Rather than just a traditional recap from the Division II national meet, we opted to posed some questions for our D2 specialists to answer. Keep in mind that we'll also be doing a TSR Mailbag later this week! If you've got questions you want to ask for that article, make sure to send us an email or a message us on our Twitter or Instagram!
What are your general thoughts from this past weekend?
John: This weekend was one of the most impressive ones I have seen in Division 2. Almost every race was different than what I expected when I was looking at heat sheets. One of the biggest surprises that happened was in both the women's and men's mile. The women from Adams State finished 1-2 and then the men from Queens finished 1-2 as well and the reactions from coaches and the crowd were electric.
Garrett: Overall, this was a very strong national meet on both the men’s and women’s side. Staines moved up to the mile in the DMR to take home the win while the duo of Wammetsberger and Wallis shocked the nation with incredible tactical racing, resulting in a 1-2 finish. The women’s winners were a bit more predictable, but I don’t think anyone saw Cotter winning a national title or Metcalfe not running in the finals. There was a good amount of drama and I thought it was an overall great meet.
Quenten: Generally, this weekend was very exciting on both the women and men’s sides. On the distance side for Adams State, they completely dominated. The men of Adams State had a very impressive 1-2 finish in the 3000, along with Sydney Gidabuday winning the 5000. For the women of Adams State, they also had a impressive 1-2 finish in the mile. Eilish Flanagan had a great outing for Adams State as she finished 2nd in the 5000 and the 3000. However, the highlight of the national meet on both sides was the DMR. Coming into the meet, there was no tell-tale dominant relay and it really showed as the CSU-Pueblo men took the win, while Adams State surprisingly finished 11th.
Elliott: This was quite an exciting weekend of action. From Staines taking victory in the 800 (while also anchoring CSU-Pueblo’s DMR to a title), to Caroline Kurgat taking a dominant double victory in the 3k and 5k, this weekend cemented the elite status for some of Division II’s upper echelon runners. In the process, they also proved that in a championship final, anybody has a chance to race for the win. This point was illustrated in the brilliant strategy of both the men’s and women’s mile races where individuals that none of us initially believed would come out on top, used brilliant race strategy to upset the fields. As for Adams State, they continued their distance dominance with the top two spots in the 3k. Sydney Gidabuday had quite a double this weekend, and his duel with Zach Panning of Grand Valley State makes me really excited to check out some 5000 meter action later on during outdoors. These two make for one of the most dynamic rivalries in not just D2, but in all of collegiate distance running. It will be amazing to see these two compete as they enter the closing stages of their collegiate careers.
Garrett: Almost forgot to mention that Gidabuday and Panning battle was super fun. A pair of 13:46’s is no joke and makes for a fun rivalry come outdoors.
What was the biggest upset that you saw?
Garrett: On the men’s side, I think it’s fair to say that Wammetsberger and Wallis going 1-2 was something that absolutely no one expected. The Queens duo had been incredibly solid all season, but I didn't think they were anything more than strong All-American contenders. Obviously, they proved me wrong after showing that their speed was a huge advantage. To take down guys like Gedyon and Meyer is awfully impressive.
John: I agree with Garrett here. I think the biggest upset of the weekend has to be the Queens boys going 1-2. I anticipated Brett Meyer to be the winner this weekend and as much as I loved seeing the Queens boys take home the title, I was very shocked. They ran an incredibly tactical race and put themselves in a great position at the end.
Garrett: As for the women, I don’t think anyone saw Stephanie Cotter taking home a national title. Adams State was already full of top-tier talent and I think many felt that Roisin Flanagan would be the easy pick for the win. When you factor in Kristen Metcalfe (who was a DNS) along with Allie Ludge and Stephanie Parsons (among others), I’m not sure I’m picking Cotter to pull off the edit (and I didn’t). Props to her on a phenomenal race.
John: The women’s upset was also easily Stephanie Cotter. She defeated her teammate after a strong start to the race and brought it home with one of the best tactical moves of the weekend. The Irish teammates seemed to be excited for each other, but Cotter taking home the title was not what I expected either.
Elliott: On the men’s side, I have to also carry with the general consensus regarding Wammetsberger and Wallis. Using strong strategic tactics in a race crowded with experienced All-Americans can be extremely nerve-wracking. These two ran smart and really did a great job of keeping their composure going into the closing stages.
Elliott: On the women’s side, Stephanie Cotter also takes the cake. Taking down somebody, especially your own teammate, that came into the race seeded nearly six seconds faster than the other competitors says a lot about how you handled the race strategically.
Quenten: Along with Garrett and John’s thought I agree that the biggest shock came from the Queen’s men going 1-2 in the mile. Elias Gedyon from Adams State had the fastest time all year and he was the obvious clear-cut favorite heading into the meet. On the women’s side it would also have to be Stephanie Cotter from Adams State. Teammate Roisin Flanagan was right in the same boat as Elias Gedyon, as she entered the meet with a leading time of 4:39.34, which is no joke. It was very shocking to see the freshman Cotter take the title.
John: I think that we all can agree that we all expected the mile races to go in another direction on Saturday. Every other race seemed to go the way we anticipated for the most part.
Heading into outdoor season, who do you think improved their stock the most?
Elliott: For me, the guy that I believe improved their stock substantially has to be Victor Moreau of Academy of Art. This may come off a bit as a strange pick, but let me explain why I liked his performance this weekend. He came into the 3000 ranked #11 and came out with a 4th place All-American performance, a great sign of a solid racer. He also did this by carrying a modest 14:51 outdoor PR in the 5k. This, paired with 3:50 1500 meter speed, shows me that Moreau has taken full advantage of this indoor season. He will already be a step ahead of many of his peers on the west coast who didn't race much during indoors.
John: I love that we are talking about Victor Moreau. The dude definitely lived up to his potential this weekend. That being said, I really liked what I saw from the Simon Fraser DMR team. They had a 2nd place finish behind CSU-Pueblo after a strong anchor leg by Rowan Doherty. While they didn’t make finals in the mile (Aaron Ahl and Pierre-Louis Detourbe), they looked to be in great shape. Their national meet was capped off by Doherty’s 7th place finish in the 3000.
Garrett: Sticking with the guys from Queens, I really liked what we saw from Seb Anthony this winter. The freshman was a beast with consistent performances, top finishes, considerable improvement, and an All-American finish. He has so much potential and I think he could be the next big name in D2 once Staines leaves.
Quenten: I completely agree with that, Garrett. Seb Anthony of Queens ran lights out all year. There were three freshmen that made the national meet and he was the one to come out with All-American honors. I really expect tons of sub-1:50 performances from him this outdoor season.
Elliott: For the women, the Flanagan sisters had a busy, but successful weekend of racing, and I definitely feel like it sets them up to have quality outdoor campaigns going forward. Eilish’s runner-up performances in the 3k and 5k paired with Roisin’s 2nd place finish in the mile tells me that these two will be in the mix in a variety of distances come outdoors.
John: I think that Allie Ludge of Grand Valley State and Leah Hanle of Mount Olive have set themselves up for success going into outdoor. They are the only two juniors that were inside the top 10 in the 3000 meters. Ludge was also 3rd in the mile and Hanle was 3rd in the 5000. Both have a bright future and it showed this weekend.
Garrett: There are numerous women in this conversation who I feel I could put here. However, I will say that Stefanie Parsons from Edinboro really impressed me. She hit three personal bests in the 800, mile, and 3000 within an eight day span this season! Earning an All-American finish makes me think that she could be a serious problem for her opponents during outdoors.
Quenten: Stephanie Cotter of Adams State most definitely improved her stock. She only may be a freshman, but you can tell she is not scared in big races and I expect her to drop some huge times this outdoor season.