Updated: Apr 24, 2018
The Virginia Challenge, typically known for its fast 1500's, hasn't seen as much depth in its entries during the past few years. However, the 800 this past weekend did not disappoint.
Penn State's Isaiah Harris returned to the 800 where he secured the win in a time of 1:47.66. His win, although unsurprising, was a great confidence booster after being upset by Avery Bartlett at the Florida Relays.
Behind Harris was Georgetown freshman Rey Rivera who dropped a huge personal best time of 1:48.04. Rivera edged out Wake Forest veteran Robert Heppenstall who finished 3rd in 1:48.34.
Eastern Carolina's Stefano Migliorati was 4th in 1:48.78 while Central Arkansas freshman Alex Hanson rounded out the top five with a 1:49.50. Dylan Capwell (Monmouth) and Jordan Makins (Penn State) were the last two men to go under 1:50 with a pair of 1:49's.
He may have finished 3rd in the 800, but his winning time of 3:41 in the 1500 was a statement race for Robert Heppenstall. The Wake Forest star was able to hold off Virginia's Mike Marsella who finished 2nd in 3:42.
Yale's Trevor Reinhart and Syracuse's Philo Germano had strong performances with a pair of 3:43's. For a long-distance guy like Germano, this is a great display of speed and range.
The 1500 meter silver-medalist from last year's National Championship, Justine Kiprotich, was 5th in a solid time of 3:44. It's not anything jaw dropping, but keep in mind that this guy is a great postseason competitor. I imagine he'll still be in the national qualifying mix later this season.
Columbia's Sam Ritz was the last man under 3:45 with a 6th place finishing time of 3:44.72.
In just the second 5k of his collegiate career, Jamaine Coleman (Eastern Kentucky) ran a huge time of 13:50 to take down a deep field of underrated individuals.
Speaking of breakout performances, Iona frosh Ehab El-Sandali edged out Georgetown veteran Jonathan Green for 2nd, 13:52.50 to 13:52.85. El-Sandali has had a few decent performances, but nothing suggested that he could run 13:52.
Patrick Sheehan (NC State), Jacob Bowman (Oakland), and Ari Klau (Virginia) took the next three spots with 13:57's to complete the top five. Hlynur Andresson (Eastern Michigan) and Brian Zabilski (Columbia) ran 13:58 and 13:59, respectively. They were the last two under 14 minutes.
In total, 10 men (9 collegiates) went under the 30 minute mark. Samford's Arsene Guillorel added another great 10k to his career resume. His winning time of 29:00 was 16 seconds ahead of Virginia's Lachlan Cook who finished 2nd in 29:16. Azaria Kirwa (Liberty) finished 3rd with a 29:27.
Two surprise finishers to round out the top five collegiates were Albany's Kyle Gronostaj in 29:32 and Miami's Sean Grossman in 29:38.
The top collegiate in this one was Syracuse's Aidan Tooker who finished 2nd overall in a time of 8:44.97. Hampton's Wesley Kirui continues to progress and impress with a time of 8:51 to edge out Syracuse freshman Noah Affolder who ran 8:51.78 to round out top three.
Simeon Roberts (East. Tenn. State) and Andrew Bowman (Oakland) ran 8:52 and 8:53, respectively, to round out the top collegiates.
In total, 11 men ran under the 9 minute barrier.
LSU Alumni Gold Invite
For the 7th time in his career, Clemson's John Lewis ran under 1:48 with a 1:47.75 and walked away with the win this past weekend.
Robert Downs (TAMU-Kingsville) ran 1:49.69 for 2nd.
Mnt. SAC Relays
The meet was full of professionals, foreign teams, and a variety of track clubs. In 6th place overall was Utah State's Clay Lambourne with a 1:47.83. He finished as the top collegiate. Lambourne finished ahead of BYU's Abraham Alvarado with a 1:48.05.
South Dakota's Eldon Warner was the top finisher on the day with a 3:45. Current high schooler and Ole Miss commit Dalton Hengst ran 3:45 for 2nd. Joel Duren (UT-Arlington) and Jordan Beutler (Utah State) were the last two men to run under 3:46.
Kevin White (Loyola-Ill.) finished 7th overall and was the top collegiate with a 3:45.
5000 (Open - Section 1)
Chico State's Josh Johnson was the top American collegiate finisher with a 14:06 while Iowa's Nathan Mylenek ran 14:09 for 4th overall.
5000 (Open - Section 2)
Mount Olive's Adam Craig walked away with the win in a time of 13:58.52 to edge out UCLA's Colin Burke with a 13:58.77.
The Colorado State duo of Eric Hamer and Wayde Hall both ran a pair of 14:00's to finish 3rd and 4th overall. George Gleason (UCLA) was the 5th finisher in a time of 14:01.
It was one heck of a battle as we got to see three heavy-weights duke it out. Walking away with the collegiate win was Campbell sophomore Amon Kemboi who is coming off an All-American indoor track season. He was able to take down BYU ace Rory Linkletter and Houston star Brian Barraza with a phenomenal time of 13:37. However, both Linkletter and Barraza were both right on his heels with times of 13:37.98 and 13:38.71 to round out the top three spots.
The top three may be the ones who gain all of the attention, but what about the group behind them?
If you're looking for another breakout result, look no further than Montana State's Diego Leon who dropped a mind-boggling personal best of 13:39 this past weekend to finish as the 5th best collegiate. Leon finished just behind BYU's Connor McMillan who also ran a PR of 13:38.
Rounding out the top group was BYU's Daniel Carney and UCLA's Robert Brandt. They each finished the day with times of 13:39 and 13:41.
All six collegiates that I just mentioned walked away with new personal bests.
The PR's just kept coming. Georgia's Bryan Kamau, who I've always considered to be a miler, ran a great race to finish 14th overall and walk away with a PR of 13:44.
Lawrence Kipkoech (Campbell), Grant Fischer (Colorado State), and James Ngandu (Tiffin) were the last men to go under 13:50 running 13:46, 13:46, and 13:47, respectively.
The Air Force men continue to put up strong results. This past weekend, they had Jacob Bilvado cross the line with a 13:51 while BYU's young star Connor Mantz ran 13:52. John Rice (Texas) and Daniel De La Torre (UCLA) were the last men under the 14 minute barrier with times of 13:52 and 13:54.
Connor Weaver (BYU) was the top collegiate finisher in a time of 29:24 while Southern Utah's Aidan Reed was the 2nd collegiate in 29:31.
Georgia Tech's Nahom Solomon continues to provide solid results. He was the top collegiate to cross the line in a time of 29:07. Just two seconds behind Solomon was Southern Utah's Mike Tate in a strong time of 29:09.
Karim Achengli (NW Missouri) was the 3rd collegiate in a time of 29:09.
3000 Steeple (Open)
Spencer Fehlberg (Utah State) ran 8:48 to win this section and walked away with a huge personal best. Freshman Harry Ewing (Wyoming) ran 8:52 while sophomore Adrian Jones (Utah Valley) ran 8:53.
3000 Steeple (Invite)
We got to see a great battle as Portland's Simon Grannetia ran 8:43 to out-run Kale Adams (Adams State) and Emmanuel Rotich (Tulane) who each ran 8:45.
Portland wasn't done after Grannetia. Noah Schutte finished 4th overall with an 8:47.
One of the more surprising finishes from this past weekend was seeing Sean Tobin (Ole Miss) run 8:53 in his first steeplechase performance.
Further down the results in 16th overall was Arizona's Bailey Roth who continues to struggle this season. In his third attempt so far this spring, Roth ran his best time of the 2018 season with an 8:55. For someone who has an 8:37 PR, you would expect him to be performing at a higher level.
Between the open and invite sections, 25 collegiates ran under the 9 minute barrier.
In a field filled with professionals and unattached athletes, Duke's Matt Wisner walked away as the top collegiate on his home track. Not only did he take the collegiate win, but he earned a HUGE personal best time of 1:48.04. For someone who had run under 1:50 only once before this weekend (1:49.61), this is a breakout result.
Finishing as the 2nd collegiate and 6th overall was All-American miler Vincent Ciattei who ran 1:48.29. He was followed by teammate Diego Zarate who, much like Wisner, also had a huge breakout performance with a 1:48.81. Prior to this past weekend, Zarate had never run faster than 1:51.
Blaine Lacey (George Mason) and Bashir Mosavel-Lo (Virginia Tech) were the last men to run under 1:50 with times of 1:49.24 and 1:49.49, respectively. Despite Patrick Joseph and Neil Gourley running out of eligibility, the Hokies have still managed to put three men under 1:50 this season.
The men from Blacksburg, Virginia took over this event and were absolutely relentless. Former Eastern Michigan star Willy Fink (now training under VT Elite) was the winner in a time of 13:39. That was enough to bring Virginia Tech's Peter Seufer under the 14 minute barrier as well with a time of 13:53.
Neil Gourley, who finished his eligibility this past winter, ran 14:04 for 3rd while Virginia Tech's Daniel Jaskowak (running unattached) also ran 14:04 for 4th. Jack Joyce (Virginia Tech) rounded out the top five with a 14:06.
Indiana made the trip out to Palo Alto to give Daniel Kuhn an opportunity to run fast. For the most part, he was able to accomplish that with a winning time of 1:48. Teammate Jordan Huntoon was runner-up in 1:50.
The Hoosiers didn't stop after taking control of the 800. Indiana's Joseph Murphy ran an excellent time of 3:42 to take the win while redshirt freshman Ben Veatch ran 3:43 for 2nd.
3rd place went to Colorado's Eduardo Herrera who finished the day with a personal best time of 3:43. I've mentioned multiple times before that Herrera is a "long-distance" guy, but with his performances in the 1500 have been strong so far this season. The true freshman could be a legitimate threat in this event later this season.
Rounding out the top five was Indiana's Cooper Williams and Stanford's Thomas Coyle who each ran 3:44 and 3:45, respectively.
In what may have been the 2nd best race of the weekend (see Bryan Clay 1500), we got to see the titans of the PAC 12 battle it out. Stanford's Grant Fisher walked away victorious with a phenomenal time of 13:36 to get the best of Colorado's Zach Perrin who ran a personal best time of 13:37.
We also got to see the Alabama men in this field as Vincent Kiprop and Gilbert Kigen took the next two spots with times of 13:37 and 13:40. Alfred Chelanga was back in 7th with a 13:42. It's hard not to like what the Rolling Tide have been producing so far this spring season...
5th and 6th place went to Stanford ace Sean McGorty and Colorado's Ryan Forsyth, both with a pair of 13:41's. For McGorty, this is another step in the right direction and a confidence booster for later in the season. He's not at his peak fitness right now, but he may have a chance to get there if he stays healthy. As for Forsyth, you can't help but be happy for this guy. He's been a very underrated and key piece of this Colorado squad with his consistent, top-notch performances. A personal best of 13:41 on his resume now puts him into the national qualifying conversation.
Minnesota's Obsa Ali (13:43), San Francisco's Jacob Allen (13:43), Purdue's Jaret Carpenter (13:44), and Iowa State's Dan Curts (13:45) took spots 8 through 11 and were the last group to go under the 13:50 mark.
Jack Keelan (Stanford) and Jack Rowe (San Francisco) were the last two men to dip under the 14 minute mark with times of 13:50 and 13:58, respectively.
Michigan veteran Ben Flanagan pulled away from Indiana's Bryce Millar to take the win, 29:33 to 29:39.
On his home track, Steven Fahy walked away with the win in a time of 8:48, just two seconds off from his PR. He was able to best Oklahoma State junior Christian Liddell who was 2nd in a time of 8:54.
Michigan's Connor Mora was the last man under the 9 minute mark with a time of 8:59.99.
Bryan Clay Invite
In a meet filled with phenomenal performances, it's important that we don't overlook the depth from this race. Thomas Staines, the D2 national champ, went back to work this past weekend and ran 1:48.29 to get the best of New Mexico's Michael Wilson who ran 1:48.35 for runner-up.
Close behind Wilson was Staines' teammate Devundrick Walker who had the race of his life with a time of 1:48.59. His previous personal best? 1:50.28...
Speaking of breakout performances, we got to see Washington freshman Devan Kirk erupt for a 1:48.88 for 4th overall. The young Washington talent has had a string of consistent races, but a performance like this only validates how special he'll be for the Huskies in the future.
The next seven spots all had collegiates under the 1:50 mark.
1500 (Section 10)
Despite the madness of the invite section, it's important that we talk about some of the monster performances we saw in the regular heats.
The top collegiate in this section was Bradley's Taylor FloydMews, the underrated miler who had a strong indoor season this past winter. His time of 3:43 put him ahead of Miami-Ohio's Chris Torpy who ran 3:44.
1500 (Section 11)
Brett Meyer (Fort Hays State) continues to put up strong numbers this season. He was the top collegiate finisher in his section with a 3:43. He led a slew of men under 3:45 including BYU's Patrick Parker, Iowa's Michael Melchert, Texas A&M's Cameron Villareal, and Wyoming sophomore Daniel Hintz. All four of those names ran 3:44.
1500 (Section 12)
Freshman Matt Owens, the steelpechase star from BYU, won his heat in a strong time of 3:44. Stuart McCallum (Portland) and Everett Smulders (Ole Miss) rounded out the top three with times of 3:45.
1500 (Section 13)
Despite this being his 4th race of the season, Butler's Johnny Leverenz continues to stay undefeated. His time of 3:42 was enough to edge Southern Utah's Kasey Knevelbaard (who appears to be redshirting this season) by .13 seconds.
New Mexico's Ian Crowe-Wright ran 3:43 for 3rd in his heat while Chandler Teigen (Washington State), Trent Mazzelli (Portland), Yusuke Uchikoshi (Boise State), and Kyle Burdick (South Dakota State) all ran 3:44 (and finished in that order).
1500 (Section 14)
This is the section where things got serious as Arizona's Carlos Villareal blew away the field with a monster 3:38 effort. It's surprising that his 3:57 mile from indoors wasn't enough to get him into the elite section, but he made the meet directors second guess their decision. I feel confident that Villareal can be an All-American later this spring.
The next two collegiates behind Villareal were a pair of freshmen: Reed Brown (Oregon) and Waleed Suliman (Ole Miss). Both finished the day running 3:39 with Brown edging out Suliman. For Brown, this isn't too surprising. We saw him run a 3:57 mile during indoors and a 3:40 1500 a few weekends ago at the Stanford Invite. The real story is Ole Miss having a freshman that can run 1:47 (to defeat All-American Daniel Kuhn) and come back the next week to run an excellent time of 3:39. Both of these guys are special talents...
Arkansas' Jack Bruce was the last collegiate to run 3:39. For a guy who was the silver medalist in the 5k last year, this 3:39 is an incredible display of range and speed. Don't forget about what this guy can do in the postseason.
Freshman Sam Worley was able to get the best of in-state rival Alex Riba in this one as both ran a pair of 3:40's. NAU's Luis Grijalva, another freshman, held on for a great time of 3:41 which was enough to defeat BYU's Abraham Alvarado who also ran 3:41.
In case you couldn't tell, this freshman class is at another level...
It may have been the fastest and deepest 1500 ever run in regards to NCAA results. A quick opening 400 (55 seconds) put New Mexico's Josh Kerr in excellent position to run something special, especially with his position in the lead pack. For the most part, the pack stayed relatively unsettled. No one dared to make a move that could potentially waste energy for later in the race. With 400 to go and the pacers stepping off, Kerr put in a burst of speed while Robert Domanic (Ole Miss), Justyn Knight (Syracuse), and Sam Prakel (Oregon) began to slowly move up on the side. With 100 to go, Knight passed a hurting Domanic while Prakel made every effort to shake Western Oregon's David Ribich who was behind him. No one was catching Kerr.
When the dust settled and the results were displayed, Josh Kerr became the NCAA record holder in the 1500 meters with a 3:35.01. Knight was close behind in a time of 3:36.07 while Robert Domanic settled for 3rd in 3:36.33.
Sam Prakel was the next collegiate finisher in a time of 3:36.84 while former New Mexico Lobo and current professional Peter Callahan finished 5th overall with a 3:37.11.
David Ribich rounded out the top five collegiates with a 3:37.35. As impressive as Kerr's time was, it's important that we recognize Ribich's performance as well. After all, he's now the D2 1500 meter record holder.
Oregon's James West had a phenomenal race as well running 3:37. Teammate Mick Stanovsek finished 11th overall (8th American collegiate) with a 3:39. The Oregon Ducks now have FOUR men under the 3:40 mark. It's one thing to have four men under the 4 minute mile barrier, but it's another thing to have four men under the 3:40 mark. That is absolutely mind-blowing when you think about it.
Wisconsin's Oliver Hoare had a phenomenal race as well. His 3:37 now establishes himself as one of the best Badgers ever in a historic program.
12th place overall went to Alex Rogers (Texas) who had a solid performance running 3:40. He edged out Northern Arizona's Andy Trouard and Colorado State's Cole Rockhold, who both ran 3:41. While I'm sure these three wanted to go under 3:40, their times are still respectable and puts them near the top of the NCAA.
There are so many takeaways to discuss, but I'll save that for an article later this week...
Adams State's George Kelly was able to take down D2 rival Zach Panning (Grand Valley State), 13:52.03 to 13:52.66. GVSU freshman Enael Woldemichael was able to stay close behind. He finished as the 3rd best collegiate with a time of 13:54.
Wisconsin sophomore Zack Snider ran a great race and walked away with a new personal best of 13:54. He was followed by Derek Williams of CSU-Pueblo who ran 13:55 to finish as the 5th best collegiate in his heat.
In a field filled with Olympians and national champions, you knew that this was going to be a fast one. Sure enough, professionals Evan Jager (Nike) and Isaac Kimeli took the top two spots in excellent times of 13:24.
The fast pace up-front allowed for multiple collegiates to etch their name atop of the NCAA leaderboards. Sydney Gidabuday, the 6x D2 national champion from Adams State, not only owns the fastest 5k in Division 2 now, but also the fastest 5k time in the entire NCAA. I can't help but think that Knight and Gidabuday should battle it out later this season. Maybe at Payton Jordan? Someone has to make this happen...
The next collegiate to cross the line was NAU's Matthew Baxter who had a great time of 13:31. It just goes to show that Baxter is a grinder and a super dangerous competitor when the pace is fast.
Washington's Colby Gilbert had one of his better performances with a finishing time of 13:41. After a series of inconsistent races from cross country earlier this winter, Gilbert is beginning to find his groove and produce more fast times. Don't sleep on him in the postseason.
How about these Oregon men? Freshman Cooper Teare continues to blow away my expectations. He was the 4th best collegiate to cross the line with a time of 13:46.46. That was enough to edge out Wisconsin's long-distance specialist Joe Hardy who ran 13:46.85 for 8th overall.
Sticking with the Oregon praise, Tanner Anderson finished the day with a great time of 13:48. It's the fastest outdoor 5k he's ever run.
Blaise Ferro (Northern Arizona), Gilbert Boit (Arkansas), Austen Dalquist (Arkansas), Paul Hogan (UMass Lowell) and Cameron Griffith (Arkansas) all ran under the 14 minute barrier.
The final event of our recap is the steeplechase and although it didn't have the fireworks that the other distance events had, it still produced some strong results.
Bradley's Haran Dunderdale ran a lifetime PR of 8:50 to take the win this past weekend. He was able to beat Colorado Christian's Evan Verbal who ran 8:51 for 2nd, also a lifetime best.
The PR's kept coming as Portland freshman Riley Osen and Arkansas senior Kyle Hosting each ran times of 8:52 and 8:53, respectively.
Rounding out the top five was Gonzaga's Kellen Manley who ran 8:54.
In his first ever steeplechase, Ole Miss sophomore Parker Scott ran a great time of 8:55 to place 6th overall.
In total, 16 collegiates broke the 9 minute barrier.