This weekend held a variety of huge performances. The UW & the John Thomas Invites produced solid performances across the board, while the Armory gave us some wicked fast miles.
Yet, at a small meet where no one broke 1:55 in the 800, Jon Davis was the biggest star of the day. The redshirt freshman threw down a MONSTER mile time of 3:58 on a flat-track. Not only is that time an impressive solo performance, but the result also gets a very nice flat-track conversion 3:55.42, an NCAA #1 time. I think we all knew that Davis was good, but to run a time like that in his first indoor track season as a collegiate? That is another level...
Texas Tech Classic
The great thing about this weekend is that there were exciting results at nearly every meet. The Texas Tech 800 was an exciting one that put one of the best athletes in the nation back on the track.
UTEP's Michael Saruni was originally NCAA #1 before this weekend. He still is #1, but that time has only improved. Saruni threw down an unreal time of 1:45.19 at altitude to take the win and improve upon his time. However, the best part is that because he was running at altitude, he gets a converted time of 1:44.89! Remember when I said that I think Harris could still take the NCAA title? I might have to reconsider that thought after today...
The runner-up in this race was Vincent Crisp (Texas Tech) who crossed the line in 1:48.01. That time gets a conversion of 1:47.70, good for NCAA #2.
Admittedly, the 800 hasn't been as deep as I thought it would be so far. There are only three men who have dipped under 1:48 and there are only 22 men who have gone under 1:50. Obviously, the overall leaderboard will get faster. Still, after such a big weekend, you would expect the 800 field to be a bit faster.
Penn State National
Isaiah Harris was the focus of this meet as he was set to run his marquis event (the 800). Sure enough, Harris ran an NCAA #3 time in 1:47.79. I think it seems clear that Harris was just trying to get a decent time in and secure his spot to NCAA's. I'm not guaranteeing that he could have run faster at that specific meet, but don't assume that this is the best we could see from Harris this season.
Securing a 2nd place finish was Monmouth's Dylan Capwell who is reemerging as a legitimate contender in the NCAA. After a few up and down seasons, Capwell looks like he's back for vengeance after running an NCAA #7 time of 1:48.47. He was able to beat out an established sophomore in Domenic Perretta (Penn State) who was 3rd in 1:49.81
Monmouth's Christopher Marco took the win in a time of 4:06.49 over Army's Kegan Smith and Binghamton's Eric Holt.
After a very solid mile a couple of weekends ago, Colin Abert (Penn State) was able to show off his range with an 8:05 time that appears to be soloed when you consider that his teammate Tim McGowan was 2nd in 8:16.
Patrick Hanley (Maryland) was able to secure the win in a time of 14:47 while Dylan Titon (LaSalle) was runner-up in 14:52.
Every year, regardless of who is on their roster, Penn State is capable of producing some very strong DMR's. Sure enough, the Nittany Lions did that once again as they were able to break away from the field and run an NCAA #3 time of 9:36. What was interesting was seeing Harris run the 1200 and Perretta run the 800. I would have thought that a switch with those two would have been a bit more beneficial. Maybe we'll see that combo at another time....
Dr. Sander / Columbia Challenge (Armory)
In a field of elite-level professionals, Abraham Alvarado (BYU) was able to earn a 3rd place finish with a time of 1:48.70 (NCAA #8). Alvarado may have lost to Sowinski and Prince, but he did finish ahead of guys like Garn, Murphy, Andrews, and Loxsom.
Mile (Invite + Open)
In what may have been the deepest event of the weekend, we got to see a total of nine men under the 4 minute barrier. Of those nine, four of them were collegiates. Of those collegiates, all of them were from Oregon...
The Oregon men went to work this past weekend as Mick Stanovsek, Reed Brown, Cooper Teare, and Sam Prakel all dipped under the 4 minute mark. Prakel was in the invite section along with teammate Blake Haney where they each ran 3:59 and 4:01, respectively.
In the open section, Mick Stanovsek was the big name of the day as the redshirt sophomore threw down a HUGE performance of 3:57 which was good enough to be the top finisher in his heat. He was able to bring his two freshmen teammates under the 4 minute mark as well as both Teare and Brown each finished with times of 3:59.
At this point, Oregon now has the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th best milers in the NCAA right now. The Ducks are beginning to reestablish their depth, build their future, and putting guys like Stanovsek into the All-American conversation. Remember that article Life After Cheserek that we wrote two weeks ago? So far, it seems like some of those assumptions weren't too far off after all...
3000 (Invite + Open)
Much like the mile, the 3000 held a slew of professionals who would eventually go on to take the top four spots in this race. However, the 5th place finisher and top collegiate was Wisconsin's Oliver Hoare who ran an excellent time of 7:54.91 (NCAA #4). He was able to edge out BYU star Rory Linkletter (7:55.10) (NCAA #5) and teammate Joe Hardy (7:57.11) (NCAA #9).
Right now, you have to be impressed with Wisconsin. Without Morgan McDonald this season, they are still producing some excellent results with Eric Brown dipping under 1:50 in the 800 (thanks to a conversion) while Hoare and Hardy are running sub 8 minute 3k's by significant margins. This program has come under a lot of fire as of late with questionable redshirting decisions and questions as to how much of an impact their freshmen should be having. That, of course, is just background noise for a program that has a history of success on their side.
The 4th collegiate in this race was James West who completed the 2nd race of his career in an Oregon singlet with a time of 7:58.26. That time matches his PR from his time in the UK which is a good sign for things to come in the future. At the moment, he is currently ranked 10th in the NCAA.
Other notable results included Daniel Carney (BYU) and Robert Brandt (UCLA) both running 8:01. Conner Mantz and Clayson Shumway (both of BYU) finished the day with an 8:02. In total, 20 men were at 8:05 or faster.
It's finally time to run some fast DMR's and the Oregon Ducks made sure to do just that. With the combination of Haney, Stone, Stanovsek, and Prakel, the Ducks were simply too much to overcome as they finished the day in 1st with an excellent time of 9:31.87 (which should be enough to qualify them for NCAA's). They are currently 1st in the nation.
What's scary about the Ducks is that they could potentially get even faster. This was just one relay combination that didn't include Reed Brown, Cooper Teare, James West and many more. Yes, this relay combination is probably the best in terms of experience, but I would be interested to see what else this squad could put together.
The 2nd place finishing team was BYU who put up a nice time of 9:36 (NCAA #2). The Cougars actually had a slight lead going into the mile leg thanks to a nice split from Abraham Alvarado on the 800 leg. However, Prakel's 3:58 split was too much for Rory Linkletter to handle as he ended up splitting 4:03. Still, this is a great time and I'm not even convinced that Linkletter is BYU's best miler. I'm sure they could probably find someone who is closer to the 4 minute mark.
Rounding out the top three was Georgetown who finished the day with a time of 9:38 (NCAA #4). Overall, you have to be pleased with their performance, especially when you consider that neither Joe White, Jack Salisbury, Jonathan Green, nor Scott Carpenter were on this relay. Do not sleep on the Hoyas as they could surely drop something faster later on this season.
Clemson Bob Pollock
It may not have the flashy times that you saw elsewhere, but we did get to see a nice matchup between Georgia Tech's Avery Bartlett and Wake Forest's Robert Heppenstall. Coming into this race, most would say that Heppenstall was the favorite when you consider his 1:46 PR and multiple All-American honors. Yet, even with all of those accolades, it didn't really matter as Bartlett was able to get the win over Heppenstall, 1:49.76 to 1:49.78.
We mentioned in December that Bartlett could be a potential sleeper pick this season. Although their times this past weekend weren't super fast, we still have to give some credit to Bartlett who just took down a very established name in the NCAA. Is this a sign for things to come? You never know...
Former NC State and Elon standout Luis Vargas was the winner of this race as an unattached athlete. He was able to secure the win in a time of 4:o4 and helped drag Wake Forest's Sebastian Fischbach and Daniel Viegra to times of 4:07 and 4:08, respectively.
We were treated to a great matchup among two SEC rivals. Tennessee's Zach Long battled the Alabama duo of Vincent Kiprop and Gilbert Kigen with Long securing the overall win in a very underrated time of 7:59. Kiprop was 2nd in 8:07 while Kigen was 3rd in 8:12. When you consider that this was a smaller race compared to the Armory, Washington, or Boston, Long's time of 7:59 is pretty impressive. At the moment, that performance is the 15th fastest time in the nation right now. If Long can get into a bigger and faster race, watch out for what he could do in the future.
Overall, the race played out about as expected with Clay Lambourne taking the win while Stanford's Brandon McGorty was 2nd. Unfortunately, the times weren't as fast as many were hoping as Lambourne ran 1:49.94 while McGorty was 1:50.99. By no means are these times bad, but I think we definitely expected something a little bit faster.
The mile was a super exciting race mainly because of all the different types of athletes that we got to see. Before winning the 5k, Nike's Yomif Kejelcha took the win in this event with a time of 3:56.
The 2nd place finisher was when we saw our first collegiate. Andy Trouard (NAU) was ready to prove that his sub 4 from this past summer wasn't just a fluke. Sure enough, the Lumberjack senior threw down an excellent time of 3:58 to defeat D2 star David Ribich who also clocked a 3:58 for 3rd overall.
As we continue down the results, I was very excited to see Carlos Villareal (Arizona) run under 4 minutes for the first time in his career with a time of 3:59. Not only did he run under 4 minutes, but he did so in the 2nd fastest heat (not the invite section). He's been one of the more underrated milers over the past few years so it's nice to see that he actually has the PR's to back up his tactical racing skills as well.
Villareal was the 3rd and final collegiate to break the 4 minute barrier as Kasey Knevelbaard ran a near identical time of his converted mile from last week with a finish of 4:00.15. He was the 4th collegiate in the race.
How about Bradley's Daniel Gagne? We mentioned him as a name to watch in our preview article and I like to think that he was reading because he just ran an excellent time of 4:00.39. Hopefully we'll see him make one or two more hard efforts and get under 4 minutes later this season.
Steven Fahy (Stanford) ran a very solid 4:00.60 while teammate Jack Keelan followed with a 4:02. That performance is great for Fahy, but just ok for Keelan who ran 3:58 last year. It's not a bad performance by any means, but I can't help but think that Keelan could be faster.
The same goes for Colby Gilbert who finished the day with a 4:02. Again, this is not a bad time, but Colby Gilbert is a 3:58 miler and is running on his home track. His career numbers say that he should be better.
Also how about Matthew Baxter running 4:02? We may dismiss Baxter as more of a long-distance guy (which he definitely is), but he also has plenty of speed to boast as well.
When you look at all of the different athletes with unique racing styles and strengths, you could just feel that this was going to be a fast race. Sure enough, that was the case as Dillon Maggard (Utah State) blasted a 7:52.99 to take the win over a strong field. Does Maggard have the best range in the NCAA? It would be hard to argue against him...
Yet, if Maggard doesn't have the best range in the NCAA, then Cameron Griffith certainly does. The Arkansas Razorback finished 2nd overall with a time of 7:54 while teammate Jack Bruce finished 3rd with a 7:55. Arkansas has mainly been led by Alex George and Jack Bruce, but the emergence of Cameron Griffith gives the Razorbacks another weapon to work with. So far this guy has run 2:23, 4:03, and now 7:54. For me, he's definitely in the All-American conversation.
Rounding out the top five was Mike Tate (Southern Utah) and Andrew Jordan (Iowa State), both with times of 7:56. Honestly, those are about the times that I would expect from guys like these. When you look at Tate's 13:34 5k PR and Jordan's 15th place finish at XC Nationals this past fall, 7:56 seems to be a reasonable time for both of them.
The top five may have been relatively predictable, but outside of that group is where things get interesting.
Finishing 7th overall was Bradley's Michael Ward who ran a huge PR of 7:58. I don't know what Bradley is doing, but their development of Ward and Gagne is keeping the small school relevant on a very crowded stage of powerhouse programs.
Another nice surprise was San Francisco's Jack Rowe also running 7:58. Ever since they had Alex Short, this team has quietly put together some very solid performances. This is most likely due to the combination of great recruiting, great coaching, and great team culture.
The last NCAA athlete under the 8 minute barrier was Boise State's Addison DeHaven with a time of 7:59. As seen by his performances in the postseason, DeHaven can thrive on the big-stage. If he can get into another big race this season, I wouldn't be surprised to see his time drop even more.
Yes, the professionals in this field were entertaining, but the collegiate results were very underwhelming. Alejandro Cisneros (Portland State) was the top NCAA finisher with a time of 14:19 while Luke Beattie (Utah State) was the next collegiate finisher in a time of 14:31.
In what may have been the tightest race of the weekend, we got to see Devin Dixon (Texas A&M), Jaymes Dennison (Iowa State), and Jack Wilkes (LSU) battle it out in a thrilling 800 meters. Dixon and Dennison had the best resumes in the field (by far), but it was Jack Wilkes pulling off the upset win. Wilkes barely edged out Dixon with a time of 1:49.94 while Dixon was 1:49.95. Dennison was right there as well with a time of 1:49.98.
Dan Curts (Iowa State) was the winner in this one with a solid time of 4:03. He was able to out-run the rest of the field which included Jack Guyton (Florida), Bryan Kamau (Georgia), and Waleed Suliman (Ole Miss) in that order. All three of those men finished the day with an identical time of 4:04.
Over the past few weeks, we've mentioned that Texas could be a legitimate threat in the DMR. That may be so, but we have to see that actually come to fruition. In the meantime, their in-state rivals (Texas A&M) were producing solid relay results this past weekend. The Aggies threw down a very solid time of 9:39 (NCAA #5) to defeat the Florida Gators who were close behind with a 9:40 (NCAA #6).
It took him a while, but after his 7th mile attempt, Indiana's Kyle Mau can now say that he is a sub 4 minute miler. With a time of 3:59, Mau is now 6th in the NCAA. However, that time will most likely not be enough qualify for NCAA's within the next month and half. Still, the idea that Mau could qualify for NCAA's is now becoming more and more realistic with each passing day.
John Thomas Terrier Invite
At the front of the race, Sam Ellison and Eliud Rutto battled it out and earned an exciting finish. They were able to drag Sacred Heart's Trevor Guerrera to a fast time as well. Guerrera's time of 1:48.41 is good enough for 6th in the NCAA and now puts on the cusp of potentially qualifying for NCAA's. If he wants to secure himself a spot, he may want to get lower to that 1:48 flat mark, but this year seems unusually slower than most.
The top collegiate in the field was Dartmouth freshman Nick Feffer who crossed the line in 2:26.65. He was followed by Daniel Schmith of UMass Lowell who also finished the day with a time of 2:26.96.
In a field filled with high-level professionals, Justyn Knight still emerged as one of the top entries. Shadrack Kipchirchir would barely edge out Knight in a tight battle to the line. However, both could walk away satisfied with the fact that they ran 3:55. Knight's time of 3:55.82 is now NCAA #2 (after conversion) and it also makes him a heavy favorite to win the mile title should he choose to forgo the 3000 and/or 5000 meters. The real question now is, will he?
Unfortunately, Knight was the only collegiate in this meet who went under the 4 minute mark. However, the Syracuse men still put up some solid results. Freshman Noah Affolder and sophomore Aidan Tooker threw down solid times of 4:02 while veteran Philo Germano ran 4:03 to edge Iona ace Chartt Miller (who also ran 4:03).
Overall, you have to be impressed with Syracuse's depth. Most of those guys are long-distance oriented and were able to run very fast times for dropping down in distance. I say this every year, but if Syracuse wanted to produce a top ranked DMR, they definitely could...
While top pros like Kipchirchir, Bor, and Erassa battled at the front, Martin Martinez was having the race of his life. The Brown University senior finished the day as the top collegiate with a time of 7:59, his first time under the 8 minute barrier. Syracuse's Iliass Aouani was right behind Martinez with a time of 7:59. A time like that is about what we would expect from a talented long distance guy like Aouani.
Colin Bennie also finished the race in a time of 7:59, but he was running unattached. It appears that he'll be redshirting this indoor track season.
We should also note that Boston U's Paul Luevano finished the day as the third overall collegiate in a time of 8:02.
This field may not have had the firepower that the mile and 3000 did, but Kevin James (Syracuse) did lock down a win and an NCAA #12 time of 14:17.