The 800 will definitely be the most exciting race with nine men all having run the provisional mark. Colin Webber from Pittsburg State has made major improvements throughout the season. Webber has dropped his personal best of 1:54.81 to the leading time in the conference with a 1:51.77 (in the span of two weeks).
With an almost exact same time as Webber, Matt Christoffer of Southwest Baptist is coming in with a time of 1:51.81. Just .04 seconds separates the two. The impressive thing about Christoffer is his 49.01 speed for 400 meters which he ran last year during outdoors. This means if it comes down to a kick, the others better be wary of his finish.
The next five contenders all have times under the 1:53 mark. This includes teammates Cliff Nicholas and Collin Welch from NW Missouri. The two have ran 1:52.11 and 1:52.17, respectfully. With all of these times relatively close, this could be any one’s race.
The two heavy hitters in the mile are Brett Meyer from Fort Hays St. and Jerod Broadbooks from Lindenwood. Meyer’s has consistently run fast times all year, he opened up at the 2019 Northwest Open running 4:06.08 and has since dropped his mile to a provisional time of 4:04.23, putting him 4 seconds ahead of his competition Broadbooks.
Broadbooks has also been consistent in every race this year, including an impressive 8:38.84 in the 3000. This kind of range has Broadbooks entering the conference meet with a provisional time of 4:08.41 in the mile. Expect these two to take it out fast and hard.
The 3000 favorite is Jacob Klemz of Washburn. Klemz’s time of 8.11.79 is the NCAA’s #10 fastest time. Klemz is no stranger to the NCAA leaderboard as he is also #10 in the 5000. Challenging Klemz is Karim Achengli of NW Missouri and Gideon Kimutai of Missouri Southern. They both have run times of 8:19.47 and 8:21.47, which hits the provisional mark.
Jacob Klemz (Washburn), Karim Achengli (NW Missouri), and Gideon Kimutai (Missouri Southern) will all return from the 3000 to compete in the 5000. The three men have the top leading times in respectable order: Klemz, 14:12.49, Achengli, 14:13.09, and Kimutai, 14:13.17.
Achengli and Kimutai have had quiet seasons compared to Klemz, but expect this race to be just as fierce between these heavy hitters.
The top time coming into the conference meet is from Sassie Matzen of MW Missouri. Matzen consistently ran 2:19 in three straight meets and finally broke through at the 2019 KSU Steve Miller Open running a PR of 2:14.76. Danielle James from Lincoln (Mo.) will be challenging Matzen with a time of 2:14.82. Only .06 of a second separates the two.
Additionally, the next five girls have all ran 2:16. Expect a very tight finish with a surprising winner.
Within the mile, there are four current women who have broken the five minute barrier heading into the conference championship. The leader from Southwest Baptist, Elysia Burgos, has hit a NCAA provisional time of 4:50.74. Burgos has dropped her time each week in the mile, so expect her to be more fit and faster this weekend.
Behind Burgos are three women who have all run the time of 4:59. These women are Jordan Puvogel of Pittsburg St. (4:59.65), Tabitha Weber of Southwest Baptist (4:59.75), and Cassidy Westhoff of Pittsburg St. (4:59.77). The medal stand will be very competitive, only .12 of a second separates the three. Expect any of these women to be standing on the top of the podium.
Cynthia Togom from Central Missouri has been the surprise runner of the conference. With this being the freshman’s first indoor season, Togom has already run a provisional time of 9:54:96, pacing the way in the 3000. Right behind challenging Togom is Mirena Goncalves from Fort Hays State. Goncalves has depth in the mile, 5000, and 3000 as she has run sub 10 minutes with a time of 9:58.50.
The top three challengers in the 5000 have all hit the NCAA provisional mark. Cynthia Togom (Central Missouri) and Mirena Goncalves (Fort Hays St.) will both return from the 3000. The two women have times of 17:21.72 (Togom) and 17:21.89 (Goncalves). Sierra Mortensen of Washburn is the dark horse coming in with a time of 17:26.27 to cap off the three contenders.
The 800 could be any one’s race heading into this conference meet. Josh Barrows from Augustana (S.D.) has a PR of 49.04 in the 400 and that kind of speed has resulted in a breakout year with a conference leading time of 1:53.75 in the 800.
Behind Barrows is Benjamin Allen of Concordia-St. Paul with a time of 1:54.16. Allen is also a 4:13 miler, so he will most likely lean on his endurance and press the pace. Just .80 of a second behind Allen is Billy Beseman of Sioux Falls (1:54.96).
Along with these close times, the next four competitors have all run under 1:56.
Zach Lundberg from Sioux Falls is the story of the conference. Lundberg has set PR in the mile, 3000, and 5000 just this indoor season. The most impressive comes from his leading mile time of 4:10.96.
The next fastest time comes from Austin Pasch of Minnesota State with 4:12.21. Pasch has run 4:12 on a separate occasion at the SDSU DII Invitational, he is a very consistent runner so expect him to run even faster this weekend.
Benjamin Allen (Concordia-St. Paul) will try to double back from the 800, he has a time of 4:13.05 heading into the mile. Derek Myers from U-Mary will also be a contender with a time of 4:13.72.
The 3000 has three men that have run 8:30 or better. Steven Brown of Sioux Falls leads the way with a time of 8:26.85. Brown has great times all across the board, including a sub-14:40 performance at the SDSU Indoor Classic. This shows us that Brown has the strength to make this 3000 fast if he wants to. Just behind Brown is Sioux Falls teammate Zach Lundberg. Lundberg is coming in with a time of 8:29.29. With an 8:30.09 time from Luke Lahr of Minnesota-Duluth, he'll be in contention with the Sioux Falls teammates.
There are four men entering the conference meet with sub-14:40 performances. Teammates Mason Phillips and Zach Lundberg of Sioux Falls have the leading times of 14:26.45 and 14:28.18, respectively. Derek Myers of U-Mary will double back from the mile and is entering with a time of 14:35.92. Just as he was a contender in the 3000, Luke Lahr of Minnesota-Duluth will be back to give the pack a run for their money given his seed time of 14:39.76.
It will be interesting to see if Zach Lundberg of Sioux Falls will run the mile, 3000, and 5000. Lundberg is top three (based on time) in all of those events.
Just like the men’s side, the women’s 800 is full of close times. Monique McPherson from U-Mary has a two second advantage over the next competitor with a time of 2:12.63 heading into the conference meet. The impressive detail about McPherson is her 400 PR of 57.54 which she ran at the Thundering Herd Classic. She has the foot-speed to make this race interesting.
Following McPherson is Carly Rahn of Augustana (S.D.). Rahn has dropped her time this season from a 2:17.69 to 2:14.36. Bunched up closely behind Rahn is Bobbi Patrick from Minnesota State. She is entering with a time of 2:14.68. The next three spots have all ran 2:15, respectfully. This can be any one’s race.
Bree Erickson of U-Mary leads the charge with a sub five minute time of 4:59.86. For the most part, Erickson has been consistent all season running times of 4:59.95 and 5:02.74. Following closely by less than a second is Taryn Ceglowski of Sioux Falls with a time of 5:00.69. Ceglowski will be tough to beat as she has gotten faster every meet this season. She has progressed from a starting time of 5:10.36 at the Mines Division II Invite & Multi meet. Winona State’s Anna Rogahn is right in the mix as well with a time of 5:01.69.
There are three women that have gone under the 10 minute window so far heading into the conference meet and it just so happens they are all teammates from U-Mary. Emily Roberts (9:49.66), Jaiden Schuette (9:55.53), and Ida Narbuvoll (9:59.36) are the trio who will headline this event. The only problem I see is that the three women have only run the 3000 once or twice this indoor season. We will see if this lack of experience will haunt them or if they will be fresh enough to get the team sweep.
Emily Roberts of U-Mary looks to be the clear-cut favorite heading into this race. She has a time of 16:45.43, which is almost 17 seconds ahead of her teammate Ida Narbuvoll (17:02.19). These U-Mary teammates will be doubling back from the 3000, so we will see if this will slow down Roberts pacing of the race.
Behind the two U-Mary teammates is Leah Seivert of Augustana (S.D.) who has impressively dropped her time of almost 14 seconds (18:04.42 at UW Platteville Invitational) from last outdoor season to 17:50.34.