Desert Heat Classic
Let's just get this one out of the way early, shall we?
In case you didn't hear, Michael Saruni is fast. Really fast. Like, NCAA record fast.
The UTEP sophomore followed the rabbit through 400 meters and absolutely exploded in the second half of the race to run a mind-boggling 1:43.25. That time was enough to break the previous record of 1:43.55 previously set by Donavan Brazier back in 2016.
Trying to explain just how amazing his performance is difficult to put into words. Just when you thought that maybe Harris would have a shot of upsetting Saruni after splitting 1:44 this past weekend, Saruni silences any speculation and puts his stamp on the NCAA.
Despite the terrific performance, we have to acknowledge the other competitors in this race. How about Arizona's Carlos Villareal? The Arizona Wildcat did not back down from an aggressive pace and pushed hard to the end. He walked away with an incredible 1:46 personal best (which is nearly a three second PR). It's hard not to like Villareal this season. He ran 3:38 in the 2nd fastest heat at Bryan Clay and was showing his speed this past weekend.
In 3rd place was UTEP's Jonah Koech who hasn't really been a factor in the 800 since his freshman year when he ran 1:46 (twice). His finishing time of 1:47.12 this past weekend is a great sign that he's rounding back into shape.
Closing out the top group was Arizona's Collins Kibet who finished 4th in a time of 1:47.83. Much like Koech, Kibet has struggled to return to the fitness he was once at during his sophomore year when he ran 1:46. The last time Kibet had gone under 1:48 (prior to this past weekend) was May 2016 when he ran 1:47.23. That just goes to show how important this race was to Kibet from a performance and confidence perspective.
The last man under the 1:50 mark was Stanford freshman Hari Sathyamurthy who ran 1:49.93 for 5th.
NAU's Luis Grijalva walked away as the winner in this one with a strong time of 4:03. That was enough to easily top the rest of the field. Runner-up was teammate Peter Lomong who ran 4:11.
Saruni may have caught all of the attention, but Texas A&M's Devin Dixon was one of the better performers of this past weekend. The Aggie sophomore ran a phenomenal 1:45.62 to defeat former Alabama star Alex Amankwah to take the win. That's an NCAA #2 time and in most years it would put him in the title conversation. Thanks to Saruni, Dixon may have to put those aspirations on hold for now...
Efrain Hernandez (Texas A&M) had a solid run himself by finishing 2nd with a time of 1:48.13. He was followed by Ole Miss freshman Griffin Riley who finally broke the 1:50 barrier with a 1:49.76. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the future is bright for the Rebels.
Houston's Cameron Laverty was the final man under the 1:50 barrier with a 1:49.88. Laverty's performance is a nice result that bridges Houston's sprinting dominance to Brian Barraza's firepower in the long-distances.
National Relay Championships
Bryce Hoppel of Kansas looks like he's returning to top form. He took the win this past weekend in a 1:48.64 to best Florida's Justin Pacifico who ran 1:49.39 for 2nd.
The Virginia Tech men continue to show that they don't need Gourley or Joseph to be a successful program. VT's Vincent Ciattei and Diego Zarate went 1-2 this past weekend running 3:42 and 3:43, respectively. Both are personal bests for this duo.
Derek Wiebke (Minnesota), Zach Long (Tennessee), and Shane Streich (Minnesota) rounded out the top five. They all finished the day with a result of 3:45.
Minnesota's Obsa Ali has returned to the steeplechase and it was certainly a strong season debut for the event. Ali walked away with the win in a time of 8:51 to outrun freshman teammate Alec Basten who ran 8:57 for 2nd.
Tennessee freshman Alex Crigger and Virginia Tech sophomore Fitsum Seyoum were the last two men to go under the 9 minute barrier with a pair of 8:59's.
It was no surprise to see the Virginia Tech men atop of the results in this event considering that they are one of the better teams in terms of depth when it comes to the 800. The VT relay put together a 7:25 effort to defeat Minnesota who ran 7:28 for 2nd.
The Arkansas men stacked their relay and it paid off (only barely). They were able to snag a narrow victory over SEC rival Kentucky, 15:14.18 to 15:14.38. The Razorbacks deserve a lot of credit for pulling out the win, but I think this also goes to show how legit Kentucky (and more specifically, Ben Young) is.
We got to see an excellent matchup between Texas and Wisconsin with the Longhorns getting the edge over the Badgers, 9:34 to 9:35. That's a pretty big win when you consider that freshman Sam Worley most likely had to battle Oliver Hoare (who has split 3:54 during indoors) on the anchor to get that victory.
Florida rounded out the top three with a 9:35.
Brutus Hamilton Invite
Garrett Corcoran (California) had a great race running 4:00 to take the win by nearly seven seconds. Corcoran's mile performance gets a 1500 conversion of 3:42.99. It will be interesting to see if he decides to go for the 1500 or 5000 at the West Regional Championships.
North Florida Invite
Joshua Ajero (Albany State) took the win with a personal best time of 1:49.42.
1500 + 3000 Steeple
North Florida's Tyler Stahl ran a PR of 3:43 and walked away with a win. That's a nice PR for the senior who now ranks 37th in the NCAA.
The Osprey's continued their success in the steeplechase. Junior Fynn Timm and freshman Leo Queyrou went 1-2 running 8:57 and 9:07, respectively.
We need to start showing North Florida some respect. In terms of PR's, their roster now consists of Nick Morken (1:48/3:42), Tyler Stahl (3:43), Leo Queyrou (9:07), Fynn Timm (3:49/8:55), and Noah Perkins (14:19). Collectively, that group is (arguably) just as good as the distance runners you'll see out of Florida State and Florida. They may not have the big-name reputation that their in-state rivals have, but they have shown that they can develop a nice chunk of their recruits into guys who can compete at the highest level of the NCAA.
OSU High Performance Meet
Portland's Noah Schutte was the top collegiate finisher in a time of 3:47 (7th overall). However, it was the top finisher in the race that caught my attention. Oregon's Blake Haney ran unattached and took the win in a time of 3:42. His unattached status suggests that he'll be redshirting this season and preserving his eligibility.
Colorado freshman Eduardo Herrera may be the future of this program. He took the win in a time of 13:57.35 to barely edge out British Columbia's John Gay who was runner-up in a time of 13:57.68.
Portland sophomore Michael Teran-Solano was the last collegiate under 14 minutes with a time of 13:59.02.
Adam Peterman, Colorado's steeplechase ace, was the winner in a time of 8:54. That performance is still a decent bit off from his personal best of 8:43, but it's a nice time and a solid win.
BYU Robison Meet
Franco Talem (BYU) pulled out the win in a time of 4:07 to defeat teammate Marcus Dickson who ran 4:09 for 2nd. However, when you convert the mile to a 1500 time and factor in altitude, Talem's time becomes a 3:44 while Dickson's time becomes a 3:46.
Jordan Cross (Weber State) secured a winning time of 9:08 over a slew of BYU talent. With altitude conversions, Cross is granted a time of 8:56.
Olympic Development Mile
Notre Dame's Jacob Dumford was the top collegiate in this race with a time of 4:00 which gives him a 1500 conversion around 3:42(ish). Ben Veatch (Indiana) and DIII's Jeremy Hernandez (Ramapo) were the last collegiates to cross the line with times of 4:01 and 4:02, respectively.
Hofstra's Alex Masai was the top collegiate in a time of 14:00. After taking the win at the Bison Outdoor Classic 5k (with a 14:06), Masai continues to improve and show that he's more than just one-race wonder.
Michigan's Aaron Baumgarten was close behind in 14:00 while Michael Crozier (Georgetown) was the 3rd collegiate in 14:07.
Fordham's Ryan Kutch was the winner in a time of 29:43 which was enough to hold off Stony Brook's Cameron Avery running 29:44. Mount Olive's Adam Craig and Cincinnati's Aaron Bienenfeld were the last two collegiates under the half-hour barrier with times of 29:50 and 29:52, respectively.
In a field filled with pro athletes, NC State's Gavin Gaynor (a transfer from Princeton) was the top collegiate with a time of 8:57.99. Geoffry Cheruiyot (Middle Tennessee State) and Ed Trippas (Princeton) rounded out the top three collegiates, both with a pair of 9:00's.
Mississippi State has shown that they may be the "800U" of the NCAA this year. Their winning time of 7:14 was driven in main part by Marco Arop's 1:46.00 and Dejon Devroe's 1:46.85.
Despite the two huge splits from Arop and Devroe, Indiana still gave Mississippi State a run for their money with splits of 1:51, 1:48, 1:47, and 1:47. Altogether, their splits total a time of 7:15.
Georgia Tech rounded out the top three with a 7:18.
Entering this race, teams like Notre Dame, Indiana, and Georgetown were favored to take the win considering their breakout indoor seasons in the event. However, it was Villanova take the victory thanks to a heroic 3:59 split by Casey Comber. The Wildcats time of 9:34 was enough to fend off a strong Fighting Irish squad who had Yared Nuguse split 3:58 on the anchor. Notre Dame finished 2nd in 9:35.18 with Princeton close behind in 9:35.74.
One of the most historic and highly anticipated events of the Penn Relays is the collegiate 4xMile. Despite the absence of powerhouse teams like Oregon and Stanford this year, programs like Villanova and Georgetown kept things interesting. The Wildcats kept their splits consistent which was enough to give them a one second win over the Hoyas, 16:23 to 16:24.
We mainly cover distance running, but when someone splits 1:44 on a sprint-medley, it's hard to ignore it. Despite solid splits of 1:48 from Clemson's John Lewis and 1:47 from Mississippi State's of Dejon Devroe, Penn State was able to rally thanks to Isaiah Harris' monster anchor leg split of 1:44. PSU's times of 3:15.25 edged out Clemson (3:15.52) and Mississippi State (3:15.70) to take home a Penn Relays Championship Wheel.
Erik Martinsson (UT-Arlington) secured his first win of the season with a 1:49.16 to defeat Ohio State's Alex Lomong who was 2nd in a time of 1:49.88.
We got a nice surprise in this one as DIII athlete Dhruvil Patel (North Central - Ill.) finished the day as the top collegiate with an excellent time of 13:58. That time is now the best time in Division Three by roughly 23 seconds.
Taylor FloydMews (Bradley) and Andrew Johnston (Air Force) closed out the top three collegiate spots with times of 14:08 and 14:15.
Riley McInerney (Eastern Illinois) was the top finisher in a time of 8:55. He took the win by over 10 seconds.
Virginia Grand Prix
Colin Schultz (Liberty) continues his breakout season by grabbing the win in a time of 1:48.96. Teammate Bradley Prentice was runner-up in a time of 1:49.37.
UNC freshman Alex Milligan secures the win with a 3:44 to defeat NC State's Philip Hall (3:45) and Virginia's Matthew Novak (3:45).