Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Clemson Tiger Paw Invite
It was the Marco Arop show at Clemson this past weekend as he ran 1:45.90 to take home the win. He now ranks #2 in the NCAA and has the fastest non-converted time in the nation. As expected, Arop is in the national title conversation.
Behind Arop, we saw five other men dip under the 1:50 barrier (all running 1:49's). South Carolina's Otis Jones was 2nd while Mississippi State teammates Dejon Devroe and Daniel Nixon finished 3rd and 4th. Clemson's Malik Epps and John Lewis rounded out the top six.
For Lewis, this is slightly concerning. He was an All-American last year, but is seemingly struggling to get back into that 1:47/1:48 range. Will we see him at Nationals this year?
After failing to break the four minute barrier all season, Sam Worley stepped up to have a huge performance. The Texas star outran Henry Wynne for the victory in a time of 3:57.98 (NCAA #5). In a race where he absolutely had to run fast, Worley stepped up and delivered.
3rd place overall and the next best collegiate was Oregon's Reed Brown who ran 3:58.22 (NCAA #8). He was the final collegiate under the four minute barrier as Kasey Knevelbaard finished at 4:00.
However, the big headline in this race was the crucial and unfortunate fall that took place in the first lap. Although it's not entirely clear what happened, it seems as though Jonah Koech from Texas Tech may have cut in too much, forcing Mick Stanovsek to trip and bring down Carlos Villarreal with him. Stanovsek ended the day as a DNF while Villarreal was last in 4:26.
The unfortunate fall shouldn't reflect on the actual fitness of these two individuals, but now our hand is beginning to hover over the panic button. With only two weekends left of competition, both Villarreal and Stanovsek are not even in the scope of national qualifying. I imagine we will see those two men toe the line for the mile once again at the MPSF Championships.
Cooper Teare continues to impress. He took home the win this past weekend in a monster time of 7:50 (NCAA #7). The Oregon sophomore was able to hold off Texas ace Alex Rogers who ran 7:51 for 2nd. So far this season, Rogers has displayed some phenomenal fitness. Could he opt to run the mile and 3k at Nationals? It depends on what the Longhorns decide to do with the DMR, but it could happen.
Stanford's Alex Ostberg was close behind in 3rd, also running 7:51. After a standout cross country season, the Stanford veteran has seemingly taken his fitness to an entirely new level.
Oregon's James West (7:52.14) and Arkansas' Cameron Griffith (7:52.79) posted strong results of their own. However, neither are necessarily guaranteed a spot to Nationals. West is now ranked #14 in the NCAA while Griffith is ranked #17. This is one of the deepeset 3k fields that the NCAA has ever seen which means we could see some big names left out of the qualifying picture in 2019.
Oklahoma State's Isai Rodriguez and Boise State's Addison DeHaven rounded out the top 10 overall finishers with times of 7:54 and 7:55.
A week after running an altitude converted 7:48, Joe Klecker silenced the critics by cruising to an NCAA #3 time of 13:35 and taking home the win. He was able to hold off Eastern Kentucky's James Sugira who ran 13:37 while UCLA's Robert Brandt had one of the best performances of his career, finishing 3rd in 13:40.
After a slightly underwhelming performance at the Colorado Invite, John Dressel bounced back to finish 4th overall in a strong time of 13:41. As of right now, all four of these men are in guaranteed qualifying positions.
Washington's Fred Huxham continues to stay under the radar despite posting a handful of strong results. His 13:42 is now NCAA #17. Gilbert Boit (Arkansas) ran 13:42 to close out the top tier of finishers.
We saw a handful of a surprise performances as well. Penn State's John McGowan had a breakout performance running 13:46 while Paul Hogan (UMass Lowell) also ran 13:46. After a strong cross country season where he became a pivotal point scorer, Oregon's Jackson Mestler posted a time of 13:46. Mestler now adds to an Oregon roster that is rebuilding after losing a handful of top long distance talents.
Portland's Michael Somers also ran a big PR with a time of 13:47.
Iowa State Classic
It wasn't the fastest 800 we've ever seen at the Iowa State Classic, but it was a great battle. Bryce Koppel (Kansas) held off Robert Heppenstall (Wake Forest), 1:48.10 to 1:48.33. Both men are in position to earn a national qualifier.
The next two spots were taken by the home team. The Iowa State duo of Roshon Roomes and Festus Lagat finished with times of 1:48.70 and 1:48.80, respectively. Roomes has the final guaranteed qualifying spot while Lagat is ranked at #17 in the NCAA.
Indiana's Cooper Williams rounded out the top five with a time of 1:49.15.
Indiana's Kyle Mau continues to be one of the dynamic distance runners in the NCAA. After running 7:50 for 5000 meters at the Indiana Relays, Mau posted an impressive 3:57 (NCAA #3) to take home the win at Iowa State this past weekend. Could we see Mau triple in the mile, 3000, and DMR at the National Championships in March? It's possible...
The next collegiate across the line was Illinois State's Jack Anstey. He crossed the line in 3:59.66, the first sub-four performance of his career. After a handful of impressive early season performances, we mentioned Anstey as someone to keep your eye on later this season. Sure enough, he continues to post impressive times.
Virginia Tech's Diego Zarate rounded out the top five with a time of 4:00.44.
The NAU men decided to stack the 3000 meters, but it was Wisconsin's Olin Hacker who came away with the win. The Badger junior finished 1st in a time of 7:53.88 which currently ranks #20 in the NCAA. If there are enough scratches, Hacker could find himself in a position to qualify for Nationals.
The NAU duo of Grijalva and Beamish secured a pair of top three finishes with times of 7:55 and 7:56, respectively.
Dan Curts (Iowa State), George Kusche (Nebraska), Michael Ward (Bradley), and Yared Nuguse (Notre Dame) all posted times of 7:57. William Paulson (Arizona State) and David Too (Iowa State) ran 7:58 and 7:59, respectively, to round out the final few names under the 8 minute barrier.
Despite the impressive performances, not everyone ran well. Northern Arizona's Tyler Day struggled in this race with a time of 8:01. Illinois' Jonathan Davis, who owns a personal best of 7:49, was last in the invite section with a time of 8:03. Will these men try to earn a national qualifiers in the 3000 meters in the final few weeks of competition? If not, then Davis will just pursue the mile while Day will just pursue the 5000 meters.
It was one of the most exciting races of the weekend with a variety of lead changes and a lot of takeaways. BYU's Clayton Young took home the win, barely holding off a hard charging Edwin Kurgat. Young's time of 13:34.46 is now the #3 time in the NCAA while Kurgat's time of 13:34.54 is NCAA #4. Both had beautiful race execution, staying near the top group and not making any unnecessary surges. Clearly, their patience was rewarded.
Minnesota's Obsa Ali (13:38) and BYU's Connor McMillan (13:38) and Conner Mantz (13:39) rounded the top five and were the final names under the 13:40 barrier. Much like Young and Kurgat, Ali stayed patient near the top group while McMillan and Mantz slowly moved to the front.
The Alabama duo of Gilbert Kigen (13:40) and Vincent Kiprop (13:41) finished 6th and 8th, respectively. After a pair of underwhelming 3k's at Boston earlier in the year, the Crimson Tide duo were able to bounce back incredibly well. With a national qualifier in the 5000 meters (likely) now secured, expect to see these two go for a national qualifier in the 3000 at SEC's.
The 7th place finisher was Indiana's Ben Veatch is now comfortably in national qualifying position after running 13:41. He will be yet another name who could score points for the Hoosiers at Nationals.
BYU's Rory Linkletter was 9th overall in 13:42 while Purdue's Jaret Carpenter was 10th in 13:43. Linkletter now has the #16 qualifying time for 5000 meters in the NCAA while Carpenter's time now ranks #19. Will these two try the 5k again in an effort to guarantee themselves a national qualifier?
Georgetown's Joe White toed the line in one of the fastest indoor 800's in recent history. His result was a respectable 1:46 and further solidifies him as a national title candidate. It will be interesting to see how he'll respond at Nationals if the pace was fast.
When the pace is set for a world record, you're bound to run fast. Wisconsin's Oliver Hoare ran 3:54.83 which easily secures the #1 time in the NCAA. So now the question is...what will he run at Nationals? With indoor personal bests of 3:54 and 7:48 this season, it feels like Hoare could walk away with gold in both races. However, with Grant Fisher, Morgan McDonald, and Amon Kemboi displaying elite fitness over the 3000 meter distance, Hoare may opt to try the mile and DMR double.
Wow. What a race. In a field that was packed with professionals, it was the collegiates who stood out. In a race for the ages, Fisher grabbed the win and held off McDonald. Fisher's time of 7:42.62 is NCAA #4 All-Time as well as the American collegiate record. As for McDonald, his time of 7:42.76 is NCAA #5 All-Time.
Amon Kemboi continues show fans around the country that he belongs in the elite tier of the NCAA. The Campbell superstar dropped a 7:44.77 to finish 3rd overall and earn the NCAA #10 All-Time 3k. He will be a dangerous weapon to keep an eye on later in March.
David Hemery Valentine Invite
Georgia Tech's Avery Bartlett was the top collegiate in a time if 1:48.68. He now ranks #14 in the NCAA and is in qualifying position for Nationals. Columbia's Alek Sauer also ran under 1:49 with an NCAA #18 time of 1:48.94.
There were four changes at the NCAA #1 spot for the mile this past weekend. First it was held by Sam Worley, then it was held by Kyle Mau, then it was held by Waleed Suliman, and finally held by Oliver Hoare.
Mississippi's Waleed Suliman had a breakout spring season in 2018 and has found a way to translate that success to indoors. Suliman ran a monster personal best of 3:56 to earn (what is now) the #2 time in the NCAA. After becoming an All-American in cross country and running 1:46 last spring, Suliman has proven that he can competitive in whatever race he's in.
Close behind Suliman was Villanova's Casey Comber who ran a big personal best of his own. The 40th Villanova Wildcat to run under the four minute barrier posted a time of 3:57 which is now the #4 time in the NCAA. After becoming an All-American in cross country this past fall, it is clear that Comber has elevated his fitness to a completely different level.
Ole Miss senior Derek Gutierrez was yet another runner to dip under the four minute barrier. After running a time of 3:58.55, Gutierrez now ranks at #10 in the NCAA. So far this season, Gutierrez has now run under 4:00, 8:00, and 14:00. Talk about range...
The last collegiate under four minutes was Columbia's Sam Ritz who has come painstakingly close to breaking the barriers for a few seasons now. The senior ran a time of 3:59.36 and now ranks #15 in the NCAA. It will be close, but it's very possible that Ritz will end up on the national stage in March.