We are mid-way through the spring track season which means that, for the most part, we've seen most NCAA athletes make their spring debuts. However, there are still plenty of big names that have yet to run. Instead, we're left scratching our heads and wondering "what ever happened to that guy?".
Below, we have listed a few of the biggest names in the NCAA that have yet to compete so far this spring. These individuals may be redshirting, injured, or just leaving us guessing. Keep in mind that much of this is speculation and only meant to generate conversation. It's tough to say for sure what the reason may be for some of these absences.
Let's get right to it...
Matthew Maton (Oregon)
The last time we saw Maton race? March 11th, 2017 at the NCAA Indoor Championships. After a pair of tough performances at that National Championship, Maton was shut down for the entirety of the 2017 spring track season. At the time, many didn't think much of it. He was either preserving his eligibility, recovering from an injury, or just preparing to build his base mileage for next cross country season. There wasn't much to think about.
Fast forward to the 2017 cross country season and the absence was a little more noticeable. The loss of Edward Cheserek left the Ducks turning to Maton with the hope that he could be their new, reliable low-stick. In fact, TSR ranked him at 17th in our preseason XC rankings.
Unfortunately, Maton would never toe the line. The Ducks were forced to rely on the production of their mile-oriented athletes as well as their two young recruits (Teare and Brown). Despite some inconsistency during the regular season, the Ducks were able to rally to 6th place at the NCAA Championships with an impressive display of pack running. Still, it's hard not to think about "what could have been" if Maton was in the lineup.
With two seasons gone, we HAD to see Maton return to the Ducks for the 2018 winter track season...right?
Wrong. Once again, Maton was nowhere to be seen. Of course, it's not like Oregon was exactly struggling without him. They put four men under four minutes in the mile and had five individuals qualify for Nationals in the distance events (as well as DMR).
We have now arrived to spring track and there is still no sign of Maton. Oregon still has him listed on his roster, but this will now be the 4th consecutive season of competition without him racing. It should also be noted that Maton deleted his Instagram during this time period. Does that mean anything? Maybe not, but it is a weird coincidence.
Whatever the reason is, we hope that Maton will be able to figure it out and return to the track soon. It would be great to see one of the ten sub-four high school milers continue his promising career.
John Dressel & Joe Klecker (Colorado)
One of the most lethal distance duos in the NCAA have been out of commission for quite sometime now. The 1-2 punch of Dressel and Klecker from Colorado haven't seen collegiate competition since the 2017 cross country season. During that time, Dressel maintained an injury that forced him into a boot while Klecker continued to build his resume throughout the fall.
Unfortunately, neither have stepped foot onto the track this spring or even this past winter. For Dressel, the issue appears to be an IT injury that he has been working on since January. He recently tweeted about this just a few days ago. It looks like we wont be seeing him at all during the spring track season.
While that may be a huge blow to the Buffaloes, they can at least take solace in the fact that Dressel can still use these months of injury as redshirt seasons which will preserve his eligibility for the future. Of course, an injury that has been persisting since January is never a good sign. I imagine the CU training staff is doing all that they can to get Dressel ready and primed for the upcoming cross country season.
As for Klecker, it's tough to say what his situation may be. Klecker hasn't had a redshirt season since his freshman year of cross country, so we know that he's at least been preserving his eligibility over the past two seasons. His absence, however, remains a mystery. Is Wetmore and the rest of the Colorado staff opting to redshirt Klecker along with Dressel so that they'll both have equal time left in regards to eligibility? Or has Klecker also sustained an injury that we just don't know about?
Despite the injuries, Colorado has persevered incredibly well. Eduardo Herrera has stepped up and become a legitimate contributor to this program as just a freshman. Ryan Forsyth has been incredibly consistent over the past few months and is slowly improving upon his times. Zach Perrin appears to be elevating his fitness to an entire new level after running a 13:37 PR this past weekend. There's a lot to like about this Colorado team.
Still, the loss of Dressel and Klecker will have an impact on the All-American picture. Together, these two have a combined eight All-American finishes. With this pair no longer in the equation, they have potentially opened up two free All-American spots at the National Championships in June. Who knows? Maybe Perrin and Forsyth will be their replacements...
Joe White (Georgetown)
One of the more underrated talents in the NCAA is Georgetown's Joe White. The Hoya veteran is an experienced racer who has shown that he has the ability to win both fast and tactical races. Personally, I believe him and Isaiah Harris are one of the few individuals that at least have a chance to upset UTEP's Michael Saruni for the national title.
Then again, maybe Saruni is exactly the reason why we didn't see Joe White this past indoor season or so far this spring.
Is it possible that White and the Georgetown coaching staff have opted to shut down White for the 2018 track seasons in order to preserve his eligibility for a championship run in 2019? Doing so would not only allow White to continue his development, but it would also leave open the possibility of Saruni possibly going pro. Saruni's former teammate Emmanuel Korir went pro after he won his national title and Saruni is already performing better than his former teammate was. An offer from Nike would be hard to turn down.
If that's the case, White could very easily become a favorite to win the 800 crown in 2019. He's familiar with the competition, has two bronze medals to his name, and owns a personal best of 1:45.
That could be the situation, but we could also be reading too much into this. It's very possible that he's just injured and working towards his recovery. Still, the storyline does sound pretty cool...
Whatever the reason is, White might primed for a very exciting 2019 year during his final moments of NCAA eligibility.
Jonathan Davis (Illinois)
One of the recent breakout stars in the NCAA has been Illinois ace Jonathan Davis. As a redshirt freshman, Davis had a phenomenal indoor track season this past winter running 3:58 on a flat-track (which converts to a 3:55) and a 7:49 at the Iowa State Classic. He did, unfortunately, struggle on the big stage with a 15th place finish in the 3000 meters. Nonetheless, Davis is becoming one of the next big names in the BIG 10 and someone who will be able to challenge rivals like Wisconsin's Oliver Hoare and Indiana's Ben Veatch over the next few years.
Davis, however, has yet to race so far this season. It's an interesting move, but the reason behind it is still unclear. Is he injured? Just preserving his eligibility? Waiting for the postseason? It's tough to say for sure.
As of right now, we can only assume that we wont see Davis for the rest of this season. It's an unfortunate conclusion to make, especially when you look at the possibility for a BIG 10 title.
Wisconsin's Morgan McDonald looks like he will also be redshirting his 2018 spring track season in order to prepare for the entirety of 2018-2019 year. With McDonald no longer a factor, that would only leave Oliver Hoare in the way of Davis' pursuit for a BIG 10 title in mid-May. Davis has yet to beat Hoare in a head-to-head matchup, but he might be the only one in the BIG 10 with the fitness to do so.
Morgan McDonald (Wisconsin)
By now, it seems pretty obvious as to what Morgan McDonald is trying to accomplish. After redshirting every season since cross country, McDonald and the Badgers are preparing to go all-in for a year of domination in 2018-2019. With Cheserek and Knight set to graduate, McDonald will be (easily) the best 5k runner in the entire NCAA. Additionally, he will also be part of a Wisconsin team who could at least scare a Northern Arizona squad that returns their entire top five from Cross Country Nationals.
Kigen Chemadi (Mid. Tenn. State)
Conference USA has become an incredibly difficult league to compete in. Rising talent from both UTEP and Middle Tennessee has made things incredibly difficult for other programs in the conference. One of those names creating this difficulty is MTSU's Kigen Chemadi. Along with teammate Jacob Choge, Chemadi has been top-tier talent capable of competing with the best. The three-time national qualifier finally became an All-American this past fall after finishing 23rd at the NCAA Championships. His flat-track 7:58 at Camel City was also enough to earn him a spot on the line for Indoor Nationals this past winter. Now, Chemadi is nowhere to be seen. If he actually does stay out for the season, it's very possible that another qualifying spot will be opened up for a new-comer to grab.
Kasey Knevelbaard (Southern Utah)
The Southern Utah All-American miler appears to be fully healthy after competing at Bryan Clay just this past weekend. The explanation may be no simpler than he is just maintaining his eligibility for one more season. Knevelbaard may need that extra year of training under his belt if he wants to contend for a top three finish at NCAA's next year. As of right now, 9 of the top 15 times in the 1500 are held by non-seniors.
Did we miss anyone? Comment and let us know below.