D2 Headlines & Highlights (5/13/19)

Oxy Invitational Provides Deeper Fields, Fast Times

Luke Julian of Colorado Mines already had the #2 fastest time in the country due to his conversion from the Colorado Invite. After his weekend at Oxy, it’s safe to say that he’s become one of the biggest threats for a potential national title. He ran 3:44 in the 1500 which is one of the four fastest raw times in the country this year. He then came back and doubled in the 5000 where he posted a time of 14:10. That’s good enough for #14 on the national leaderboard and it seem to indicate that he’ll be doubling at NCAA's.

Paddy Robb of Adams State also went on over to the Oxy Invitational where he produced a personal best by two seconds in the 1500 meters. He ran 3:47.93 which is good enough to place him at the #19 position on the NCAA leaderboard. It would be Robb’s first appearance at a national track meet if he makes it in.

The Oxy Invitational gave us six top 20 marks in the 5000 this past weekend. It began with Taylor Stack running the #3 fastest mark in the country. Stack won the race in a time of 13:58 (and took down some big names in the process). It’s the first time he’s broken 14:00 and it's also an eight second personal best.

Sitting two spots behind him on the TFRRS list is his teammate Charlie Sweeney who ran 14:00. It’s a 12 second improvement upon his previous best and it also makes him the fastest freshman in the country this year.

Jonah Theisen ran the #14 fastest time in the NCAA this year with a time of 14:11. For him, it’s a 47 second improvement from his previous personal best. The former NCAA champion looks to be back in the shape he needs to be in order to compete for a second title in the steeplechase. With this performance, it wouldn't be crazy to consider that Theisen may attempt a double at the National Championships...

The last two names from the men’s side are Ross Husch (Western Colorado) and Stetson Rayas (Dallas Baptist). Husch dropped four seconds off his personal best of 14:16 down to 14:12. It’s good enough for #17 on the TFRRS list. Right underneath him sitting at #18 is Rayas who ran 14:15. For Rayas, it’s a 13 second improvement.

Chloe Cook from Colorado Mines had a strong performance in the 5k with a time of 16:38. That’s a huge 48 second improvement for her in this event and it leaves you wondering whether she'll run the 5000 (NCAA #10) or 1500 (NCAA #9) at Nationals.

Malena Grover (Adams State) ran 16:44 which is good enough for #15 on TFRRS. Meanwhile, Cook’s teammate Madeline Geesen ran 16:48 which is just inside the top 20 at #19. For Geesen, it’s a 10 second improvement.

Trent Phelps helped his stock this weekend by running 8:56 at the Oxy Invitational. For Phelps, it’s only a second improvement, but it's his fastest time this year. It’s now the #9 fastest time in the NCAA this year.

Haleigh Hunter-Galvan of Adams State ran the #11 best time this season as she ran 10:35 at the Oxy Invitational this past weekend. It was Hunter-Galvan’s first time ever running the event which means there is likely room to improve.

How about Thomas Staines? After running 1:46 during indoors, the CSU-Pueblo superstar has been relatively quiet with numerous men nearing his seasonal best of 1:48 this spring. That, however, all changed at the Oxy Invite where Staines posted a time of 1:47 to regain the NCAA lead. It's a nice sign that he is peaking at the right time of the season.

Last Chance Weekend Gives Hope

In typical fashion, the weekend before declarations are due usually sees the most movement among the TFRRS board. With the qualifying positions already determined, moving into the top 20 is what every athlete is looking to do.

800 meters

At the West Texas A&M Last Chance meet, we saw two marks enter the top 10 in the 800. Butare Rugenerwa (West Texas A&M) and Timon Kemboi (TAMU-Commerce) both ran under the 1:50 mark on the day. Rugenwerwa’s 1:49.78 converts down to 1:49.41 and now is the #5 fastest time in the country. Kemboi’s mark of 1:49.99 converted down to 1:49.62 and is now the #7 fastest time. The freshmen both jumped the 1:50 mark and have put themselves in the middle of the national conversation.

Kristen Metcalfe has made up for lost time as she raced in her fourth meet since her conference championships. While there wasn’t an immediate concern about her making the national meet, she went to the Mount Olive Final Qualifier where she ran 2:08.15 to move up to the #8 spot on the performance list.

At the NCC Dr. Keeler Track & Field meet, Michigan Tech’s Liz Bloch also improved her stock with a personal best of 2:09.57. The senior now sits at #15 on the performance list and will likely be attending her second national meet on the track.

At the Hillsdale “Last Chance” Classic w/ Multi Hillsdale’s own Abbie Porter moved up to #17 on the TFRRS list with a strong performance of 2:10.00. That mark is also an improvement in the 800 by two-tenths of a second.

10,000 meters

We saw only a few marks in the 10,000 this past weekend as most of the nation's best long are typically done running this event outside of the national meet this late in the season. At the NCC Dr. Keller Track and Field meet, Luke Greer from Carson Newman and Anthony Raftis of Queens (N.C.) ran to the #17 and #18 fastest times in the country. Greer ran 29:49 while Raftis ran 29:52. These two clutch performances should be good enough to get them into the national meet.

On the women’s side, Kathryn Etemalki from Ferris State ran the #18 fastest time this year in 35:43. With declarations coming out this week, that mark should be good enough to get her into the national meet.

3000 steeple

Wesley Kirui of Alaska Anchorage ran the fourth automatic qualifying time of the season with his time of 8:52 at the West Coast Invitational. For Kirui, it’s a 10 second improvement and is only the third time he’s raced all season. He’s now been inserted as a national contender in the steeplechase along with his teammate Edwin Kangogo.

Nathan Hall of Southern Indiana ran the #15 fastest time this season and broke 9:00 for the first time in his career. His time of 8:59 came at the NCC Dr. Keeler Track and Field meet and is a 17 second improvement from his previous personal best.

Nicole McMillen of Tusculum ran the #5 fastest time in the women’s steeplechase this year as she ran 10:25 at the NCC Dr. Keeler Track and Field meet. For McMillen, it’s a 24 second improvement and it cements her going to her first-ever national meet. Who knows? Some might see her as an All-American threat now...

Holly McKinney of Grand Valley State ran 10:36 at the NCC Dr. Keeler Track and Field meet which is good enough for #14 on TFRRS. The senior ran a seven second personal best and gives Grand Valley another name as they look for a team title.

GNAC Championships Recap

We mentioned in our preview that we would see a rematch of Danielle McCormick of Alaska Anchorage and Alanna Mussatto of Simon Fraser. Sure enough, we saw that rematch, but it wasn’t just Mussatto that was trying to dethrone McCormick.

McCormick fended off three Simon Fraser women to keep her crown as the GNAC’s best. She ran 2:08.67 and held off Sophie Dodd (2:09), Mussatto (2:10), and Paige Nock (2:10) in the process. All four times were provisional marks and it saw Nock move up on the TFRRS list to #20, which gives her a chance to make the national meet.

McCormick came back and finished 3rd in the 1500 behind Kate Lilly of Seattle Pacific and winner Caroline Kurgat. Kurgat won by four seconds in a time of 4:23 while Lilly ran 4:27.13 and McCormick ran 4:27.74. Right behind her was Miryam Bassett of Simon Fraser who ran 4:27.85. For Lilly and McCormick, it’s the #17 and #18 fastest times and it likely gets them into the national meet (it would be Lilly’s only event while it’d be McCormick's second).

We mentioned Kurgat winning the 1500, but that was only one of her three titles on the weekend. Kurgat won the 10,000 in a very slow time of 38:03 (record heat). She also won the 5000 meters in a time of 16:35 which was 12 seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher Alexa Shindruk.

In the 3000 steeple, Julia Howley improved upon her previous best of 10:03 by running 10:02 and solidifying that it’s likely a three-woman race when it comes to the NCAA steeplechase meet in just a few weeks.

On the men’s side, Carlos Vargas and Rowan Doherty of Simon Fraser went 1-2 in the 1500 with times of 3:54. Doherty must have been confident that his time of 3:48 will make the NCAA meet as there wasn’t an attempt to run faster.

In the 5000, Sean Miller of Simon Fraser upset Edwin Kangogo with a time of 14:46 to 14:51. Kangogo, however, did take home the 10,000 title the day before so he didn’t leave the meet without any hardware.

In the 3000 steeplechase, we saw Wesley Kirui make his season debut in the steeple to a tune of 9:03 and a fivemsecond victory over Dylan Hayes of Western Washington.

Interestingly enough, we only saw Aaron Ahl of Simon Fraser, but no Pierre-Louis Detourbe.

Underappreciated Performances

Hugo Arlabosse (Franklin Pierce) + Stephen Vercollone (Stonehill)

Both men participated in their conference meet this weekend. The New England Outdoor Championship (also known as NEICAAA’s) saw Arlabosse take home the title in a time of 1:50.10 which is now good enough for #9 on the NCAA list. Behind him was Vercollone who ran 1:50.28. Both men were qualifiers during the indoor season so it’s good to see them back on the list during outdoors.

Nancy Jeptoo (Alaska Anchorage)

The sophomore Seawolf ran three personal bests this weekend (800, 1500, 5000). The event we’re talking about here though is the 1500. She ran 4:29 which was good enough for a 4th place finish in the 1500 at the GNAC Championships. It’s a seven second improvement for her and it now puts her on the outskirts (#23 on TFRRS) of making the national meet.

Alexa Shindruk (Central Washington)

Shindruk ran the #17 fastest time this season with her 2nd place finish at the GNAC Championships. Her time of 16:47.08 is the exact same time that she posted at the GNAC Indoor Championships earlier this season. Shindruk will be making another appearance at the NCAA meet and will be looking for All-American honors in the 5000 this time around.

Hanna Groeber (Grand Valley State)

Groeber ran at the NCC Dr. Keller Track and Field meet this past weekend and in doing so, ran the #14 fastest time in the NCAA. While her time of 16:44 is almost 20 seconds away from her personal best, it’s the fastest she has ever run during the outdoor season. It’s just another name for the Lakers to have at the national meet while chasing a team title.