In what may have been the most exciting field of the meet, we got to see Neil Gourley (Virginia Tech) pull off the upset win with a HUGE time of 1:47.04 (NCAA #2). The veteran miler was able to drop down in distance to defeat stars who have built their reputation in the 800.
Runner-up in this race was John Lewis (Clemson) who came up with a super clutch performance of 1:47.14 after failing to break 1:49 in three previous attempts. He now sits at 5th in the NCAA rankings.
Robert Heppenstall (Wake Forest), Patrick Joseph (Virginia Tech), and Avery Bartlett (Georgia Tech) rounded out the top five with strong performances of 1:47.19, 1:47.47, and 1:47.58. Overall, these are some solid top 10 performances.
The Virginia Tech men continued their winning ways by taking the top two spots in the mile. Vincent Ciattei (Virginia Tech) defended his title from last year with a 4:03 while teammate Diego Zarate finished runner-up in 4:04.
Jacob Dumford (Notre Dame) rounded out the top three with a time of 4:04.
3000 & 5000
Unsurprisingly, Justyn Knight secured the double gold with times of 8:02 and 13:50. Throughout his gold medal pursuits, he was able to bring along a slew of teammates to medal positions as well. Including Knight, Syracuse placed seven men within the top eight scoring spots. It was an impressive showing of depth.
As expected, Peter Seufer (Virginia Tech) and Nahom Solomon (Georgia Tech) placed 3rd and 4th, respectively, in both events. Neither will be making the trip to Nationals, but they've put together some notable performances this season.
The Virginia Tech men went to work and handily defeated a deep field that included Notre Dame and a strong Clemson squad. Neil Gourley's anchor leg helped secure the win and ensure that the Hokies' time would finish ahead of Clemson's time from the first heat.
BIG 10 Championships
3000 & 5000
Oliver Hoare (Wisconsin) went to work with back-to-back wins in the 3000 and 5000 meters. His times of 8:11 and 14:05 were enough to best Illinois phenom Jonathan Davis in the 3000 and Indiana frosh star Ben Veatch in the 5000.
A huge final leg from Iowa's Michael Melchert helped pull off the upset for the Hawkeyes to secure a title in the relays.
BIG Sky Championships
It wouldn't be fair to focus on just one event at a time for this meet. The Southern Utah men had terrific performances with Mike Tate winning the 3000 and Kasey Knevelbaard winning the mile. Thunderbird senior Matthew Wright had a pair of solid performances as well.
However, the MVP of the meet had to be (and was) Northern Arizona's Andy Trouard. The NAU senior was runner-up in the mile (4:12), 6th in the 3000 (8:41), and 1st in the 5000 (14:20).
Remember that this monster triple was completed at altitude. Trouard's time of 14:20 in the 5000 converts to a PR of 13:42 which now places him 10th in the country. It looks like the 5k/3k double will be the plan for Trouard as he enters Nationals in two weeks.
Mountain West Championships
Four years. Four titles. Utah State's Clay Lambourne threw down a 1:48.74 at altitude to edge out Air Force's Michael Rhoads who ran a time of 1:48.83 for second. With conversions, Lambourne and Rhoads now sit at 16th and 17th in the nation for the 800. Rhoads must hope that one of the two Virginia Tech men opt out of the 800 and enter the mile.
Josh Kerr (New Mexico) and Cole Rockhold (Colorado State) battled it out in one of the better matchups of the weekend. Kerr locked his MW title with a 4:00 while Rockhold finished with a time of 4:02. With conversions, Kerr's time would be around 3:55 low while Rockhold's converts to an NCAA #8 time of 3:56.85.
So where does this leave Rockhold now? Does he pursue the mile or the 3000? Or both? He'll be one of the more interesting names to watch as we analyze the entries.
Grant Fischer (Colorado State) pulled off a huge upset of Dillon Maggard (Utah State) to secure the Mountain West title. The times appear to show that the race was tactical which makes the win even more impressive for Fischer. He doesn't have the experience of racing a shorter distance like the mile while Maggard does.
Through fault of their own, the DMR performances in this race were heavily criticized by fans around the nation after some sources argued that New Mexico's time of 9:33 converted to a "collegiate record" of 9:24. Obviously, altitude conversions can't be validated in the record books, but it does make you think twice before dismissing this talented Lobos squad.
Utah State was runner-up in this race with a 9:34.
The timing system actually recorded a time in this one as BYU's Abraham Alvardo and Oregon's James West both finished the day with times of 4:02.70. Alvarado was given the overall.
Jeff Thies (Portland) finished third on the day with a 4:03.
Rory Linkletter (BYU) and Steven Fahy (Stanford) led five others under the 8 minute mark in this one. Linkletter recorded the win in a 7:54 with Fahy close behind, also with a 7:54. Unfortunately, neither of those times will be enough to qualify for NCAA's (at least not right now).
The race was bittersweet for Connor McMillan (BYU). The Cougar senior knew he needed a fast time to qualify for NCAA's, so he improved his rank among the collegiates with a winning time of 13:46. That, however, was not enough after this weekend as he currently sits at 17th in the nation. McMillan must pray that at least one individual scratches from this event if he wants to get in. Unfortunately, as of right now, I don't see that being the case.
Devin Dixon (Texas A&M) secured the SEC title with a win over Mississippi State's Dejon Devroe, 1:49.32 to 1:49.73.
Mississippi State's Marco Arop struggled in the prelims and failed to make it to the finals. For someone who has been racing so well all season, it was unusual to see him have an off day. Still, it's just one event and it's best to have that out of the way before Nationals.
Sean Tobin (Ole Miss) was able to out-kick Alex Riba (Texas A&M) for the win with a time of 4:07.14. Riba finished the day with a 4:07.18.
Much like the 3000 at the MPSF Championships, we saw a fast race up front that unfortunately did not lead to anyone entering entering the top 16 times. The pace was established by Kentucky's Jacob Thomson and later taken over by the Arkansas duo of Cameron Griffith and Jack Bruce. The Razorback duo finished the day with times of 7:54 to go 1-2.
Alabama's Vincent Kiprop put together another solid performance with a third place finish in 7:55. He's beginning to look like a great All-American pick in the 5000 once Nationals rolls around.
Jacob Thomson (Kentucky) and Gilbert Kigen (Alabama) rounded out the top five with times of 7:55 and 7:59. Neither of these individuals are set to qualify in the 3000 meters, but they are both within the top 16 of the 5000 meters after this weekend.
After a gutsy front-running attempt in the 3000, Thomson was rewarded for his aggressive racing tactics by securing the SEC title in an impressive time of 13:49. He was able to fend off Alabama's Gilbert Kigen once again who also ran a time of 13:49. This is an encouraging pair of finishes for a duo that will most likely face off in a loaded 5000 field at Nationals.
Kigen's teammate Vincent Kiprop was third overall in 13:50 while Tennessee's Zach Long ended his day with a 13:56.
Arkansas was barely able to hold off a hard-charging Mississippi team, 9:37.01 to 9:37.08. There's a lot to like about both of these relays as we enter Nationals in two weeks...
BIG 12 Championships
Bryce Hoppel (Kansas) remains undefeated on the season with a winning time of 1:47.20. Is there anyone in the NCAA right now who is as tactically sound as Hoppel is? Right now, I'm willing to say no...
Charles Jones of Texas Tech was runner-up in this one with a time of 1:48.66. That time places him out of the top 16 with an NCAA #22. Unless a handful of scratches occur, he will most likely not be making the trip to NCAA's.
Rounding out the top three was Texas star Sam Worley with a time of 1:48.71 (NCAA #23). Worley's best bet for Nationals right now is in the mile where he currently ranks 19th. It will be VERY close, but if enough scratches happen, he could potentially sneak into Nationals. Based on certain qualifying times in other events, it's possible that it happens.
Roshon Roomes (Iowa State) was the final man under 1:50 in this race with a time of 1:48.97.
Alex Rogers (Texas) continues his underrated season of strong performances with a winning time of 4:02. He was able to separate himself from Iowa State's Dan Curts who was 2nd in 4:05.
Hassan Abdi (Oklahoma State) once again bested Iowa State's Edwin Kurgat in another battle. Abdi secured the BIG 12 title with a winning time of 8:02.22 while Kurgat was runner-up in 8:02.44.
Andrew Jordan (Iowa State) was the bronze medalist with a time of 8:04.
Andrew Jordan's third place finish in the 3000 was overshadowed by his strong run in the 5000 where he earned the top spot in a time of 14:03.05. Teammate Edwin Kurgat finished right next to him in a time of 14:03.50.
BU Last Chance Meet
The top finisher in this race was former Georgia 800 runner Christian Harrison in a time of 1:46.83. However, it was high schooler and Oregon commit Josh Hoey running a mind-blowing time of 1:47.67 to CRUSH the high school national record of 1:49 previously set by Robby Andrews in 2009.
It would be impossible for me to put into words just how impressive that time is. If Hoey was running collegiately, that time would currently be 11th in the NCAA and he would have qualified for Nationals...as a high school senior. Oregon's future is bright with this incoming recruit.
Behind Hoey was Dylan Capwell (Monmouth) who finished the day with a time of 1:47.86 which puts him back into the National qualifying picture at 13th overall.
D2 star Ackeen Colley (American International) ran an excellent time of his own with a 1:47.86, making him the favorite to win it all at Nationals.
Despite an excellent season of strong performances, Northeastern’s Marc Reinas ended the day with a 1:49.87, ending his National Championship qualifying hopes. Still, it was a solid season for Reinas who had big shoes to fill after superstar Paul Duffey graduated last year.
While a massive group of pro’s attempted to go under the 4 minute mark, it was Jeremy Hernandez (Ramapo) who made history. Hernandez became the first D3 runner in NCAA history to dip under the 4 minute mark with a time of 3:59.01. Is this guy the next David Ribich in Division III athletics? It sure seems like it…
The Iona duo, Chartt Miller and Liam Dee, ended their seasons with times of 3:59.99 and 4:00.69, respectively.
In his final “big” attempt at a sub-4 minute mile, Oregon commit Brodey Hasty had to settle for a 4:04.98. Regardless of his time, the Ducks have to be thrilled to have him and Hoey entering their program. Just look at what the Ducks have done with Teare and Brown in their first season of collegiate competition. The rich are only getting richer…
In his final attempt at a qualifying mark for Nationals, Jacob Choge (Middle Tennessee State) took the win in a solid time of 13:54. It time won’t be enough for him to get into Nationals, but it is arguably the best performance of his indoor racing career.