Indoor Top 25: Update #3 (2/12) (Men)

Honorable Mentions

Casey Comber (Villanova)

Earning his first mention in our rankings, Comber threw down a big mile at the David Hemery Valentine Invite to run 3:57 and finish right behind Waleed Suliman.

Mick Stanvosek (Washington)

Carlos Villarreal (Arizona)

Both Stanvosek and Villarreal faced some bad luck by getting tripped up in the mile at the UW Husky Classic, but they are still strong contenders in the mile. I just worry that they do not have qualifying times yet. Once that happens expect to see them back in the Top 25.

Alex Ostberg (Stanford)

I really wish this list was for 26 people because it was really hard to keep out Ostberg. So far this season, he has run run 7:51 and run sub 4. I’ll see if I can get him in the Top 25 next time around...

25. Sam Worley, Sophomore, Texas (Unranked)

Worley had his breakout race of the season to beat a fast field and run 3:57 at the Husky Classic. After being one of the preseason favorites in the mile, he had not run up to his standard. This race puts Worley right back into the spotlight.

24. Cameron Griffith, Senior, Arkansas (-13 / 11)

Griffith was ranked highly by most of the TSR writers at the beginning of the year, and he has run solid all season. The worry that I have is that even though he has run 3:59 and 7:52, he currently has not qualified for Nationals yet (at least, he's not guaranteed). Once he earns a qualifying mark, I will feel much better about Griffith’s chances.

23. Andrew Jordan, Junior, Iowa State (-4 / 19)

Jordan hasn’t run since he was the top collegiate in the 3k at the UW Invitational a few weeks ago. No reason to drop him out of the rankings as I still expect him to be in contention in the 3k at BIG 12 and/or Nationals.

22. Waleed Suliman, Sophomore, Ole Miss (Unranked)

One of the best races of the weekend was Suliman winning the mile in 3:56. Suliman burst onto the national scene last spring by running 1:47 for 800 meters and 3:39 for 1500 meters. He hadn’t done much indoors yet, but we knew that the talent was there. He proved his talent this past weekend and if he continues to run like that, then he could score points at Nationals.

21. Connor McMillan, Rs. Senior, BYU (-1 / 20)

McMillan is one of the few qualified for both the 3k and 5k after he ran 13:38 at Iowa State. Look for him to continue his good form as he races with his teammates.

20. Alex Rogers, Senior, Texas (Unranked)

Who said Alex Rogers was just a miler? The Texas senior has been on fire for the past two months. After running under four minutes for the first time at the beginning of the season, he improved upon that time to run 3:58 and recently followed that up with a huge 7:51. He can be an All-American in whatever event he chooses to run at Nationals.

19. Isaiah Jewett, Junior, USC (-2 / 17)

Jewett did not finish in the 800 at the Tyson Invitational, but did contribute to USC’s 4x400 running 3:06. With the 800 being so deep, Jewett will have to maintain his fitness to be an All-American candidate.

18. Tyler Day, Rs. Junior, Northern Arizona (-4 / 18)

It was a bit of a disappointing performance from Day at Iowa State as he ran 8:01 for 3000 meters. Nothing to make a big deal about, but hopefully we see a better race from him before Nationals.

17. Kasey Knevelbaard, Rs. Junior, Southern Utah (-7 / 10)

Knevelbaard moves back a few spots after a disappointing race at the Husky Classic where he ran 4:00 and lost to Worley and Reed Brown. I still see him as one of the top contenders in the mile, but this performance is a little concerning. One bad race won’t make me overreact, but another will worry me.

16. Robert Heppenstall, Senior, Wake Forest (0 / 16)

Heppentall ran a season best of 1:48 at Iowa State finishing right behind Hoppel. This race is a step in the right direction for Heppenstall, but hopefully we see him run a bit faster before Nationals.

15. Cooper Teare, Sophomore, Oregon (+8 / 23)

It was another impressive weekend for Teare who won the 3k at the Husky Classic in 7:50. It will be interesting to see how he does at the MPSF Championships competing with some of the top long distance runners in the country.

14. Bryce Hoppel, Junior, Kansas (+10 / 24)

Hoppel moved up the most in this week’s rankings after his win over Heppenstall at Iowa State to run 1:48. Two weeks ago, I mentioned that Hoppel needed a good performance to stay in the rankings, and he definitely delivered. Beating Heppenstall shows that Hoppel deserves to be considered as a favorite to earn a top five spot at Nationals.

13. James Sugira, Freshman, Eastern Kentucky (Unranked)

Sugira now has qualifying marks in both the 3k and 5k after he ran a very nice time of 13:37 at Washington this past weekend. The EKU ace finished 2nd to Klecker and walked comfortably into the national qualifying ranks. The newcomer boasts international racing experience, so it will be interesting to see how he does in his first indoor national meet.

12. Johnathan Davis, Rs. Sophomore, Illinois (-3 / 9)

Davis moves down a spot after an underwhelming performance in the Iowa State 3k running 8:03. I still have confidence in Davis being one of the top contenders in the mile, but this race wasn’t a great sign. As I have said, I won’t overreact to one bad race, but another will worry me. Like Kurgat, it will be interesting to see if Davis tries to get himself into another fast 3k.

11. Edwin Kurgat, Junior, Iowa State (+4 / 15)

As someone who drafted Kurgat in our fantasy draft, I breathed a sigh of relief to see him run 13:34. Kurgat’s blend of endurance and a strong kick gives him a good shot at racing with anyone in the country. We saw him nearly take down Fisher and McDonald in cross country, but he never had that type of race indoors until this past weekend. Keep an eye on Kurgat the next few weeks to see if he tries to run another fast 3k to qualify in both the 3k and 5k at Nationals.

10. Clayton Young, Rs. Senior, BYU (+11 / 21)

One of the biggest movers in this week’s rankings is Clayton Young after a huge performance in the Iowa State 5k. Young held off a hard charging Edwin Kurgat to run 13:34. The BYU Cougar now has qualifying times in both the 3k and 5k. He can occasionally get lost in the clump of elite runners from BYU, but he shouldn’t be forgotten.

9. Kyle Mau, Junior, Indiana (-1 / 8)

If there was one person that I regret not taking in our fantasy draft, it is Kyle Mau. He is having an outstanding season so far as he has run 7:50 and 3:57. Oliver Hoare is the only one who has been able to put up similar times so far. The Hoosier will become a household name in the running community if he can replicate these performances at Nationals.

8. Devin Dixon, Junior, Texas A&M (-3 / 5)

7. Joe White, Senior, Georgetown (-3 / 4)

6. Marco Arop, Sophomore, Mississippi State (+6 / 12)

Arop earns the top 800 spot in this week’s rankings because of his impressive 1:45.90 which was enough to beat the next best competitor by four seconds. When Dixon won his 800, he had plenty of people chasing him down. Arop did not have that luxury which makes me believe that he still has another gear left which is incredible to say considering he just ran 1:45.

The reason why Arop jumps ahead of Dixon, even though the Aggie has a better time, is because Arop has proven that he can finish in the top three at Nationals. He convincingly beat Dixon outdoors last year and, while they both ran poorly at the indoor national last year, Arop beat Dixon in their prelim. To put it simply, I trust Arop as a tactician a hair more than I do Dixon.

Arop ahead of White is a tough choice, but it came down to the fact that Arop has run almost a second faster than White this season. White had the opportunity to run fast this past weekend (and he did with a time of 1:46), but he wasn’t able to match Arop or Dixon’s times.

White is an experienced runner who I trust will put himself in a good position at Nationals, but if the race goes out ultra-fast, then I worry about his ability to keep up with the likes of Dixon and Arop.

I believe that one of these three will bring home the 800 title, so I am simply splitting hairs at this point.

5. Joe Klecker, Rs. Junior, Colorado (+1 / 6)

The #5 spot goes to Klecker because the man has been on fire the last two weeks running a converted 7:48 and then following that with a convincing victory over James Sugira to run 13:35. His 5k time is especially impressive because it’s the fastest time we have seen in 2019. The other two times (by Day and Kemboi) were run right after cross country season.

13:35 says that Klecker is in shape and trending in the right direction. Klecker, behind Kemboi, has to be the biggest threat to break up the McDonald, Fisher duo in the 5k if either of them try to earn a qualifying time.

4. Amon Kemboi, Junior, Campbell (+3 / 7)

The #4 spot was definitely one of the hardest spots to pick. Klecker, Arop, White, and Dixon all have some kind of claim to the #4 spot. Kemboi gets the nod because, while everyone was freaking out about McDonald and Fisher’s performances, Kemboi silently ran 7:44 which beat the previous top mark by 4 seconds. Every race he has run so far has been impressive, and he seems to be getting faster every week. Continue to be amazed by everything McDonald and Fisher do, but don’t forget to watch Kemboi as he continues to challenge them.

3. Morgan McDonald, Rs. Senior, Wisconsin (-2 / 1)

I promised that I would keep McDonald in the #1 spot until he got beat and that finally happened this past weekend after he was barely edged out by Grant Fisher. You might say, “Ben, if he has only been beaten by one person the entire year, then how can he be #3?”

To that I would say keep reading.

However, I would also say that it is more of an assessment of how deep the 3k and 5k are this year. McDonald is definitely the favorite or co-favorite in both of these races, but there are so many challengers that include not only Fisher, but also Klecker and Kemboi. He easily could make me look wrong by scoring 18 points at Nationals, but I think he has a lower percent chance of doing that compared to the top two partly because of the strength of the 3k and 5k fields.

2. Grant Fisher, Rs. Junior, Stanford (+1 / 3)

Okay, you can admit it. You skipped to the bottom of the most powerful power rankings (say that five times fast) in track and field to make sure that Grant Fisher now rightfully owns the top spot.

I’m sorry to disappoint the Fisher and Stanford fans.

Fisher ran one of the best collegiate 3k's ever, taking down McDonald and a loaded pro field in the process. This race was a really good sign for Fisher as we look forward to his rematch with McDonald at Nationals. I am of the belief that Fisher has a better kick then McDonald, so it was huge to see Fisher beat McDonald in a race that was fast from the gun.

So why is he not #1 then? Read below...

1. Oliver Hoare, Junior, Wisconsin (+1 / 2)

I’m not here to toot my own horn or take an early victory lap, BUT you remember when I put Hoare at the #2 spot at the beginning of the year and everyone thought I was crazy? Ok, no one told me I was crazy (at least not to my face), but the point is that it was weird to see Hoare ahead of someone like Fisher. Well it just got a little less weird after Hoare’s last two races.

The Aussie followed up his 7:48 (which was the best time in the country at the time) with an NCAA #1 mile time of 3:54! The reason why Hoare gets the first spot over Fisher is his status as the favorite in the mile as well as one of the top contenders in the 3k. While the mile field is very good, it isn’t quite as good as the 3k and 5k fields. If Hoare decides to do both the 3k and the mile, then there is a chance (albeit a small one) that he finishes as a double champion. Even if he doesn’t, I think he has a great shot of winning the mile and earning a top three finish in the 3k (or at least helping Wisconsin to a top spot in the DMR).

You can’t go wrong with either Fisher or Hoare at #1, but for now, a new Badger is at the top of this week’s power rankings.