The Stanford Invite is typically known for the fast results it produces in the long distances. However, the 800 field this year is very impressive when you consider the pros and collegiates scattered throughout the field.
Professional athletes like Drew Hunter, Nijel Amos, Harun Abda, and Chris Low will almost certainly make this a fast race in an effort to establish strong opening marks.
Nonetheless, there are other top-tier collegiates who will stick with the pack and become legitimate contenders in this race.
Of those collegiates, BYU's Abraham Alvarado will be one of the top names in the field. He has consistently produced times under 1:48 and is fresh off an All-American performance this past indoor season. However, he also entered in the 1500. If he opts to go all-in for the 800, then he'll definitely be a top name in this field.
Notre Dame's Jacob Dumford is a really interesting name to watch. He's run some phenomenal times in the 1000 (2:21) and pulled his weight on the lead-off leg of the DMR this past indoor season. We have yet to really see him erupt for a great time in the 800, but based off of his previous results, he should be primed for a breakout performance. Yet, much like Alvarado, Dumford is also entered in the 1500. It will be interesting to see which race he opts for.
We also can't forget about D2 star David Ribich of Western Oregon. He has thrown down huge performances in the mile and 3000, but now he'll be dropping down in distance in an attempt to improve his personal best of 1:49.
One of the last contenders to fight for the top collegiate spot will be Sacred Heart's Trevor Guerrera who had a very underrated indoor campaign this past winter season. With multiple performances under 1:50, a PR of 1:48.41, and the experience of racing against top-level competition, Guerrera could be a very dangerous entry in this field.
Other names to watch out for include Collins Kibet (Arizona), Elijah Silva (Notre Dame), Zach Emrich (Brown), Derek Morton (Chico State), Isaac Cortes (Stanford), Connor Ross (BYU), and David Graham (BYU).
FINAL PREDICTIONS (COLLEGE ONLY)
1. Abraham Alvarado (BYU)
2. David Ribich (Western Oregon)
3. Trevor Guerrera (Sacred Heart)
4. Zachary Emrich (Brown)
5. Collins Kibet (Arizona)
6. Elijah Silva (Notre Dame)
7. Jacob Dumford (Notre Dame)
8. Connor Ross (BYU)
The elite Oregon trio who qualified for Indoor Nationals (Prakel, Brown, Stanovsek) will step onto the oval once again and battle PAC 12 rival Sean McGorty. Between these four, we should be given an exciting matchup that results in a winning time that could potentially scare the 3:40 barrier. For some, that may not sound realistic, but with non-collegiate stars like Drew Hunter and Peter Callahan also set to toe the line, this race should be fast up front.
If you're looking for some sleeper picks in the invite section, Jacob Dumford (Notre Dame) and Kyle Burdick (South Dakota) are entries you should definitely consider. As mentioned above, Dumford is primed for a breakout performance while Burdick is one of the better tactical milers in the Midwest region.
In section two, we'll get to see NCAA D2 Mile Champion Dustin Nading (Western Oregon) match-up with 3:58 miler Jack Keelan (Stanford) as well as a slew of other underrated talents.
Although he is running unattached, Joe Maloney is a guy who showed some great progression this past indoor season. He may not jump off the page, but he was quietly consistent.
Marcus Dickson (BYU) and Sam Ritz (Columbia) are two more names that could realistically pull away for the win here. Dickson has some sneaky good range with personal bests of 1:48 and 3:44 while Ritz has personal bests of 2:23 (1k) and 3:45.
Maybe one of the most important aspects of these entries are the freshmen that we'll get to see race. Brandon McGorty (Stanford), Patrick Parker (BYU), and DJ Principe (Stanford) are just a few of the young talents that could have an immediate impact this weekend.
Other names to watch include Talem Franco (BYU), Zach Black (Iowa State), Alex Ostberg (Stanford), Derek Morton (Chico State), and Isaac Cortes (Stanford).
FINAL PREDICTIONS (COLLEGE ONLY)
1. Sam Prakel (Oregon)
2. Sean McGorty (Stanford)
3. Mick Stanovsek (Oregon)
4. Reed Brown (Oregon)
5. Jack Keelan (Stanford)
6. Dustin Nading (Western Oregon)
7. Marcus Dickson (BYU)
8. Kyle Burdick (South Dakota)
The 10k is what usually catches most of our attention at this meet, but the 5000 has some strong names that you should definitely watch out for.
The invite section will feature a large group of high-level pros battling with some of the best collegiates that the NCAA has to offer.
Northern Arizona's Tyler Day and Geordie Beamish have returned from an indoor season where they trained through and opted to redshirt. With a season of training under their legs, they should be ready to run something fast in warm weather against a strong field.
Boise State's Addison DeHaven is coming off of a breakout winter track season where he dropped multiple PR's back-to-back. He finished the season with 3k personal best of 7:54 and secured an All-American spot at Nationals during cross country. It's been hard to pick against DeHaven and I'm not ready to start now.
Speaking of breakout performers, Martin Martinez (Brown) also had a strong indoor season after breaking two legendary distance barriers with times of 3:59 and 7:59. He even helped anchor his DMR to a national qualifying time. Martinez brings a lot to the table so it's best that we don't sleep on him.
Much like DeHaven and Martinez, Edwin Kurgat (Iowa State) and Zach Long (Tennessee) are both coming off of indoor track seasons where they cracked the 8 minute barrier. Kurgat was able to dip well below the mark with a time of 7:56 at the ISU Classic while Long was closer to a 7:59.
Other key names to watch include Nahom Solomon (Georgia Tech) and Ben Veatch (Indiana). They haven't blown away the competition, but Solomon has been so consistent and is probably one of the more experienced collegiates in this field. On the flip side, Veatch is a redshirt freshman who ran a 13:59 and 7:58 this past indoor season. He may not have the monster resume that some of these other guys do, but his youth indicates that he has a lot of upside.
Despite all of these strong performances, the 5000 is a different animal than the 3000. Zach Long and the NAU duo have had great success and experience in this event before and there's no reason to think that that will change. They should be the main names to watch as the field begins to thin out in the later portion of this race.
With that in mind, don't get caught up in just the invitational section of this event. The 5k has some talented individuals in nearly every section of this race.
Section two may be just as exciting as the invite section when you look at the collegians who are entered. Cole Rockhold (Colorado State) is one of the more exciting names in this field. I would consider him more of a mile/3k kind of guy, but he absolutely has the endurance and general talent to succeed in the 5000 meters.
Yet, as good as Rockhold is, he'll have to battle the duo of Northern Arizona underclassmen (Luis Grijalva and Blaise Ferro). On top of that, he'll also have to hold of challenges from Cooper Teare (Oregon), Kyle Mau (Indiana), Aidan Tooker (Syracuse), Clayson Shumway (BYU), Jaret Carpenter (Purdue), and many more. All of those names that I just mentioned have the eligibility of sophomores or freshmen and are already at the top of their respective conferences when it comes to times and accolades.
With so much youth, there comes a lot of upside and a plethora of breakout performances. However, in such a large meet like the Stanford Invite, younger runners tend to hang near the middle of the pack and let more experienced runners handle the pacing duties up front. This may allow veterans like Philo Germano (Syracuse), Garrett Corcoran (California), and Jacob Bilvado (Air Force) to establish and dictate a race strategy that best suits them.
In sections three and four, the field becomes a little less deep, but still entertaining. We'll get to see former Duck and current North Dakota State Bison, Jake Leingang, make his spring season debut. The expectations will be high for Leingang who struggled greatly this past indoor season running just three races and earning seasons bests of 8:26 and 14:54. Maybe he's coming off of injury, but he has not seemed like his old self.
Other names to watch in the last few sections include the Florida State duo of Michael Hall and David Barney, Colin Abert (Penn State), Nick Wolk (Pittsburgh), Stanley Langat (Iowa State), and Daniel Gagne (Bradley).
FINAL PREDICTIONS (COLLEGE ONLY)
1. Tyler Day (Northern Arizona)
2. Zach Long (Tennessee)
3. Geordie Beamish (Northern Arizona)
4. Cole Rockhold (Colorado State)
5. Addison DeHaven (Boise State)
6. Blaise Ferro (Northern Arizona)
7. Edwin Kurgat (Iowa State
8. Aidan Tooker (Syracuse)
The 10k is what the Stanford Invite is known for. The last few years of competition have certainly not disappointed when you consider the monster times that are usually produced. Luckily, there are only two sections of this event, so we shouldn't be bogged down with too many heats.
As we mentioned earlier this week in our article Watch The Throne, Justyn Knight will be the main attraction despite this being just the 2nd 10k of his career. His personal best of 29:43 is probably not indicative of what his actual fitness in this event is, but it will be interesting to see how he handles an event that is twice the distance that is used to racing.
Another entry that is relatively new to the 10k is Utah State star Dillon Maggard. According to TFRRS, he's never run a 10k on the track, but his focus on the longer distances makes him a good fit for this race.
Mike Tate joins this field as a relatively inexperienced 10k runner. With a personal best of 30:28, some people may be hesitant to put them in their predictions. However, he's only attempted this event once and he's thrived in longer races as shown by his cross country and 5k performances.
If you're looking for a more experienced 10k star, look no further than the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alfred Chelanaga was the top collegiate finisher in this race last year with an exciting finish that resulted in a personal best of 28:04. He would end the season with the fastest time in the NCAA.
The pace will almost definitely be fast enough to favor the aggressive front runners from Alabama. Vincent Kiprop should be an exciting name to watch. He's run 29:27 before, but that was during cross country this past fall. The same goes for Gilbert Kigen who has never run a 10k on the track, but has a 29:11 PR from XC Nationals.
I really like the Colorado State men in this race. Jerrell Mock and Grant Fischer had phenomenal races in this exact meet last year. They were able to record personal bests of 28:11 and 28:45. They weren't able to enter the All-American spots at Nationals, but this should be a great year for this duo to adjust to racing fast and tactical. I expect them to be contenders in this race once again.
There are a handful of other teams that are fielding multiple individuals. BYU and Oklahoma State will both enter three of their athletes which could make this an interesting race from a pacing perspective. Watch for Clayton Young (BYU) and Hassan Abdi (Oklahoma State) to settle in the front pack with other top individuals in this field.
It would be impossible to list and discuss all of the talented individuals in this field. However, you should look out for Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse (Portland), the Air Force duo of Jacob Bilvado and Andrew Johnston, Tanner Anderson (Oregon), and Colin Bennie (Syracuse).
FINAL PREDICTIONS (COLLEGE ONLY)
1. Vincent Kiprop (Alabama)
2. Justyn Knight (Syracuse)
3. Alfred Chelanga (Alabama)
4. Jerrell Mock (Colorado State)
5. Gilbert Kigen (Alabama)
6. Dillon Maggard (Utah State)
7. Hassan Abdi (Oklahoma State)
8. Grant Fischer (Colorado State)
Nearly every event this weekend promises to bring fast times, exciting finishes, and maybe even a few upsets. The steeplechase will be no different as the field will attempt to chase Brian Barraza's impressive NCAA #1 time of 8:41.
The invite section is deep and very experienced. The BYU men are going all-in to remind the NCAA that they have one of the best steeplechase programs in the nation. Jacob Heslington and Daniel Carney have strong personal bests of 8:43 and 8:48, respectively, which should make them legitimate contenders in this field. BYU freshman Matt Owens will be making his season and steeplechase debut this weekend as well.
One of the rising stars in the steeplechase over the past two seasons has been Arizona's Bailey Roth. With a personal best of 8:37, the Wildcat junior seems like one of the biggest contenders to win the title later this spring. Despite his success in just two shorts years, Roth has flashes of inconsistency (i.e. 2017 Outdoor Nationals). Which Bailey Roth will we see this weekend?
I'm really interested to see what Indiana's Joseph Murphy will do this season. Murphy has a been a key piece to the Hoosier's roster for the past couple of years, but last season was when he really broke out with an 8:47 (but failed to qualify for Nationals). He's made some really solid progress over the past year which leads me to believe that he could be a national contender in the steeplechase this year.
One of the most intriguing names in this field is Jamaine Coleman, the Eastern Kentucky steeplechase star who ran a monster PR of 8:34 at the NCAA Eastern Regional meet last spring, only to miss to miss qualifying for the finals at Nationals.
Yusuke Uchikoshi (Boise State) and Jordan Cross (Weber State) deserve some recognition for their accomplishments in the the steeplechase, but like many other talented individuals in this event, they aren't always the most consistent.
Finally, Chico State's Kyle Medina is a favorite of mine in this race. The D2 star is traditionally a mile/5k guy, but just ran an 8:51 in his season debut two weekends ago (which he won). If he was able to do that in his first steeplechase ever, imagine what he could do against an elite D1 field...
FINAL PREDICTIONS (COLLEGE ONLY)
1. Bailey Roth (Arizona)
2. Jacob Heslington (BYU)
3. Jamaine Coleman (Eastern Kentucky)
4. Kyle Medina (Chico State)
5. Daniel Carney (BYU)
6. Jordan Cross (Weber State)
7. Joseph Murphy (Indiana)
8. Yusuke Uchikoshi (Boise State)