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  • 2022 D1 Indoor Top 25 Rankings (Men): Preseason (Part One)

    Additional contributions by Michael Weidenbruch Click here to see our Just Missed and Honorable Mention names. Listed eligibility takes redshirts and Covid-related extensions into consideration. TFRRS is used as a general guide when determining eligibility. 25. Colton Johnsen, Senior, Washington State Here's a fun fact: No active runner in the NCAA has a mile personal best AND a 3000 meter personal best AND a 5000 meter personal best that are all faster than what Johnsen has run...although George Kusche and Kieran Lumb are very close. Sure, some athletes may be faster when you combine those three marks and try to compare, but the point that I'm trying to get across is that Johnsen boasts a very rare level of versatility. With personal bests of 3:57 (mile), 7:53 (3k) and 13:34 (5k), Johnsen has found a way to make himself standout in an era where distance running has become dramatically more competitive. Johnsen's versatility is great, and he has proven that he can be nationally competitive in pretty much any distance event, including the steeplechase. However, the NCAA is getting faster and Johnsen's performances at the latest indoor and outdoor national meets failed to yield an All-American finish. There's no question that this Washington State standout is incredibly talented. However, Johnsen will need to capitalize on his versatility in order to earn a top finish against the nation's most elite distance talents. His recent 5k personal best at Boston University shows us that he's still at the top of his game, but finishing as the 13th-best collegian in that field tells us that there is still plenty of work for him to do. If Johnsen makes the proper adjustments, he could be one of the most dangerous names in the country by season's end. 24. Aaron Bienenfeld, Senior, Oregon Much like Johnsen, this Oregon star can toe the line for any long distance event and thrive. With personal bests of 7:50 (3k), 13:31 (5k) and 28:10 (10k), it feels like a requirement for Bienenfeld to be listed in these rankings, especially after a cross country season where he finished 18th at the national meet. The former Cincinnati Bearcat was a stud last year, earning strong finishes, big-time personal bests and a 5th place All-American finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 5000 meters. Bienenfeld is an aerobic beast who is typically able to stick with most aggressive paces -- or at the very least, thrive in those settings. He was a legitimate threat on the national stage last winter and it looks like he has only gotten better since coming to Oregon. In theory, Bienenfeld should be ranked higher considering his spot in our rankings last year. However, with the rest of the NCAA getting faster in his primary events, and a winter cross country season no longer splitting teams between national meets, this veteran will have his work cut out for him over the next few months. 23. George Kusche, Junior, Northern Arizona Kusche's decision to transfer to NAU was a massive one. The Lumberjacks were surely happy to add another All-American-caliber talent to their roster, but the real storyline was how NAU would impact Kusche -- not the other way around. Kusche is a very challenging name to gauge. He is easily one of the most versatile distance runners in the country, even rivaling our TSR #25 runner, Colton Johnsen. However, with personal bests of 3:57 (mile), 7:50 (3k) and 13:28 (5k), Kusche boasts a level of firepower that Johnsen hasn't quite discovered yet. Despite having those incredible accolades, postseason success is something that had been fairly elusive for Kusche prior to his arrival in Flagstaff. Despite winning the BIG 10 individual cross country title last winter, Kusche was never a cross country All-American at Nebraska despite his three attempts at the national meet. He was never an All-American on the indoor oval or outdoor oval and was never a BIG 10 champion on the track. Kusche has struggled to race tactically and he hasn't been great on the biggest stages. However, his recent move to Northern Arizona yielded an All-American finish this past fall. That result goes a long way in our eyes, leading us to believe that Kusche can deliver on his true potential come March. 22. Yusuf Bizimana, Freshman, Texas When Texas landed this UK-based rookie, we weren't sure what to expect. Bizimana's claim to fame was that he had run 1:46 for 800 meters. However, just like most elite athletes who are new to the NCAA, we wanted to see how he would consistently handle top collegiate competition. As it turns out, Bizimana had no problems adjusting to the NCAA. The Texas star ran a 3:57 mile personal best, won three BIG 12 titles between the indoor and outdoor seasons, ran under 1:47 on three separate occasions and earned two All-American finishes between the indoor (mile) and outdoor (800) national meets, placing 8th and 7th, respectively. Bizimana may not be happy with his national meet performances, but given his relative inexperience with NCAA competition, there is a ton to like about this guy. He never had a poor result, he put himself in positions to win and he ran fast times on more than one occasion. Make no mistake, there is still plenty of room for improvement for this Texas star. Even so, we don't have any reason to believe that he won't be a nationally competitive name this winter. 21. Sean Dolan, Rs. Freshman, Villanova Sean Dolan was never supposed to run as well as he did last year. As a redshirt rookie, this Villanova runner peaked perfectly for the postseason. Then, when he was at the national meet, he showed poise and tactical awareness that many NCAA elites never develop. Last winter, Dolan ran a flat-track converted sub-four mile towards the tail-end of the regular season. Then, he had back-to-back races where he ran 3:57 in both the prelims and the finals of the NCAA Indoor Championships. In both rounds, Dolan showed off tactical awareness and patience that you would expect out of a veteran. In the finals, he perfectly positioned himself for success at the tail-end of the race and walked away with a 6th place All-American finish. On the outdoor oval, Dolan would go on to run 3:38 for 1500 meters -- which validated his breakout indoor campaign -- and would also run 1:48 for 800 meters. However, his personal best would come in the summer where he ran 1:46. Dolan didn't make it out of the East Regional Championships in the 1500 meters, claiming the dreadful title of "First Man Out" in his region with a 13th place finish. Even so, there is so much to like about Dolan. He is a middle distance star who understands positioning, timing and spacing so much better than anyone his age should. The Villanova standout isn't perfect, and we will still need to see him do great things more than once, but you should only expect greatness from a guy who now has the resume to be amongst the best. 20. Sam Tanner, Sophomore, Washington Gosh, what a tricky runner to figure out. Sam Tanner has the credentials of a superstar. The New Zealander has broken numerous records in the 1500 meters and the mile throughout his young career, posting eye-catching times that could make him a nationally competitive pro runner despite his youth. The problem, however, is that Tanner struggled to deliver in the postseason last year. Last winter, Tanner ran a monster time of 3:34 for 1500 meters on the indoor oval. He finished runner-up to Ollie Hoare in that race and took down a slew of highly accomplished pro runners in the process. Then, he essentially cruised to a time of 3:55 in the mile. Tanner was viewed as someone who could threaten Hocker for the mile national title. However, a bizarre and very slow preliminary round resulted in Tanner making a handful tactical mistakes. As a result, he was shockingly left out of the final. Fast forward to the outdoor season and Tanner never really got back in the groove. He was beaten by numerous collegiates in a very fast 1500 meter effort during the regular season and then finished 10th at the outdoor national meet, failing to earn All-American honors. Make no mistake, Tanner is elite. Very elite. Running 3:34 for 1500 meters on an indoor track and beating multiple professional stars doesn't just happen by accident. That performance and a handful of other results suggests that he can win a national title. Admittedly, our confidence in Tanner would improve if we saw a bit more consistency out of him. Even so, this Washington Husky has a legitimate shot at winning gold this winter if his best race of the season comes at the national meet. 19. Jack Salisbury, Rs. Senior, Georgetown Coming out of high school in 2016, Jack Salisbury was one of the nation’s top recruits. Admittedly, his first couple of seasons at Georgetown were somewhat unspectacular. Salisbury made encouraging progress, but he didn't produce any results that would make him a truly competitive at the national level. However, in 2021, Salisbury burst onto the scene and started to deliver on the superstar expectations that we had given to him as just a young recruit. This past spring, the Georgetown ace had a huge season which he ended with personal bests of 3:56 in the mile (outdoors) and 3:37 in the 1500 meters. At the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Salisbury would end up having one of the best postseason peaks of anyone in the NCAA. The Hoya star placed 6th overall in the 1500 meters to take home his first All-American honors, displaying outstanding race tactics in the process. While Jack Salisbury is one of the best milers in the country, his greatest successes are concentrated pretty heavily in just one event. Not only that, but we haven't seen him have national-level success on the indoor oval yet. Even so, Salisbury has proven that he is a true star who was able to deliver on his high expectations. He has evolved into one of the best tacticians in the NCAA and he can seemingly hold his own in any event. However, we'll be interested to see if he can translate that success to the indoor track and if he can continue to capitalize on his impressive consistency from last spring. 18. Adam Fogg, Junior, Drake I was wildly impressed by Fogg last year. In fact, I was so impressed that I'm currently questioning if we're ranking him too low. Last winter, the Drake standout ran under 4:00 in the mile not once, not twice, but THREE times, recording marks of 3:59, 3:59 and 3:57. The Drake Bulldog qualified for the indoor national meet where he showed, without question, some of the best poise, patience, composure and tactical awareness of anyone in the distance events. And yes, that includes Cole Hocker. At the indoor national meet, Fogg perfectly handled a very bizarre and very tactical preliminary round in the mile despite most of the field struggling to properly respond. In the finals, he had a clear understanding of when he needed to surge and when he needed to let the pack form in front of him. As a result, Fogg was rewarded with a 4th place finish and his 3:57 personal best. Then, on the outdoor oval, Fogg ran a personal best of 13:58 for 5000 meters. At the Drake Relays, he narrowly missed securing the win over Ryan Adams en route to a 3:38 personal best for 1500 meters. However, Fogg was still able to take down established distance talents like Sam Gilman, Takieddine Hedeilli, Sean Torpy, Juan Diego Castro, Cameron Ponder, etc. After a sub-29:30 personal best for 10,000 meters and later qualifying for the outdoor national meet, Fogg struggled a bit in the prelims of the 1500 meters and was unable to advance to the finals. While he may not be perfect, Fogg is still a strong tactician -- maybe even one of the best in the entire NCAA. He doesn't quite have the same insanely fast times that someone like Hocker, Nuguse and Teare do, but a 3:57 mile PR is no joke, especially when you can pair it with exceptional race tactics. There is still another level to be reached for Adam Fogg. However, when he gets there, he'll be more of a problem for his NCAA competitors than he already is. 17. Jason Gomez, Rs. Sophomore, Iowa State Gomez was a name who we went back-and-forth on for a while. His breakout campaign during the 2021 indoor and outdoor track seasons was absolutely incredible, as was his consistency throughout the entire year. Gomez, who transferred from Notre Dame de Namur in the summer of 2020, asserted himself as one of the nation's most elite half-milers last year. He recorded a personal best of 1:47.02 in his very first meet as a Cyclone and actually ran under 1:48 a total of five different times between the indoor and outdoor seasons. We also can't forget how Gomez split a blistering time of 2:48 on the lead-off leg of Iowa State's DMR, beating Cole Hocker in the process. Oh, and as an added bonus, Gomez also owns a 1000 meter personal best of 2:19. For anyone who isn't familiar with that distance, that is a VERY fast time. With a 5th place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships on his resume, Gomez feels like a name who will be competitive pretty much any time he toes the line...well, sorta. Gomez was a DNF at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, struggled at the US Olympic Trials, and recently underwhelmed at the ISU Holiday Invitational after running 1:56 for 800 meters. Could an unlucky fall or injury explain some of these results? Possibly, but it's not a great string of performances for someone whose greatest strength was consistency. Gomez has also never run under 1:47, leaving him without the firepower that some of these other 800 meter superstars have. All of that being said, we would be more concerned with Gomez's recent efforts had he not run 2:21 for 1000 meters earlier this month. Based on that, it's more likely that Gomez has simply been the recipient of some old fashioned bad luck and that some of his recent results aren't indicative of his true fitness. 16. Samuel Voelz, Senior, Notre Dame 2021 was a breakout year for Voelz who validated suspicions that he could be one of the nation's premiere 800 meter runners. The Notre Dame star finished 4th at the NCAA Indoor Championships, ran 1:46 for 800 meters at the ACC Outdoor Championships, qualified for the outdoor national meet (where he finished 10th) and later went on to run 1:45 at the US Olympic Trials where he placed 6th in the finals. Voelz is a challenging name to gauge. He has proven to be a major force in the postseason, but it feels like he has never had a singular race where everything was absolutely perfect and it all came together. The Fighting Irish ace had great races at the ACC Indoor Championships and the ACC Outdoor Championships where he finished runner-up at both meets, but it was also reasonable to think that he could have won both of those races. His 4th place finish at the indoor national meet was probably the best result of his career, but his 10th place result at the outdoor national meet definitely left something to be desired. Running a monster PR of 1:45 in the finals of the Olympic Trials shows us that he peaked perfectly for that meet, but it also leads us to believe that he was probably talented enough to stick with the blazing fast times that we saw out of Jewett, Miller, Hunter and McLear in the finals of the NCAA Outdoor Championships. I'm hesitant to be too critical of Voelz because there really isn't anything on his resume that could be construed as a glaring weakness. Still, we know he's capable of more, especially when everything clicks for him on the right day. 15. Nico Young, Freshman, Northern Arizona I know what you're all thinking. "How on Earth is Nico Young, the nation's next great distance running megastar, ranked this low??? He ran 13:22 for 5000 meters on an indoor track!" The arguments in favor of Young are plentiful. He's had major success since day one, he has earned valuable national meet experience despite his youth, he has posted some of the fastest 5k marks in the NCAA on multiple occasions and he thrives with aggressive paces. On paper, there is a lot to like about this guy. However, Young isn't perfect, either. Although the Northern Arizona ace has proven that he can be one of the best 5k runners in the country, it's also fair to say that his resume lacks versatility. He has yet to run a non-cross country 10k and his 1500 meter marks are no faster than 3:44 when excluding conversions. That lack of speed came back to hurt him last spring when he failed to advance out of a somewhat tactical preliminary round in the men's 5000 meters at the West Regional Championships. Now, admittedly, Young would not be subject to this much scrutiny had he not accomplished what he did in high school. High expectations, of course, are what come with great success. So while it's fair to point out where Young can improve, it's also important that we recognize how much we are asking out of someone who is still so young. And if anyone is going to be able to correct their tactical shortcomings, then it's going to be him. It also doesn't hurt that Young may have the most raw talent in the country. If he can channel that fitness into a more effective tactical approach, then he'll be boarderline unstoppable, especially when he's a veteran. 14. Abdi Nur, Rs. Sophomore, Northern Arizona Nur is an absolute stud and despite his eligibility, he feels more like a veteran than any sixth-year student-athletes I know. The NAU ace has countless experiences at national meets and has almost always delivered in the biggest spots. At the NCAA XC Championships, Nur has finished 33rd, 7th and 7th. He also finished 3rd overall at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last spring, earning a huge personal best of 27:42 in what was easily the fastest and deepest 10k race in meet history. That was also the second time that he had run under 28:00 for the distance. After recently running a 5k personal best of 13:22 at Boston University, Nur has assembled one of the best overall resumes of any true long distance runner in the country. He thrives in super fast races with his best performances coming from meets where the pace was considered to be aggressive. However, just like Nico Young, speed isn't Nur's greatest attribute. His 1500 meter personal best of 3:43 is respectable, but there haven't been any instances where he has effectively translated that mark to the longer distances. But that's probably because Nur hasn't really needed speed for the biggest moments of his career. Whether it was the NCAA XC Championships, Boston University, the Drake Relays, the West Coast Relays or the outdoor national meet, Nur has always been in a position where he needed to rely on raw endurance rather than quick turnover. In the grand scheme of things, Nur may be ranked too low on this list. However, the indoor oval will surely present a few more tactical opportunities for the Northern Arizona star to earn a few more spots in these rankings. JUST MISSED (in no particular order) Juan Diego Castro (Oklahoma State) Sam Gilman (Air Force) Barry Keane (Butler) Drew Bosley (Northern Arizona) Andrew Jordan (Georgetown) Ehab El-Sandali (Iona) Everett Smulders (Ole Miss) Baylor Franklin (Ole Miss) Tiarnan Crorken (Ole Miss) Bashir Mosavel-Lo (Notre Dame) Tom Dodd (Michigan) Luis Peralta (Oregon) Lucas Bons (BYU) Crayton Carrozza (Texas) Cameron Ponder (Furman) Abdirizak Ibrahim (New Mexico) Duncan Hamilton (Montana State) Baldvin Magnusson (Eastern Michigan) Shea Foster (Oklahoma State) Ahmed Jaziri (Eastern Kentucky) HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order) Simon Bedard (Butler) Brandon Garnica (BYU) Casey Clinger (BYU) Ackeen Colley (Western Illinois) Kieran Taylor (Arkansas) Zach Facioni (Wake Forest) Marco Vilca (Texas Tech) Christopher Conrad (Missouri) Davis Bove (LSU) Zach Stallings (Washington State) Ben Veatch (Indiana) Cooper Williams (Indiana) Antonio Lopez Segura (Virginia Tech) Andrew Kent (Colorado) Isai Rodriguez (Oklahoma State) James Young (Ole Miss)

  • 2022 D1 Indoor Top 25 Rankings (Women): Preseason (Part One)

    Written by Sam Ivanecky and Maura Beattie, additional contributions by Garrett Zatlin Click here to see our Just Missed and Honorable Mention names. Listed eligibility takes redshirts and Covid-related extensions into consideration. TFRRS is used as a general guide when determining eligibility. 25. Maddy Denner, Junior, Notre Dame Two years ago, there was significant excitement building around Maddy Denner. At the time, Notre Dame was headlined by veteran star Anna Rohrer while Denner was seen as a budding freshman on the NCAA cross country scene. Between November of 2019 and May of 2021, Denner was somewhat dormant. She had the occasional race that raised eyebrows, good enough to warm the waters of discussion, but not enough to boil the pot. Tides started changing in June of 2021. Denner was able to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 5k where she finished 11th. Was this it? Was Denner here for real this time? The answer? Yes, yes she was. Since then, Denner has won the Great Lakes Regional XC Championships and finished 9th at the NCAA XC Championships. And she wasn’t done there. Carrying that fitness into the indoor season, Denner took 22 seconds off of her 5k personal best with a 15:27 mark at Boston University, a time that currently ranks at NCAA #3. Denner is slated to be a legitimate 3k/5k contender this indoor season. Her current 3k personal best of 9:15 is from 2020 and based on her latest result, that PR looks to be in danger. Given her recent performances, Denner will likely go under 9:00 before March. Her 5k will qualify her for the NCAA Indoor Championships, giving her plenty of time to focus on other events. It took a couple of years, but Denner is finally achieving the potential that she flashed in 2019. Now, we have to see how much faster she can become and if she can apply her cross country fitness to numerous race scenarios on the indoor oval. 24. Cailie Logue, Senior, Iowa State Iowa State’s Cailie Logue boasts a 5k personal best of 15:40 which makes her one of the more competitive names in the NCAA for that distance. However, the rest of her resume on the track has yet to fully catch up with that mark. The Cyclone veteran has a ton of momentum heading into the 2021-2022 indoor track season after finishing an incredible 4th place at the NCAA XC Championships, only five-tenths of a second off from the runner-up finisher. In theory, the confidence that Logue likely gained from that race should help propel her on the indoor oval. It's not every day that you see a top-five finisher at the cross country national meet not be a factor on the indoor oval, so we'd be hard pressed to believe that this Iowa State runner isn't going to be a key name to watch this winter. Not to mention, her new teammate Ashley Tutt, a 16:01 runner, is right there to help Logue improve on the national scene. Logue is just as talented as anyone else in this portion of our rankings. However, she'll need to round out her resume in other events like the mile and 3k and continue to earn wins over conference foes like Taylor Roe and Ceili McCabe. 23. Micaela DeGenero, Senior, Colorado It’s been almost two years since Micaela DeGenero competed on the indoor oval. Between then and now, she transferred to Colorado, had her best cross country season ever and made it to her first national meet on the track. Needless to say, things have been going well. On the track, DeGenero is poised to contend for the mile national title. At the outdoor national meet, she placed 6th in the 1500 meters last June and is one of only three other women returning to have run 4:09 or faster. DeGenero was also fairly consistent in 2021, clocking 4:12 or faster in four of her nine races. For perspective, 4:12 was good enough for the NCAA #11 mark last spring. She also ran 2:04 for 800 meters which gave her at a respectable NCAA #23 ranking. The one caveat with DeGenero is her last indoor mile came in February of 2019. Does that matter? Probably not, especially since so much has changed since then, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Colorado has a storied history of top tier milers (Simpson, Jones, Hurta, etc.), and DeGenero certainly could be next on that list. Gear will be the favorite in this event, but with some experience added to her resume, DeGenero should not be overlooked. This Buffalo star is patient, has growing experience and boasts a perfect balance of speed and endurance. On paper, those qualities should be conducive to a wildly successful 2022 indoor track season. 22. Samantha Bush, Sophomore, NC State Samantha Bush has been a solid, respectable talent for NC State over the last few seasons. She's put up decent times and has been fairly consistent. However, up until this past cross country season, she was not at all considered to be a nationally competitive name. This past fall was a massive one for Bush. She emerged as a true low-stick and earned All-Americans honors at the NCAA XC Championships with a 32nd place finish. Then she went to Boston University. Bush teamed up with teammate Katelyn Tuohy to throw down a huge time of 8:54.37 for 3000 meters. For perspective, that mark would've ranked Bush at NCAA #1 last winter. At the moment, she currently sits at NCAA #3. There is no doubt that Bush has elevated her fitness to an entirely new level. However, her rise into the elite tier of the NCAA is still so new and there is still so much we don't know about her. We have zero doubts that Bush will be a competitive name this winter, but we'll need to see a few more results in order to really validate Bush as the elite star that we think she can be. 21. Amaris Tyynismaa, Sophomore, Alabama Tyynismaa was one of the more challenging runners to rank heading into this season thanks to her extended absences during the fall. Speculation on the situation is that Tyynismaa likely had some type of injury, causing her to miss substantial time. She did not open her cross country season until October 1st and only raced once more at the SEC XC Championships to close the month. Without additional information on her current status, it’s a bit hard to guess where she may be at when the real indoor season rolls around. At her best, Tyynismaa was a rising star in the NCAA. In fact, she might already be considered as established star. After a quiet freshman year, she burst into the national spotlight when she ran 9:03 for 3000 meters at the South Carolina Invitational in February of 2021. Since then, she’s been hard to miss. Her best event has been the mile and 1500 meters where she has run marks of 4:33 and 4:09, respectively. She also clocked a huge time of 15:33 for 5000 meters during outdoors, one of the fastest marks in the NCAA that season. If Tyynismaa is healthy by some point in February, her upside is massive. She has the range to compete with the best women in the NCAA across a variety of events and her consistency is probably the most underrated aspects of her resume. Her freshman-to-sophomore leap wasn’t a fluke, either. Tyynismaa's average 1500 meter time was only two seconds off of her 1500 meter personal best. And thanks to her speed, she can devastate her competition in the closing lap of longer events. The big question here isn’t talent -- it’s availabilty. If Tyynismaa comes back this winter at 100%, then she should quickly rise in these rankings. 20. Kennedy Thomson, Senior, Arkansas Throughout 2021, Thomson has been a runner who has been tricky to gauge. There have been plenty of highs, but also a few so-so results that bring her resume back down to Earth. On one hand, Thomson earned a bronze medal in the mile last winter at the NCAA Indoor Championships, at her first national meet no less. Her time of 4:33 was a massive personal best...which is exactly what makes her ranking situation so challenging to figure out. If you look at Thomson’s indoor and outdoor seasons in 2021, each season has one outlier race. During indoors, that race was her mile performance at the national meet. In her five other mile attempts, her best mark was no faster than 4:38. During outdoors, she ran the 1500 meters six times. One of those efforts resulted in a big personal best of 4:12. However, none of her other five efforts were faster than 4:17. It’s clear that the talent is there for Thomson, but the margin between her best times and average times makes it difficult to truly figure out her place amongst the NCAA elites. She belongs amongst the best, it's just a matter of where. Tactically speaking, Thomson is one of the best in the NCAA. Not only does her national meet performance in the mile last year support that, but so do a few underrated 800 meter results. Now she just needs to put the entire piece of the puzzle together to be the national elite that we've seen her show us that she can be. 19. Jenna Magness, Junior, Michigan State In contrast to many runners, Magness has made consistent improvements in each year with Michigan State. After narrowly missing All-American honors in cross country during the 2019 season, Magness took advantage of the Covid-altered season to build her fitness. She chose to split her efforts between cross country and indoor track last year, leading to her best cross country finish ever, placing 16th overall. She also qualified for her first national track meet, placing 7th in the 5000 meters. That momentum carried her into the outdoor season where the Spartan star lowered her 5k personal best time to 15:32, en route to a 4th place finish at Nationals. Since then, the ball has just kept rolling for Magness who would go on to finish 14th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past November. Which raises the question...what's next? Due to the unusual winter season which featured cross country and indoor track, Magness only ran the 5k on the indoor oval last winter. This year figures to be different. Make no mistake, Magness will surely continue to contest that event, but her 3000 meter personal best of 9:20 is long overdue for a reset. When comparing Magness to women with similar 5k personal bests (within 10 seconds), those women have an average 3k best of 9:04. Based on that, it seems reasonable that if Magness runs a 3k this winter, she’ll quickly move into elite territory that her recent results suggest she belongs in. That potential, plus her established 5k ability, should make her a duel podium threat come March. However, we'll be curious to see how she handles certain tactical races. The biggest moments of her career haven't always required her to rely on a fast finish, so does it even matter that she has yet to put her speed on display? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, Magness is a big-name talent who could be a major problem (yet again) for her competitors this winter. 18. Taylor Roe, Junior, Oklahoma State There was a lot of excitement around Roe heading into the 2021 outdoor track season after she finished runner-up at the NCAA XC Championships in March. Having run the DMR at the NCAA Indoor Championships only three days prior, Roe shocked much of the running community with a big run on her home course, officially putting her “on the map.” However, as quickly as she burst onto the scene, she disappeared from it. A handful of quiet results during the outdoor season kept her out of the spotlight until this fall, where she once again showed up. Roe finished 5th at the NCAA XC Championships this November, validating her surprise performance last spring. If that wasn’t enough, she quickly turned to the track and put down a blistering personal best of 8:58 for 3000 meters. Roe sat in the second pack during the Woo Pig Classic race until she was a little past the mile where she started making hard, decisive moves. She would eventually fly by former Razorback Carina Viljoen and reset her personal best by 35 seconds. That race felt like Roe was cementing herself as a legitimate contender on the track. It was obvious that she was the real deal in cross country, but there have often been runners who couldn’t replicate those results on the track. By the looks of it, that’s not Roe. Looking ahead, this Oklahoma State Cowgirl could find herself in almost any event at the NCAA Championships. Her 3k mark should easily send her to the national meet and based on her success in the mile (where she owns a 4:39 personal best) and cross country, the 3000 meters looks like the ideal event. Oh, and there’s also the 5k, a distance that she has never run on the track thus far. Regardless of what she chooses, Roe will likely factor into the national picture. Still, she'll need to prove that her cross country fitness can fully translate to the track, especially when she runs her first-ever 5k. Of course, her recent 3k effort should put at ease any doubt about that not happening. 17. Kelsey Chmiel, Junior, NC State NC State standout Chmiel has had national meet experience under her belt since entering the collegiate scene in 2019. With multiple All-American honors headlining her resume, as well as eye-catching personal bests, Chmiel should once again find herself at the indoor national meet this season. Chmiel has been consistently improving during her time as a member of the Wolfpack, finishing 22nd (2019), 9th (winter 2021) and 6th (fall 2021) at the cross country national meet. She has also toed the line for the indoor national meet, finishing 11th in the 5000 meters. At the outdoor national meet, Chmiel placed 8th in the 10,000 meters last spring. All of these performances prove that Chmiel is capable of competing for a top-eight finish in pretty much any long distance event. The 5k will almost definitely be Chmiel’s best shot at another All-American honor this indoor season. With a shiny new personal best of 15:27 from Boston University earlier this month, Chmiel is already expected to have one of the fastest times in the field by March. The only thing that we need to monitor with this NC State star is her tactics. Just like a few women in the upper-echelon of the NCAA, tactical races may not be Chmiel's greatest strength. At the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships, Chmiel dropped to 11th place in the 5000 meters. The entirety of that race was slower than expected and the leaders were playing games with the pacing at the front. Will Chmiel need to worry about tactics like that again? Maybe, maybe not, but that shouldn't take away how insanely talented she is. 16. Aneta Konieczek, Senior, Oregon Based solely on her NCAA performances, this ranking might seem high. Konieczek was a solid runner in 2021, earning a 7th place finish at the indoor national meet in the mile and a 9th place finish in the steeplechase during the ensuing outdoor season. Those were respectable results, especially for her first full year at the D1 level, but they weren't anything write home about. However, the real meat and potatoes of her resume were found in her summer performances. After the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Konieczek went back to her native Poland for to contest the steeplechase where she shattered her personal best. She took nine seconds off of her previous best of 9:34, a mark she had set only two weeks prior at the NCAA Championships. There’s no perfect conversion, but if the Oregon senior can run 9:25 over barriers, then it seems reasonable she could run under 9:00 without them. In 2021, Konieczek was a miler without much range. In fact, she only toed the line for two meets last indoor season, the Tyson Invitational and the NCAA Indoor Championships. Admittedly, there wasn’t much substance to her career at Oregon at that point in her career. However, this season could be different. Not only could she contend in a (relatively) open mile field, but this Oregon star also could move up to the 3000 meters after showing substantial progress during outdoor track. Konieczek is a proven talent, but on paper, she has the potential to make major noise. 15. Katelyn Tuohy, Freshman, NC State Tuohy will finally have the opportunity to race during the indoor track season without coming off of an injury. This year, she is coming off of a great cross country season, highlighted by a 15th place showing at the NCAA XC Championship and an NC State team title. During the 2020-2021 indoor season, Tuohy posted respectable performances, including a mark of 9:19 for 3000 meters (on a flat-track) and a 7th place finish in the DMR at the NCAA Indoor Championships. However, it was during outdoors when Tuohy began to return to her high school superstar form, running 4:12 in the 1500 meters and 15:47 in the 5000 meters. Before the start of the 2021-2022 indoor season, the NC State runner owned personal bests of 4:39 (mile), 9:01 (3k) and 15:37 (5k), all of which come from high school. Of course, she has already demolished her 3k personal best after running 8:54 at Boston University. Clearly, Tuohy has some lethal range when she is at the top of her game, although the 3k and 5k appears to be stronger events for Tuohy rather than the mile. If she can translate her cross country success over to the indoor oval and continue to improve upon her personal bests, it’s very possible that we could see Tuohy challenge for All-American honors in any combination of the distance events at the NCAA Championships. In fact, there's even a chance that she can contend for the national title! Her 3k persoanl bests suggests she could. Tuohy is still young and admittedly hasn't had a ton of experience being an elite name on the track. We love what we saw out of her at Boston University, but we're leaning on the cautious side and pacing her at TSR #15...for now. 14. Grace Forbes, Sophomore, Rice Rice superstar Grace Forbes is one of the best in the nation when she simply needs to run faster. She doesn’t often travel to many of the nation's most competitive meets, but that hasn't stopped her from running personal bests of 4:37 in the mile, 8:56 in the 3000 meters and 15:50 in the 5000 meters. With times like these, Forbes has the capability to challenge the NCAA’s best talents for an individual championship. During the 2020-2021 indoor track season, the Owl star set her 5k PR in a race that she won by 43 seconds. That performance was then backed up by a triple-crown win at the C-USA Indoor Championships in the mile, 3k and DMR. Her 4:37 mile win was not only a shiny PR, but it was also a 24-second victory over the runner-up finisher. Forbes opted to focus on the 5k at the NCAA Indoor Championships and earned her first All-American honor with a 6th place finish before finishing 19th at the NCAA XC Championships only a few days later. Forbes again picked up All-American honors during the outdoor track season with a 7th place finish in the 10k. She had a great cross country this past fall, winning five of her seven races, but she faltered at the national meet, finishing a few places shy of All-American honors. On paper, Forbes is just as talented as anyone on this list. She has the versatility, firepower, experience, range and consistency to be amongst the elites. However, she has yet to truly have her best day the national meet. Could this be the season of Grace Forbes? We're about to find out... JUST MISSED (in no particular order) Maudie Skyring (Florida State) Kaley Richards (UMass Lowell) Hannah Steelman (NC State) Lexy Halladay (BYU) Alexandra Hayes (NC State) Katy-Ann McDonald (LSU) Kaley Delay (Yale) Allie Guagenti (Ohio State) Sarah Hendrick (Kennesaw State) Lauren Ryan (Florida State) HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order) Stephanie Cotter (Northern Arizona) Carley Thomas (Washington) Adva Cohen (New Mexico) Aubrey Frentheway (BYU) Megan Hasz (Minnesota) Simone Plourde (Utah) McKenna Keegan (Villanova) Olivia Howell (Illinois) Parker Valby (Florida) Taryn O’Neill, (Northern Arizona) Presley Weems (Auburn) Emma Heckel ( New Mexico) Key Notes Oregon is expected to bring in Aussie superstar Keely Small to their program come January. The middle distance phenom boasts credentials that could put her in the NCAA title conversation in multiple events. The future Duck has run times of 54.97 (400m), 2:00.81 (800m), 2:38 (1000m), 4:07 (1500m) and 4:33 (mile). Clearly, Small is an elite-level talent who could instantly make a major impact on the NCAA. However, Small sustained a L5 stress fracture back in March. Since then, she hasn't toed the line for a single race. While we certainly believe that Small is deserving a ranking, we simply need to wait and see her toe the line again before we can put her in our Top 25.

  • TRANSFER: Cruz Culpepper to Ole Miss

    Earlier today, Cruz Culpepper announced that he will be transferring from Washington to Ole Miss. The soon-to-be sophomore spent one year with the Washington Huskies after being one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the country during his 2020 recruitment process. He is expected to have four years of cross country eligibility remaining as well as three years of eligibility for both indoor track and outdoor track. Culpepper has proven to be one of the more exciting young distance talents in the country, running 3:59 in the mile this past winter while also running 3:41 for 1500 meters this past spring. The Colorado native also owns a personal best of 1:48 for 800 meters from his high school days. The Ole Miss men have emerged as one of the more exciting distance running programs in the NCAA, putting five men under the four-minute mile barrier between last winter and this spring (Suliman, Garcia Romo, Franklin, Smulders, Coccia). Waleed Suliman and Mario Garcia Romo have also emerged as two of the best milers that the NCAA has to offer, each recently finishing as All-Americans in the men's 1500 meters this past weekend. The Ole Miss men are also amongst the best in the nation when it comes to 800 meter runners, boasting sub-1:50 men such as Suliman, Franklin, Bethmann, Garcia Romo, Rivera and Smulders this spring. Cole Bullock has also emerged as one of the better longer distance runners in the country. With Culpepper now joining the Rebels, he will be able to help the Ole Miss men transition into a new era as many of the top men from this program near the end of their eligibility.

  • Bullet Points: Nationals Reactions (Day Three)

    Click here to see results 1500 Meters Wow! What a way to start the distance events. Cole Hocker wins his third NCAA title of the semester pulling away from Yared Nuguse in the last 50 meters. He stayed off the front trio for the majority of the race before making a hard move to catch Nuguse. Winning with a time of 3:35.35 is incredible and although he missed the Olympic qualifying time, he will likely not mind too much as he took down the defending 1500 meters champion, Nuguse, to win his first outdoor title. It just goes to show that Hocker's lethal kick can still be utilized in any kind of race setting and any kind of race distance. He did, after all, out kick the guy who is said to have the best kick in the NCAA. Speaking of Nuguse, this was an unusual run from him. With Eliud Kipsang deciding not to run from the front, the Notre Dame star was pushed into the lead as Kipsang motioned for him to take over early in the race. Without the Alabama freshman pushing the pace, the field came through in a pedestrian time of 1:46 through 600 meters after running a 62 second lap. However, Nuguse did not let the pace lag for long as he and Kipsang started accelerating coming around the first turn. Throwing down a 56-second lap with a lap to go was impressive, but it was even more impressive to see Nuguse and Hocker close in 52 seconds. It took a 1:48 over the last 800 meters to win gold. That is absolutely wild and the Irish star should not hang his head after an incredible battle with Hocker. If anything, that kind of finish validates Nuguse as one of the best finishers in NCAA history....or at least in recent memory. This was a bit of a head scratcher. After running every race in a very specific way, leading from the gun and pushing the pace, Eliud Kipsang decided to try something new. He motioned for Nuguse to take the lead early-on and was never able to take the lead back. He was in 2nd place at the bell lap and looked like he might have a chance at taking the win going down the back stretch. However, he did not have quite enough to hang with Hocker, Nuguse and Suliman. Ultimately, the field still ran insanely fast, but I can’t help but wonder if pushing the pace earlier would have benefited the Alabama star more. It's benefitted him in so many instances this year and it would've been interesting to see if his employ the same approach this time around. Not to be lost in all of this are Waleed Suliman and Jack Salisbury. Suliman capped an impressive track career with a strong 3rd place run. The Rebel ran a smart race which gave him the opportunity to follow the top duo going into the final stretch. After a few postseason woes, this Ole Miss runner seems to have found his groove and now understands how to race (and thrive) against elite-level competition. Let’s take a minute to highlight Salisbury who finished off a huge breakout season. In his first experience at Nationals, the Hoya runner looked confident and strong putting himself in a great position at the bell. While he was not able to go with the top group over the last 250, he did finish a very respectable 6th in an absolutely loaded field. He seems to be more of a strength-based runner, so it's not a total shock that he wasn't able to cover all of those moves, but it doesn't make his race any less impressive. The U.S. Olympic Trials are next week and with this win over Nuguse, Hocker puts himself in a great position to make the team. With established pros like Craig Engels and Matthew Centrowitz potentially taking two of the three spots, it could come down to Hocker, Nuguse and high schooler Hobbs Kessler for the final spot. After losing to Nuguse earlier in the year, this will be a huge confidence booster for Hocker as he looks to beat Nuguse once again to earn a trip to the Olympics. 3000 Meter Steeplechase After finishing 3rd in 2019, Kigen Chemadi emerged victorious with a strong time (and PR) of 9:28 in the steeplechase. Chemadi took the lead with about three laps to go and really started to squeeze the pace with 800 meters left, running a 64-second penultimate lap and a 61-second final 400. The increased pace ensured that the MTSU star pulled away from most of the field with only Alec Basten, Ryan Smeeton and Garrett Marsing tracking the move. Chemadi remained composed throughout the race, staying near the front for the majority of the run. Even when Smeeton went down on the final hurdle, the Blue Raider stayed focused, didn't look back and sprinted to his first NCAA title. His experience, postseason peak and the lack of consistency from other steeple talents this season made Chemadi, on paper, a great favorite to take home NCAA gold. The MTSU ace just didn't have a flaw in his resume all season long and frankly, that was all he really needed. Gutsy performance by Ryan Smeeton as he responded well to Chemadi’s move with 800 to go and put himself into position to win the race coming off of the last water jump. The Cowboy surged with about 100 meters to go, but his comeback attempt was cut short as he clipped the final hurdle and fell. He responded well to get back up quickly and finish 3rd and earn a seasonal best time of 8:30. If anything, that result validates the idea that Smeeton is the title contender that we thought he was. He just happened to have a hurdle get in his way. Perhaps the person who was most affected by Smeeton’s fall was Alec Basten who ran a terrific race to finish 2nd and looked to be catching Chemadi in the final straightaway. His momentum was stalled though as Smeeton tripped and was not able to regroup in time to pull off the win. That said, Basten did originally lose some ground off of the final water barrier, so it’s a bit hard to know what may have been. Either way, it was an incredible performance from the Golden Gopher who ran PR of 8:29 to cap a breakout year. The rest of the field was pulled to fast times as we saw Garrett Marsing, Duncan Hamilton, Ky Robinson and Derek Johnson run PR’s. Marsing surged with 200 to go, but was not able to maintain contact with the top trio coming off of the water jump. As for Hamilton, he ran a smart race, keeping himself in the middle of the top group for the majority of the time. He was falling back at the bell, but the 2nd fastest bell lap saw him nearly catch Marsing for 4th. Watch out for Robinson in the future. He showed tremendous poise despite his youth and was only getting better in the postseason. Few steeplechasers were peaking like he was and his kick is lethal. If he was able to finish as an All-American during his true freshman year, then we can't wait to see what he does as a junior or a senior. 800 Meters After finishing 3rd place and 4th place in their preliminary heat, Isaiah Jewett and Brandon Miller took this 800 final by the horns, coming through the first lap in a jaw-dropping 50.9 seconds. No one really was able to stay with them early, and neither the USC or Texas A&M star let up in the last 400 meters. Ultimately, it was Jewett who took the win as he held off Miller in the last 50 meters. This was a huge statement win for Jewett as he ran 1:44 and took down a very strong field of collegians. This result absolutely puts him in contention for an Olympic qualifying spot next week in Eugene. It also puts a nice bow on the Trojans career as he finally was able to put all the pieces together at the right time. His race plan was never perfect, but when you become as fit as he is, then it's hard to dismiss going all-out to run 1:44. We also saw a very strong performance from Miller who nearly did not qualify for the finals, but went back to his front running strategy with great success. While he was not able to beat Jewett, he did run very well to hold on to 2nd and never looked in danger of falling to anyone besides the USC star. Running 1:44 high is simply incredible. Miller has only been getting better as the year has unfolded, picking up momentum and understanding how to implement his front-running tactics into championship races. His time and silver medal performance were great, but his ability to get through the learning curve of the NCAA is arguably the most impressive feat of his freshman year. Finley McLear was the only one who tried to bridge the gap between the field and the top duo, but he was unable to close on them. McLear was my pick to win, but try as he might, he never was able to put himself in position to get the victory. Ultimately, the pace seemed to be a bit much for him and his attempt to stay with Miller and Jewett seemed to cost him as he was passed by Hunter right at the end. In a more tactical race, I think McLear would have won as he has the best change of pace in the field and likely would have kicked everyone down. Of course, we have to give credit to Miller and Jewett for making it an honest race and holding on to the end. Charlie Hunter entered as one of the four favorites to win this championship, but ran this race very conservatively. Much like the indoor 800 where he stayed towards the back of the pack for a while, the Duck seemed very content to let Miller and Jewett open up a big lead. As the indoor 800 champion, it was surprising to see him basically concede the win very early on. We have not seen him at the top of his game this outdoor season and perhaps that contributed to his strategy. We do have to give him a lot of credit for his huge surge at the end to grab 3rd and nip McLear at the line once again. We also have to consider the fact that no one other than Jewett and Miller were expecting to go out that fast and then hang on to a pace that fast. It's very possible that Hunter and McLear were waiting for Jewett and Miller to come back to the field, but that just never happened. 5000 Meters In my mind, this was one of the most entertaining championship 5k races I have ever seen at the collegiate level. It had everything: a quick pace, multiple surges, lead changes, a favorite coming from behind, a rapid finish and multiple runners going under the Olympic standard of 13:13.50. Thanks to Wesley Kiptoo taking out the race quickly once again (2:35 through the first kilometer), the field was in a great place to run some very quick marks which everyone took advantage of. After losing to Luis Grijalva in the fall, Cooper Teare got his revenge when it mattered the most to win his first NCAA title. Not only did he win the title, but he also bested the meet record time and the Oregon school record. Of course, the field certainly did not make it easy on him though... After Kiptoo was passed Robert Brandt and Athanas Kioko continued to push the pace before Teare took the lead with 600 meters to go. With Grijalva and Kioko right behind him with 300 to go, it looked like Teare could be caught in the last stretch, but it was a move from Kioko that changed the race dramatically. The Campbell runner threw in a huge surge to pass Teare with 250 meters left and the Lumberjack followed him, passing the superstar Duck as well. To his credit, Teare kept his composure and bided his time to retake the lead. When he decided to move, which he did with 120 meters left, he made his move decisively, flying past Grijalva and Kioko to take home the title in front of a roaring stand of Oregon fans. After losing to Hocker in the 3k at the indoor national meet, it seemed like Teare might not ever get that elusive title. Of course, this performance showed what we have been seeing all year long. The Duck has made a big leap in fitness and can run with pretty much anyone in America. With the Olympic standard in hand, Teare will have a great opportunity to finish in the top-three at the U.S. Olympic Trials next week to make the Olympic team. Huge credit goes to Grijalva for running a very smart race. He slowly moved through the field before getting right behind Teare with a lap to go. The only mistake he might have made was passing Teare when Kioko made his move with 250 to go, but it ultimately might not have mattered as the Duck seemed to be on a different level. While the Lumberjack star did not look like his best self for most of the spring semester, he arrived back at peak fitness at the perfect time to run a PR (13:13.14) and earn himself a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships. To be honest, I did not think Kioko had this kind of gutsy performance in him. He has always been an immense talent, but his tactics have been questionable at times. The quick start set the race up perfectly for him, but the way he was able to regain contact and then the lead with 250 to go after falling off the pack was supremely impressive. While the move likely took too much out of him to mount a second kick in the home stretch, I was impressed by his tenacity and ability to mix it up with Teare and Grijalva. We have been saying for a while just how good Kioko could be if he adopted certain race tactics, and this was a perfect example of what can happen when he's able to stay patient and follow surges. How in the world did Hocker finish 4th in this race?! After staying in the middle of the pack for 90% of the race, the Duck utilized a 56-second last lap to move past five runners in the final 400 meters to complete a spectacular double. He truly is an incredible talent, and at this point, it is hard to imagine either Hocker or Teare returning to the University of Oregon next year. They both have to turn pro...right? Three more people to highlight: Robert Brandt, Patrick Dever and Thomas Ratcliffe who finished 5th, 6th, and 7th respectively. Brandt was aggressive the entire race, passing Kiptoo at about the midway point to lead for a few laps and then passing Kioko after the Campbell star took over the lead for 800 meters. While he wasn’t able to close quite as well as the rest of the field, he put himself in a good position from the start and was rewarded with a 5th place finish and a PR of 13:19. Dever, on the hand, was more conservative, but utilized his kick and strong finishing ability to work his way through the field to run a PR of 13:19 and complete an impressive double after his 10k win on Wednesday. Lastly, Thomas Ratcliffe had, in my mind, maybe his most impressive run of his life. Although he finished 3rd in the 5000 meters before at the 2019 NCAA Championships, he ran much quicker this time around and stayed towards the front for the majority of the race. In the end, he ran out of gas to keep up with the top group, but it was an impressive performance from the Tar Heel. Finishing 7th place en route to a time of 13:20 is quite the performance.

  • Bullet Points: Nationals Reactions (Day One)

    Just like the regional rounds, we're going to recap and analyze each day of the national meet with some bullet point-formatted notes. Let's jump right into it... Click here to see results 800 Meters Well, that was close. In one of the bigger surprises of the day, Brandon Miller (Texas A&M) and Isaiah Jewett (USC) nearly missed qualifying for finals. After the pair led down the backstretch of their heat, Lipscomb's Shane Streich came roaring up and was able to take the win over the final 100 meters. Miller and Jewett finished 3rd and 4th in their heat, but both qualified on time to make the final. While those two favorites managed to get through, some other big names were not so lucky. Kameron Jones (Clemson) led heat one from the gun, but faded hard over the final 100 meters, ultimately finishing 4th and missing out on the final. Between Jones' surprising miss and Miller's near miss, it seems fair to say that the lack of championship experience for some of these guys has potentially played a role. Both of these men are better front-runners, so it's understandable if they weren't able to kick on the final straightaway after working from the front. Samuel Voelz (Notre Dame) also missed out after getting nipped at the line by Eric Brown of Auburn. In what was arguably the best race of his career, Brown ran a personal best and edged Voelz by 0.02 seconds for the last "Q" spot. This was a stunning development as Voelz is quietly one of the better tactical runners and truthfully didn't do much wrong in this race. He perfectly positioned himself, but simply got edged by a surged Eric Brown. It had been a rollercoaster year for Devin Dixon, but it ended on a low with the Texas A&M star running 1:52, well off qualifying position. After a strong regional showing, it looked like Dixon was headed in the right direction, but things didn’t pan out in his final NCAA race. With Jewett and Miller looking less than their best, the NCAA title race looks to be wide open. A number of men put together strong races, and unlike indoors, there appears to be no consensus favorite. However, Finley McLear and Charlie Hunter both looked incredible in their preliminary heats. 1500 Meters Similar to the 800, a number of favorites faltered in the 1500 meters. We shockingly saw Casey Comber (Villanova), Ryan Adams (Furman), James West (Oregon) and Lucas Bons (BYU) all miss out on the final. While none of these were in the talks for a national title, it was surprising to see them all come up short after a number of strong showings during the regular season. Adams was one of the most consistent runners all season long, Bons was the most underrated, West was peaking at the perfect time and Comber was the experienced in these kinds of races. Outside of that group, the rest of the favorites raced as expected. Yared Nuguse (Notre Dame), Cole Hocker (Oregon) and Eluid Kipsang (Alabama), among others, all easily moved on and ensured a star-studded final on Friday. Not necessarily a marquee name heading into the race, Isaac Basten of Drake had himself a day. The sophomore ran a new personal best of 3:39.57, earning the fourth ‘"Q" out of heat two before moving on to Friday. Basten had subtly been making a name for himself, but his run yesterday confirmed that he’s the real deal. Could he continue to carry this momentum into the final and emerge as an All-American? Right now, that seems plenty possible. Remember how drivers suddenly forget how cars work when it rains? Running must be similar. Tom Dodd of Michigan and Dais Malebana of Nebraska got tangled up at the back of heat two, causing them both to hit the deck and DNF. It’s hard to say if either would have factored into the final results given their positions at the time, but Dodd has continuously been unlucky this year with falls in big-time races. Reed Brown was notably disqualified for “impeding another athlete” based on the final results. The Oregon senior hadn't been having his best season and didn’t figure to play much of a role in the final had he made it. Still, this is a 3:56 miler we're talking about and a DQ on his home track is quite the surprise. Plus, there is significant debate as to whether or not Brown should have actually been DQ'd. 3000 Meter Steeplechase The steeplechase may have been the most predictable race (for qualifiers) with two exceptions: Jackson Mestler (Oregon) and Fitsum Seyoum (Virginia Tech). Mestler and Seyoum were heavy favorites to make the finals after strong regular seasons where they secured big wins and top-times on a consistent basis, so seeing both miss out was a bit of a shock. You have to feel for Alexander Korczynski of Northeastern. He led six laps of heat two but ended up fading badly, falling on a water pit and missing out on the final. It may not have been the day he was looking for, but it was a bold tactic and he certainly put himself in the mix. Kudos to a strong effort. Given most of the title contenders moved through, there was not much to take away heading into Friday’s race. Ryan Smeeton (Oklahoma State), Bennett Pascoe (Arkansas State) and Ahmed Jaziri (Eastern Kentucky) all figure to be among the favorites. On paper, Jaziri did not have a great race, but he fell late in the race as the result of another athlete going down and was able to rally to the finish line. On paper, this was actually a very solid outing for him and we should actually be encouraged by his result. Usually, runners who fall end up having poor races. However, all of the athletes who tripped over the barriers in the late stages ended up making the final. Alec Basten (Minnesota) fell with a few laps left, but was able to recover and finish 2nd in his heat. If anything, that was actually one of the more encouraging performances that we saw out of the steeplechase. How about Ky Robinson? The freshman from Stanford ran 8:36 to win his heat, showing off a finishing kick that he has put on full display this year in the steeplechase. He's only getting better with each race and his kick is scary good. If he's within striking distances of the leaders in the finals, then Robinson could be a major name to watch. The first heat was FAST. The top-eight finishers all ran personal bests, ranging from 8:31 to 8:33. All three time qualifiers came from that heat and set up what could be a very fast final. 10,000 Meters How many of you out there had Patrick Dever winning that race? The Tulsa man had the race of his life, setting a massive personal best and claiming the NCAA title in a time of 27:41. Not only did he shatter the previous meet record of 28:01, he also easily broke 28:00 for the first time in his career. Dever was always a top-tier talent, but not someone who we envisioned winning a national title. He perfectly positioned himself in this 10k, was patient, responded to moves appropriately and was left with enough of a kick to pull away from Mantz in the final straightaway. It may be hard to find someone who runs a better race than Dever this week. Speaking of running fast times, 16 of the top-19 runners set personal bests yesterday while an astonishing 10 men went under 28 minutes, with the top-six runners posting marks of 27:45 or faster. The pace was quick from the start thanks to Wesley Kiptoo (Iowa State), but unlike other races, the field didn’t let him breakaway and the Cyclone star ended up pulling them to some fast marks. Kiptoo would fade to 11th, proving that his aggressive front-running tactics won't always work. It’s hard to say someone had a bad day when they set a personal best. Barry Keane of Butler and Vincent Kiprop of Alabama were two highly favored men in this race that, despite running lifetime bests, finished 14th and 15th. The 10k continues to be an ironically interesting event at Nationals. Looking back on recent years, the favorites have been beaten more often than not. Conner Mantz (BYU) looked in position to win another NCAA title after taking the lead with 400 meters left, but he would be caught down the homestretch by a hard-charging Dever. Even with a fast pace, this year’s race produced a great display of tactics, reminding viewers and fans that the 10k isn’t as boring as we often make it out to be. The strength of the NCAA is going to be scary in the coming years. Six of the men who ran under 28:00 have eligibility remaining based on their current class standing. Despite the fact the 10k standard to make regionals already got dramatically faster in 2021, this rising group could only raise that bar further in the coming years.

  • The Group Chat: NCAA Championship Preview (3k Steeple, 5k & 10k)

    Click here to see start lists How many legitimate title contenders are there in the men’s 3k steeplechase? Who are they and why? Sam: Ahmed Jaziri (Eastern Kentucky), Ryan Smeeton (Oklahoma State), Bennett Pascoe (Arkansas State), Alec Basten (Minnesota), Fitsum Seyoum (Virginia Tech). Realistically, this could be one of the most unpredictable, and consequently most exciting, races. All of these men have run super fast this season or have validated their breakout seasons. Frankly, this might not even be the full list of title contenders with Marsing and Chemadi not even mentioned. Maura: I agree with everyone that Sam mentioned above. Smeeton may have the upper-hand because he was runner-up back in 2019, but the other men in this field have been tearing it up as of late, especially Pascoe and Basten. Their consistency has been impressive and I trust their experience, specifically Basten's experience after seeing what he did during indoors. Garrett: Give me three to four men. Seyoum is a stud, but his ACC win was in perfect conditions and he was the most experienced name in that field. Pascoe is too inexperienced and Basten isn't a title contender in my eyes. I think Jaziri is the obvious top choice alongside Smeeton and Chemadi (given their background). I also think Marsing has been too good this year to ignore when talking about title contenders. In the end, I'm taking Jaziri to win it all as I think he has the best tools in his racing arsenal. What percent chance are you giving to Courtney Wayment to win the women’s 3k steeplechase? How fast will she run? Sam: 70%. Wayment is head and shoulders above this field. In 2021, she has only been beaten by other collegiates twice this season, both in the 800. Orton ran faster than Wayment in her 5k heat later in the season, but she didn't necessarily beat Wayment in a head-to-head matchup. Knowing that, is there any reason to think that she can be beaten this weekend? I think not, and frankly, that should be all of the arguing that I need to do. Maura: I’m going to one up Sam and go with 75%. The fact that this is Wayment’s sole event of the weekend gives her an advantage over the likes of doublers such as Joyce Kimeli (Auburn) and Hannah Steelman (NC State). However, she will still have to face Gabrielle Jennings (Furman) and Charlotte Prouse (New Mexico) who aren’t pulling any doubling duty. Wayment enters this week with a 9:31 personal best, but I think she is capable of faster given her recent success and range. The field is tough, but Wayment has it in her to run sub-9:30. Garrett: I like Sam's answer of 70%. The steeplechase is the most unpredictable event, especially with obstacles and water pits in the race. A fall could very easily happen to some of these top contenders. However, outside of that fall, Wayment should be viewed as the clear title favorite. No one is really close to her in this event and her success in other races should make her the clear favorite. Give your breakdown of how you see the men’s 5000 meters playing out… Sam: Kiptoo will make it honest from the gun. The main contenders will keep things close, knowing he can go the distance, even with a 10k in his legs. Between 3k and 4k, the top group of men (Teare, Hocker, Grijalva, Brandt) will latch onto Kiptoo. With 400 to go, Grijalva will move to the front. Teare will take the lead with 200 meters to go and although Grijalva will look to have a second-wind, Teare will hold him off down the straight. Hocker will kick hard, but he’ll be a bit out of position and won’t have the real estate to catch those two. Of course, now that I explained it in such detail, it’ll probably end up being way different. Maura: Well, I think we can all agree that Kiptoo will grind like he has all season because the dude has no chill. Kiptoo may feel the burn late in the race after running the 10k prior to the 5k whereas Teare and Grijalva will be fresh. Teare and Grijalva will control the race over the later portion and the NAU Lumberjack will finally get his first national title. Hocker will hang on to beat Kiptoo for bronze because he has to impress the home crowd. Garrett: There's no question that Kiptoo will take over the pacing duties, but Teare, Grijalva and maybe Hocker will eventually come back to make contact. Honestly, there's probably one more name who will be in that chase group, but i'm not sure who it is. It could be Facioni, Brandt, Kemboi or maybe someone who is a bit more underrated. I still think Kiptoo will lead going into the last lap, but Teare and Hocker will then begin their kicks and begin to surge. Grijalva has the better wheels and his closing speed is top-notch, so I like him to pull away from Teare for the title. If the women’s 5k turns into an honest effort, which women will be in title contention? If the women’s 5k turns tactical, which women will be in title contention? Sam: Tactical or not, the women in contention will be the same. Whittni Orton (BYU), Elly Henes (NC State), Bethany Hasz (Minnesota), Mercy Chelangat (Alabama), Lauren Gregory (Arkansas) and Julia Heymach (Stanford). This group has stood out over the past year and the winner *should* come from them. Chelangat seems to be the betting favorite, but considering she will have run the 10k already, I don’t see her winning. We should note that Orton has the combination of speed and strength that could get her that elusive title, although she'll be doubling. Maura: I mostly agree with the women Sam noted, but I’m going to replace Gregory with Ella Donaghu (Stanford). The Cardinal ace benefits from the fact that she will team up with Heymach and she has been consistent in all of her races this outdoor season. As for the woman I view as the favorite, I have to pick Henes over Chelangat and Orton. Henes will be fresh compared to her competitors and she has the mix of 1500 speed and 10k strength to benefit her in the 5k. Garrett: I disagree with Sam, I think there is a clear difference in who the title contenders are depending on how the race unfolds. Chelangat, Henes and Hasz seem to be the ones who would be better in more aggressive settings while Heymach and Orton would do better in a tactical setting. Orton and Heymach are doubling back from the 1500, so a race where they can utilize their speed rather than dig into their stamina reserves likely benefits them more than an all-out affair. Does this mean that any of these women can't win gold if the race is honest or tactical? No, that's not necessarily what I'm saying. However, certain race scenarios will be more favorable for certain athletes over others. The men’s 10k is primed to be incredibly fast with numerous aggressive front-runners. How many men are realistically in title contention? How many run under 28 minutes at the national meet? Sam: I have a hard time seeing anyone outside of Conner Mantz and Wesley Kiptoo winning this race. The field is full of talent, but Kiptoo will almost certainly make the effort honest from the gun, and as we saw during cross country, Mantz is able to go with him. I foresee this race playing out in a similar fashion, but Kiptoo may be more dangerous on the track where the conditions and “course” are less likely to take a toll. And keeping with that theme, only those two will break 28 minutes, if anyone does at all. The other guys will likely make a second pack that runs a more conservative effort. Maura: Mantz and Kiptoo will duke it out for the top-two places while Kurgat and Wildschutt will contend for 3rd place. Mantz and Kiptoo have both been strong in their respective races the past few weeks and don’t mind grinding from the fun. However, Mantz does a better job of maintaining pace. I don’t think 28 minutes will be broken, but the race should be won in under 28:10 and the field will be close behind, only five to ten seconds back. Garrett: I think there are three title contenders: Mantz, Kiptoo and Kurgat. This feels boarderline insulting to guys like Nur and Brandt, but Mantz, Kiptoo and Kurgat will be the ones who dictate this race and I think dictating the pace will ultimately be the difference-maker here. Ultimately, I see four men running under 28 minutes. I think the aggressive pacing will lead to some super fast marks and a winning time in the 27:40's. I think Mantz, Kiptoo and Kurgat all dip into that area with one other name like Brandt, Nur and Wildschutt potentially cracking that barrier as well (with Wildschutt being my best guess). Fill in the blanks: Grace Forbes is to _______ while Mercy Chelangat is to _______. Sam: Lightning, thunder. If you haven’t seen the original “Cars” movie, then this would be a great time to give it a watch. But if you don’t have the time, the complex logic here is thunder comes after lightning...meaning Forbes is going to pull off the upset victory. Maura: I don’t think you can get any better than what Sam just wrote here. I like his hot take that Forbes will take the crown. Garrett: David, Goliath. Grace Forbes is super well-rounded and is one of the few women with a personal best that can match the aggressive pace that this Alabama runner may employ. Still, Chelangat is the clear favorite and the experienced veteran while Forbes is still somewhat young. On paper, this is one of the more realistic upsets that we could see in Eugene, Oregon which is why I opted to go with the David and Goliath designations.

  • The Group Chat: NCAA Championship Preview (800 & 1500)

    Click here to see start lists How many legitimate title contenders are there in the men’s 800 meters? Who are they and why? Maura: Four men: Brandon Miller (Texas A&M), Finley McLear (Miami (OH)), Isaiah Jewett (USC), and Charlie Hunter (Oregon). Miller has been on a roll this outdoor season and has momentum going into Nationals after winning his last four 800 meter races, two of which were the SEC Championship and NCAA West Regional Championships. Meanwhile, McLear will be out for revenge after coming up 0.01 seconds short of winning the 800 title at the NCAA Indoor Championship. Jewett has been putting together a solid season on the west coast and is looking to break his streak of not qualifying for the National Championship final. As for Hunter, he is the reigning indoor champion and will have the home track advantage. Ben: Five men: Brandon Miller (Texas A&M), Finley McLear (Miami (OH)), Isaiah Jewett (USC), Charlie Hunter (Oregon), and Kameron Jones (Clemson) I agree with the four men that Maura listed. All have looked dominant at either conference or regional championships throughout the past year. While Hunter has lost to Jewett this year, he is starting to round into the form and he showed that peak during the indoor season. I really liked what I saw from McLear at the East regional meet where he looked incredibly smooth when he was changing gears. Lastly, Jewett and Miller took down elite competition to win their respective conference titles and could easily do the same this week. I also added Jones to the mix because, even though he is inexperienced, he did just run 1:45 to win an ACC title. Sam: I’d say at minimum six, but honestly, everyone who makes the final should have a chance. Per usual, I’ll note that the 800 is always crazy, so anything can happen. All of the names Ben and Maura mentioned are legit contenders, but I’d also add Shane Streich of Lipscomb. In his regional rounds, Streich looked effortless, taking control when he decided that the race should truly get started and then walking away from the field with ease. He’s been having a huge breakout season after his time at Minnesota, and I wouldn’t sleep on him being in the mix when the moves are made. Will we see Aaliyah Miller employ an aggressive pace again in an attempt to out-run the women’s 800 field? Would that be the smart move? Which race tactics best favor Michaela Meyer? Maura: The 800 outdoors seems to be deeper than it was indoors at the NCAA Championships. Even though Baylor’s Aaliyah Miller is the reigning champion, the other women in the mix are right there and could win the title as well. I don’t think Miller going out at an aggressive pace would be smart because if she were to fade over the last 100 to 150 meters, the likes of Michaela Meyer (Virginia), Laurie Barton (Clemson) and Gabrielle Wilkinson (Florida) could slip past her. As for Meyer, the fact that she has a strong 4:09 1500 PR could bode well for her in this race. The Virginia ace has one of the top half-mile times in the field with her 2:00 personal best. If the race goes out slow, which is highly unlikely, Meyer’s speed could come in handy. If the race goes out fast, Meyer’s strength will be on full display. Ben: I do believe that going out hard would benefit Miller and I would be surprised if she did not attempt to lead the first 400. With such a deep field of 800 runners, the Baylor star could cut the field of contenders down to a smaller number by pushing the pace early. That said, she will not surprise anyone by going out quickly like she did during indoors. With plenty of other women in this field who have run close to (or at) 2:00, there will be more runners sticking with her early on. Still, we have seen Miller successfully front run in the past and sticking with that strategy might be her best shot at another NCAA title. As for Meyer, it is hard for me to think of race tactics that would not favor her in this race. She has one of the best 1500 PR’s in the field and has been able to double well throughout the season. Her strength leads me to believe that she would be most successful in a quick race, but regardless of how the race plays out, I like the Virginia runner’s chances. Sam: The smart move is the winning move, so it really depends on who we’re looking at here. For Miller, taking the race from the gun certainly isn’t a bad one. We’ve seen her do it before and it wouldn’t be surprising if she went for it again. Unless the weather is particularly windy, there’s really no major disadvantage to leading a race this short. On the flip side, if you’re Meyer, you let Miller lead, sit in 2nd place and see what you have the last 100 meters. Now, if Miller doesn’t lead, I think Meyer should still employ a similar tactic. Get near the lead (2nd or 3rd) and hold your position. Meyer is arguably the best runner in the field, but bad tactics can be the nail in the coffin for this event. She should aim to be right near the front and do her best to avoid getting caught on the rail. Who are your sleeper picks to earn All-American honors in the men’s and women’s 800 meters? Maura: Gemma Finch (Troy) has developed nicely over the later portion of the season. Finch, a senior, began the 2021 outdoor season with a 2:08 personal best, but she dropped a massive 2:02 PR at the NCAA East Championships to grab the last qualifying spot for NCAA’s. She is peaking at the right time and could continue to chop off time in a deep field. Adam Swanson (Eastern Illinois), a freshman, is making a name for not only himself, but also for the EIU Panthers. Swanson caught my attention after he ran 1:47 to finish the Texas Relays in late March. Since then, he has been consistently finishing near the front of his races. I think he could sneak into the final if he doesn’t let inexperience affect his racing. Ben: I like McKenna Keegan of Villanova to find herself in one of the All-American positions when the dust settles. The Wildcat is peaking at the right timem, running a PR of 2:01 at the NCAA East Championships and is coming off of a win at the BIG East Championships. If her trajectory continues, then it won’t surprise me to see her finish in the top-eight this week. I like Maura’s pick of Adam Swanson as I have seen first hand how well he can run an 800, but I’ll go with Jonathan Schwind of Lipscomb. His teammate Shane Streich has gotten most of the headlines, and deservedly so, but Schwind also looked very strong at the NCAA East Championships. With a 1:48 PR, he doesn’t have one of the quicker times in the field, but he has been a consistently strong performer throughout the year and looks to be peaking at the perfect moment. Sam: Anna Camp of BYU is someone we have seen outperform expectations in 2021 and I wouldn’t be surprised if that continues at nationals. Sure, she has only run 2:04 this season, but based on her other results, I think she’s capable of running faster. Camp is a savvy veteran coming from a program that produces winners. Her biggest hurdle will be getting out of the prelim, but I think in a more tactical race, Camp can come through. On the men’s side, I’ve already mentioned Streich so I’ll echo Ben’s comments on the other Lipscomb man, Jonathan Schwind. Despite a “slower” personal best, Schwind looked strong moving through tactical races at the East regional meet which is exactly what he’ll need to do at Nationals. To be an All-American, it’s all about making the final. I don’t see Schwind with the top-end talent to win, but he brings the traits of someone who can get through the knockout stage. Who is your national title favorite in the men’s 1500? Nuguse, Kipsang, Hocker or someone else? Does an aggressive pace by Kipsang improve or hurt the chances of winning NCAA gold for the other title contenders in this field? Maura: If there’s anything I’ve learned, it's that you shouldn’t bet against Yared Nuguse. Not only is Nuguse the NCAA 1500 meter record holder with his solo 3:34 at the ACC Championships, but he is also the reigning NCAA champion. The middle distance ace has a lethal kick to watch out for if he is given room over the last 200 meters. Even though Eluid Kipsang (Alabama) defeated Nuguse at the NCAA East regional meet, no one will remember that in Eugene. As I’ve already said, Nuguse has great finishing speed, so maybe the Alabama runner tries to take that kick out of Nuguse's arsenal. Meanwhile Cole Hocker (Oregon) will be racing on his home track and has proven to be a star all year long. All of these men also have excellent 5k PRs from this outdoor season and clearly have the endurance to stick with whatever plan Kipsang employs. Ben: I agree with Maura. The favorite has to be Nuguse. Not only is he the collegiate record holder, but he also has the best kick in the NCAA. Even if Kipsang and Hocker go out quickly, there isn’t any reason why the Notre Dame star would fall off the pace. Until Nuguse loses in a championship race, he will continue to be my favorite. I think a quick early pace will guarantee a top-three finish for Kipsang, but I think it will be detrimental to his chances of winning the gold. Because Nuguse and Hocker are able to hang at that pace, the Alabama star will act as a rabbit before being passed. Additionally, the quick early pace will ensure that the race will only be won by one of these three men. Sam: Kipsang is one of those rare runners who doesn’t seem to be mentally impacted by leading a race. Look, this isn’t cycling. Let’s not pretend the other guys are drafting off him and saving valuable energy -- it’s more the mental fatigue (and lack thereof) that are brought about by leading a race. So for Kipsang, setting an early pace improves his chances because he’s not going to kick to victory. For everyone else, it probably doesn’t matter. Hocker and Nuguse can run whatever pace Kipsang sets, so unless he puts down a personal best, the race won’t be lost for them. I like Hocker over Nuguse (and Kipsang). It’s on his home track, he already won two indoor titles, and unlike Nuguse, he can come back next year (if he doesn’t go pro) and win a title if this one evades him. Sure, Nuguse has run well this year, but he also BARELY won his last title. Give me Hocker for the win, but Nuguse will still beat Kipsang. Sage Hurta is the title favorite in the women’s 1500 meters, but she’ll have numerous challengers. Who are the women who can realistically take down Hurta? What percent chance do you give them to win? Maura: Julia Heymach (5%), Amaris Tyynismaa (10%), Krissy Gear (12.5%), Whittni Orton (12.5%), the field (10%) and Sage Hurta (50%). Ben: Amaris Tyynismaa (10%), Whittni Orton (20%), Krissy Gear (5%), Julia Heymach (10%), the field (5%) and Sage Hurta (50%) Sam: Orton (18%), Gear (15%), Tyynismaa (12%), Heymach (10%), and the field (5%). Hurta is winning 40% of the time, which sounds kind of low, but it’s over double the odds of anyone else in the field and track is unpredictable by nature anyways. Who are your sleeper picks to earn All-American honors in the men’s and women’s 1500 meters? Maura: Isaac Basten (Drake) is hitting his stride at the right time. Usually a 5k runner, Basten seems to be benefiting from training alongside 2021 NCAA mile All-American Adam Fogg. The Drake Bulldog began the season with a 3:47, but has dropped that to 3:40 at the NCAA West Regional Chaampionships. Basten has a lot of momentum heading into NCAA’s after finishing runner-up in his heat at the regional meet. Micaela Degenero (Colorado) will be racing at her first NCAA Outdoor Championships. Since transferring to Colorado from Michigan, Degenero went from being a 4:20 1500 meter runner to now owning a 4:12 PR. Plus, she took down a slew of women on her way to a runner-up finish at PAC-12’s. The Buffalo has great training partners in Sage Hurta and Rachel McArthur and will have the opportunity to race with her teammates at the NCAA Championships. Ben: It is hard to consider many people on the men’s side being a sleeper as so many athletes have run quick times. That said, I’ll go with Brandon Tubby of North Carolina who has run well early in the season and then again at the NCAA East Regional Championships. With a 3:38 PR, he can keep up with almost anyone and he has shown great tactical awareness in championship races. For the women, I like Presley Weems of Auburn to be in contention for an All-American position. The junior was 2nd at the SEC Championships and finished 3rd in her heat at the NCAA East Regional Championships. She has been a breakout star this outdoor season and a top-eight finish at the national meet would be a great way to cap her outstanding year. Sam: I agree with Ben that the cut-off for “sleeper” is a bit hard here. Adam Fogg is certainly a name I’d throw into the conversation, but he seems too prolific to fit here. Lucas Bons and Sam Tanner have been talked about less, but are certainly well-known and in many circles, heavily favored. So I’ll twist this a bit and say that Jack Salisbury from Georgetown is going to surprise a lot of people. I don’t really consider him a sleeper, but I think he’ll crack the top-five which is higher than many others might place him. For the women, I’ll try and speak this into existence by saying Christina Aragon of Stanford. One of the biggest names in the sport for a while, injuries have derailed her career and had us wondering if she’d ever be back. Well, she is, and now is her chance to end on a high note. Aragon will be sneaky good because although she has not run incredibly fast this year, she knows how to run the rounds. That will be enough to get her through and after that, it’s anyone's race.

  • 2021 NCAA D1 Outdoor Championship All-American Predictions

    Click here to see every All-American prediction for the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

  • NEWS: Mosavel-Lo To Finish Eligibility at Notre Dame, Culpepper in Transfer Portal

    The Stride Report has confirmed that Virginia Tech's Bashir Mosavel-Lo will be joining the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as a graduate transfer starting next year. The current Hokie is expected to have a full year of eligibility across all three seasons of competition. Mosavl-Lo has proven to be one of the more underrated and best 800 meter runners in the NCAA over the past few seasons. The soon-to-be Notre Dame runner owns a personal best of 1:48.18 for the half-mile distance and emerged as an All-American this past winter with a 7th place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The middle distance ace from Blacksburg is also one of the most consistent 800 meter runners in the country, producing 17 marks under 1:50 (not including conversions). Not only that, but Mosavel-Lo was able to take down current Fighting Irish star Samuel Voelz in the 800 meters at the ACC Indoor Championships by 0.05 seconds. Mosavel-Lo will now venture to South Bend, Indiana where he will be joining a Notre Dame middle distance group that features Voelz, Dartmouth graduate transfer Tim Zepf and Columbia graduate transfer Jackson Storey. In other words, Mosavel-Lo is the third soon-to-be Notre Dame graduate transfer with a personal best under 1:50 in the 800 meters. He'll team up with Voelz to give the Irish a wicked 1-2 punch and another All-American-caliber talent. The Stride Report has confirmed with a source that Washington's star freshman Cruz Culpepper is currently on the transfer portal. He is expected to have all four seasons of eligibility for indoor track and cross country as well as three seasons of eligibility remaining for outdoor track. The Colorado native was a standout talent in high school, running 4:00 in the mile on the indoor oval as well as 1:48 (800) and 14:43 (5k XC). Since joining the Huskies, Culpepper has posted a handful of top-tier results. The freshman standout ran 3:59 for the mile this past winter and ran 3:41 for 1500 meters at the Raleigh Relays. It should also be noted that Culpepper was a top cross country talent in high school. His value across all three seasons of competition will make this 19-year old a highly-sought after transfer portal talent. It should be noted that Culpepper looked at Northern Arizona and Colorado when originally being recruited out of high school.

  • The Group Chat: Revisiting Regional Expectations

    What was the most predictable distance race from the regional meets? Why? Maura: I would say both the steeplechase for the men and women in the East region and West region. The steeplechase is such a technical event that competitors put a lot of time and effort into mastering and we saw almost all of the top contenders qualify for the NCAA Championships. Courtney Wayment (BYU) and Charlotte Prouse (New Mexico) finally got to race Joyce Kimeli (Auburn) and Hannah Steelman (NC State) on the women’s side while Bennett Pascoe (Arkansas State) and Kigen Chemadi (Middle Tennessee State) toed the line against Garrett Marsing (BYU) and Colton Johnson (Washington State). Simply put, we finally got to see how the top talents stack up against each other when it all mattered the most and for the most part, everyone seemed to thrive. That’s fairly rare when you have so much talent in one race. Garrett: The steeplechase was SUPER predictable. There were very few surprises and many of the top names, specifically in the West region, advanced as expected. However, I would also argue that the West region women’s 10k was probably the most predictable. I mean, just look at the 12 women who qualified. I think we can convincingly say that the 12 best women in that event and from that region qualified for Nationals. Sure, women like Frentheway and Poe were fringe qualifiers who didn’t advance, but their misses weren’t exactly stunning and it wasn’t like they were national qualifying locks. Michael: The steeplechase does tend to be more predictable due to the technical nature of the event, making surprise qualifiers harder to come by. In my opinion, the 800 meter races in both regions were, for the most part, pretty predictable as well. The 800 is incredibly deep across the board this year and there weren’t too many big names left out of the national meet. This was especially apparent in the women’s East region race, as the top-12 women all ran under 2:03, with the 13th place finisher (the first athlete out) coming across in 2:04. When the strongest athletes in the race decide to make it fast, it’s hard for anyone else to hang on and advance. That said, a couple of big names did fail to advance to the national meet, such as Roshon Roomes (Iowa State) and Matt Wisner (Oregon) in the West region. Still, this seems to be more of a result of how deep the field was. There just aren’t enough spots for everyone who deserves one to go. Which national qualifying misses were you the most surprised about? Maura: I’ve got two answers here. Not seeing Jack Anstey (Illinois State) and Eduardo Herrera (Colorado) qualify in their respective events was surprising. Anstey, a 2019 All-American in the 1500, entered the NCAA West Regional Championships with a 3:39 PR from earlier in the season and after winning his prelim heat, he seemed like a safe bet to qualify for Nationals. However, he just didn’t have it over the last 100 meters of his semi-final and was just on the outside of qualifying. As for Herrera, the Colorado ace was a shoe-in for the 5k given his recent successes. After running 13:24 to beat BYU’s Conner Mantz, Casey Clinger and Brandon Garnica at the Hayward Premiere meet, he had the ability to compete with his West region competitors. Unfortunately, last week was just not his day. It stinks to see one of the nation’s best 5k runners not get the chance to contest for the win against the likes of Oregon’s Cole Hocker and Cooper Teare and Iowa State’s Edwin Kurgat, especially given the fact that Herrera has run 3:38 for 1500 meters this year. Garrett: On the men’s side, I’ve also got to go with Eduardo Herrera. That race had a fast finish, but we saw this Colorado veteran run away from the BYU distance stars at the beginning of the season at the Hayward Premiere meet. Unfortunately for him, he looked gassed late in this regional 5k race and just didn’t have the same pop that a few others did. Maybe he wasn’t anticipating the race to play out like it did, but whatever the reason was, it was still surprising to see him not qualify. On the women’s side, I’ll have to say Nicole Fegans in the women’s 10k. This Georgia Tech star has been so darn good this year, throwing down top 5k and 10k marks throughout the season while working on her 1500 meter speed. After such massive success on the cross country course, this 10k race seemed like the perfect distance for her. However, Fegans faltered a bit in the 10k (as did many top talents in this race) and surprised many by missing a top-12 spot to Nationals in that event. After winning the ACC title in the 10,000 meters in a time of 32:45 and running 15:37 for 5000 meters earlier this year, seeing someone of her caliber not qualify in this event was surprising. However, the Georgia Tech ace did salvage a trip to Eugene, Oregon with a national qualifying result in the 5000 meters. Michael: I was somewhat surprised to see Sean Dolan (Villanova) not make it out of the East region in the 1500 meters. The freshman has had an incredible season so far, having taken 6th place in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. However, he is still a relatively young guy and I suppose qualifying for NCAA’s is a pretty lofty expectation for me to impose on Dolan. Even so, I expected Dolan to make it to the NCAA Championships in what seems to be his best event, but he is still young and it may have just come down to a lack of experience. On the women’s side, I was surprised that Allie Schadler did not qualify in the 5k. While none of the 12 qualifiers pulled off major upsets to get a bid to the NCAA Championships, I thought Schadler was a virtual lock. There are always going to be athletes who just don’t have that extra 1% needed to make the cut on any given day, but given the fact that she ran 15:33 for 5000 meters back in December, not seeing Schadler on the starting line in Eugene will be a bit of a surprise for me. Whose postseason peak makes them more dangerous: Katy-Ann McDonald or Aurora Rynda? Maura: I’m going to take Michigan’s Aurora Rynda for this one. Rynda has been quietly putting together a solid season in the 800 meters given the fact that she has only been competing against BIG 10 foes prior to the NCAA East Regional Championships. The Wolverine ace has dropped five seconds from her 2019 PR to eventually run a great mark of 2:01. Even though she was only 7th overall at her regional meet, her success at regular season and conference meets has to give her some much needed confidence when she takes on the best of the best at the NCAA Championships. Garrett: Give me McDonald. She ran a huge personal best of 2:02 in the preliminary rounds of this regional meet which was super encouraging. However, what was even MORE encouraging was seeing her run another PR of 2:01 in the finals. She is clearly peaking better than almost anyone in the NCAA right now and her momentum is leaving her with new personal bests every time she toes the line. The LSU star is very experienced, has been getting better every year and has been a top name on my radar since the 2021 indoor track season began. Michael: I’m going to give McDonald the edge here. She just keeps getting better, and if she continues to do so, she could be a threat to get on the podium at the NCAA Championships. McDonald’s progression has been nearly perfect this season, even from the SEC Championship to the regional meet. She took 2nd in the SEC, beating some big names and has carried over that momentum ever since. I wouldn’t want to be lining up against her in Eugene. Whose postseason peak makes them more dangerous: James West or Jack Salisbury? Maura: Definitely James West of Oregon. West had the opportunity to get revenge for getting disqualified from the 2019 NCAA West Regional Championships in the 1500. The Oregon Duck has remarkable marks of 1:48 and 3:34 and these could continue to indicate strong performances on his home track at NCAA’s. West might not be in the conversation to win right now, but his experience and recent peak is one that we should notice. Garrett: This is a brutal question that doesn’t have a right answer. I think it depends on what you value more. Do you trust Salisbury’s breakout season and season-long consistency? Or do you trust West’s recent rebound performances and past history of major success? I don’t feel confident about choosing one over the other, but if I had to choose, I’d say West. His 3:38 from the regional meet was impressive and it was another major step in the right direction. He has a ton of momentum to build off of that performance and his ability to navigate multiple races in a single weekend is well documented. For that, I’m going with the Oregon veteran. Michael: James West has a lot of prior success behind him and it’s great to see him back in top form. West is an established talent at the top of the NCAA, and despite getting lost in Oregon’s depth at times, he is on most people’s radar as someone to watch. Jack Salisbury, on the other hand, has had a couple rougher seasons in the past and is finally hitting the level that so many people thought he could reach as a senior in high school five years ago. Salisbury looked virtually unstoppable during the regular season and is peaking at just the right time. Despite all of that, I think Salisbury is still someone who comes into the national meet a bit underrated which could be just what he needs. On the starting line in Eugene, all eyes will be on Yared Nuguse, Eliud Kipsang and the Oregon Ducks. However, Salisbury is a major contender, having just run 3:37.18, and he has the opportunity to really make a name for himself in the NCAA final -- something James West has already done. Which surprise national qualifiers have the best chance of being All-Americans at Nationals? Maura: Isaac Basten (Drake) has a shot at being All-American in the 1500. Typically a 5k runner, Basten has the luxury of training alongside teammate Adam Fogg and he is peaking at the right time in the shorter event. At the NCAA West Regional Championships, the Drake runner dropped three seconds off of his PR to finish 2nd in his heat in a time of 3:40. Clio Ozanne-Jacques (Ole Miss) wasn’t on my radar in the women’s 10k until her 4th place finish at the NCAA East Regional Championships in a new 33:39 PR. The Ole Miss senior has had a respectable career, but she has been pretty quiet the last few seasons after struggling with injuries. To see her rebound in her senior year is promising and if she races like she did at conference and regionals, All-American honors are possible. Garrett: Katie Rose Blachowicz (Notre Dame) is a name who I didn’t expect to qualify for the national meet, but when you look at her recent momentum and postseason peak, it’s easy to understand that she’s trending in the right direction. This Notre Dame talent earned a PR of 16:19 at the Drake Relays, ran a 10k PR of 33:32 at the ACC Championships and just recently qualified for the national meet. She may not have the star-studded resume that a few others do, but she’s slowly gaining momentum and in the 10k, almost anything can happen given how long the race is. Of the surprise qualifiers, I really like Blachowicz’s chances. On the men’s side, I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Jesse Hunt. It wasn’t necessarily a surprise that teammate Brandon Tubby qualified, but seeing this UNC veteran run 3:39 en route to a qualifying spot is huge. Hunt has been a super consistent veteran for a while now and has consistently improved throughout his career. Admittedly, I always viewed him as a Tier B miler -- someone who was exceptionally talented, but didn’t have the marks to be nationally competitive. That, however, has since changed ever since he ran a PR of 3:39. His experience and underrated tactical prowess could make him an All-American next week. Michael: Binghamton’s Emily Mackay may not necessarily be a surprise qualifier, but she's an underrated name who has been outstanding all year long. She recently made her presence known in the East region 5k (once again) as the third qualifier from the region. She ran 15:48 in that race which isn’t necessarily on the level of runners like Mercy Chelangat, Elly Henes or Joyce Kimeli, but this is also the second track 5k of Mackay’s collegiate career. Her first effort? Two weeks before at Toledo’s Rocket Invitational, a race Mackay won by nearly a minute, she also ran 15:48. All I see here is untapped potential in a new event, and I think Mackay could give us the surprise of the meet at the NCAA Championships. On the men’s side, AJ Ernst of Providence entered the East Regional Championships with a season’s best of 3:45 in the 1500 (although he had run 4:00 in the mile and qualified with the 1500 meter split from that race). Ernst ran 3:43 in the prelim, and then delivered a breakout performance of 3:39 in the final to take 8th place and punch his ticket to his first national meet on the track. It’s clear that Ernst is getting hot at just the right time, but he will still go into the NCAA Championships as an underdog. If he can navigate the prelim and get into the final, I like his chances of rolling with a fast pace and earning his first All-American honors. Give us one bold prediction for the national meet... Maura: It’s only right that we get one final power outage to cap off the season. Garrett: We see a new collegiate record in the men’s 1500 meters. Michael: Cole Hocker doubles up again to make it four titles in one year.

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