Mike Fanelli Preview

Graphic by John Cusick

This weekend presents one of the best weekends for track and field. It also represents some of the best chances for Division 2 athletes to get their qualifying times early in the season. The Mike Fanelli Track Classic, formerly the San Francisco State Distance Carnival, serves as the overfill meet for the Stanford Invitational.

However, most D2 athletes don’t view it this way. They come to this meet with the full intention of making a name for themselves. Fast times usually come from this meet and some even serve as marks to chase for the rest of the season.

That being said, check out the preview below from the D2 crew and make sure you tune in this weekend for some great racing.

Which race looks to be the most interesting in your eyes?

Matt: The most interesting race to me this weekend is going to be the women’s 800 meter race. There are three D2 athletes in the fast heat, all of whom qualified for Indoor Nationals. Alaska Anchorage’s Danielle McCormick and Western Oregon’s Olivia Woods lead the three, after finishing 3rd and 5th respectively, at the indoor national meet. McCormick also helped her DMR team to a runner-up finish. Both of these ladies have already opened up the outdoor season, with McCormick running a provisional 1500 meter time and Woods running a 400 meter race. Joining them will be Simon Fraser’s Sophie Dodd, who missed the NCAA indoor 800 meter final by one spot. With New Balance’s Lindsey Butterworth leading the heat, it is very possible that all of these women could end up with D2 auto times this weekend.

Quenten: Section Two of the men’s 1500 has a great mixture of DI and DII athletes. Trying to make a statement in that race will be Victor Moreau from the Academy of Art. Moreau had great success during the Indoor National Championships by placing 4th overall in the 3000. Connor Wells of Chico State will look to lower his PR of 3:53.44 which was run at Bryan Clay just last year. In big meets, Wells has proven that he can run fast. After an early exit at the indoor national meet in the men’s mile, Aaron Ahl of Simon Fraser will be ready to get after it in his first 1500 of the season.

Elliott: I have to agree with the men’s 1500 (section two) as well. There are a slew of guys in this race all capable of hitting fast, potential provisional marks. Daniel Tull of Humboldt State is another name that could make noise coming out of this heat. He boasts a personal record of 3:52.07 and is the healthiest he’s been in a long time. He also finished runner-up at last year’s CCAA Championships (Full disclosure: Daniel is my teammate at Humboldt State).

John: I’m really looking forward to the men’s 10k and 3000 steeplechase which both happen to be on Thursday. In the steeple, we have Pierre-Louis Detourbe (Simon Fraser), Edwin Kangogo (Alaska Anchorage), Alejandro Rios (Stanislaus State,) and Jake Mitchem (Colorado Mines) all in the first heat going against the likes of multiple professionals and Division 1 athletes. I think there is a strong possibility that we will see all four of these athletes go under the 9:00 mark. As for the 10,000 meters, the first name I’m curious about is Marcelo Laguera. He just ran 14:31 at altitude two weekends ago and is likely primed for a strong 10k. Also in this race is Stetson Rayas of Dallas Baptist and Jason Intravaia of Chico State. Rayas has broken the 30:00 threshold while Intravaia will be attempting the 10k for the first time in his career.

Are there any major performances that you expect from a team/athlete this weekend?

Matt: One guy that has a chance to drop a fast time this weekend is Alaska Anchorage senior, Edwin Kangogo. Coming off of a great showing during the cross country season where he finished 19th at the national meet, Kangogo had an indoor season much of us expected, a solid one that did not end in a Nationals appearance. However, as he showed last year, outdoors is a completely different story with the steeplechase being his primary event. He finished 6th at Outdoor Nationals last year and is in the fast heat this weekend with a bunch of professionals and Division One athletes. He has a chance to get carried along with the pack and post a very quick time.

Quenten: Kelsey Bruce of DBU is a very interesting character. In 2015, Bruce placed 4th overall not only in the 3000 steeple at NCAA’s, but also at the NCAA XC Championships. She is a seasoned veteran who has proven that she can run with anybody in the nation. I know it has been almost four years, but with her experience and toughness she can be scary in the women’s 5000 this weekend. Expect at least a provisional time from the All-American Bruce.

Elliott: Call me a sucker for these, but I really like DMR’s. I know it’s not indoor season and individual events have some more priority, but as it looks right now, Chico State is carrying an absolutely loaded DMR squad. From the entries, it appears they are pulling out all the stops, as they have employed the services of Trad Berti, who has run 3:55 for 1500 this year, Derek Morton, a returning national qualifier with a 1:48.9 800 PR, Connor Wells, who was mentioned earlier, and Jack Johnson, who carries the #2 fastest 3000 meter steeple time in the country this year with a 9:02.4. The Wildcats currently hold the meet record at 10:11.35 set last year. If they decide to pull out all the stops, that record certainly could be in danger.

John: Sophie Dodd is my athlete this weekend. She finished 9th at the Indoor Championships just outside of an All-American spot and qualification for the final. I think that she is somewhat disappointed with the finish and will be looking to put herself back into the conversation of one of D2’s fastest 800 runners. She’s in the perfect heat and has a chance to knock off two of the girls that finished in front of her earlier this month.

The men’s and women’s mile on Saturday is basically made up of all D2 athletes with some of them doubling back from the 1500/3000 steeple. Who do you have making the biggest impression?

Matt: I think the six Simon Fraser men in heat one of the mile can all make a big impression. Aaron Ahl, Pierre-Louis Detourbe, Rowan Doherty, and Carlos Vargas all ran at Indoor Nationals so they are in fantastic form. They will be joined by Richard Torres and Thomas Gallagher, giving them six out of the 14 entries in that heat. With that many runners, they have the ability to control the pace of the race, and with that, could possibly produce a really fast race, maybe even some D2 provisional and auto times.

Quenten: Along with the men from Simon Fraser in the mile, Justin Crosswhite and Hunter Hutton of Western Oregon could potentially make some noise in the race. Crosswhite was a member of Western Oregon’s DMR team at NCAA’s. On the women’s side the senior from Simon Fraser, Miryam Bassett has a great chance to break the meet record of 4:51.98. Basset currently has a PR of 4:51.91 that she ran at the Husky Classic earlier in the indoor season. She was a huge factor in helping the women of Simon Fraser claim bronze in the DMR at Indoor NCAA’s.

Elliott: On the men’s side, it will be interesting seeing Felix Kemboi of Alaska Anchorage potentially break up the team tactics that Simon Fraser and Western Oregon could certainly employ. He opened up his outdoor season with a solid 3:53.37. We shall see if he decides to run it as he is also tabbed to race the 5k the night before.

John: Both of these races are interesting to me. I find it odd that there is the 1500/mile double attempt here, let alone there being a mile race outdoors. Anyways, Kate Lilly of Seattle Pacific is the name I’m watching. I liked her heading into the indoor national meet and she has already run 4:35 this season. Along with her, I think Olivia Willet (Simon Fraser) and Desirae Jones (Chico State) are names to watch. The men’s mile is dominated by the Simon Fraser athletes as mentioned above. I’m really just intrigued in a potential GNAC showcase as nine of the 14 athletes all hail from the PNW (Pacific Northwest).

Take a look at the Stanford Invite heat sheets/accepted list and tell us what the most interesting entry of that meet is

Matt: I am looking forward to seeing what kind of time Caroline Kurgat puts up in the 10k. She finished 6th at the Stanford invite last year, behind two professionals and three D1 All-Americans and ran the #2 fastest 10k in D2 history. Seeing her compete against Olympians and top D1 talent is going to be awesome, and will most likely lead to her shattering the D2 10k record, which has stood since 1988.

Quenten: I cannot agree more, Caroline Kurgat is the most interesting entry of the whole meet. Kurgat has an unbelievable indoor season by capturing both the 3000 and 5000 titles. If she has the same fitness from indoors, then she will be on pace to break the DII 10,000 record and have a chance of improving her finish from last year.

Elliott: This is a general consensus. I am really excited to see Caroline Kurgat toe the line with some of the best in the 10k at Stanford. If she builds on the fitness she gained from indoor, she will be a very quality opponent for many of the D1 All-Americans and professionals in the field. She has probably the most momentum of anybody right now, and she could definitely use that to carry herself to a potential new D2 collegiate record.

John: Yeah, since the rest of these guys chose Kurgat and her 10,000 meter attempt on the D2 record (most likely happening btw) I’m going to go a different direction. The 800 meter race that features Thomas Staines will be one for the record books. He has a legitimate shot at winning the race and I think it produces a fast time. I think we’re looking at two D2 records being set this weekend.