The ACC Championships were absolutely electric as both teams and spectators made Rector Field House one of the most exciting places to be this weekend. The 800 meter final was paced by Clemson's John Lewis who took the field through 400 meters in approximately 52 seconds. However, it was Wake Forest's Robert Heppenstall who would take control on the final lap. The Deacon veteran ran a winning time of 1:46.88 to comfortably secure a national qualifying time and put his name back into the national title conversation.
Georgia Tech's Avery Barlett closed with a massive kick to earn runner-up honors in a time of 1:48.39 while Duke's Matt Wisner and Virginia Tech's Bashir Mosavel-Lo also dipped under 1:49 running 1:48.57 and 1:48.74, respectively. Unfortunately for Bartlett, that time puts him at #19 in the NCAA, a spot that will likely not qualify him for Nationals.
In one of the most impressive performances of the weekend, Notre Dame's Yared Nuguse quietly separated himself from the rest of the field and soloed a 3:57 mile to put himself at #8 in the NCAA. He was followed by Virginia Tech's Diego Zarate (4:03) and NC State's Philip Hall (4:04).
The 3k was the distance event that put the entire crowd on it's feet as Virginia Tech's Peter Seufer held off Syracuse's Iliass Aouani in a thrilling final lap. Seufer's time of 7:59 was enough to take home gold while Aouani ran 8:00.99 for 2nd.
NC State freshman Ian Shanklin pulled off the upset, defeating Peter Seufer by a little over a second with a time of 14:03.53 (Seufer ran 14:04.65). Iliass Aouani was 3rd in 14:07.
As expected, the Notre Dame men cruised to the win in a time of 9:38. Virginia Tech settled for 2nd in 9:45.
SEC's was likely a potential preview for what we could see in the finals at Nationals. Sure enough, the matchup was incredibly close as expected. Devin Dixon (Texas A&M) was the conference champion in a time of 1:47.47 which was enough to hold off Marco Arop (Mississippi State) who ran 1:47.86 for 2nd. Texas A&M's Carlton Orange ran 1:48.76 for 3rd.
Mississippi's Waleed Suliman barely edged Arkansas' Cameron Griffith, 4:02.47 to 4:02.50. Missouri's Kieran Wood rounded out the top three in 4:04.
Arkansas' Cameron Griffith took the win in his second event of the weekend in a time of 8:02. Alabama's Gilbert Kigen and Tennessee's Zach Long ran a pair of 8:03's for 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Arkansas's Gilbert Boit was able to barely defeat Alabama's Gilbert Kigen, 14:09.84 to 14:09.87. Alabama's Vincent Kiprop ran 14:12 for 3rd.
BIG 12 Championships
He had been a consistent winner all season, but Bryce Hoppel's 1:46.84 this past weekend reestablished him as one of the best in the NCAA. The Kansas senior took home the win over Iowa State's Festus Lagat who ran 1:48.35 to earn the final guaranteed qualifying spot to Nationals.
Texas Tech's Jonah Koech ran 2:23 to take the win over Oklahoma's Ackeen Colley who ran 2:25 for runner-up.
The Texas duo of Worley and Rogers went 1-2 in times of 4:05 and 4:06, respectively.
3000 + 5000
Iowa State's Edwin Kurgat and Oklahoma State's Isai Rodriguez reignited their rivalry this past weekend. Yet again, Kurgat took home a pair of wins in 8:16 and 14:10. Rodriguez was a close 2nd in both races.
It had been a while since we last saw USC's Isaiah Jewett in an 800, but he didn't seem rusty. The junior Trojan was the winner in a time of 1:47.20 which was well clear of 2nd place (Conner Morello) who ran 1:49.08.
Depending on who you ask, this may have been the race of the weekend. Arizona State's Williams Paulson, who transferred from Princeton last year, took home the crown in a blazing fast time of 3:58.07 to strengthen his national qualifying position. Behind him, we saw two pleasantly surprising results.
Colorado's Joe Klecker was runner-up in a time of 3:58.51 in yet another display of elite-level fitness. Klecker has shown us middle distance speed that most long distance runners dream of having. It would be surprising to see him run anything other than the 3k and 5k at Nationals, but at least we know that he has enough leg-speed to compete in tactical races.
3rd place went to Washington State's Paul Ryan who had a monster breakout performance with a time of 3:58.79. The WSU Cougars have had a few men floating around the four minute barrier for quite some time now, so they were due for a result like this. As of right now, Ryan is currently tied for the #19 spot in the NCAA. However, if enough runners scratch, he could find himself securing a trip to Nationals (which is very possible).
After winning the 5k Brandt went on to win the 3k in a wicked fast time of 7:50.27. He was able to edge BYU's Conner Mantz who ran 7:50.90 was a close 2nd.
The Oregon duo of James West and Cooper Teare ran a pair of 7:51's for 3rd and 4th, respectively. West also secured a national qualifying time in the 3000. It will be interesting to see what event he choses to race at NCAA's.
A total of 10 men went under the 8 minute barrier in this race including Carlos Villarreal who ran 7:52.90 for 5th overall. Villarreal is now someone who own's personal bests of 1:46, 3:57, and 7:52. Oh, and he was a national qualifier in cross country. Talk about range...
One of the more encouraging results was seeing Stanford's Thomas Ratcliffe healthy again. The Cardinal youngster threw down a time of 7:54 for 6th overall after being absent for an extended period of time. If he is able to maintain that fitness in late March, then Ratcliffe could drop another big time at the Stanford Invite.
BYU's Rory Linkletter finished 8th in 7:56. Unfortunately, that time will not put him in qualifying position for the 3k. Additionally, Linkletter was kicked out of a guaranteed qualifying position in the 5000 thanks to Morgan McDonald and Luis Grijalva. The only way Linkletter will be able to qualify for Nationals is if two runners scratch. While that may seem improbable, keep in mind that he has three teammates ranked ahead of him in the 5k (Young, Mantz, and McMillan). All three of those men are also qualified in the 3k.
If two of them were to scratch so that they were fresh for the 3k, then Linkletter could find himself on the line at Nationals. For a program that is as team-oriented as BYU, this could be a very real possibility.
UCLA's Robert Brandt was the winner in a strong time of 13:57. As you can tell by his 3k performance, it was his least impressive race of the weekend.
BIG 10 Championships
Penn State's Domenic Perretta pulled off the upset, running 1:48.24 to hold off Indiana's Cooper Williams who ran 1:48.76 for 2nd. Unlike Williams, Perretta is not in a guaranteed qualifying position for Nationals and is currently sitting as the First Man Out for Nationals (NCAA #17). Unless someone scratches, which is unlikely, Perretta will not be making the trip to Birmingham this year.
Wisconsin's Oliver Hoare earned yet another win over Indiana's Kyle Mau this past weekend, running 4:02 to Mau's 4:03. Hoare continues to prove that he can win fast races as well as tactical affairs.
Morgan McDonald only needed one 5k race to make him a national title contender. The Wisconsin superstar popped off a 13:37 to cruise to the BIG 10 title. Indiana's Ben Veatch earned silver with a 13:53. Minnesota's Obsa Ali was 3rd in 13:57.
Mountain West Championships
The 800 was the highlight of the meet as we saw three men dip under 1:50 at altitude. Air Force junior Michael Rhoads posted a clutch time of 1:47.82 (1:47.22 converted) to win the title and secure a berth to Nationals.
The New Mexico duo of Michael Wilson and Kristian Hanson ran 1:48.27 and 1:49.56, respectively. Those times convert to 1:47.66 and 1:48.95. For Wilson, that time is good enough to qualify him for Nationals (NCAA #12).
The top two finishers symbolized the past and the future for Colorado State. Senior Cole Rockhold and freshman Michael Mooney went 1-2 in the mile finals running 4:11 and 4:12, respectively. For Rockhold, it's an encouraging win as he continues to come off injury. For Mooney, it's a result that shows us how exciting his future with the Rams could be.
BIG East Championships
Georgetown sophomore Ruach Padhal was the winner in a time of 1:49.08. Butler's Johnny Leverenz was runner-up in 1:50.23.
After running 3:57 in Boston, Villanova's Casey Comber added some consistency to his resume with a time of 4:00. He took home the title over Georgetown's Nicholas Wareham who ran 4:02 for 2nd.
Butler's Euan Makepeace ran 8:09 for the win. He was followed by the Villanova duo of Martin Barr and Andrew Marston who ran a pair of 8:12's for 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Villanova's Andrew Marston and Casey Comber each ran 14:18 to take the top two spots in this race.
Ivy League Championships
Harvard's Myles Marshall was the Ivy League champion in a time of 1:49.32 while Dartmouth's Tim Zepf ran 1:50.61 for 2nd.
Columbia's Alek Sauer was the winner in a sneaky-good time of 2:21.96. Brown's Zach Lanigan was runner-up in 2:22.67.
It was the matchup to watch at this meet and the outcome was as exciting as we thought it would be. Columbia's Sam Ritz ran 4:06.70 to take home the title over Penn's Colin Daly who ran 4:06.82 for 2nd. Yale's Nick Dahl ran 4:07 for 3rd.
3000 + 5000
It was the same result in both races as Harvard's Kieran Tunitvate earned double gold with times of 8:12 and 14:25. Columbia's Brian Zabilski was runner-up in both races with times of 8:13 and 14:27.