Ryan Talbott ran the #3 and #4 fastest times this year in the 10,000 meters. Goforth ran a 27 second personal best and he’ll be looking to avenge a poor showing at the outdoor national meet last year, and most recently in the 5000 this past indoor season. As for Talbott, he is just a freshman giving us reason to believe that he should only progress from here. You should see both of these guys at NCAA's in May and Goforth should be an All-American when he gets there. Talbott will be an interesting guy to watch as his experience will be limited compared to his competitors.

Jason Weitzel (Concord)

A big personal best from Weitzel in the steeplechase this past weekend will have him questioning which race to take aim for in May. He ran 9:05 and is currently sitting at #8 in the country. He’s also fresh off of a 30:11 PR in the 10,000 meters which could be good enough to sneak him into the NCAA meet in that event.

Kit Mayer Invitational

The Kit Mayer meet happened this weekend and it usually works as an opener for most Colorado Mines athletes. Josh Hoskinson and Josh Evans opened up their seasons with a 1500 where they both ran 3:51 and some change on the day. With the altitude conversions, they now sit at #5 and #6 on the national performance list with times of 3:44.94 and 3:45.55. They had three teammates run provisional marks in the 10,000 as well. Ben Schneiderman ran 30:36 to earn a conversion of 29:25.71 while Ricardo Ocampo ran 30:41 to get his converted time of 29:30.04. Lastly, Dylan Ko ran 30:55 to receive a converted time of 29:43.31. It’s safe to say that we should see all of these athletes at the NCAA meet in their respective races.