This past weekend, we saw Josh Kerr run one of the fastest 1500’s ever. His 3:35.99 was good enough to defeat some of the best athletes the nation has to offer. The indoor mile champion has now validated his national title win over Ches and will enter the National Championships in June with a target on his back. At the moment, he is the heavy favorite to win the 1500 national title...right?
Kerr may own the 6th fastest NCAA 1500 ever, but based on the past few years of competition, we shouldn’t claim him as the NCAA champion just yet.
Let’s take a look at the 10 fastest NCAA 1500 runners of All-Time.
Out of the names you see above, four of them didn’t even win the national championship the year they ran a top 10 time. Essentially, there’s a 44% chance Kerr could fail to win the national title.
Sure, that’s a bit of a stretch. The sample size we're working with is only nine athletes which is rather small from a statistics point of view. That said, check out the five names highlighted in yellow. Of those five names, four of them ran a top 10 at the actual NCAA championships. If Josh Kerr were to win the NCAA title in June, he would join Falcon as the only two athletes to run a top 10 time AND win the 1500 national title in two separate meets.
Simply put, it would be very rare if Josh Kerr won the 1500 national title this year in a time slower than his 3:35.99.
Still not sold? Let’s take a look at the past seven seasons of 1500's at the NCAA championships…
Of the past eight 1500 title winners, six of them didn’t even have the fastest time in the NCAA! Ironically, the two guys who did win the national title that year aren’t among the top ten 1500 runners of all time…
To make things even more interesting, in the 95-year history of the outdoor NCAA 1500/mile, only two freshmen (including redshirts) have ever won the national title in this event. Those two freshmen were Leo Manzano (2005) and German Fernandez (2009).
Could things change? Absolutely. Cheserek seems to be flirting with the idea that he could run the 1500 record later this season. If he were to accomplish that goal, then the focus of this article would quite obviously shift to from Kerr to Eddy Ches.
*Lawi Lalang did not run the 1500 at the 2013 National Championships