I was a bit surprised to see that the entries of this meet contained very few collegiate athlete. In fact, there are only three collegiate athletes in this race (four if you count Abraham Alvarado who is running unattached). This trio includes Eugene Hamilton (III), Collins Kibet (Arizona), and Ben Saarel (Colorado).
While I do believe in Saarel’s fitness, this is big step-down in distance for him and I’m not sure if he breaks 1:50. As for Kibet, he is super experienced and will understand how to navigate this elite field. That said, the Arizona senior struggled during indoors and has yet to race this outdoor season. Such a late start to his season leaves me believing that there was an injury that delayed the start to his season.
That, of course, is just speculation.
The collegiate with the most upside is Eugene Hamilton. The Cal junior had an underwhelming start to his season with a time of 1:51, but with a personal best of 1:47 you know this guy can run faster.
1. Eugene Hamilton (Cal)- 1:48
2. Ben Saarel (Colorado)- 1:50
3. Collins Kibet (Arizona)- 1:51
Much like the 800, there is an abundance of pro’s and only a few collegiates. However, the collegiates that are entered are some of the best in the NCAA.
Adam Palamar (Syracuse) and Kasey Knevelbaard (Southern Utah) will headline the field heading into this weekend. Palamar is coming off of an indoor season where he was All-American in the mile. Knevelbaard is looking to continue his breakout track season and hopefully improve upon his 3:41 from the Stanford Invite.
Chase Horrocks (BYU) and Carlos Villarreal (Arizona) are two very respected milers who deserve some attention. Horrocks has been has been posting some great times as of late and has grabbed wins for the past two seasons. The BYU senior currently holds a PR of 3:41 which is currently 14th in the NCAA standings.
1. Kasey Knevelbaard (Southern Utah)- 3:40
2. Chase Horrocks (BYU)- 3:41
3. Adam Palamar (Syracuse)- 3:42
4. Carlos Villarreal (Arizona)- 3:46
Could this FINALLY be the weekend where we see a collegiate go under 8:40 for the steeplechase? My answer is yes. A slew of elite pro athletes matched with some of the NCAA’s best will almost definitely lead to some big-time performances.
The current NCAA steeplechase leader, Troy Reeder (Furman), is a candidate to dip into the 8:30’s after running 8:40 at the Stanford Invite last month. However, he will have to battle with Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy who holds a personal best of 8:30 in this event. Kibichiy ran 8:51 a few weekends ago at the Louisville Classic (where he won) and will look to build on that time.
Others like Scott Carpenter and Darren Fahy (Georgetown), Troy Fraley (Gonzaga), and Daniel Carney (BYU) are all excellent steeplechasers in their own right. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of these guy’s dip under the 8:40 mark as well.
Georgetown typically produces fast steeplechasers, Fraley has already shown that he can be competitive in this event after running 8:45 earlier in the season, and Daniel Carney is an up-and-coming sophomore that is ready for a breakout performance. I’m not expecting any “poor” performances from this group.
1. Edwin Kibichiy (Louisville)- 8:33
2. Troy Reeder (Furman)- 8:36
3. Troy Fraley (Gonzaga)- 8:38
4. Daniel Carney (BYU)- 8:41
5. Scott Carpenter (Georgetown)- 8:42
6. Darren Fahy (Georgetown)- 8:46
Could this be the meet where Eddy Ches grabs another collegiate record? 13:08 is certainly within striking range for the legendary Oregon Duck, but it will certainly not be easy. All eyes will be on the King to see if he can run faster than the time set by Henry Rono 39 years ago.
Another important entry is Justyn Knight (Syracuse) who has done very well against professionals in big-time meets. Think back to the time he out-kicked Galen Rupp en route to a 13:26 or was able fend off Wheating and Kidder this past indoor season at Washington. Knight has the incredible ability to change gears when needed and that should play to his advantage in a race that will surely have many lead changes.
I am big believer in what the Southern Utah program is doing with their athletes. After soloing a 13:39 at the Stanford Invite, Mike Tate has become one of the most underrated athletes in the NCAA. Give this man a fast field to work with and I like to think he can improve upon that time.
Erik Peterson (Butler) and Morgan McDonald (Wisconsin) are two names we should not ignore. Peterson’s 28:11 10k indicates that he has the endurance to hang with this field while McDonald has already proven to be one of the best distance runners in the NCAA.
Amon Terer (Campbell) and Clayton Young (BYU) are two others to keep an eye on. Their ability to cope with and adjust to such an elite field of professionals will be the main factor in their pursuit to break the 13:40 barrier.
Rounding out this impressive group will be BYU’s Rory Linkletter and Jonathan Harper. Both are accomplished runners who have run at a high level before. Don’t be surprised if either of these two rip open a fast personal best.
1. Edward Cheserek (Oregon)- 13:09
2. Justyn Knight (Syracuse)- 13:27
3. Morgan McDonald (Wisconsin)- 13:29
4. Erik Peterson (Butler)- 13:32
5. Mike Tate (Southern Utah)- 13:33
6. Amon Terer (Campbell)- 13:39
7. Clayton Young (BYU)- 13:42
8. Rory Linkletter (BYU)- 13:47
9. Jonathan Harper (BYU)- 13:51
In a field of professionals, Marc Scott stands out as the only collegiate entered. The Tulsa senior will look to show that he can hang with the best of the best (and I believe he can). No, I don’t think he’ll win, but I think a top five finish is very reasonable despite the prestige of the other entries. Scott can run from the front and isn’t able to stick with a fast pace. I think all of this will bode well for him and I see him ripping off the NCAA’s first sub-28 minute time of the year.
> Marc Scott (Tulsa)- 27:57