BU Scarlet & White Invite
While other performances around the country captured headlines, we got to see a pair of strong results from the 800 at Boston U. Freshman Marco Arop (Mississippi State) is continuing to light it up in his debut season after securing a win this past weekend with a PR of 1:47.62 (NCAA #2). Myles Marshall (Harvard) was able to earn a personal best for himself with a time of 1:47.74 (NCAA #4).
Yet, what was even more exciting was seeing Mississippi State's other 800 stud place 6th overall with a time of 1:48.31. He was followed by Monmouth star Dylan Capwell who finished the day with a time of 1:48.76.
Blaine Lacey of George Mason would be the final man under 1:49 with a time of 1:48.91. For Lacey, this is a huge breakout performance. He had never broken 1:51 in his career and during indoors, he had never broken 1:52! Talk about a jump...
Georgetown freshman Rey Rivera and Mississippi State sophomore Daniel Nixon both recorded times of 1:49 to round out the overall top 10.
Paul Luevano (Boston U) put together another solid performance on his home track by securing the win in a time of 4:02. Albany freshman Victor Ortiz Rivera was the 2nd overall collegiate in a time of 4:04 while Georgetown's Jack Salisbury was a spot behind in 4:05.
After winning the mile, Luevano doubled back and secured his 2nd gold medal of the weekend with a time of 14:27. Ryan Udvadia (Albany) was runner-up in 14:28.
Rod McCravy Invite
Bryce Hoppell (Kansas) has been a consistent runner who is able to secure wins, run strong tactical races, and double up on events. Now, he can add a 1:48.36 PR to his resume. Hoppell was able to run that time and earn the win this past weekend. Kentucky's Ian Jones was runner-up in 1:50.19.
Do not sleep on Hoppell this season. It looks like he'll have a strong chance of making it to NCAA's this year. If any of those races become tactical, he could become a very real threat.
Kentucky's Jacob Thomson and Ben Young took the top two spots in this race and both recorded personal best times of 4:01 and 4:02 respectively.
New Mexico Classic
The entire top five of this event were taken by pro's and led by Brooks Beast Brannon Kidder. It wasn't until 6th place came around that we saw our first collegiate. New Mexico's Michael Wilson was 6th overall in a time of 1:49.69. Due to an altitude conversion, Wilson's time would become 1:49.09.
Admittedly, I was cautious as to how Worley would handle the challenge of racing at altitude against experienced guys who have been there before (Koech and Rogers). That, of course, was not an issue as Worley took the win with a time of 4:03.91. Jonah Koech (UTEP) was 2nd in 4:04.04 while Alex Rogers (Texas) rounded out the top three in 4:05.74. But what do these times look like with conversions? Worley gets a 3:58.60 (NCAA #14), Koech gets a 3:58.72 (NCAA #15), and Rogers gets a 4:00.39 (NCAA #23).
It's tough to say whether or not those times will be fast enough to qualify for NCAA's. You typically want low 3:58's to secure your spot to NCAA's. If they leave it up to scratches, it will be very close...
John Rice (Texas) blew away the field with a winning time of 8:16. With an altitude conversion, that time becomes an 8:03. Linton Taylor (New Mexico) was the next finisher to cross the line. His time of 8:30 earned a conversion of 8:18.
Alex Lomong (Ohio State) tasted individual victory for the first time in his collegiate career with a time of 1:50.16. He was able to defeat Bradley's Alec Hartman who was runner-up in a time of 1:50.32.
It was a big day for the young guys at this meet as freshmen Yared Nuguse (Notre Dame) and Owen Day (Eastern Michigan) battled it out to finish 1-2. Nuguse recorded a time of 4:02.44 while Day ran a time of 4:02.77.
Eastern Michigan's Hlynur Andresson earned himself a win after running a time of 8:02. Butler freshman Barry Keane had a very nice performance of his own with a time of 8:04 to finish the day as the 2nd overall collegiate.
Michigan State's Jesse Hersha was the winner in this one with a time of 14:20. He was able to fend off Saint Louis junior Manuel de Backer who finished 2nd in a time of 14:23. In total, seven collegiates dipped under the 14:30 mark
Sean Tobin was the only collegiate entered in this field, but he held up his end of the bargain with an excellent time of 3:58.28. The personal best has landed the Ole Miss senior at the 13th spot in the NCAA rankings.
Robert Domanic (Ole Miss) and Josh Kerr (New Mexico) were the two collegiates who headlined the field. After running a huge 3:54 mile PR last summer, Domanic was one of the names that I was watching out for. Unfortunately, Domanic would struggle in his 2nd race of the season, finishing dead last with a time of 4:06.
Although Domanic struggled, Josh Kerr stepped up in a way that was beyond comprehension. The defending national champion finished 2nd to Chris O'Hare with a MONSTER time of 3:54.72, making him the top ranked miler in the NCAA. It may be a new year, but the champ has certainly not lost his edge.
Speaking of champs not losing their edge, how about Justyn Knight? For the 2nd straight week, he had to finish runner-up to Shadrack Kipchirchir, but he did secure yet another personal best. The Syracuse star threw down a time of 7:45 which, at this point, shouldn't really surprise anyone. This guy is super talented and will most likely be the favorite to win it all in the 3000 and the 5000 (assuming he pursues it).
Mountain T's Invitational
My goodness Kasey Knevelbaard! The Southern Utah miler has had a strong rise of the very past few seasons of competition, but a performance like this is outstanding! Knevelbaard was the top finisher in this race with a time of 4:04.85 while Northern Arizona's Tyler Day (running unattached) was 2nd in 4:05.51. Obviously, those times don't seem to be anything crazy fast. However, when you factor in the 7000 ft of altitude, those conversions become very quick...
Knevelbaard's time was eventually converted to 3:55.95 which is now an NCAA #4 time. Day's time of 4:05.51 gets converted to a 3:56.59. Yet, with that in mind, he will be redshirting this indoor track season.
First it was David Ribich's 3:58, now it's Thomas Staines 1:47! Staines, a mid-distance runner out of CSU-Pueblo, threw down a monster time of 1:47.82 this past weekend AT ALTITUDE. With a conversion that time becomes 1:47.12. That time would be 2nd in Division One right now.
Yet, as if Thomas Staines' time wasn't impressive enough, we also got to see Patrick Weaver of Colorado Mines finished 2nd with a time of 1:50.34. With a conversion, Weaver's time becomes 1:49.63.
D2 is not playing around this year...
Despite the impressive performances from the 800 field, the mile had to be the event of the weekend.
Colorado's Zach Perrin was the big winner in this one with a time of 4:03.21 while teammate Ben Saarel was a step behind in 4:03.40. 3rd place was Cole Rockhold of Colorado State with a time of 4:04.07. Colorado Christian's Evan Verbal and Adam's State Elijah Gedyon rounded out the top five with times of 4:05.18 and 4:06.80.
Those times, when converted from altitude, become 3:57.28. 3:57.46, 3:58.12, 3:59.20, and 4:00.78.
When you look at these performances, there’s a lot to talk about.
First off, how about Ben Saarel? With no eligibility in cross country, it was easy to forget about how talented he is. Saarel and Perrin have run fast miles at altitude before, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Expect the next race to be 3000 meters.
The same goes for Cole Rockhold who can run the mile or the 3000 meters. He’s talented enough to be an All-American in both, although with the way each field is playing out, the 3000 may be the least crowded option.
As for Verbal and Gedyon, those two now have the 2nd and 3rd fastest miles in the NCAA D2. Verbal has been strong since day one of this season while Gedyon is looking to reignite the success he saw early on in his career. Those two could give David Ribich a run for his money at the Division 2 Championships this winter.
Although there were plenty of strong results in the mile, the 3000 proved to be just as entertaining as we got to see a great battle between Colorado’s Ryan Forsyth and Colorado State’s Grant Fischer.
Forsyth was the winner in this event with a time of 8:11 while Fischer settled for silver with a time of 8:13. Colorado’s Ethan Gonzales rounded out the top three with a time of 8:16.
When converted from altitude, those times become 7:57 (Forsyth NCAA #13), 7:59 (Fischer NCAA #22), and 8:02 (Gonzales NCAA #32).
Camel City Invite
All of the attention in this field was focused on Edward Cheserek and a slew of pro’s that accompanied him. Of course, we can’t just ignore the four Virginia Tech men entered in this field.
After the four spots, we saw Virginia Tech begin to crowd the finish line. Vincent Ciattei dipped under 4 minutes with a time of 3:59.57 while teammate Patrick Joseph less than half a step behind in a time of 3:59.59. Neil Gourley was the next man in with a time of 4:00.21 while sophomore Diego Zarate would later finish in a time of 4:03.55.
With a flat-track conversion, those times become some of the best in the NCAA. Ciattei and Joseph earn conversions of 3:56.56 and 3:56.58 (NCAA #5 and #6) while Gourley’s time gets bumped to 3:57.19 (NCAA #7). Unfortunately for Zarate, his conversion just missed the sub-4 minute conversion. His converted time of 4:00.49 is good enough for 25th in the NCAA rankings.
Although the mile was the event that caught most of the attention, the 3000 still gave us some very strong collegiate performances.
Campbell’s Lawrence Kipkoech was the top collegiate finisher in the field with a time of 7:57 while Kigen Chemadi (MTSU) was right behind him in a time of 7:58. Campbell’s Amon Kemboi was the third collegiate to cross the line in a time of 8:03.
After factoring in flat-track conversions, Kipkoech’s time becomes 7:52.18 (NCAA #2) while Chemadi’s time becomes 7:52.92 (NCAA #3). Amon Kemboi’s conversion of 7:58 is the 15th fastest time in the NCAA.
Kipkoech and Chemadi’s times will most likely be fast enough to qualify for NCAA’s. With that in mind, you can imagine their next move will be pursuing a qualifying time for the 5000 meters.
Power 5 Invite
Daniel Kuhn (Indiana) secured the win in a time of 1:49.93 to defeat Minnesota freshman Dawson LaRance with a finish of 1:50.00.
Indiana’s Bryce Millar was the winner in this one with a time of 14:08.03. However, he was nearly upset by Baylor’s Devin Meyrer who was less than a second behind in 14:08.73.
For most of the race, Michigan’s Ben Flanagan was near the front. Yet, with just 800 to go, Flanagan pulled out and finished the day as a DNF. We are still unsure as to why, but it is certainly very odd.
It was one of the best matchups of the week as Indiana and Stanford clashed in a heavy-weight bout. We didn’t get to see Sean McGorty in the lineup, but we did get to see Grant Fisher match up with Kyle Mau on the anchor leg. When the dust cleared and leaderboard was refreshed, Indiana was the winner as Mau was able to match Fisher’s split of 3:58.
The Hoosiers winning time of 9:31 was enough to take the top spot in the NCAA rankings while Stanford’s 9:32 was good enough for NCAA #3.
Michigan rounded out the top three with a time of 9:36. They currently rank 6th in the NCAA.