Going For Gold: 1500

We are continuing the Going For Gold series with the 1500! You can view our 800 article by clicking the link here. You can view the heat sheets for every event by clicking this link.

We have analyzed every individual in every distance event and discuss what we believe they need to do in order to win it all in Eugene next week...

Josh Kerr (New Mexico)

Honestly, it doesn't really matter what kind of race style Kerr decides to implement. The new NCAA record holder for 1500 meters can handle any scenario, fast or tactical. As long as he stays out of trouble, he should be cleared to take gold once again.

Sam Prakel (Oregon)

The Oregon veteran is one of the best 1500 runners in the nation and has the talent to hang with nearly anyone in the NCAA. His indoor Nationals performance was impressive and I really liked the way him and Reed Brown worked together at the front to battle with Josh Kerr. I still think that same game plan could be effective, but I'm a believer that against big talents like Saruni and Kerr, you'll need to make the first move and catch them off guard.

Sam Worley (Texas)

Despite his youth, Worley is one of the better 1500 runners in the nation and boasts a strong 800 personal best as well (1:48). In a faster race, I'm unsure if Worley will be able to handle the constant back-and-forth with savvy veterans. If the race is slow enough, I like Worley's chance of taking the pack by surprise and shooting off the bend to take W. That's the only way I see him taking gold in a star-studded field like this.

Oliver Hoare (Wisconsin)

For most men in this field, I think the pace needs to be slow if they want any chance of upsetting Kerr. However, for a guy like Hoare, faster is better. After splitting 3:54 on Wisconsin's DMR during indoors and then running 3:37 at Bryan Clay, it just goes to show that he's one of the best out there. If the pace is fast, he'll be able to outlast the rest of the field. In terms of how you beat Kerr? That's never an easy answer, but if Hoare can start his surge before the New Mexico miler, he'll at least have a chance to be neck-and-neck with him on the final straight.

Cameron Griffith (Arkansas)

After a breakout indoor track season, Griffith's performances during the spring were a bit quieter. His season bests (prior to the Regional Championships) of 13:58 and 3:45 were solid, but nothing mind-blowing. Yet, Griffith bounced back and beautifully navigated his way through Regionals to find himself a spot in Eugene. One of the great things about Griffith is that he has pretty decent range. His 800 PR of 1:50 isn't earth-shattering, but his 1k personal best of 2:23 gives me the impression that he could be a dangerous kicker with 200 to go. If the race turns tactical and stays slow until that point, Griffith may have a shot to pull off some last lap heroics.

Kevin White (Loyola - Illinois)

I'll admit that I don't know a whole lot about White who contested the 1500 and 800 at the West Regional Championships. His personal best of 1:47 would better suit him for the 800, but he only qualified for the 1500 after doubling two weeks ago. Much like Griffith, if the race is slow and lagging during that last lap, White could potentially unleash a lethal kick and shock the nation.

Ian Crowe-Wright (New Mexico)

One of the better tacticians in the NCAA is Ian Crowe-Wright who knows how to position himself throughout a race and take advantage of any pace that he is given. Although his teammate is heavily favored, Crowe-Wright may be able to emerge as a true title contender if other competitors opt to make life difficult for Kerr by boxing him or creating traffic around him. His a speed isn't quite as developed as some of the other entrants, which means he'll need to hope that the pace doesn't lag too much.

Ben Malone (Villanova)

Although he hasn't been 100% this season after coming off of appendix surgery, Malone is still one of the best finishers in the NCAA. Not only that, but he has strong personal bests of 1:48, 2:22, and 3:39 (from Swarthmore). He's improving with every passing day and that can be a scary thing to think about if he's in your heat. If the race becomes slow and tactical (think 3:47 to 3:52), I like the role that Malone could play with 400 to go. He's one of the few individuals who can match Kerr in the final lap.

Chandler Teigen (Washington State)

Much like Crowe-Wright, Teigen has developed his tactical racing and positioning over the past year. He looks a lot stronger and has been a top finisher in most of the races he's entered. He can maintain his form late in the race, but I'm unsure if he'll have the necessary turnover needed for that final 100 meters. His best bet may be to hope that the surges and finishing kicks come with 400 meters to go. The longer the kick is drawn out, the better it will suit Teigen.

Justine Kiprotich (Michigan State)

We've talked about how great guys like Crowe-Wright and Teigen are at navigating through elite fields of competitors. However, the best of them may be Justine Kiprotich who pulled off a silver medal finish in 2017 and looks to be a contender once again in 2018. We've seen him do it before, but if the pace isn't too fast and the kicks start coming at 200 meters out, Kiprotich will have a chance to match that finishing speed. If he can get a jump on Kerr, you never know what could happen...

Luis Grijalva (NAU)

Between his impressive 1500 speed and strong 5k endurance, Grijalva could surprise a few people. His long-distance stamina could give him an advantage if the surges and kicks begin from 400 meters out (or further).

Alex Riba (Texas A&M)

I'll admit that I don't know a whole lot about Riba's racing style. The 3:59 miler has had quite the year and his momentum has carried him all the way to Nationals. Honestly, why not just run hard with the top group, get out of traffic, and see what happens? He's got nothing to lose and he seems to do well in faster races. It would be a bold move, but it would give him a chance to contend.

Joseph Murphy (Indiana)

The Indiana men are so well equipped for any racing style or distance and Joseph Murphy is no exception. These races are all about positioning. If Murphy can get the outside of lane one in the final straightaway and force Kerr (or other competitors) to go around him, he'll have a fighting chance.

Alex Rogers (Texas)

The Longhorn veteran has accomplished a lot during his time with this Texas program. His personal bests of 1:48, 3:40, and 8:48 makes him a big-time sleeper in this race. I like the mix of speed and strength that he brings to the table. He could play spoiler in the final 100 meters if he's able to stay close and sling off the final turn with a finishing kick.

Diego Zarate (Virginia Tech)

Zarate really impressed me at the East Regional Championships. He kept his composure and was incredibly patient throughout his 1500 rounds. His positioning wasn't ideal as he got stuck on the inside rail, but he calmly found a way out. Zarate's finishing speed is extremely underrated as well. Just look at some of the race videos from the ACC 1500's over the past two years. If Zarate can maintain that same poise at Nationals and be the first to make his move, he can contend with just about anyone.

Mick Stanovsek (Oregon)

Mick Stanovsek is on his revenge tour after being tripped up at indoor Nationals. If he and Prakel can maintain a decent pace and create traffic around Kerr, I honestly believe that the Duck duo could have a legitimate shot at pulling off the upset. It's just a matter of how well contained they can keep the New Mexico miler.

Everett Smulders (Ole Miss)

There's not a whole lot of race video for a younger guy like Smulders and I'm unsure on what his racing style is like. Yet, just like I mentioned with Alex Riba, what does he have to lose? If he can put himself in the top group and respond to the moves being made, he'll at least be able to mix it up. He's got a decent kick and that will always come in handy for tactical races.

Chris Torpey (Miami - Ohio)

The East Regional Championships was a strong showing for Torpey. He was patient and made his moves at the right time. His kick was strong and his positioning was excellent. If he can somehow stick around the top pack in Eugene, he'll be able to swing off the curve like he did in Tampa and make some serious noise.

Nicholas Wareham (Georgetown)

I'll admit that I don't know much about Wareham. The fact that he even qualified was a huge shocker to me and it just goes to show that on any given day, someone can step up and have a big race. When you look at the quarterfinal from East Regionals, Wareham barely snuck past a few guy with a tremendous kick to qualify. If the pace is slow and he's able to stick with the top pack, that kick may come in handy and possibly do some damage.

Robert Domanic (Ole Miss)

Domanic reminds me a lot of Oliver Hoare. He ran 3:54 last summer and popped off a 3:36 at Bryan Clay. If the race is fast, we know the Ole Miss veteran can handle it. It's hard to run an NCAA record time just once, but it's super hard to do it again. If the pace is quick and Domanic is at the front, I truly believe he could threaten Kerr for the title.

Vincent Ciattei (Virginia Tech)

Ciattei is one of the more quiet runners when it comes to performances. He doesn't necessarily like to run hard from the gun, but he doesn't have a mind-blowing kick either (although it's still pretty darn good). From the times I've been able to watch him race, he quietly and gradually moves up throughout the race while the top pack jockey's for position. That could very easily happen at Hayward Field which would leave an opportunity for Ciattei to come from behind and steal the title.

Amos Bartelsmeyer (Georgetown)

One of the more seasoned and experienced milers in the NCAA is Amos Bartelsmeyer. The Georgetown ace has seen it all and that could bode well for him should he make it to the finals. He closed his anchor leg on Georgetown's DMR with a 54 second last lap which is a clear sign of phenomenal finishing speed. If Bartelsmeyer is feeling good and gets put into decent position, he'll have a chance to battle with Kerr in that final 400.

William Paulson (Princeton)

His Ivy League title and his 3:39 at Swarthmore shows that Paulson is capable of running a fast or tactical race. If the pace begins to quicken early on, it would eliminate those who prefer to sit-and-kick and (most likely) keep Paulson in contention. When you look at his race at Swarthmore, he didn't have great positioning and was somewhat forced to stay near the inside rail. If he can comfortably find a spot on the outside of the pack and begin his kick first, then he may be able to have to a shot at winning it all.

Mike Marsella (Virginia)

Mike Marsella likes to race towards the front. Rarely do you seem him sitting back and letting others dictate the pace. Just look at the race video from the prelims and final of the East Regional Championships. That said, he doesn't always maintain that kind of effort near the end of the race. If he were to let the race develop and move up to the front after the first lap, then he may have enough in the reserves to hang with the top group in a tactical race.