The Group Chat: D2 Indoor Nationals Recap (Part 2)

If you haven't already, be sure to read up on Part 1 of our discussion by clicking the link here.

Was there anyone that you were high on that disappointed you at the national meet?

John: I was disappointed in Lucas Taxter’s race this weekend. I expected him to perform better after he had a raw time of 4:03 and some change. I really think him anchoring the DMR team for Stonehill affected his final the next day.

Quenten: I think the thing that was disappointing to me was Elias Gedyon of Adams State in the men’s mile. Like I mentioned earlier, he entered the national meet as the favorite with a near sub-4 time of 4:00.75. Adams State as a team lost the National Championship by just one point and if Gedyon would have won the men’s mile, they would be the ones hoisting the trophy.

Garrett: That’s an interesting take and I’m not sure I 100% agree. I thought there were a ton of areas where Adams State could have scored better (DMR, 3k, and 5k). Gedyon fell victim to a tactical race and while I’m sure many people thought of him as the favorite, I think he held up alright (especially since he won the national title in the 3k). However, I’ll stick with Adams State and say that their DMR should have had a better performance. Jackson Sayler and Kale Adams on the lead-off and anchors of your relay should typically produce a better result than 11th.

Elliott: Adams State’s DMR team definitely failed to meet expectations. I understand that their core members switched out in order to focus on individual events, which left a less than ideal set-up for the Grizzlies. While this did lead to some exceptional races in the 5k and 3k, I can’t help but feel a little bummed that ASU opted to not put a serious emphasis on their DMR in a field that saw Staines step-up and win a national title for CSU-Pueblo despite having to move up in distance. There is something to be said about team races, especially indoor, where DMR’s are often the highlight events.

Garrett: I was also pretty bummed about Kristen Metcalfe who didn’t even toe the line on day two of competition despite qualifying for both finals in the 800 and mile. She injured her ankle in the mile prelims which eventually forced her out of competition the next day. It’s super unfortunate and you have to hope that she’ll be aalright for the outdoor season. She is one of the best runners that Division Two has to offer.

John: I’ve got two answers here. The first is agreeing with Garrett about Metcalfe and her DNS the next day after her performances in the mile and 800. I also was slightly disappointed in the Simon Fraser women with their DMR team. There was no Addy Townsend on the team, and she didn’t race in the 800. I thought they had a legitimate shot to take home the title and was I was extremely underwhelmed

In your eyes, what was the best single performance that you saw this indoor season?

Garrett: I don’t think it’s any question. Caroline Kurgat’s D2 collegiate record in the 5000 meters is an easy answer. She absolutely destroyed the previous mark by over 30 seconds with a personal best of 15:28. The women of Division One received a lot of attention this season for all of their impressive performances, but Kurgat was arguably at the same level as some of the nation’s best in the upper division.

Elliott: I also have to agree with Garrett’s choice in Caroline Kurgat. She absolutely smashed the previous record and ran a time that would be competitive with any of the top Division I runners in the nation. Talk about #makeityours! I’m really excited to see how her outdoor season goes and just how fast she can run on a 400 meter track. She definitely should not be counted out regardless of who she is running against. Maybe some of the Division I bias will begin to fade away when meet managers are considering entries this season.

Quenten: During this indoor season, the most impressive performance I saw on the men’s side was Thomas Staines of CSU-Pueblo running the crazy fast time of 1:46.27 at the GVSU Big Meet. Staines absolutely hammered it from the start and did not look back. This is a pro-level time and it will be very interesting to see how fast he can actually go on a 400 meter track this outdoor season.

Elliott: I like Quenten’s pick in Staines as well. This man absolutely dominated the 800 this season while setting a national record in the process! Nobody was even close to catching him during indoors and it’s difficult for me to think that anyone will be able to catch him this outdoor season with the way his progression has gone.

John: Kurgat’s 15:28 was extremely impressive. Like Garrett said, she shattered the D2 record and made it known she could compete with the likes of D1 athletes. Staines is also a good pick due to his domination. However, I think I’m going to go with an event that we saw this past weekend. I thought the 13:46 posted by both Gidabuday and Panning was something that will be overlooked. The two athletes made it an honest race from the beginning and with rumors of trying to break the CR of 13:42, they came within four seconds while putting on a show.

What is the biggest takeaway from the weekend?

Garrett: The Adams State women are REALLY good. When someone who isn’t even the best miler on your team wins a national title, you’ve got to feel pretty comfortable. Truthfully, a few members of their team didn’t even run that well at the national meet. Tiffany Christensen and Kaylee Bogina are really solid talents who just happened to have off days at the national meet. The Grizzly’s distance squad scored 51 of their 87 points which would have been enough to place 2nd overall in the team scoring on just that alone. And, as crazy as it may sound, they may have even more points and/or national qualifiers during outdoors.

Quenten: I couldn't agree more Garrett. The Adams State women are loaded. They won the DMR (I was the only one to predict that), went 1-2 in the mile, and saw Eilish Flanagan place 2nd in both the 5000 and 3000.

Elliott: The next round of Gidabuday vs. Panning might be the most epic. It’s hard not to say that after seeing both of these guys throw down 13:46's in a fast 5k. Nobody really runs indoors with the idea that it will be the peak of their season. These two are just getting started, and I cannot wait for them to really hit their strides when it matters during the outdoor season.

Quenten: The battle between Gidabuday and Panning was very exciting to see. Both of these men had different race tactics this weekend. Panning was not messing around and would take control of the pace, while Gidabuday played the more tactical game and the end result was Gidabuday on top. It will be interesting to see how Panning will react to this come outdoor.

John: My biggest takeaway from the weekend is that Skylyn Webb will be hard to beat in the upcoming season. She takes the lead from the get go and doesn’t let go of it. She only lost one race this entire season (at the CU Invite to Kaela Edwards) and she essentially jogged a 2:05 in the final. Taking her down is going to be tough task during the outdoor season

Bold predictions for the outdoor season, men and women?

Garrett: Thomas Staines will move up to the 1500 meter distance. I’m not sure he has anything else to prove in the 800 and winning the DMR on the anchor leg likely boosted his confidence. As for the women, I think Kristen Metcalfe will double back and win both the 800 and 1500 at Nationals during outdoors. You heard it here first.

Elliott: Bold move, Garrett. Personally, I boldly predict that Gidieon Kimutai will give Panning and Gidabuday a run for their money this outdoor season. Only a freshman, he has already established himself as a top contender in Division II. If he doesn’t beat them this year, then he is surely in the running for the crown after those two leave. An impressive 4th place finish at NCAA's in cross country followed by a 4th place finish during indoors with a 14:10 5k is very impressive…he’s too good not to be considered as a top name in 2019.

Quenten: Here me out on this one....Eilish Flanagan will dethrone Caroline Kurgat come outdoors. I boldly think Kurgat may have come out too strong and too early, it is only March and the grind of hard running may wear her down as there are three more months until the outdoor national meet. I think Flanagan is slowly building up her base and will be ready to peak in May and will run down Kurgat for the crown. Damon Martin knows what he is doing. You could say he's the Bill Belichick of DII distance running...

John: Quenten is dropping a bomb of a prediction. Kurgat likely runs faster during the outdoor season, but her 10,000/5000 double could make his prediction a possibility.

Elliott: Whoa…slow down there partner. That’s quite a statement.

John: This goes back to my takeaway from the weekend, but I think the two 800 runners do some incredible things this spring. Thomas Staines will run 1:44 and some change while Skylyn Webb gets down to 2:00 and possibly even breaks it if she gets in the right race.