Going For Gold: 10,000


The final event in our Going For Gold series is here! Thank you to everyone that's been reading and following along. Be sure to check out the other events from our Going For Gold series which you can find below. You can also view all of the NCAA entries by clicking the link here.


800

1500

3k Steeple

5000


Rory Linkletter (BYU)

The BYU ace had a breakout performance at NCAA's in the 10k last year after unleashing a huge kick to finish 2nd. Now, Linkletter has gained confidence and fitness as he heads into the 2018 Championships. If he can replicate the finish he had last year while sticking closer to the leaders, he might have a chance to keep them within striking distance and pull ahead for the win.


Mike Tate (Southern Utah)

This isn't a 5k, but Mike Tate's aggressive front-running tactics can still be useful. He may want to delay his move to the front until later in the race, but he's a grinder and someone that will at least be able to run away from those who like to sit-and-kick.


Connor McMillan (BYU)

As I mentioned in the 5k section, McMillan has an underrated kick. However, his positioning and timing of that kick may need to be adjusted if he's going to have a shot at the leaders. I've underestimated McMillan too many times this season. If there's an underdog capable of pulling off a major upset, it could be him.


Matt Welch (Portland)

There isn't a lot of race video on Matt Welch, but I like his closing speed. He made up some ground at the Stanford Invite 10k and fought with the leaders on the final straightaway at the West Regional Championships. The difference between his performances at Stanford and East Regionals is that he kept in contact with the leaders at Regionals and didn't wait until last few laps to move up. He'll have to do the same thing if he wants to be a contender at Nationals.


Matthew Baxter (NAU) + Tyler Day (NAU)

The NAU duo have been phenomenal this season with gutsy, fast performances that have put them atop the NCAA leaderboards. I would argue that these guys have the best fitness in the field when it comes to the distance events. If they hit the gas and push the pace, they should be able to separate themselves from a field that may rely on their kicking abilities.


Dillon Maggard (Utah State)

Dilllon Maggard is more of a 5k runner, but if the 10k is slow enough, I like his chances of running with the leaders. He gradually pulled away from his competition in the final moments of his West Regional 5k and I like to think that the could do that again in the 10k. He'll need to move with the leaders, respond to surges, and make the rest of chase pack chase follow him in the final few laps


Robert Brandt (UCLA)

The Cal transfer made a bold move at the West Regional Championships by separating himself from the rest of the field with a decisive surge. He may have made that move a bit too early, but if he waits a little longer at Nationals, he may take the field by surprise and pull away from his competitors before they have a chance to respond.


Clayton Young (BYU)

It's tough to truly emphasize how strong this BYU junior has been this season. Between his 28:27 at the Stanford Invite and 13:37 at Payton Jordan, Young has shown that he is just as good as anyone else. His Stanford Invite performance was impressive as he got to the front, established good positioning, and responded to certain moves being made by the leaders. However, it felt like he was chasing the leaders instead of racing them. If he can somehow get to the front and dictate how the race plays out, he'll be a legitimate contender in the title conversation.


Vincent Kiprop (Alabama) + Gilbert Kigen (Alabama) + Alfred Chelanga (Alabama)

I'm grouping these men together because you can't mention one of them without the other. All three like to work from the front and set an aggressive pace. When you have a trio with this kind of talent at the front of the race, that's going to cause a lot of problems for their competitors. If they can work together at the front, dictate the pace, and create traffic behind them, one of these three will walk away as an NCAA Champion.


Lawrence Kipkoech (Campbell)

Much like the Alabama trio, Kipkoech is someone that likes to get to the front and assert a fast pace. With guys like Clayton Young, the Alabama men, and the NAU duo all entered, the race may be super fast. If that's the case, Kipkoech will be able to run away from the rest of the field and make the chase pack(s) work to catch him.


Grant Fischer (Colorado State)

A veteran in the 10k, Fischer brings an underrated presence to a field that has a variety of athletes with different strengths and racing styles. Fischer doesn't have the flashy kick or aggressive front-running that his competitors do, but he is incredibly patient. He'll work his way up throughout the race and gradually pull away from his competitors. Before you know it, he's out of reach and the race is over. Just watch his Mountain West 5k performance during indoors where he pulled away from Dillon Maggard. Although the field will be far deeper and more talented at Nationals, we could see Fischer implement that race plan once again. If he takes advantage of a slower pace, Fischer could find himself at the front by the time the final lap hits.


Connor Mantz (BYU)

I have been so impressed with this BYU freshman who took two years off to go on a mission trip. Since returning, Mantz has dominated and looks to be the perfect replacement for Casey Clinger who has departed on a mission trip of his own. Admittedly, I worry about youth on the championship stage, especially in an event like this. Still, Mantz has enough fitness to at least stick around and match any surges being made by the leaders (see West Regionals). Whether or not he can close with them will be the deciding factor.


Ben Flanagan (Michigan)

Flanagan's 10k at BIG 10's was beautifully executed. In a race that was slow and tactical, the Michigan veteran patiently waited with the pack until erupting over the last mile to break away from the field and grab a win. I think Flanagan knew that he didn't have the finishing speed that his competitors did, so he opted to break the field wide open with one mile to go rather than one lap to go. If the pace is similar at NCAA's, Flanagan will certainly be a contender who can stick with nearly anyone over the last mile.


Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse (Portland)

I see a lot of similarities between Roudolff-Levisse and Ben Flanagan. They can both close well, but their best bet is to make a hard move with a mile to go and slowly crank down that pace. Roudolff-Levisse will need to find ideal positioning and avoid traffic, but if he can do that, he'll be able to do some damage in the final few laps.


Jacob Thomson (Kentucky)

The indoor and outdoor track seasons have been exceptional for Jacob Thomson who has been a contender in the SEC throughout the past year. He can handle most paces given him to, but he'll need to properly time his kick if he wants to be in the mix for the title. His SEC 3k and 5k during indoors are good examples how properly timing your kick can impact the end result...


Arsene Guillorel (Samford)

The Samford senior was 4th in this race last year, but he made a lot of strong moves to get to the front and at least stay in contention. A year ago, his closing speed wasn't there and he simply couldn't keep up with Scott in that final 400 meters. That said, Guillorel has been developing his speed this year with personal bests in the 1500 and mile. If he can replicate the same race scenario in 2017, his second chance at fighting for gold may end with a better result.


Colin Bennie (Syracuse)

Since he has stepped foot into the NCAA, Bennie has established a legacy for himself. He's been a consistent NCAA qualifier who has constantly battled with some of the nation's best. His experience on the big stage has made him familiar with a lot of these competitors which could bode well for him when he reacts to moves and surges made by the leaders. If he can position himself near the front (not necessarily at the front) and let the leaders battle for position, Bennie could make an appearance late in the race with a big finish.


Nahom Solomon (Georgia Tech)

Nahom Solomon doesn't get enough love for what he's accomplished. Over the past year, he's become one of the most consistent performers that the ACC has to offer. He's strong off the double and knows how to handle a variety of race situations. I have noticed, however, that he'll typically start a little further back than usual. That's not a bad thing, but giving himself a better position earlier in the race may put the leaders within striking distance for Solomon in the final few laps.


Jonathan Green (Georgetown)

There may not be a better race navigator than Jonathan Green. Whether it was the XC National Championships or his 28:36 at Payton Jordan, Green has proven time and time again that he can handle nearly any race. Now, he'll need to take advantage of his tactical abilities during the NCAA final. If he can avoid traffic and find a comfortable spot on the shoulder of a leader, he'll give himself a shot to win it all.


Frank Lara (Furman)

Frank Lara is no stranger to this stage after qualifying for the National Championships (in the same race) last year. He's a gutsy runner who isn't afraid to mix it up with the top guys. His composure throughout East Region 10k was admirable, but he kept getting pushed back and stuck in traffic throughout the race. That forced him to spend energy getting out of trouble and fighting to stick with the leaders. I think a similar race scenario would benefit Lara, but he would need to get out of the crowded surrounding him.


Michael Crozier (Georgetown)

Crozier looked like he was hurting quite a bit in the final few laps of the of the East Regional 10k. He was in a great spot with just three laps to go, but completely fell off as the tempo increased. Just when you thought he was done, Crozier pulled off a huge 64 second last lap to grab the last spot to Eugene. The Georgetown senior looked like he might have been battling a cramp. If the race at Nationals is anything like the East Region and Crozier is able to remedy that issue, his closing speed might be enough for him to hang with the lead group.