D2 Indoor Nationals Preview (800 + Mile)

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

Men's 800 - John Cusick

Women's 800 - Quenten Lasseter

Men's Mile - Quenten Lasseter

Women's Mile - Quenten Lasseter

A quick message from your TSR Admin

The Division Two National Championships are set to take place tomorrow and The Stride Report crew couldn't be more pumped. Our D2 admin John Cusick will be on-site (in Kansas) tomorrow and Saturday with a media pass sporting the blue TSR t-shirt. He'll also be snapping some pictures and taking over our Instagram for the weekend (assuming his phone battery doesn't die in five minutes). If you see him at the meet, be sure to say hi!

In other news, our official predictions for both the Division One and Division Two national meets are now live on the site! You can see all of our All-American picks by clicking the link here. We will likely be keeping you updated on our draft picks as well as our predictions throughout the weekend and potentially offering up some reaction articles after each day of competition.

So hang tight! We've got more content coming your way this weekend.

Finally, if you haven't already, be sure to enter our D1 prediction contest! The winners of the men's and women's contest will receive a free TSR t-shirt. Just enter your top eight picks for the distance events and press submit. It's that easy!

Alright, let's get to the previews...

800 (Men)

The 800 meter race has essentially been a one-man show at the past two national track meets. CSU-Pueblo's Thomas Staine’s snatched the crown with a breakout indoor season last year and didn’t let go during the outdoor season.

Coming into this race, it certainly feels like it has been pre-determined who the winner will/should be. Luckily for us, nothing is real until the race is run and there are athletes from across the country that are trying to put an end to Staines’ streak of spectacular racing.

Staines set the D2 collegiate record earlier this season as he ran 1:46.27 (and won that race by three seconds). Prior to that, Staine set the British national record for 600 meters as he ran 1:15.31. At the time, it was the fastest time in the world. Any race that he has been in this year has not really been close and it gives us reason to believe that the two times he races as an individual this weekend will be to the same tune.

Juman Randall of Western Colorado is the RMAC Champion (thanks to Staines opting for relays) and has a seed time of 1:48.95, placing him as the #2 seed heading into the weekend. However, he has not broken the 1:50 barrier with an unconverted mark. The last time he raced Staines he faded towards the end for a 4th finish.

Dennis Mbuta from Grand Valley State has the #3 fastest result going into the weekend with his 1:49.24 that was run at the same time as Staines’ collegiate record. Mbuta is the GLIAC Champion and has shown range with his time of 4:07.70 in the mile. He should be a contender this weekend as he has made a significant leap in fitness since last year.

Ayman Zahafi (TAMU-Kingsville) and Jaylen Tryon (Lubbock Christian) both are names that could play spoiler this weekend. The Lone Star opponents battled it out at their conference championship to a 1-2 finish with Zahafi running 1:49.96 and Tryon running 1:50.27. Zahafi’s time is the #4 seed and Tryon’s is #7. Not to be lost in all of this is Eastern New Mexico’s Ivar Moinat who was 3rd at the Lone Star Conference meet. He ran 1:51.01, but his seed time comes from the Texas Tech Open where he ran 1:51.00 (literally, .01 better than what he ran at conference) and that places him as the #11 seed.

Shaquille Dill of St. Augustines waited until the last possible moment to qualify for this National Championship, making him 4/4 in his career. He ran 1:49.69 at the BU Last Chance Qualifier two weeks ago and is looking to make more noise at the national meet. The 400/800 runner poses a strong threat to as he has the speed and strength to stick around when the race gets down to the end. It also helps that he was a national champion at this discipline in 2017. He was 4th at last year's national meet and is the only other returner from the final that will be competing this weekend.

Other names that I think are worth mentioning for the weekend include Hugo Arlabosse of Franklin Pierce, Devundrick Walker of CSU-Pueblo, and Seb Anthony of Queens (N.C.).

Arlabosse was in the same race that Dill was in and he broke the 1:50 barrier in the process. Arlabosse qualified for the Outdoor National Championship last year when he ran 1:50.00. I think he has a chance to be competitive as he continues to trend the right way.

Walker is likely under the same training plan as Staines at CSU-Pueblo. He has run 1:48 during the outdoor season before and his 1:50.00 from this year is the fastest he has run during the indoor season. It’s also possible that if he makes the final, there is a strong chance him and Staines try to work together to place as high as possible making for a unique race for everyone else.

Anthony is a sleeper pick for this race if you ask me. He’s just a freshman, but has already run 1:50 and has gotten faster every time he has raced the event (minus his conference meet). I think he can sneak into the final and mix things up.

800 (Women)

Skylyn Webb of UC-Colorado Springs has the top time coming into the first heat, owning a personal record of 2:03.87 that was run at the 2019 Colorado Invitational. Webb has consistently won races all year, recently including winning the 800 and 400 at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships with unconverted times of 2:11.46 & 54.65. Her speed in the 400 should benefit her in a sit-and-kick style of racing that we see in most championship meets. Webb was awarded the national title last year during the outdoor season as the original winner was disqualified. Her finishing speed gives her a strong tactical advantage.

Carsyn Koch-Johnson of Cedarville is coming off a great performance at the NCCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships winning the 800 (2:16.15) and mile (4:59.82). Koch-Johnson has the next fastest time in the first heat with a 2:08.93, where she ran that earlier in the season at the GVSU Big Meet.

Monique McPherson from U-Mary is also coming off a great performance at the NSIC Track and Field Indoor Championships where she won the 800 in a time of 2:11.11. Previously during the indoor season, McPherson ran her fastest time at the SDSU Indoor Classic with a 2:09.93, setting her up with the #3 fastest time in the heat.

Danielle McCormick of Alaska Anchorage is entering heat one with a time of 2:10.63. McCormick has consistently run fast times all season. At the 2019 UW Preview, she opened her indoor season with a 2:11.32. Two weeks later at the 209 UW Invitational, she dropped her time in the 2:10’s and later ran her fastest time of the year at the Seattle Pacific Final Qualifier 2019 (2:10.63). If McCormick keeps improving like she has, she will be in great contention on making the final. McCormick is the reigning indoor national champion, so to see her times continue to improve signals she should be back on track to try and repeat.

Sophie Dodd of Simon Fraser is entering the NCAA Championships with a time of 2:10:99, this just slightly puts her behind Danielle McCormick (Alaska Anchorage). Dodd had her breakthrough race this indoor season at the Boston University Bruce Lehane Scarlet and White Invitational where she ran 2:11.02. Merely three weeks later, Dodd would run her fastest time of the season at the Seattle Pacific Final Qualifier 2019 (2:10.99).

Haleigh Reindl from Minnesota-Duluth progressively got faster throughout the season. Reindl first ran 2:17.31 at Warren Bowlus in January and she would eventually drop her time to 2:11.60 at the 2019 NSIC Track and field Indoor championship to give her the ticket to NCAA’s.

Kristen Metcalfe of Embry-Riddle is one of the favorites to win the whole thing. Metcalfe is entering the race with the nation’s leading time of 2:03.59, she impressively stayed consistent all season with three different 2:06’s during competition. Her breakout race of 2:03.59 came at the Boston University Last Chance Qualifier.

Olivia Woods from Western Oregon is looking to advance to the finals, as she is entering NCAA’s with a time of 2:09.35. Woods is no stranger to running fast times as she has a personal record of 2:05.91 at the NCAA DII Outdoor Track & Field Championships from last year. Woods can be a dark horse when it comes to challenging the two favorites Metcalfe (Embry-Riddle) and Webb (UC-Colorado Springs) in the finals.

The #3 and #4 fastest times in heat two comes from teammates Bailey Sharon and Jessica Cusick of Western Colorado. Sharon enters with a time of 2:09.60 that was run at The GVSU Big Meet. Cusick got her time of 2:10.73 from placing 3rd at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. Expect the two teammates to work together in the preliminaries and also in the final.

Ashleigh Macleod of Lewis is coming off a recent win at the GLVC Championships where she eclipsed the line at 2:13.52. Macleod ran her fastest time of the indoor season at the 2019 Meyo Invitational recording a 2:10.86 to get her to the NCAA meet.

Bianca Bryant of San Francisco State caps off heat two with a time of 2:11.62 at the GVSU Big Meet. The impressive statistic about Bryant is her personal record of 2:06.79 that was run last year at the NCAA DII Outdoor Track & Field Championships. With this speed, she should have no problem advancing to the finals.

The last and final heat of the preliminaries is led by Rachael Walters of Grand Valley State. Walters has a fast time of 2:05.93 that was run at the GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships giving her the win. Walters also has a fast personal record of 2:04.48 set at the outdoor national meet from last year.

Addy Townsend of Simon Fraser has great range from the 800 to the mile. Townsend enters the race with a time of 2:08.70 which was run at the 2019 UW Invitational. The impressive part about her range is her personal record of 4:44.81 that was just set this season at the Boston University Bruce Lehane Scarlet and White Invitational. This kind of range from Townsend gives her the ability to go out hard if necessary.

Quincy McSweeney from McKendree ran her time of 2:09.62 at the Crimson & Gold Invitational earlier this season to punch her ticket to NCAA’s. McSweeney recently placed 2nd at the GLVC championships right behind Ashleigh Macleod of Lewis who is competing in heat two, it will be a very interesting battle if the two conference rivals meet in the finals.

Shayla Huebner of Northern Michigan is coming into the race with a time of 2:10.17, this time was run during her 2nd place performance at the GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. Just like in McSweeney (McKendree) and Macleod’s (Lewis) case, Huebner was beaten by conference and rival Rachael Walters (Grand Valley St.). Both women are in the same heat, expect a fierce battle between the two to advance to the final.

Abbie Porter of Hillsdale had great success at the GVSU Big Meet, where she ran a time of 2:11.23 to help her advance to the meet. Porter impressively dropped more than 3 seconds from her previous mark in the season (2:14.86) at the GVSU Open.

Dawnel Collymore of Benedict dropped her time of 2:16.69 at the JDL Early Bird Duals to 2:11.57 at the USC Open Indoor to help her earn a spot in the NCAA Championships.

If the racing comes down to a sit and kick, Metcalfe and Webb are likely the favorites as they can outrun almost everybody. It’ll be interesting to see who makes the final because if teammates make it, some team racing could come into play causing the field to go out harder or slower depending on their thought process.

Mile (Men)

This event is a tad more wide open than the 800 is. As we look at the start list, it seems clear that Elias Gedyon is the favorite going into the weekend as he currently holds the top seed time of 4:00.75 and is just under three full seconds clear of the next athlete.

Gedyon’s time is a converted time from when he ran 4:06.77 at the Colorado Invitational. For what it’s worth, Gedyon would still be the #9 fastest runner in the country if that time wasn’t converted. We’re also not basing Gedyon’s fitness (although, it certainly helps) off of just that meet at CU. He made the trek up north to run at the Husky Invitational and he ran 4:01.47 for a 6th place finish. He also holds the #2 fastest time in the 3000 meters (also converted).

The speed and the strength are both there for the Grizzly ace, he’ll just need to find a way to hold on at the end. However, the rest of the competition isn’t going to make that easy on him.

There are eight other athletes who are all under the 4:07 mark on the season. Leading that list of names is Lucas Taxter from Stonehill. He’s the only other athlete who is under 4:04. He garnered his 4:03.39 after a flat-track conversion from the Northeast-10 Conference meet almost a month ago. Taxter had a really strong cross country season that saw him finish 19th at the national meet and he’s built off of that to put together a strong candidacy for the mile title this weekend.

Taxter has also run 1:51.53 during the outdoor season indicating that he has the speed for this event. The combo of strength from this cross country season says Taxter will be in this at the end.

Brett Meyer is a name that I have liked since the beginning of the season. He was a runner-up in this event last year and then followed that up with a 4th place finish during outdoors in the 1500. Meyer has enjoyed a strong indoor season as he dropped down his PB two seconds and now sits at #3 entering Nationals with his 4:04.23.

Meyer has been to the last four National Championships and holds experience in both the 800 and mile/1500 in terms of championships racing. He’s savvy enough to know when to make his move and likely has enough strength to hold off his opponents.

Embry-Riddle’s Calahan Warren is the only athlete that has a mark in the 4:05 realm. His came way of Boston University’s Last Chance Meet. His official seed time is 4:05.74 and it comes via a raw time that has him sitting #4 overall.

Warren likely would have been safe heading into selection week with his previous mark of 4:07.14, but getting one last race in that brought a two second personal best has to have Warren feeling very confident going into Nationals. Coming into the season, Warren hadn’t run faster than 4:18. He immediately broke that barrier in his first meet with a 4:17. His next time out was a 4:11. The time after that was 4:07 and then 4:07 again. His 3:47 1500 from last year’s outdoor season signaled that this type of breakout was coming.

He has also run 1:51 for 800 meters and a strong 8:24 for 3000 meters. It’ll be interesting to see if his breakout season also means he’ll break into the top tier of athletes.

Five athletes sit at the 4:06 mark and each of them have a legitimate shot to make the podium and even find their way to the top.

Starting with the duo from Queens (N.C.) we have Daniel Wallis and Felix Wammetsberger. They come in with the #5 and #7 fastest times of 4:06.06 and 4:06.64. Wammetsberger ran his time at the GVSU Big Meet and it was a PR by three seconds. He was 6th in the mile last year and made the final during outdoors for 1500 meters.

Wammetsberger has also run 14:24.60 before Christmas break and also has a PR of 8:13 in the 3000. I think he is a legitimate contender going into the weekend.

Wallis is qualified in two events as he finds himself also entered in the 3000. Wallis has run 4:04 before and he has been close to that at the end of this season. He finished 8th in the mile last year and proceeded to run 3:47 for 1500 meters during outdoors. His 8:17.58 3000 PR from three weeks ago shows us that he is in great shape. He is much like Wammetsberger in terms of time as he has run 1:51 and 14:25 before during his career at Queens. If we think Wammetsberger is a contender, then Wallis has to fall in the same boat.

Josh Evans of Colorado Mines ran 4:17.72 in the middle of February and saw his time convert 11 seconds down into the 4:06 realm. He has run 4:10.49 before (last year) and he failed to make the final at the indoor meet. He’ll be looking to bounce back as he heads into this years meet.

The other two athletes are Ross Husch of Western Colorado and Aaron Ahl from Simon Fraser.

Husch’s is likely the easiest to critique here as he hasn’t run faster than 4:17 before in his career, but he ran 4:20.91 at the RMAC Conference Championships and saw it convert down 14 seconds to get him into Nationals. Husch has strong times in the 3000 (8:21) and 5000 (14:15) which indicates that he has the strength for this event. However, the real question is the speed.

Ahl ran his 4:06.92 in early February which was a big PR by six seconds. Before that, he had set a PR by three seconds. He has continued to be successful throughout this season including helping Simon Fraser qualify for the national meet in the DMR. I like the consistency he brings to this field. I think he has progressed well throughout the season and finds himself in prime position for the weekend.

There are lots of good racers this weekend and they’ll likely be taking aim at Gedyon as he runs for Adams State and most schools would do anything to keep them from the top spot. That being said, a tactical race likely plays into the hands of Gedyon given his speed and strength. Is anyone going to take this race out hard to try and hold off those who kick? It’s uncertain as most of these athletes have the same 800 and mile personal bests.

Mile (Women)

Just like the men’s side, there’s an Adams State athlete that is at the top of the field entering the weekend. Roisin Flanagan is the only athlete that has a time that is under the 4:40 mark while there are six other athletes that find themselves under the 4:50 barrier.

The Adams State star has run 4:46.32 at the Colorado Invitational and saw her time convert down to 4:39.34. Her time is five and a half seconds better than that of Kristen Metcalfe from Embry-Riddle who has run 4:45.

Flanagan holds a non-converted PR of 4:41.95 which she ran last year at the Husky Invite. This year at the Husky Invite, she elected for the 3000 where she also ran a new personal best of 9:18.24 (#2 in the country). She also holds a PR in the 800 of 2:09.37. Despite her time coming way of conversion, it would be poor judgment to not think that she is capable of running under 4:40 for a mile.

While I don’t think that will happen at the national meet, Flangan’s chances of taking home the title are very strong. The senior has been in multiple national meets before which should benefit her this weekend.

Kristen Metcalfe will be attempting the 800/mile double this weekend and she has a legitimate shot to win both of those events. She capped off the end of her indoor season in a strong fashion. She ran 4:45.00 at the USC Open Indoor and then came back at the Boston University Last Chance meet in a time 2:03.59 for the 800. Both of marks were personal bests.

Metcalfe is clearly trending in the right direction in terms of what kind of shape she is in. She was an All-American in both the 800 and 1500 during the 2018 outdoor season which means she knows how to attack the mile in order to be successful. She had a poor showing at the indoor national meet last year, finishing 15th in the 800, so she will be looking to avenge that performance this weekend.

After those two, we have three athletes at 4:48 and two others at 4:49. The three that sit at 4:48 include Adams State’s Stephanie Cotter (4:48.01), Grand Valley State’s Allie Ludge (4:48.31), and Edinboro’s Stefanie Parsons (4:48.51).

Cotter is just a freshman at Adams State, but she ran 5:03.67 at the RMAC Championships. That would be her personal best. Given her 2:09.49 best in the 800, there is a good chance that Cotter has the ability to legitimately run 4:48. I also believe that there is the potential of that happening this weekend given the championship racing.

Ludge has also run two personal bests this year, just not in the mile. She holds a personal best of 4:45.50 from last year. This year, she’s run 2:08.91 and 9:23.70 for the 800 and 3000, respectively, cementing her as a legitimate threat to take home the title when the weekend is all said and done.

The strength and the speed are all there given how fast she has run in those two events. Now it’s a question of blending it all together in a championship format. Whatever type of race this becomes, Ludge will be the mix at the end.

Parsons is an interesting runner as she has run 4:48.51 this year as well as 2:11.70 just a week apart from each other. The day after her mile PR, she ran 9:53.06 for 3000 meters which would also be her personal best. She is just a sophomore and is racing at Nationals for the second time in her career.

Last year, Parsons was 15th at the Indoor National Championships and only raced one time during the outdoor season, likely postponing even faster times that would have come during this indoor season. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see her towards the front on Saturday.

Tiffany Christensen (Adams State) and Andra Lehotay (Walsh) are the other athletes that have times under the 4:50 barrier. Christensen’s comes from the Colorado Invitational where she ran 4:56.38 and saw her time convert under 4:50. Meanwhile, Lehotay’s is a flat-track conversion after she ran 4:52.53 at the G-MAC Championships.

Christensen has run 9:33 for 3000 meters and will be racing that as well this weekend while Lehotay has run 2:10 for 800 meters. They are polar opposite in terms of the speed/strength debate, but meet in the middle when it comes to 1609 meters.

Other names that I like this weekend include Heloise Duffie De Tasigny (Flagler), Elysia Burgos (Southwest Baptist), Kate Lilly (Seattle Pacific), and Anna Rogahn (Winona State).

Duffie De Tasigny has some range as she has run 2:10 for 800 meters and has run 4:29 for 1500 meters during the outdoor season. Burgos is just a freshman, but has already run 2:10 as well in her career for 800 meters. Kate Lilly boasts strong PR's of 2:14 and 10:02 for 800 and 3000 meters while Rogahan is a strong runner with personal bests of 2:14 and 10:07. All three have a shot at making the final and mixing things up on Saturday.

I’m guessing you’re going to see a race that goes out hard from the gun. I think there is one runner who thinks that they have a legitimate shot to win the title if they can take the legs out from underneath some of those who have fast 800 meter times. With that in mind, I think Flanagan, Metcalfe, and Ludge will be the three that we are talking about at the end of this.

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