Written prior to Millrose Games performances
Texas asserts dominance
After an underwhelming cross country season, there may have been some pressure for first-year coach Pete Watson to produce stronger results during indoors. Sure enough, Sam Worley and Alex Rogers have been setting the track on fire. After back-to-back PR's (which led to a personal best of 3:58), Rogers just ripped open a 7:51 for 3000 meters.
As for Worley, he just broke the Texas indoor mile school record with a time of 3:57.98 to take the #2 spot in the NCAA (Kyle Mau literally just ran the NCAA #1 time of 3:57.61 as I'm writing this). Ironically, Worley held off 2017 NCAA indoor mile champion Henry Wynne for the win. Wynne was formerly coached by Pete Watson during his time at Virginia.
No Jones, All Hull
This Oregon superstar can seemingly do it all. After running 4:31 earlier in the season, she just ran a massive 8:53 to defeat Allie Ostrander (8:55) and lead three other women under the 9 minute barrier. That time now puts her at NCAA #9 All-Time* and pushes Ostrander's 2018 performance to #10.
*Since the time was run on an oversized track, it will not officially count on the All-Time List
With Dani Jones likely taking a redshirt indoor season, Hull has become the very heavy favorite in both the mile and 3000 meters. Now the question becomes "What will she race at Nationals"? Will she run both open events? Will she triple in the DMR? Run one open event in addition to the DMR? It's tough to say, but it's not unrealistic to think that she could have three gold medals in March.
The women's 5k becomes even deeper
A total of seven collegiates (eight if we count unattached athletes) ran under the 16 minute barrier at the Husky Classic this past Friday. Makena Morley has (likely) now secured herself a pair of national qualifying spots in the 3k/5k after running 15:37 while Stanford's Fiona O'Keefe took home top collegiate spot in 15:35.
The top 16 cut-off to qualify for Nationals in the 5000 meters this year is now 15:42. Since TFRRS began recording data in 2010, that is the fastest top 16 cut-off time we have ever seen. Historically, the cut-off time is around the 16 minute barrier (but it has been faster in recent years). Still don't think this is the fastest era of women's distance running? Think again...
Back on track...kinda
Cole Rockhold's cross country season was cut short this past fall after sustaining a stress fracture. The 3:59/7:50 Colorado State talent has been out since then, but made his indoor debut on Friday with a 4:06. It's far from what his true talent level is, but when you consider that he's only had four workouts this entire winter season, it's an encouraging sign for the future.
Finn Gessner made his debut for Iowa State, albeit it lacked a spark with a finishing time of 8:36. Still, it's encouraging to see that the Cyclones are willing to give Gessner opportunities to race even after an immediate move from Madison to Ames.
Wisconsin has returned as a modern-day powerhouse
Oliver Hoare won the 1500 meter national title over Josh Kerr last spring.
Morgan McDonald won the cross country national title this past fall.
Oliver Hoare runs 7:48 at Indiana.
Shuaib Aljabaly won the USA Junior Cross Country national title.
Olin Hacker wins the Iowa State Classic 3k in 7:53.
The Badgers have had some jaw-dropping performances in the past year. They are truly at another level right now, and it's scary to think that they could get even better. Within two hours of this article being published, McDonald will make his season debut in the 3000 meters at the Millrose Games. Oliver Hoare will make his mile debut (also at Millrose).
The women have been just as impressive. Alicia Monson had a breakout cross country season and has already run 15:34 for 5000 meters this season. She will also be racing a Millrose. Meanwhile, Amy Davis just won the Iowa State Classic 5k in a time of 15:47.
What can't these Badgers do?
A very quick Millrose Games preview
Joe White needs to show that he's just as good as Marco Arop and Devin Dixon who have both run under 1:46 this season. Luckily for White, he's more than capable of running a time like that.
Oliver Hoare will be the lone collegiate in this field and will have to deal with a world record pace. Unless he becomes too overwhelmed with such elite talent surrounding him, expect a new NCAA #1 time.
As for the women, Karisa Nelson is entered. She will be looking to prove that she can still be a top contender in the mile. She won the 2017 indoor national title in the mile before taking a year off from competition.
Meanwhile, Danae Rivers needs to show the world that she is more than just a threat in the 800/1k distances. A new NCAA #1 could be in the cards for her.
Fisher vs McDonald vs Kemboi...wow
We know how good Fisher and McDonald are. They will likely run under 7:50 and put themselves back in the national title conversation. As for Kemboi, this is his big opportunity to show that he belongs with some of the best athletes the NCAA has ever seen.
The women's race will host two collegiates - Weini Kelati and Alicia Monson. Can Weini Kelati return to the national title conversation despite Jessica Hull running 8:53 earlier this week? What about Monson? In a season where we've seen some of the greatest collegiate distance running of all-time, where does she stack up in the big picture?
These are just some of the questions we have for later this evening...