Men: John Cusick
Women: Elliott Portillo
Indoor season officially begins right after cross country season. Runners have traded cross country spikes for track spikes as they attempt to cultivate fitness carried over from the fall into a fast early-season time.
The first weekend of December after Nationals was a direct account of this, as dozens of auto qualifiers were set in the 800 and 5000. After that, the onset of the holidays created a dead period with no real action occurring.
With the post-holiday funk out of the way and athletes returning from winter break, the indoor season is seeing a second “opening weekend.” The first big weekend since early December saw most attention focused on the 3000 and mile as opposed to the 5000 and 800. While no big auto-qualifying marks have been hit yet in these events, the times run have set the tone for what looks to be an exciting indoor season at the Division II level...
The unofficial christening of opening weekend, the UW Preview saw a slough of professional and collegiate athletes run solid early-season times. Not to be outdone by their Division I counterparts, Division II athletes ran competitively and showed that the 3000 could potentially be one of the most competitive events at Indoor Nationals.
Four athletes secured provisional marks at the highly competitive UW Preview in Seattle this past weekend. All four hailed from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, as Rowan Doherty (Simon Fraser), Tyler Jones (Western Oregon), Felix Kemboi (Alaska Anchorage), and Carlos Vargas (Simon Fraser) all dipped under 8:23 to land on the indoor list.
Rowan finished in 8:12.35 to place 3rd in his heat and 18th overall, while Jones’ time of 8:17.2 placed him 6th in the heat and 23rd overall. Also impressive were Kemboi and Vargas. Coming out of the third and final heat, the two ran 8:20.94 and 8:22.33, respectively to finish 4th and 5th (30th and 31st overall). All four of these athletes raced deep into cross country, finishing their seasons in Pittsburgh. Since then, they don’t seem to have lost a step.
These early season marks set up what could be a star studded 3000 at the GNAC Championships in February, especially if you throw in other potential national qualifiers such as Wesley Kurui from Alaska Anchorage, who ran 8:29 this weekend.
Nobody has truly thrown down a burner in the mile yet, but the season is still young. Benoit Campion of American International won the mile at the Dartmouth Relays with a time of 4:11.37. However, due to track size, the time converts to a 4:08.21 which currently is the #1 mark on the indoor list. Campion has already run 8:27 for 3k earlier this season, which shows that he has potential to run even faster as the young season progresses.
Minnesota State Invite
At his home meet, Minnesota State Senior Austin Pasch ran 4:12.55 to win the mile by 11 seconds. Since this was another time run on a non-standard track, his mark converts to a current #2 ranked time of 4:09.57. Although this time won’t hold for national qualifying purposes, the fact that he is running so well with no competition at this early stage indicates a chance to really ramp up speed when put into a fast race.
Thundering Herd Classic
Senior Derek Myers of U. Mary finished 4th in the mile with a time of 4:13.72. Yet another conversion, this mark translates into a 4:10.53. In fact, of the eight provisional times hit so far this year, seven have come from track conversions.
Speaking of conversions, the one lone mile time to not come from a track conversion came out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the Beantown Challenge, Stonehill Senior Lucas Taxter ran 4:10.69 to finish 2nd overall. So far, the only “real” time in the top eight this season, Taxter should have a lot of confidence as he builds into a full winter schedule. He continues to build off an All-American campaign from the cross country season that saw him finish 19th at the national meet. This range makes him a dangerous weapon as he further develops his speed.
The indoor season is short but intense, with a lot of racing occurring in February before abruptly ending with the national championships in early March. Between then and now will be a month and a half of exciting action as racing ramps up. I expect many more times to be lowered as more and more athletes start heating up. The season is still young, but not for long.
The UW Preview is a big meet where athletes come and shake off the winter-break rust. While we didn’t see as many times as expected, there were still a handful of strong races from the weekend...
We had three provisional times from this meet with two dipping under 2:13. Danielle McCormick of Alaska Anchorage was the 4th overall finisher and 1st from Division 2, running 2:11.32 Her teammate Ruth Cvancara was 12th in 2:14.04. Simon Fraser’s Sophie Dodd was the other provisional runner just ahead of Cvancara at 2:13.86.
There were no provisional times from the mile portion of this meet, but still strong performances regardless.
Kate Lilly of of Seattle Pacific led the way for D2 athletes with a time of 5:05.23 which placed her 24th overall. Teammate Kaylee Mitchell ran 5:10.25 placing her 31st.
This race was led by Caroline Kurgat of Alaska Anchorage who ran 9:07.05 en route to an impressive 3rd place overall finish and an automatic qualifying mark. Her teammate Nancy Jeptoo was just a second off of the provisional mark, running 9:59.30 placing her 19th overall.
Kate Lilly doubled back from the mile to run 10:02.40. Joining her in the double was Mitchell who ran 10:07.45. Simon Fraser’s Olivia Willett ran 10:13.13, good enough for 29th place.
2019 Findlay Open
Findlay freshman Hayley Robinett was the overall winner of the race as she ran 2:18.09 and saw her time convert down to a strong mark of 2:16.52. Ashland’s Tiffany Pryce was runner-up in 2:18:88 which eventually earned a conversion of 2:17.30.
Thundering Herd Classic
U-Mary continues their strong year as freshman Courtney Dembrowski took home the win in 2:19.28 and saw it convert down to 2:17.70.
Cross country standout Jaiden Schuette finished behind two North Dakota State athletes this past weekend, but ran 5:05.34 for 3rd place.
2019 Beantown Challenge
Stonehill athletes Anna Lastra and Jillian Caiazzi finished 11th and 12th here. Lastra ran 5:08.70 while Caiazzi ran 5:10.11.
2019 TCNJ Lions Indoor Invitational
Academy of Art’s Hasna Kaarour ran 9:50.83 over the weekend to take home the win. It was good enough for the #4 spot on the performance list.
Anna Rogahn of Winona State ran 10:07.00 and saw her time convert down to 10:01.84 to place her #10 on the performance list. It was also a school record.
Lauren McCluskey Memorial Open
Central Washington’s Alex Shindruk ran 10:02.89 to take down a field of D1 athletes in Idaho over the weekend. Her time currently places her #13 on the NCAA provisional list.
Gene Anderson Invitational
Heloise Duffie De Tassigny of Flagler ran 10:10.55 to best her teammate Lauren Penkala on Friday. Tassigny currently sits at #17 on the national list.
We didn’t have a ton of blazing fast times from the weekend, but it was indeed a good weekend for some athletes to shake the rust off. This upcoming weekend will obviously give us more time to review and look into the results.