Butler's Johnny Leverenz continues his undefeated streak with another 1:49 performance. However, it was not an easy win as veterans Stefano Migliorati (East Carolina) and Ryan Hastings (App State) were close behind, also with a pair of 1:49's.
The year of breakout performances continues as Liberty's Colin Schultz ran a personal best of 3:44 to pull off the win against Yale junior Trevor Reinhart who finished 2nd with a 3:45.
2017 1500 silver medalist Justine Kiprotich (Michigan State) was 3rd in 3:45. His winter performances were underwhelming, but this is a respectable time for someone who is just beginning the outdoor season.
Iona's top ace Chartt Miller began his senior campaign with a win and NCAA #11 time of 13:54. That time was enough to best Derek Gutierrez (Ole Miss - UNAT) and Mike Marsella (Virginia) who ran 14:03 and 14:04, respectively.
We talked a lot about the Stanford Invite 10k, but the Raleigh Relays 10k was super impressive in it's own right. D2 star James Ngandu (Tiffin) threw down a monster time of 28:45 to take the win over the long-distance stars from Campbell, Lawrence Kipkoech (28:48) and Amon Kemboi (28:55). For Ngandu, this is most likely just one stop on his spring revenge tour after failing to win a national title this past winter.
Kentucky's Jacob Thomson had a solid outing in his spring debut with a 4th place finish and a time of 29:10. The time isn't jaw-dropping, but it's a nice run for someone who is coming off of an All-American result last month. Don't forget that Thomson was a 10k All-American in 2016...
Grand Valley State's Zach Panning had a solid finish of his own with a time of 29:12. He was followed by Iona's Gilbert Kirui who was 6th in 29:17.
The last three collegiate finishers in the top 10 were Eastern Michigan's Hlynur Andresson (29:20), NC State's Elijah Moskowitz (29:23), and UMass Lowell's Paul Hogan (29:23).
In total, 17 men were under the 29:30 mark and 35 were under 30 minutes.
Former Oklahoma State athlete Craig Nowak led the field with an 8:39 which was enough to bring a few men under the 9 minute barrier. Oakland's Andrew Bowman had a solid 2nd place finish with a time of 8:52. He was followed by East Tennessee's Simeon Roberts who ran 8:53.
Nick Steele (Villanova), Jake Brumfield (Miami-Ohio), Will Battershill (Harvard), and Declan McManus (Belmont) all finished the day under the 9 minute barrier.
We had a few notable upsets this weekend, but there may not be a more noticeable upset than Georgia Tech's Avery Bartlett pulling out the win over Penn State's Isaiah Harris, 1:47.76 to 1:47.90. Bartlett is on fire after running a 3:44 1500 last week and now defeating one of the best half-milers in the NCAA. Do not sleep on Bartlett this spring.
Dejon Devroe (Mississippi State) continued his momentum from the winter season with a time of 1:47.97. It was his 2nd performance under the 1:48 mark.
Shaquille Dill (St. Augustine's) may be one of the few guys who can battle Thomas Staines for the D2 national title this spring. He ran 1:48.70 to finish 5th overall and the 4th overall collegian. Staines will still be the heavy favorite, but if anyone is going to challenge him it will most likely be Dill (along with a handful of others).
Dage Minors (Franklin Pierce) is one of those "handful of others" who will be in the upset conversation. He ran 1:48.99 to edge out Kyren Hollis (Florida) who finished less than a 10th of a second behind him with a 1:49 flat.
Iowa's 800 star Carter Lilly (who struggled this past indoor season) ran 1:49.18, but was also running unattached. Could he be preserving his eligibility this spring?
In total, 24 men broke the 1:50 mark...in one meet. Of those 24, 22 of them were collegiates. Of those 22, 20 ran attached.
Jacob Thomson has been Kentucky's main leader in the distance events for the past few years, but now he has some company at the top. Sophomore Ben Young looks like the real deal after running 3:59 during indoors and now running a 3:42 1500.
Florida's Jack Guyton had solid 1500 debut with a strong 3:43 finish, a new personal best. The Florida Gator is now a junior and should be primed to contend for a national qualifying spot this spring. However, he'll need to find a way to enter a new tier of fitness this season if he wants to accomplish that goal. Luckily, he now has American distance running legend Chris Solinksy creating his training plans.
How about Nick Morken of North Florida? The junior owns a personal best of 3:42, but he has run 3:45 and now 3:43 in just two meets this season (before the start of April). This guy is gaining momentum early on which could make him a dangerous competitor throughout the rest of the spring.
Nathan Jones (McNeese State) and Fearghal Curtin (Charleston Southern) battled to the line with Jones getting the best of Curtin, 14:02.59 to 14:02.88.
Former Florida Gator Mark Parrish took the win with an 8:55. Florida A&M's David Too finished 2nd with a 9:04.
Barlett defeating Harris wasn't the only upset we saw in the 800 this past weekend. Georgia's Jeramy Hampton ran 1:48.39 to take the win while Bryce Hoppel (Kansas) settled as the 2nd overall collegiate with a 1:48.69.
Erik Martinsson (UT-Arlington) was the 3rd collegian to cross the line with a time of 1:49.21.
UTEP's Jonah Koech battled the Georgia duo of Bryan Kamau and Henry Dwyer for the top collegiate spot in the race. In the end, Koech would cross the line in first with a time of 4:01 while Kamau and Dwyer each ran 4:02.
The 1500 split is actually recorded for this race, so Koech will be credited with a converted 3:44. Unfortunately, TFRRS does not give us conversions for Kamau or Dwyer since they already have 1500 times faster than their conversions this season.
Eric Westog (Georgia) was the winner with a 14:19 to defeat Texas frosh Connor O'Neill who finished 2nd with a 14:21.
One of the reasons why the Texas Longhorns had such a strong cross country season was due to the reliability of John Rice. After a quiet indoor season, Rice has stormed back onto to the national scene with a huge 8:46 steeplechase win.
Rice was able to take down an underrated Clemson talent in James Quattlebaum who finished 2nd in 8:56.
Bob Larsen Distance Festival
Minnesota's Dawson LaRance continues to establish himself as a future star of the BIG 10 after securing the win in a time of 1:49.75. UCLA sophomore Riley Kelly settled for 2nd with a 1:49.94.
One of the more underrated milers in the BIG 10 is Minnesota's Shane Streich who took the win this past weekend with a 4:04. TFRRS converts his mile time to a 3:46 1500.
UCLA's David De La Torre ran away from the field and was the first to cross the line with a 14:06.
One of the more underrated battles from this weekend was seeing Emmanuel Rotich (Tulane) and Robert Brandt (UCLA) go head-to-head in the 10k. At the end, Brandt was able to pull away and secure the win with an NCAA #15 time of 29:02. Rotich placed 2nd with a 29:09 (NCAA #21).
Brandt had a decent indoor season with times of 13:54 and 8:06. Still, he left something to be desired. A strong performance like this in his season debut is a great sign for the upcoming months of competition.
Brandt's teammate Myles Smith was one of the nicer surprises of the meet after finishing as the 3rd collegiate with a solid time of 29:17 (a 19 second PR). Prior to this past weekend, Smith had only run under 30 minutes once.