One of the deepest events of the weekend was the Vandy Invite 800. The two highlights of this event were... a) the freshmen and b) Mississippi State. The win was taken by Mississippi State's Marco Arop, a freshman who ran a very strong time of 1:48.21. As if that wasn't impressive enough, Ole Miss' freshman Waleed Suliman was 2nd in 1:48.94.
Dejon Devroe (Mississippi State) was 3rd overall in 1:49.13 while Missouri freshman Christopher Conrad was the last man under 1:50 with a time of 1:49.84.
Sophomore Daniel Nixon (Mississippi State) rounded out the top five with a time of 1:50.10.
If I'm the Mississippi State Aggies, I'm very excited about these performances. Not only is this early on in the season, but they have three underclassmen who can run 1:50 or faster. Could one of these guys be the next Brandon McBride? You never know...
The mile was won by former Oklahoma State Cowboy and current Asics pro, Craig Nowak with a time of 3:58. Derek Gutierrez, an Ole Miss veteran running unattached, finished runner-up in 4:01.
It wouldn't be until 3rd place that we saw the first collegiate cross the line: Kigen Chemadi. The MTSU junior finished the day with a 4:03 while Alabama junior Gilbert Kigen was 4th in 4:05.
In total, 10 men were under 4:10. One notable performance out of that top 10 was Cade Bethmann. The Mississippi Rebel finished the day 7th overall with a solid time of 4:07. Not a bad time for the true freshman.
Emmanuel Rotich (Tulane) and Vincent Kiprop (Alabama) had a nice battle with Rotich taking the win, 8:03.17 to 8:03.91. Nahom Solomon (Georgia Tech) rounded out the top three with a time of 8:04. In total, six men were under the 8:10 mark.
Belmont's Kaleb McLeod took the win with a time of 14:23 while Auburn's Coleman Churitch was runner-up in 14:32.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Invite
Josh Kerr, the 1500/mile champion from last year, went back to work this past weekend and secured the win with a time of 1:48. For most athletes, that time would be a huge mark. For Kerr, it's a simple rust-buster time in preparation for what should be a monster winter campaign in the mile.
After an up and down sophomore year, Jonah Koech (UTEP) was able to come out with a strong performance and grab the victory with a time of 4:05. However, when you factor in altitude conversions, Koech's time gets converted to a 4:00 mile.
Runner-up was taken by sophomore John Carter-Blunt (UCLA) in a time of 4:13. With a conversion, that time becomes a 4:07.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Invite
Sam Coleman (Utah State) was the first to cross the line with a time of 1:53.95. With an altitude and flat-track conversion, Coleman earns a time of 1:51.73.
Dillon Maggard (Utah State) is showing that he is entering the prime of his collegiate fitness. With a winning time of 4:08, Maggard's conversion becomes an NCAA #1 time of 4:00.03. Teammate Body Smith was runner-up in 4:12 which gets a conversion of 4:03 (NCAA #10).
Larry Wieczorek Invite
The top attached collegiate finisher was Kansas State's Lukas Koch with a time of 2:24. Dan Curts (Iowa State) was the next man in with a time of 2:25.
Arizona's Carlos Villareal came out with a strong performance and established himself at the top of the NCAA with a time of 4:02. Andrew Jordan (Iowa State) was runner-up in 4:08. Nathan Mylenek (Iowa) rounded out the top three with a time of 4:09.
Samford January Invite
In a field of professionals, Arsene Guillorel (Samford) stood out among the best. He finished 5th overall, but he was able to grab a time of 4:01. That is a pretty solid early-season performance for a guy who is known as a 3k/5k guy.
Ian Jones (Kentucky) earned a nice win over some underrated mid-distance talent. The Wildcat senior earned the win in a time of 1:50. Malik Epps (Clemson) and Otis Jones (South Carolina) finished 2-3 and were also under the 1:51 mark.
After finishing his rabbiting duties at the Nittany Lion Challenge last week, Domenic Perretta (Penn State) was able to earn himself a win this past weekend with a time of 4:10. He out-ran Kentucky's Matthew Thomas who also ran 4:10.
Kentucky's Jacob Thomson has always been one of the better long-distance runners on the east coast, but after this weekend he is certainly in the conversation as one of the best in the nation. In fact, that is actually the case as Thomson erupted for an NCAA #1 time of 7:53 in the 3k this past weekend. The Wildcat senior was able to separate himself from a field of underrated and talented individuals which included Jaret Carpenter (Purdue), Ben Young (Kentucky), and James Quattlebaum (Clemson).
Unfortunately, recent history has shown that 7:53 may be just a little too slow to qualify for NCAA's. Still, a time like that this early in the season is a nice way to put the NCAA on notice. Jacob Thomson is for real.
Michigan Simmons-Harvey Quad
Much like Guillorel, Cameron Griffith (Arkansas) and Jack Bruce (Arkansas) were the few collegiates put into a field full of professionals. The result was Cameron Griffith running a time of 4:03 while Jack Bruce was 4:05. It may not seem like a lot, but Cameron Griffith is slowly putting together some very underrated performances when you factor in his 2:23 1k earlier this season.
Michigan State's Morgan Beadlesbomb was the winner in a time of 4:08 while Ohio State went 2-3 with Luke Landis and Kevin Blank crossing the line with times of 4:09 and 4:11.
Michigan's Micah Beller earned a hard-fought win over Michigan State's Clark Ruiz, 8:12.96 to 8:12.99.
Texas A&M Quandrangular
The ending of Texas' cross country season was a tough one mainly because Sam Worley was a DNF and a DNS in the final two meets of their season. However, any uncertainty surrounding his health was put to rest this past weekend as Worley took the win in an excellent time of 1:50.62. Could he go sub 4 in the mile this winter?
Alex Rogers (Texas) took down rival Alex Riba (Texas A&M), 4:07 to 4:08. With Worley and Rogers both taking wins, you can't help but think of what the Longhorns could do in the DMR...
Lumberjack Team Challenge
Mile / 3000
Kasey Knevelbaard (Southern Utah) made a statement this past weekend by blowing away the field and taking the win in a time of 4:09. That may not seem all that special, but with an altitude conversion, that time is 4:00.40 and an NCAA #3. It's hard not to think that Knevelbaard could be an NCAA qualifier this year.
As if that time wasn't impressive enough, Knevelbaard would later go on to win the 3k with a time of 8:44. With a conversion, that time becomes 8:22.
In a field of Midwest distances powerhouses (EKU, Indiana State, Indiana), Taylor FloydMews (Bradley) was the winner with a surprisingly strong time of 4:04. We have seen Bradley produce some great runners and this is just another name to add to their growing distance crew.
It was a big day for the Indiana men in this event as freshman Ben Veatch unleashed a 7:58 to take the win while teammate Kyle Mau was runner-up in 8:03. In just two races this season, Veatch already has two wins with two excellent times of 13:57 and 7:58. If he gets put into a field of elite-level NCAA runners, he could definitely earn a spot to Nationals. Meanwhile, Kyle Mau is showing off some impressive range...
Placing 3rd and 4th overall was Butler's Daniel Garcia and Barry Keane, both with times of 8:08. Slowly but surely, Butler is building a high-level distance group that could battle with some of the best in the near-future. Don't sleep on the Butler Bulldogs.
The Campbell and Virginia Tech men clashed in the mile this past weekend. The top collegiate to cross the line was Lawrence Kipkoech (Campbell) in 4:06 while Virginia Tech's Daniel Jaskowak and Jack Joyce rallied to cross the line in 4:07 and 4:08. Campbell's Amon Kemboi rounded out the top five with a time of 4:09.
Virginia Tech flexed their talent in the 3k as they took the top four spots overall (all under 8:20). Patrick Joseph was the winner in a time of 8:13.