Drake and Penn Relays Play Spoiler
We’re coming down to the end of the outdoor season and with only a month to before the national meet begins, athletes are still looking for times to get them in. Luckily, a number of those runners were able to achieve that this weekend. These relay meets serve as some kind of last chance meet before most conference meets begin, marking the last time any real attempt at marks can be made.
We’ve mentioned Leakey Kipkosgei before and we’re doing it again here. He ran an 8:44 steeplechase at the Penn Relays meet and finished only behind Indiana’s Daniel Michalski (formerly of Cedarville). Kipkosgei now has eight seconds on the next best runner in the field. It’s also a strong three second personal best for him which also leads us to believe that he'll run this event at Nationals (it seems like he could run everything).
Benjamin Allen of Concordia St. Paul ran a four second personal best at the Drake Relays with a time of 3:45. It’s good enough for the #7 fastest time in the country. After running 3:49 twice this season, I’m sure Allen was wondering if he would ever get over the hump (and now he has). Allen has now qualified for his first-ever national meet and will be looking to make a splash when he toes the line there.
Central Missouri’s Cynthia Togom ran the #11 fastest time in the 5000 on her way to a 32 second personal best in the 5000. She’s only just a freshman and has raced just four times this outdoor season (which for a freshman can be a lot). A strong 5000 usually indicates a strong 10,000 as well, but I don’t think we’ll see her run that with the postseason rapidly approaching.
Jesus Urtusuastegei from Augustana (S.D.) finally broke through the 9:00 barrier in the steeplechase on his way to a 3rd place finish at the Drake Relays. He knocked off 11 seconds from his previous best and now is #7 in the NCAA.
Urtusuastegei’s teammate Mackenzie Kelly, who we highlighted earlier as a breakout performer a few weeks ago, continued to impress as she ran a nine second personal best in the steeplechase. She ran 10:35 and now sits as the #6 fastest runner on TFRRS.
Now, when we say spoiler, by no means does that entail that the NCAA qualifying list is set in stone. All that these athletes have done so far is make the standard for the next three weeks even tougher to achieve. The ability to compete at some of the biggest meets and on the biggest stage brings the best out of some and that was shown this weekend.
Kristen Metcalfe Runs Qualifying Marks
The Embry-Riddle senior hadn’t run a race before last weekend since her 2nd place finish at the NCAA Indoor National Championships in early March. She won the 1500 and 800 at her conference meet a week ago, but some fans were left concerned as she hadn’t posted any legitimate times yet. Luckily, that’s been put to bed after this weekend.
Metcalfe showed us that she is still a strong contender in her respective events with her double this weekend. She ran 4:25 in the 1500 and then bounced back with a strong 2:09 in the 800. That is good enough for #11 in both events on the TFRRS list. She’ll be in the mix of things when finals roll around at the end of May.
Seb Anthony, Queens (N.C.)
Anthony became the sixth man under the 1:50 mark this year for D2. He ran 1:49.10 which is a second and a half personal best. The freshman was an All-American during the indoor season and should be considered a threat to be one again a month from now. He is underrated talent with a high ceiling and tons of potential.
Olivia Woods, Western Oregon
Woods posted her fastest time this outdoor season at the Oregon State High Performance Meet. She ran 2:09.74 and likely clinched herself a spot in the NCAA meet. The All-American has been consistent throughout her years at WOU and has once again placed herself in a favorable position entering the postseason.
Leah Lewis, Dallas Baptist
Lewis also ran at the Oregon State High Performance Meet. She set a new personal best in the 10,000 by 19 seconds as she ran 35:43 on the day. That’s the #17 best time in the country at the moment and it will likely should get her into the Big Dance in May. Dallas Baptist continues to quietly produce national-caliber talent...
Jonah Theisen, Black Hills State
Theisen was the national champion in the 3000 steeple his freshman year. Since then, he’s failed to be an All-American in the event. However, after these last two weekends of racing, it seems that Theisen is back to his old self. He won the RMAC Championships this past weekend with a time of 8:59 and saw it convert down to 8:52. Will he remain a contender for the title after preliminaries this year? We'll have to wait to find out...
Shane Bracken, Saint Leo
Bracken became the third man to run under 3:45 with a raw time this season. His performance is seemingly out of nowhere, as he had only run 3:49 earlier this season. But now he has the #5 fastest time in the country. The question now is how legitimate is his ability to compete at the highest level?