Updated: Mar 1, 2018
Yesterday, we posted our final SCRATCH TRACKER projections and explained a few qualifying scenarios that could happen for a handful of individuals in our Entry Enigma article. For some of those projections, we were spot on. For others? Not so much...
Here a few key scratches and entries that you should be aware of. You can find the entire list of entries here.
Virginia Tech is all in for the Mile
In yesterday's article, I stated said I "expected at least one of these two Virginia Tech guys to enter the 800". That, however, was not the case...
Maybe the Hokies feel that the 800 is too close to the DMR or that they can execute a race strategy together. Whatever the reasoning is, their decision to opt out of the 800 comes as a surprise. When we look at the 800, Patrick Joseph is ranked 8th in the nation and Neil Gourley is ranked 2nd. Granted, both of these guys are also ranked in the top 10 for the Mile, but they are leaving themselves less upside in regards to the team score by putting all three men in one event.
It's an interesting move, but I am also not ready to doubt Coach Ben Thomas who has turned Virginia Tech into a powerhouse program on the track.
What that means for the 800 field
If it's not already obvious, the Virginia Tech scratches means that two new names enter the 800 field. Air Force's Michael Rhoads (NCAA #17) and Mississippi State's Dejon Devroe (NCAA #19) will be the next two men in.
Josh Kerr was the 18th ranked in this event and would have been eligible to qualify if he did not scratch. He will be racing the Mile/DMR double this weekend. Even if he didn't have the DMR, I still believe that he would have only pursued the Mile.
Sean Tobin got in, just not the way we thought he would
Prior to the scratches, Mississippi's Sean Tobin was ranked 20th in the nation and needed four individuals ahead of him to not enter the mile. Initially, we had the Virginia Tech duo of Neil Gourley and Patrick Joseph scratching in favor of the 800. That, however, did not happen and two less spots were available for Tobin.
If only Knight and Trouard had scratched from the event, then not even Sam Worley would have made it to the national meet. Instead, Mick Stanovsek would have been the Last Man In.
Luckily for Worley and Tobin, there were three guys who had to decide whether or not they would attempt the difficult Mile/3k double. Of those three (Davis, Rockhold, and Saarel), only Rockhold chose to enter in both events. Both Davis and Saarel have decided that they will be completely fresh for the 3000. Worley and Tobin need to send some flowers and a thank you card to Davis and Saarel.
In the end, Sean Tobin was the Last Man In, just like we had projected...but not in the way that we expected.
Curious why no one scratched out of the 3000? It's because there's no reason to do so...
A friend of mine sent me a text last night and was surprised that no one scratched from the 3000 meters. But honestly, why would they?
The 3000 is the very last open event of the meet which means that if anyone's sole focus was the 5000, DMR, Mile, or even the 800, then they would have already completed those events prior to the 3000. In a way, the 3000 is a race where no one has anything to lose for many of the guys who are doubling.
Dillon Maggard saved Connor McMillan's qualifying hopes
We mentioned yesterday that despite being ranked 2nd in the nation for the 5000 meters, Maggard may scratch out of the event for the DMR/3000 double. Sure enough, that was the case as Maggard chose to defend the validity of Utah State's converted DMR time from altitude.
In the mean time, BYU's Connor McMilan may be the most dangerous name in this field despite being the Last Man In. No one in the top 16 of this event (to my knowledge) has run consecutive 5K's this season AND improved their time. Admittedly, it will be difficult to a run third 5K and still perform at the top level. However, if anyone is capable of doing it, it may be McMillan...