The MTSU duo of Kigen Chemadi and Jacob Choge headlined the event and walked away with a 1-2 finish. Chemadi pulled out the win in a 4:03 while Choge was 4:05. It's interesting to see this group come off of a strong cross country season and not pursue a race like the 3k or 5k which pairs well with their recent training in the fall. Nonetheless, this is still a solid opener and it could be some speed work prep for a longer race in the future.
GVSU Holiday Opener
On his home track, Grand Valley State freshman Dennis Mbuta walked away with a big win and excellent time of 1:51. If a freshman is able to do this in the first race of the season two days into December, imagine what he could do in February. This could be a Division 2 star in the making...
It was a battle of the D2 titans as Tiffin's James Ngandu fought off a GVSU contingent of Bryce Bradley, Zach Panning, and Chris May. In the end, Ngandu would walk away with the win and a strong time of 13:57. However, Bradley wasn't far behind as he also dipped under the 14-minute barrier with a time of 13:59. Panning and May rounded out the top group with times of 14:01 and 14:05, respectively.
Fastrack Metro Season Opener
The Columbia men stacked this race with some of their top middle distance runners. Yet, only Sam Ritz would capture the attention of track nerds like ourselves after soloing a time of 4:08. Teammate Alek Sauer was the next closest in 4:15. Ritz has dealt with a few injuries in his career, but this seems to be a statement race to let everyone know that he's fit and ready to make some noise this indoor season.
Weber State Winter Opener
Freshman Anthony Ocegueda of Utah Valley took the win over a relatively mild field with a time of 8:36.79. However, Ocegueda received a flat-track and altitude conversion to bring his time down to 8:19.31. With that time, he now leads the NCAA in the 3000 meters.
Blue & Gold Opener
Maybe the most impressive race of the entire weekend had only one recorded finisher. Notre Dame senior Jacob Dumford unleashed a huge time of 2:21.45 to break the school record and take the win...then again, he was the only finisher in the field. Teammate Elijah Silva was a DNF, so it may be safe to say that he was the rabbit for the race. Still, rabbit or no rabbit, the fact that Dumford ran this time all alone is incredibly impressive. That is a heck of a time and could indicate some big PR's in the 800 or Mile are coming soon.
Notre Dame's Parker Jones, Conner Sheryak, and Peter Monahan took the top three spots with times of 8:22, 8:26, and 8:27, respectively.
BU Season Opener
If Dumford's 2:21 1k wasn't the most impressive performance of the weekend, then Marc Reinas' 1:48 definitely was. The Northeastern junior came out of nowhere to drop a 1:48.85 and take the win by nearly two seconds. With 3:59 miler Paul Duffey now gone, the Huskies are now looking for a new star to lead their team over the next few seasons and Reinas looks like he could possibly be that guy.
We should also note that UCONN freshman Tyler Gleen threw down a 1:50 in his season debut as well.
Harvard's freshman Ryan Thrush was the winner in a time of 2:25 while Northeastern sophomore Cameron Kunde was 2nd with a time of 2:26.
D2 miler Evan Verbal (Colorado Christian) took the win with a huge PR of 4:05. Sophomore Nick Carelo of Providence was a close 2nd in 4:06. What was surprising was seeing Boston U star Alex Seal drop so far off the lead pack and fall to a time of 4:21. It's the first race of winter track so it's understandable that some athletes are still adjusting. I think many people just expected a lot more of the 4:01 miler.
This was one of the more underrated fields that held solid times for a season debut. Leakey Kipkosgei of American International (D2) grabbed the win in 8:09. The next collegiate across the line was Evan Verbal, the winner of the mile, who finished with a time of 8:18. That is a really solid double for this guy and his fitness has clearly jumped into another tier.
Trevor Guerrera of Sacred Heart was the first D1 finisher to cross the line in a time of 8:21. Guerrera is definitely someone to keep an eye out for this season. The Sacred Heart senior owns times of 1:48, 2:24 (1k), and 4:09. He could be a big sleeper pick this winter.
New Balance pro and Providence alum Julian Oakley dominated the field with an impressive time of 13:49. Three seconds later, Tulane's Emmanuel Rotich found the finish line with a time of 13:52 for 2nd. That time would have put Rotich at 24th in the NCAA last year. He'll need to run faster if he wants to secure a spot to Nationals, but for now, this is a great time and something to use as momentum moving forward.
After a pair of international and unattached athletes crossed the line, Pittsburgh's Nick Wolk and Missouri's Thomas George crossed the line in 14:14 which is a solid opener for both of these guys. They both had respectable cross country seasons and can now walk away with PR's on the track. Keep an eye on the performances that these two have throughout this season.