Post-season has arrived and with that arrival comes a slew of outstanding performances starting at the conference championships. This past weekend, we saw some interesting and telling results that should leave us excited about what will happen at Regionals and Nationals. Yet, out of all of the results, I was most fascinated by the guys who were able to emerge victorious twice in two separate events.
Josh Kerr, Benard Keter, Mike Tate, Kasey Knevelbaard, MJ Erb, and Jacob Choge all left their conference championship meet this past weekend with two gold medals around their necks. Seeing these results got me thinking...Who were some other double conference champions (or DCC’s) in the past and how did they end up performing at Nationals? I decided it was a question worth looking in to.
Since 2010, there have been 47 different occasions where an athlete won two golds in one conference championship meet. Some of those occasions were repeats from the same athletes such as Donn Cabral (Princeton) who won the Ivy League steeplechase and 10k in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Anthony Rotich (UTEP) is another “repeat athlete” who won the 1500, steeplechase, and 5k at the Conference USA championships in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Below, I have created a spreadsheet where you can see every double gold conference winner since 2010 and how they performed at NCAA’s in that respected year. Let’s break down the numbers and see what they tell us…
DNQ- Did Not Qualify
DNF- Did Not Finish
NT- No Time
TBD- To Be Determined
Green= All American
Yellow= Finished, but not All-American
Red= DNQ, DNF, or NT
The following conferences are included in this chart...
SEC, ACC, BIG 12, BIG 10, PAC 12, Mountain West, Ivy League, Conference USA, AAC, BIG Sky.
Because we are still waiting to see how the six athletes from 2017 perform at regionals (and hopefully nationals), we are only looking at 41 occasions instead of the 47 mentioned above.
Since 2010, 26 of the 41 DCC’s ended up becoming All-Americans (or 63%). That 63% indicates that of the six double gold conference winners from this past weekend, approximately four of them will become All-Americans. But is there a way to know if a certain individual has an edge over another in the pursuit to become an All-American? From a conference perspective there is...
Since 2010, the PAC 12, BIG 10, and BIG Sky have turned all of their DCC’s into All-Americans. Of course, the PAC 12 and BIG 10 do not have a DCC in 2017. The BIG Sky, however, had two DCC’s (Knevelbaard and Tate). Statistically, those two have the best chance of becoming All-Americans.
The Ivy League has the next best return on their DCC’s at 66.67%, but they did not have one in 2017. However, the SEC has a 57% return on their DCC’s becoming All-Americans and MJ Erb of Ole Miss just won the steeplechase and 5k this past weekend.
The BIG 12 has a 50% return and will (hopefully) be represented by Benard Keter this June.
Knevelbaard, Tate, Erb, and Keter, statistically have the best chance of becoming All-Americans while Jacob Choge and Josh Kerr have the least likely chance of the six (based strictly on their conference numbers). That would be big surprise considering that Kerr ran an NCAA #6 All-Time 1500 in April.
And what about becoming an NCAA champion? Since 2010, only eight DCC's have won the national title (which averages to 1 in every 5.88 DCC’s). Again, that’s a pretty a good sign for the six DCC’s in 2017. Statistically speaking, either Keter, Kerr, Tate, Knevelbaard, Erb, or Choge will become an NCAA champion this June.
It's surely an exciting thought, but out of those six who has the best chance of becoming a champion? There may have been eight individual NCAA champions since 2010, but Lawi Lalang earned two golds at the NCAA championships in 2013. Therefore, we have nine races to pull from instead of eight. Of those nine national title wins, five of them were in the steeplechase, three were in the 5k, and one was in the 10k.
Clearly, steeplechasers have the best chance of becoming an NCAA champion which is great news for MJ Erb who currently ranks near the top of the NCAA steeplechase standings and has been in the discussion to win the national title for most of the season.
Admittedly, these numbers are a lot to take in. Could all of this hold true and be an exact portrayal of what happens at Nationals this year? Sure. Could 2017 also completely contradict everything we just mentioned in this article? Absolutely. At the end of the day, this data may tell the story but it certainly doesn’t write it.