Connor McMillan (BYU)
Casey Comber (Villanova)
Alex Ostberg (Stanford)
Mick Stanvosek (Washington)
Geordie Beamish (Northern Arizona)
Yared Nuguse (Notre Dame)
It was surprising to see Nuguse scratch the mile after his blistering 3:57 at ACC's. He would have been a favorite to score points in the mile, but Notre Dame is putting all their eggs into the DMR basket it seems.
Charlie Hunter (Oregon)
James West (Oregon)
After a lot of talk about Oregon underperforming earlier this season, the Ducks have bounced back in a big way. Hunter and West have run well in the mile and teammates Blake Haney and Reed Brown have also put down some good times. West has posted strong times in both the mile and the 3k and should be a threat to score at Nationals. Also, look out for Hunter mix it up in a jumbled mile field next weekend.
25. Jonathan Davis, Rs. Sophomore, Illinois (-13 / 12)
Just like Nuguse, it was surprising to see Johnathan Davis scratch from the mile after he started the season as one of the favorites for the event. After a pair of poor performances at BIG 10’s and Iowa State, it will be interesting to see if he bounces back in the DMR or is taking some time off to refocus on outdoors.
24. Andrew Jordan, Junior, Iowa State (-1 / 23)
We haven't seen Andrew Jordan on the track since his 7:51 from earlier in the season. This past weekend, he ran at the the BIG 12 Championships where he finished 4th in the 3000 and 3rd in the 5000 behind Edwin Kurgat and Isai Rodriguez. I would have liked to see him run another fast time, but I am confident in his ability to run well at Nationals after he beat so many top collegiates at the UW Invitational.
23. Kasey Knevelbaard, Rs. Junior, Southern Utah (-6 / 17)
Knevelbaard has had a quiet few weeks, only running at the BIG Sky Championships where he finished 3rd in the 800 and 2nd in the mile to Geordie Beamish. His last few races have not been great, but I am still bullish on Knevelbaard’s tactical ability to earn himself a spot in the mile final. Once he gets to the final, anything can happen.
22. Alex Rodgers, Senior, Texas (-2 / 20)
Rodgers, like his teammate Sam Worley, has had an impressive indoor season which saw him run 3:58 and 7:51 while also helping Texas qualify for the DMR. Traditionally a miler, Rodgers will be dangerous in a sit-and-kick 3k.
21. Cooper Teare, Sophomore, Oregon (-6 / 15)
Teare has been under the radar a bit this season, but has run well all season. Even so, he finished behind Connor Mantz and Robert Brandt in the 3k at the MPSF Championships which shows that he's still human in all-out races. Look for him to excel in a tactical 3k and help Oregon earn to a top spot in the DMR (if he runs).
20. Carlos Villarreal, Junior, Arizona (Unranked)
Villarreal reasserted himself as a favorite in the mile with his performance two weekends ago at the Last Chance College Elite meet. Running 3:57 and kicking hard to win the race was a really good sign for Villarreal as he goes into Nationals. I also love that he ran 7:52 for 3000 meters. He has a scary good mix of speed and endurance.
19. Sam Worley, Sophomore, Texas (+6 / 25)
Worley backed up his 3:57 performance by helping Texas earn an NCAA top five DMR time as well as winning the mile at BIG 12's. The young Longhorn will look to improve on his 15th place performance at last year’s indoor national meet
18. Tyler Day, Rs. Junior, Northern Arizona (0 / 18)
Day hasn’t been trending in the right direction since he ran his converted 4:00 mile, but he still deserves consideration as one of the top 5k runners in the country. In a deep field, it is very possible that the pace will be quick from the gun which would benefit Day. He still owns the top 5k time in the country and has scored at Nationals before. Sleep on him at your own peril...
17. Robert Brandt, Rs. Junior, UCLA (Unranked)
Robert Brandt has earned his first appearance in our power rankings after ripping a 13:40 and then following that up with wins in the 3k and 5k at the MPSF Championships. His 3k win of 7:50 was particularly impressive as it earned him another qualifying spot to Nationals. Look for the 2018 outdoor All-American to challenge for points in both events next weekend.
16. Waleed Suliman, Sophomore, Ole Miss (+6 / 22)
Suliman had a solid conference weekend which saw him win the mile over Arkansas ace Cameron Griffith and guide Ole Miss to the win in the DMR as well. He also helped the Rebels qualify for Nationals in the DMR a few weeks earlier by anchoring the relay to a converted 9:26 (which is the #3 fastest time in the country). It will be interesting to see if he will opt out of the DMR, but history suggests that he will go for the double.
15. Isaiah Jewett, Junior, USC (+4 / 19)
Jewett is another one who we haven’t heard much from after he ran 1:46 to finish behind Devin Dixon earlier this season. However, he showed that he is still in top form by winning the 800 at the MPSF Championships in 1:47. While most of the attention will be on the top five favorites in the 800, it is important to keep an eye on Jewett who could break up the party and earn a top three spot.
14. James Sugira, Freshman, Eastern Kentucky (-1 / 13)
Sugira will only run in the 5k after he was bumped from the 3k in the final week of competition. The Colonel ace is another runner who would benefit from a fast pace in the 5k. With the #7 fastest time in the NCAA and experience in a championship races, Sugira could be one of the big surprises as he runs in his first NCAA track championship meet.
13. Clayton Young, Rs. Senior, BYU (-3 / 10)
After winning the 5k at Iowa State in 13:34, Young responded with a 4th place finish at the MPSF Championships in the mile (running 4:00). Both times are PR's for Young who has also run 7:51 in the 3k. The four minute mile gives me more confidence that he will be able to hang when there is a big kick at the end of the 3k and 5k. Both longer distance events are deep, but if Young runs his race, then it wouldn’t surprise me to him score twice.
12. Robert Heppenstall, Senior, Wake Forest (+4 / 16)
11. Bryce Hoppel, Senior, Kansas (+3 / 14)
These two runners were probably the biggest winners of conference weekend. Both ran 1:46 to win conference titles and will enter Nationals riding a nice wave of momentum. The talk for most of the season has been about Arop, Dixon, and White who have all run 1:46 or faster, but Heppenstall and Hoppel have reentered the conversation with their performances this past weekend.
Hoppel gets the slight edge over Heppenstall after beating him at Iowa State, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see either of these guys earn a top three spot or even win the 800. Heppenstall knows how to run well at Nationals and Hoppel has been on fire since he had a slow start to the season. The 800 is certainly going to be a hotly contested race.
10. Edwin Kurgat, Junior, Iowa State (+1 / 11)
Kurgat is another contender in the loaded 5k who has proven his ability to stay with any pace and still be able to close hard. After losing to Young in the 5k at Iowa State, the Cyclone won the 5k and 3k at BIG 12's. Even with McDonald, Klecker, and Kemboi in the field, I think Kurgat believes he has a shot at winning the 5k. This confidence, along with his strong finishing kick, gives Kurgat a great chance to do just that.
9. Kyle Mau, Junior, Indiana (0 / 9)
Mau had a strong showing at BIG 10's finishing 2nd in both the mile (behind Hoare) and the 3k where he was edged out by teammate Ben Veatch. The Hoosier has been one of the most versatile runners all year with season bests of 3:57, 7:50, and 13:58. He will attempt the difficult mile/3k double with the possibility for a triple if he runs in Indiana’s DMR.
In a mile that has a lot of unproven guys on the national level, Mau could be the favorite behind Hoare. It will be fascinating to see how well he runs in the 3k after possibly competing in the prelims and final of the mile along with the distance medley.
8. Marco Arop, Sophomore, Mississippi State (-2 / 6)
7. Devin Dixon, Junior, Texas A&M (+1 / 8)
6. Joe White, Rs. Senior, Georgetown (+1 / 7)
Boy oh boy, is the 800 going to be thrilling this year. As I already mentioned, Heppenstall and Hoppel had great weekends to vault themselves into the discussion. Besides these two, we have Arop, Dixon, and White who have been the favorites all year long. Dixon earned a huge win over Arop at SEC’s, running 1:47 and proving that his 1:44 was no fluke. While Dixon’s win was impressive, it wasn’t an especially fast time. If Nationals is run in a similar way, then I think White must be the favorite.
White has the top 800 spot because of his experience at Nationals. He knows how to position himself and when to strike. My only worry with White is that the race will go out too fast and he will fade from Arop and Dixon (who have both posted much faster times than him this season). The pace of the first 400 and who leads it will be two of the many interesting subplots to watch throughout the race.
5. Joe Klecker, Rs. Junior, Colorado (0 / 5)
Klecker continues to impress as he ran 3:58 in the mile at the MPSF Championships to show off his underrated middle distance speed. Entered in both the 3k and 5k, it will be fascinating to watch Klecker go up against the rest of the top five in Kemboi, McDonald, Fisher, and Hoare.
4. Amon Kemboi, Junior, Campbell (0 / 4)
Kemboi pulled off the wildly impressive quartet of wins at the BIG South Conference Championships. The Campbell Camel won the mile, 3k, 5k, and helped his team win the DMR. While none of the times were especially fast, it is remarkable that he was able to get through all four races undefeated. Kemboi has the #2 fastest time in the country in the 5k and the #3 fastest in the 3k. Because of this, I believe that Kemboi will be the biggest threat to take down McDonald in the 5k.
3. Morgan McDonald, Rs. Senior, Wisconsin (0 / 3)
2. Grant Fisher, Rs. Junior, Stanford (0 / 2)
1. Oliver Hoare, Junior, Wisconsin (0 / 1)
The top three kept their same order from last time mostly because we haven’t had any surprising results. McDonald ran a great 5k time of 13:37 at BIG 10's to earn himself another qualifying spot at Nationals, but I think we all expected him to be able to do that.
As for Fisher, he helped Stanford take home the crown in the DMR, running 9:31 at the MPSF Championships. Across the country, Hoare won the mile at BIG 10's over Kyle Mau and helped Wisconsin win the DMR.
From a point perspective, the top three debate is starting to look very interesting. With McDonald doing both the 5k and 3k, he will have two opportunities to rack up plenty of points. Fisher only competing in one individual event along with DMR may not be able to earn as many points. The DMR is loaded, but it will hard to bet against Stanford if they have Fisher anchoring.
Finally, the biggest question I’ve had for most of the indoor season is about to be answered. Will Oliver Hoare run the mile/3k/DMR triple? The Wisconsin junior is entered in the mile and the 3k, so all eyes will be on the Wisconsin DMR team to see if he attempts the triple.
These three athletes are the favorites in the mile (Hoare), 3000 (Fisher), and 5000 (McDonald). We have waited all winter for this and now we are almost ready to watch the best in the NCAA compete for the indoor title.