2013 Men’s NCAA Division 1 Indoor Track And Field Championship Preview

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By Isaac Wood for LetsRun.com
March 6, 2013

For the introduction to this article, please see here.

*2013 NCAA Indoor Track And Field Men’s Preview
*2013 NCAA Indoor Track And Field Women’s Preview
*Full Lists Of NCAA Competitors

Men’s 5,000 – The One Race All Weekend Where We Are Certain Who The Winner Is Going To Be – Kennedy Kithuka

Men 5,000 Meter Run Seed Times And Personal Bests
=====================================================================
Name                        Year School                  Seed        Personal Bests
=====================================================================
1  Kennedy Kithuka      SR Texas Tech          13:26.65 (7:50.26) (3:59.53)
2  Diego Estrada          SR Northern Arizona        13:37.01 (13:26.94 PR) (7:50.44) (3:41.80
3  Kevin Williams         SR Oklahoma            13:38.57 (7:56.58) (3:48.80)
4  Shadrack Kipchirchir SR Oklahoma State 13:38.57 (7:56.20) (29.32.99)
5  Anthony Rotich          SO UTEP                13:38.58 (7:53.43) (8:41.14 Steeple)
6  Maverick Darling        SR Wisconsin           13:38.71 (13:36.65 PR) (7:50.97) (29:11.34)
7  Jeramy Elkaim           SO Oregon              13:39.35 (3:59.18) (8:03.61)
8  Luke Caldwell            JR New Mexico          13:40.39 (3:47)
9  Mohammed Ahmed   JR Wisconsin 13:40.43 (13:34.23 PR) (7:55.13) (27:34.64)
10  Elliot Krause             SR Wisconsin           13:41.67 (28:43.34)
11  Jared Ward               JR BYU                 13:41.97 (8:01.87) (28:59.74)
12  Stanley Kebenei       JR Arkansas            13:42.15 (7:58.58) (8:45.81 Steeple)
13  Dan Lowry                SR Michigan            13:42.48 (7:54.05)
14  Bobby Aprill              SR Michigan            13:44.34 (7:53.02) (29:45.88)
15  Tylor Thatcher          JR BYU                 13:45.43 (8:06.55) (29:59.71)
16  Girma Mecheso        SR Oklahoma State 13:45.61 (13:34.83 PR) (28:16.97)

Kenned Kithuka enjoying the end of the 2012 NCAA cross country meet *2012 NCAA Cross Country Photos

Kenned Kithuka enjoying the end of the 2012 NCAA cross country meet
*2012 NCAA Cross Country Photos

Only three of the runners who ran in the 5,000m in 2012 are back for 2013. The defending champion is Lawi Lalang of Arizona, but he has not run a 5k all season and is therefore not in the field. Shadrack Kipchirchir and Girma Mecheso of Oklahoma State along with Diego Estrada of NAU are the three returners in the field. Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech has the fastest time in the field and is the fastest runner in the field. This list did not have to go as deep as some of the others did (only Ryan Hill did not declare in the 5,000m), but here are a few other runners to watch:

Diego Estrada – NAU – Has looked solid all season, especially coming off of an injury and Olympic year. His speed is the best it has ever been and this will be his first race of the championships. Watch for him to do his per usual take it out hard and see who can hold on. If Diego can hold on himself, he could be looking at his first national title. He was 5th in 2012.

Kevin Williams – Oklahoma – Williams surprised many with his 5,000m win at the Husky Classic and if the pace is slow or tactical he will be a factor at the end of the race with his winning kick.

Jeramy Elkaim – Oregon – Elkaim is finally living up to his high school potential this season at Oregon, where he has now run sub-13:40 and sub-4. Elkaim’s wheels are really coming around and will surprise people with his finishing ability as well.

Maverick Darling – Wisconsin – Darling has been unbelievably consistent in 2013. He has won two races and placed in the top five in the other two. He is capable of having a big day and is a very smart racer.

Jared Ward – BYU – With his 5th place finish outdoors for 10,000m in 2012, Ward has proven his ability to run well in big situations (14th at XC Nats). When the race gets tough, look for Ward to poke his head in the mix and to take advantage of mistakes some runners will make early on in the race.

Predicted Place And Time
1. Kennedy Kithuka – Texas Tech – 13:24.22
2. Diego Estrada – NAU – 13:29.49
3. Maverick Darling – Wisconsin – 13:32.83
4. Shadrack Kipchirchir – Oklahoma State – 13:34.31
5. Kevin Williams – Oklahoma – 13:34.99
6. Jeremy Elkaim – Oregon – 13:37.73
7. Mo Ahmed – Wisconsin – 13:38.81
8. Jared Ward – BYU – 13:40.31

LRC Comment: This one is easy. Kithuka for the win!!!

Men’s DMR: Which Of The 3 Heat Winners At Notre Dame Is The Best?

Men’s Distance Medley Seed Time And Personal Bests

=====================================================================
School                                                  Seed
=====================================================================
1  Penn State                                           9:26.60
1) Brannon Kidder FR (1:48.17)               2) Brandon Bennett-Green JR  (45.94)
3) Za’Von Watkins FR (1:48.92)               4) Robby Creese SO (3:57.11)
2  Princeton                                            9:27.74
1) Michael Williams JR (1:49.53)             2) Austin Hollimon SR (47.95)
3) Russell Dinkins SR (1:48.26)              4) Peter Callahan SR (3:58.76)
3  Stanford                                             9:28.25
1) Tyler Stutzman SR (3:58.85)               2) Spencer Chase SR (46.90)
3) Luke Lefebure SO (1:49.92)                4) Michael Atchoo JR  (3:57.14)
4  Oklahoma State                                        9:28.38
1) Kirubel Erassa JR (3:58.24)               2) Tyler Payton JR (49.34)
3) Raul Botezan SR (1:49.22)                 4) Thomas Farrell SR (3:58.20)
5  Minnesota                                             9:29.22
1) Travis Burkstrand SR (1:48.16)            2) Cameron Boy SR (20.99)
3) Harun Abda SR (1:46.65)                     4) Nick Hutton SR (4:00.15)
6  Illinois                                             9:29.40
1) Kyle Engnell SR (3:49.24)                 2) Stephon Pamilton JR (46.07)
3) Ryan Lynn SR (1:48.30)                    4) Graham Morris SR (4:00.17)
7  Oklahoma                                        9:29.44
1) Frezer Legesse SR (2:22.76)                2) Jamel Wood SR (46.35)
3) Malcolm Wankel SO (1:51.51)               4) Patrick Casey SR (3:56.28)
8  Arkansas                                             9:30.22
1) Patrick Rono SO (1:47.66)                  2) Travis Southard JR (46.67)
3) Anthony Lieghio SR (1:48.56)              4) Kemoy Campbell JR (4:00.98)
9  Villanova                                            9:30.47
1) Jordan Williamsz FR (3:35)                     2) Samuel Ellison JR (47.61)
3) Christopher Fitzsimons JR (1:48.91)       4) Sam McEntee JR (3:57.86)
10  Virginia Tech                                       9:30.83
1) Ryan Hagen SR (1:51.64)                   2) Jeff Artis-Gray SR (48.11)
3) Tihut Degfae JR (1:48.90)                   4) Michael Hammond SR (3:58.41)
11  Indiana                                            9:31.11
1) Rorey Hunter SO (1:50.68)                2) Nathan Pierre Louis FR (48.58)
3) Lance Roller SR (1:48.55)                 4) Andrew Bayer SR (3:57.75)
12  Virginia                                              9:31.23
1) Anthony Kostelac JR (1:48.86)              2) Payton Hazzard SO (47.17)
3) Brandon Burton SO (1:52.62 HS)          4) Taylor Gilland JR (3:45.35)

Penn State is above and away the favorite to win this race and it is theirs to lose. If they add Loxsom as the 800 leg, Kidder split a 2:52 at the last chance meet, and Creese has proven to be a great anchor leg. If this squad can recover quickly from their individual prelims on Friday, they should win this one.

Here is a list of the rest of the possible contenders:

Indiana – Any time Andy Bayer is your anchor leg, you can expect to be in the
mix at the end of the race. Every year he has brought his team back into the picture from a poor start and we should expect to see the same in 2013. They were 2nd in 2012.

picture of Peter Callahan

Peter Callahan at World Juniors in 2010
*2010 World Junior Photos

Princeton – Peter Callahan surprised a lot of people at Indoor Heps running quite well and is focusing on the anchor leg of the DMR. His 3:58 PR is top notch and is a good closer (6th in the Mile in 2012).

Stanford – Michael Atchoo won a very competitive DMR in New York in February and has closed well on two other occasions (MPSF Mile and Notre Dame Last Chance), with a solid team behind him Stanford could surprise Penn State.

Predicted Place And Time
1. Penn State – 9:29.34
2. Indiana – 9:30.73
3. Stanford – 9:31.02
4. Princeton – 9:31.55
5. Oklahoma State – 9:33.29

LRC Comment: If Loxsom runs (we’re not convinced he will), PSU wins. If he doesn’t run, they still could win.

Who could beat them? Princeton has a big advantage in that their anchor Peter Callahan is just doing the DMR and not doubling back some 3+ hours after the mile prelims. If the final leg is a jog fest and they get back in it (or if they stay in it from the start which is less likely) and he gets a sniff of the lead, watch out as we think the world of Peter Callahan’s talent. Princeton has won three Penn Relays titles over the last two years and in our minds they did it without the best mid-d runner in Princeton school history, as the injury-prone Callahan didn’t compete. Callahan has great wheels at the end. The question is, “Will they be close enough to give him a chance?”

It’s possible. We’ll let you know after the opening leg whether their chances are done or not  (you’ve just got to hand off in the top half). At Notre Dame, leadoff leg Michael Williams ran like the 1:49/3:44 guy that he is, as he ran 2:55, which is about a 1:49 equivalent. Prior to that, Williams’ indoor season had been a disappointment as he failed to score the week before at the Ivy League championships in the 1,000 and the Tigers lost the meet to rival Cornell by a single point. Doing it on an over-sized track where there is plenty of room for teams to run 3 or 4 wide is not the same thing as doing it in what is often a tactical NCAA meet.

Mr. Wood has this coming down  to being a re-match of the 2013 indoor Big Ten mile where 2012 NCAA outdoor 1,500 champ Andy Bayer was beaten by PSU sophomore Robby Creese. The tables could be turned here, however, as Bayer had a slow start to his indoor season and is just coming into form. Additionally, Bayer is 100% fresh for this race, whereas Creese is coming back from the mile prelims.

In our minds, we don’t know why people aren’t talking about Villanova. Since all of the qualifiers came from Notre Dame last week, it seem this race most likely should come down to the three heat winners at Notre Dame – Penn State, Princeton and Villanova. The Villanova squad, like Princeton, is totally fresh and definitely should be a top 5 finisher. Their leadoff guy Jordan Williamsz has a 3:36 1,500 PR for crying out loud (admittedly it came at that Swarthmore meet where everyone ran about 2 seconds faster than they should have) and is more reliable than Princeton’s for sure. The 800 leg Chris Fitzsimmons ran 1:47.15 in high school, but hasn’t live up to expectations in college (although he did win Big East indoor this year). Then they have another 3:36 guy on the anchor, Sam McEntee (3:36 also from Swarthmore), who was 4th in the mile last year and 9th in the 1,500. Nothing to not like about them. They are the ‘on paper’ favorites. Plus Marcus O’Sullivan is a great guy who used to own indoor track when he ran.

LRC Pick: We’ve been leading the PSU bandwagon all season long but it’s a big advantage to be fresh and thus you are asking a ton of the sophomore Creese to double back and get the job done . If Callahan gets it within 1.5 seconds of the lead, Princeton wins, otherwise we’ll stick with PSU as we just think it will mean more to win this thing to the Americans Creese/Callahan than the Australian McEntee.

Men’s Mile: Chris O’Hare Looks To Repeat

Men 1 Mile Run Seed Time And Personal Bests
=====================================================================
Name                        Year School                  Seed     Personal Bests
=====================================================================
1  Chris O’Hare             SR Tulsa                3:52.98 (3:37.95) (1:48.28)
2  Lawi Lalang               JR Arizona              3:54.56 (3:36.77) (7:42.79) (13:08.28)
3  Ryan Hill                    SR NC State         3:54.89 (3:39.58) (7:43.08) (13:27.49)
4  Robby Creese           SO Penn State           3:57.11 (3:42.87) (1:48.64)
5  Michael Atchoo          JR Stanford             3:57.14 (3:42.36) (8:00.73)
6  Raul Botezan             SR Oklahoma State        3:57.79 (3:42.68) (1:49.22)
7  Julian Matthews         SR Providence           3:58.14 (3:41.72) (1:50.83)
8  Austin Mudd               SO Wisconsin            3:58.59 (3:40.87) (1:47.59)
9  Brett Johnson             JR Oregon               3:58.62 (3:44.44) (1:50.73)
10  Joseph Stilin              SR Texas                3:58.66 (3:42.79) (7:56.07)
11  Tyler Stutzman          SR Stanford             3:58.85 (3:40.53) (1:50.59)
12  Mac Fleet                   JR Oregon               3:58.90 (3:57.70 PR) (3:43.21) (1:49:19)
13  Matt Miner                  SR Oregon               3:59.01 (3:49.69) (1:51.74)
14  John Simons              JR Minnesota            3:59.32 (7:55.93) (13:53.23)
15  Christopher Fallon     SR Ohio State           3:59.37 (3:44.20) (1:52.39)
16  Robert Denault          SO Villanova            3:59.39 (3:42.26)

picture of Chris O'Hare

Chris O’Hare Running 2012 NCAA Cross-Country
*2012 NCAA Cross-Country Photos

The class of the field is obviously Chris O’Hare of Tulsa. He is the returning champion and the runner-up from 2011. His PR is a full second-and-a-half faster than the number two runner in the field (Lawi Lalang). This race, if run hard from the gun, is O’Hare’s to lose. Lalang and Ryan Hill are both very good milers, but O’Hare has looked too good all season long to be beaten. If it goes the tactical route (which it very well could), here is a list of guys that could take down O’Hare:

Michael Atchoo – Stanford – His kick has looked very good all season long in winning the Armory DMR and taking home the MPSF Mile crown in 3:57.14.

Austin Mudd – Wisconsin – Maybe the best overall leg speed of the field, if it is set up right, Mudd can really fly on that last 400m.

Robby Creese – Penn State – One year older and wiser from his freshman debut last season, Creese is now an experienced and very savvy racer. His big frame could be an advantage in making it hard to get around him the last 200m of the race.

Raul Botezan – Oklahoma State – Finished 8th in 2012, Botezan is even more experienced and has one of the best training groups around.

Julian Matthews – Providence – 12th outdoors in the 1,500m in 2012. Providence always seems to have a miler make the final and with one of the best 1,500m PRs of the bunch, Matthews is the dark horse of the field.

Predicted Place And Time
1. Chris O’Hare- Tulsa- 3:57.22
2. Ryan Hill- NC State- 3:57.40
3. Robby Creese- Penn State- 3:57.95
4. Lawi Lalang- Arizona- 3:58.46
5. Austin Mudd- Wisconsin- 3:58.77
6. Julian Matthews- Providence- 3:58.90
7. Michael Atchoo- Stanford- 3:59.38
8. John Simons- Minnesota- 3:59.94

LetsRun.com Comment: O’Hare isn’t losing. If it’s tactical, guess what? We think he wins, as he showed last year he could squeeze it down from the front from 800 out. We were so impressed with his wire-to-wire win last year that we described his win as him putting “on an exhibition.”

If the race is fast? Then he certainly wins as he’s the collegiate record holder and way better than everyone to begin with. Plus the #2 and #3 guys in the NCAA this year in the mile in Ryan Hill and Lali Lalang are doubling back from the 3k and thus aren’t potential winners in our minds. The fourth fastest guy, Pat Casey, didn’t enter the mile.

If we are O’Hare, we get out in the top 4 no matter what the pace. Then he should be all set.

If O’Hare does lose, Robby Creese is our man. The sophomore from Penn State isn’t afraid of the moment (anchored PSU to 4 x 800 win last year at Penn) and has good wheels (1:48.64 PR) as compared to, say, Hill, who has never run an 800 in college.

Will History Repeat Itself?
One thing that should make O’Hare fans nervous: Remember, last year’s collegiate record holder Miles Batty was racing at NCAAs and was the defending champ and he didn’t win.

Men’s 800: Elijah Greer and Cas Loxsom Are Running Out Of Time To Become NCAA Champions

Men 800 Meter Run Seed Time And Personal Bests
=====================================================================
Name                        Year School                  Seed       Personal Bests
=====================================================================
1  Leoman Momoh        SR Arkansas             1:46.07 (47.49)
2  Elijah Greer                JR Oregon               1:46.73 (1:45.06 PR) (3:45.84) (4:01.51)
3  Tomas Squella           FR Arkansas         1:46.76 (48.45 junior time)
4  Casimir Loxsom        SR Penn State       1:46.98 (1:45.31 PR) (47.97)
5  Boru Guyota               JR Oregon               1:47.42 (3:47.47) (4:02.05)
6  Edward Kemboi         SO Iowa State           1:47.43 (1:46.06 PR) (3:46.30)
7  Declan Murray            SR Loyola (Ill.)         1:47.59  (48.58) (3:49.51)
8  Patrick Rono               SO Arkansas            1:47.66 (3:46.30) (4:01.79)
9  Brandon McBride        FR Miss State           1:47.74 (1:46.07 PR) (46.57)
10  Sean Obinwa             JR Florida                       1:47.90 (1:47.22 PR) (48.70)
11  Harun Abda                SR Minnesota                     1:48.14 (1:46.65 PR) (46.21)
12  Gabriel Genovesi       JR Akron                         1:48.31 (48.32)
13  Ryan Waite                SR BYU                              1:48.49 (1:46.83 PR) (48.42) (3:48.09)
14  Anthony Lieghio          SR Arkansas          1:48.56 (3:47.71)
15  Samuel Ellison           JR Villanova             1:48.62 (1:47.62 PR) (47.61)
16  David Mokone            JR Western Kentucky       1:48.65 (1:48.09 PR) (3:45.03)

Only one of the eight runners that made the 800 meter final last year indoors is back for 2013 – Sean Obinwa of Florida (7th). That being said, the 2013 field is loaded with the biggest names in the country for 800 meters and should prove to be one of the most exciting finals of the weekend. Elijah Greer of Oregon is a proven 800m runner with the best PR of the group. Cas Loxsom is the unofficial 600m American Record holder and has looked good all season long (has never looked as good in an NCAA championship race, mind you).

Leoman Momoh – Arkansas – Ran 1:46.07 at his home last chance meet (along with teammate Tomas Squella running 1:46.76), has the fastest time in the country going into Nationals.

Declan Murray – Loyola – He is a dark horse in this field. He has only lost one time in the 800 meters this season and that was to Brandon McBride of Mississippi State.

Brandon McBride – Mississippi State – He is the other dark horse. McBride ran his qualifying time early at the Meyo Invite at Notre Dame, but his 1:47.74 seed time is a second and a half off of his PR -1:46.07. He could be dangerous come finals.

Ryan Waite – BYU – Waite has one of the fastest PRs of the group and has the luxury of not running the DMR this year. He is looking fit (I get to see him every day) and could be a factor.

Edward Kemboi – Iowa State – Kemboi has not looked good since he ran his SB 1:47.73 early in the season. He struggled at Big 12s and did not compete in a last chance (he didn’t need to) so we do not have a clue where his fitness is at going into nationals.

Predicted Place And Time
1. Elijah Greer- Oregon- 1:46.48
2. Brandon McBride- Mississippi State- 1:46.81
3. Cas Loxsom- Penn State-1:47.29
4. Declan Murray- Loyola (Ill.)- 1:47.52
5. Leoman Momoh- Arkansas- 1:47.89
6. Boru Guyota- Oregon- 1:47.93
7. Tomas Squella- Arkansas- 1:48.22
8. Sean Obinwa-Florida- 1:48.57

LRC Comments: Given the fact he’s run 1:46.73 this year (#2 in NCAA) and give his past accomplishments at NCAAs (third, third and 10th in his three outdoor showings), we agree that Greer deserves to be considered the favorite on paper, even though he’s never made the final in his two NCAA indoor appearances.

We don’t like the pick of Brandon McBride for spot #2. And no, it’s not because he caused half of the high mileage converts at LetsRun to have a coronary when it came out this summer he runs like 10-20 mpw (or was that another Canadian junior? email us).

Yes, we know his extremely talented. Hell, he’s the fastest North American 800 recruit in the history of the world as his 1:46.07 Canadian record is better than the US’s record of 1:46.45 held by Michael Granville – although Granville certainly by no means dominated the collegiate ranks (0 individual collegiate titles).

We think it’s asking a lot of a college freshman who has run exactly one collegiate indoor 800 (Mississippi State doesn’t even technically have an indoor team) to be expected to place second at NCAAs. One thing we really like about him. Even though he’s a 400/800 guy, we love how he’s proven he can run rounds as his 1:46.07 came in the finals of the world juniors – his third race in three days.

But our feeling on him is simple – he’s either a total freak and what everyone dreamed Michael Granville would be 16 years ago and he wins it, or he’s not a factor as he’s inexperienced.

Cas Loxsom (l) at 2010 World Juniors *2010 World Junior Photos

Cas Loxsom (l) At 2010 World Juniors
*2010 World Junior Photos

Earlier this winter, LetsRun.com co-founder Robert Johnson made himself as the leader of the Cas Loxsom bandwagon and he’s not jumping off now. Robert correctly predicted the fastest time ever in US history at Big 10s for Loxsom, so we are picking him FTW here. We know his showing at NCAAs during his career has been atrocious so far as he’s never made the finals in his three indoor appearances and finished 11th, 5th and bombed out in the prelims in his 3 outdoor appearances, but PSU has been doing things differently this year with him as he’s only run one individual 800 all year. Okay, well, we just did a little research and realized PSU tried the same thing his freshman and sophomore years and that didn’t work out too well. So we are getting a little bit nervous, but in sports you’ve got to have a team and stick with them at all costs. Remember, fan is short for fanatic.

To be truthful, the only thing we really disagree with is the way the SEC runners are ranked by Mr. Wood. In the SEC preview, Wood picked Sean Obinwa to win and we scoffed at the pick as Obinwa hadn’t run faster than 1:50.26 and then Obinwa went out and dominated SECs. And now, two weeks later, Wood is picking Obinwa to finish behind two SECs guys? We got burned by Obinwa two weeks ago, but not this time. He could contend.

Looking for an upset pick? The #1 contender for the win certainly from Arkansas in our minds is Patrick Rono. His father was the Olympic 1,500 champ. Rono got second at SECs in the mile but when he ran the 800 earlier in the year at Arkansas he crushed  Greer 1:47.66 to 1:48.42. We have little faith in the #1 seed Leomon Momah of Arkansas, who dropped his PR by a ton last week.

Here’s a stat for you: 3 of 16 guys were NCAA outdoor finalists last year – Greer (3rd), Kemboi (5th) and Ellison (8th).

Men’s 3,000: Kithuka, Lalang, Bayer, Hill, Lelei – This Could Be A Great Battle

Men 3,000 Meter Run Seed Time And Personal Bests
=====================================================================
Name                       Year School                 Seed    Personal Bests
=====================================================================
1  Lawi Lalang              JR Arizona              7:42.79 (3:54.56) (3:36.77) (13:08.28)
2  Henry Lelei               SR Texas A&M            7:47.91 (4:00.41) (13:50.03)
3  Ryan Hill                   SR NC State         7:49.20 (7:43.08 PR) (3:54.89) (13:27.49)
4  Kennedy Kithuka      SR Texas Tech           7:50.26 (3:59.53) (13:26.65)
5  Eric Jenkins              JR Northeastern         7:50.44 (3:58.11) (14:04.56)
6  Diego Estrada          SR Northern Arizona         7:50.44 (3:41.80) (13:26.94)
7  Kirubel Erassa          JR Oklahoma State         7:50.92 (3:58.24) (13:47.26)
8  Maverick Darling       SR Wisconsin            7:50.97 (3:48.36) (13:36.65)
9  Zachary Mayhew       SR Indiana              7:51.61 (4:00.85) (13:46.04)
10  Andrew Bayer           SR Indiana              7:51.75 (7:48.35 PR) (3:57.75) (13:33.25)
11  Thomas Farrell         SR Oklahoma St               7:51.77 (3:58.20) (13:15.)
12  Nick Happe               JR Arizona State         7:52.18 (3:58.73) (13:54.15)
13  William Mulherin       SR Virginia Tech         7:52.54 (4:00.21) (13:41.06)
14  Anthony Rotich         SO UTEP                 7:53.43 (3:57.76) (13:38.58)
15  Kemoy Campbell     JR Arkansas             7:53.61 (4:00.98)
16  Aric Van Halen          SR Colorado             7:53.74 (3:48.74) (14:01.91) (8:42.55 Stpl)

Lawi Lalang of Arizona is the defending champion and has a dominant seed time over the rest of the field. Ryan Hill of NC State’s PR is only a few tenths off of Lalang’s PR. Henry Lelei of Texas A&M has the number two seed time, but had to get it done last weekend to make it to Nationals. Here are a few of the runners to watch:

Kennedy Kithuka – Texas Tech – NCAA XC Champion, he’s a winner and as much as his PRs do not quite stack up with Lawi, he thrashed him in XC and that could happen again here.

Eric Jenkins – Northeastern – Has flown under the radar all season, but has solid credentials in the mile and 3k. Especially considering that he opted out of the mile to run the 3k, his obviously putting his eggs in one basket and could surprise some people at nationals.

Andy Bayer – Indiana – Also deciding not to run the mile, but the DMR and the 3k, Bayer is a proven winner and if the pace is right can challenge anyone. He was 15th in 2012 (coming off of the mile and DMR).

Anthony Rotich – UTEP – Rotich has been busy all season long running back-to-back days in almost every meet of the season, which will fare him well running the 3k right after the 5k. Rotich is dangerous and capable of beating anyone in the field as he proved in XC.

Tom Farrell – Oklahoma State – Farrell is going to be running this after a DMR mile leg, but his 13:15 5,000m last season at Payton Jordan and a very good XC season has him prepared to compete with the best in the country for 3,000m. He was 9th in 2012.

Predicted Place And Time
1. Lawi Lalang- Arizona- 7:48.99
2. Kennedy Kithuka- Texas Tech- 7:50.12
3. Ryan Hill- NC State- 7:50.83
4. Andy Bayer- Indiana- 7:51.20
5. Diego Estrada- NAU- 7:51.79
6. Eric Jenkins- Northeastern- 7:52.49
7. Henry Lelei- Texas A&M- 7:53.91
8. Tom Farrell- Oklahoma State- 7:54.34

LRC Comment: It’s critical that people remember that this race comes on day 2, a day after the 5,000 final and 1:40 after the mile final. Thus we think the edge belongs to Kennedy Kithuka. Yes, he will have run the 5,000 final the night before, but without Hill , Lelei or Lalang in that race, how hard will he have to work to win that? He’s going to slaughter everyone. He’ll be more rested than Hill and Lalang who are coming back from the mile final.

We just can’t get the image of Kithuka destroying Lalang at NCAA Cross out of our heads. Kithuka FTW.

That being said, sometimes, this race comes down to heart. Who really wants it at the end of the championships? We’re sure Ryan Hill really wants it but the American is this year’s version of Chris Derrick – incredibly good but seemingly destined to never be an NCAA champion. Andy Bayer is already an NCAA champion and is on the upswing. If an American wins, it might be him.

Men’s 4 x 400: Texas A&M Rolls On

Men 4×400 Meter Relay Seed Times And Personal  Bests
=====================================================================
School                                                  Seed
=====================================================================
1  Texas A&M                                            3:04.18
1) Ricky Babineaux SR (46.37)              2) Aldrich Bailey, Jr. FR (45.19)
3) Carlyle Roudette JR  (47.09)         4) Deon Lendore SO (45.13)
2  Florida                                              3:04.31
1) Najee Glass FR (46.06)                  2) Hugh Graham, Jr SO (45.67)
3) Leonardo Seymore SR (20.81)       4) Dedric Dukes SO (47.22)
3  Arkansas                                             3:06.26
1) Akheem Gauntlett SR (45.13)             2) Anton Kokorin SR (46.31)
3) Travis Southard JR (46.67)                 4) Neil Braddy JR (46.03)
4  Florida State                                        3:06.55
1) Alonzo Russell JR (47.06)                2) James Harris JR (47.20)
3) Dentarius Locke JR (21.02)              4) Stephen Newbold SO (46.97)
5  Nebraska                                             3:06.67
1) Ricco Hall SO (46.53)                        2) Dexter McKenzie JR (20.86)
3) Christian Sandefer FR (47.72)           4) Janis Leitis SR (46.71)
6  Minnesota                                            3:07.19
1) Jacob Capek JR (47.17)                  2) Cameron Boy SR (20.99)
3) Goaner Deng FR (47.89)                 4) Harun Abda SR (46.21)
7  George Mason                                         3:07.29
1) George Empty SR (47.13)                  2) Adrian Vaughn JR (46.89)
3) Angel Coburn FR (48.78)                    4) David Verburg SR (45.06)
8  Pittsburgh                                           3:07.32
1) Micah Murray JR (46.75)                  2) Brycen Spratling JR (45.82)
3) Olivier Philogene FR (47.76)            4) Carvin Nkanata JR (46.31)
9  LSU                                                  3:07.41
1) Quincy Downing SO (46.18)               2) Caleb Williams SR (45.61)
3) Cyril Grayson FR (47.89)                    4) Darrell Bush FR (47.16)
10  Houston                                              3:07.60
1) Errol Nolan SR (45.28)                 2) Garrett Hughey SR (48.14)
3) Eric Futch FR (47.92)                   4) Kelvin Furlough SR (46.29)
11  Illinois                                             3:07.84
1) DJ Zahn SO (47.34)                         2) Juan Green FR (47.03)
3) Malcolm Taylor SR (48.99)               4) Stephon Pamilton JR (46.07)
12  Baylor                                               3:07.85
1) Isaiah Duke FR (47.77)                  2) Drew Seale SR (47.25)
3) Justin Allen SR (47.02)                  4) Richard Gary FR (47.45)

I’m not a sprint specialist, but have been to several of the best meets of the season and watched the rest of them online so I feel like I have a good grasp on the 4 x 400s. Texas A&M is the team to beat in seed time and in general. With Deon Lendore as the anchor, there is small chance that anyone beats the Aggies. Other teams to watch for are:

LSU – Their seed time is not at the top of the list, but if Caleb Williams can pull another swim move on the exchange and Bush gets the baton in a favorable spot, Bush is a good closer and can keep them in the mix.

Arkansas – Gauntlett is the real deal with a 45.13 PR and Arkansas always seems to be at the right spot, they can only hope that Texas A&M gets DQ’d again and they can win another title.

Florida – Freshman Najee Glass is an awesome addition to this perennial 4 x 400 powerhouse. Hugh Graham Jr. is the real deal and can get them the lead if he runs the 3rd leg.

Predicted Place And Time
1. Texas A&M- 3:04.34
2. Arkansas- 3:04.95
3. LSU- 3:05.41
4. Florida- 3:06.10
5. Florida State- 3:06.88

Team Battle (By LetsRun.com): Florida Versus Arkansas

We like to preview the team battle but Track and Field news isn’t breaking it down in great detail like they used to. Thus we’ll have to give it you when we get to Arkansas. We can score the descending order list on the plane.

We took a look at the coaches association’s rankings but you are a smarter man than us if this makes any sense to you. In a meet where 52 points has been enough to give Florida the win the last two years, the current coaches association rankings has teams with 200 points. If anyone can make sense of this collegiate ranking system, please email us as this makes no sense at all.

And this means what?

And this means what?

Scoring the descending order list for us would be a lot easier. Okay, we’ll take the half hour and do it for you for the top 5 teams.

1. Arkansas – 69 Points – but they aren’t scoring 17 in the 800, trust us.

60h (5 points, 4th), 200 (8 points, 4/6), 800 (17 points, 1,/3/8), DMR (1 point, 8th), 4 x 400 ( 6 points, 3rd) , PV (8 points, 2nd), LJ (6 points 3/8), TJ (10 points, 1st), Hept (8 points, 2nd)

2. Florida – 56 points with zero coming in the 800 whereas they could outscore Arkansas in the 800.

60h (10 points, 1st), 200 (6 points, 3rd), 400 (8 points, 2nd), 4 x 400 (8 points, 2nd), LJ (10 points, 1st), TJ (13 points, 2/4), WT (1 point, 8th)

3. Texas A&M – 33 points – They aren’t wining as they have zero field event people in the meet.

200 (5 points, 5th/8th), 400 (10 points, 1st), 3000 (8 points, 2nd), 60h (6 points, 3rd), 4 x 400 (10 points, 1st)

4. Florida State – 24 points. No chance for the win.

60 (18 points, 1st/2nd), 4 x 400 (5 points, 4th), HJ (1 point, 8th)

5. Wisconsin – 22 points

Mile (1 point, 8th), 3000 (1 point, 8th), 5000 (3 points, 6th), LJ (3 points, 6th), Heptatholon (14 points, 1st/4th)

So this meet could come down to the 800. The 800 descending order list is very misleading as it has a guy from Arkansas,  Leoman Momoh, who has never been to NCAAs individually and was only was 8th at the SEC sitting at #1, whereas the winner of the SEC meet, Florida’s Sean Obinwa, is a proven NCAA scorer.

Let’s just say Obinwa gets second and Arkansas goes 3 -5. So Florida gets 8 points and Arkansas gets 10. Then the team score is as follows.

Arkansas 62
Florida 64

Florida has won 3 in a row. The meet is in Arkansas. It could be very close even though Arkansas has 19 entrants and Florida 11. For Arkansas to be ahead on the score sheet, they need to outscore Florida by 5 points in the 800.

*2013 NCAA Indoor Track And Field Women’s Preview
*2013 NCAA Indoor Track And Field Men’s Preview
*Full Lists Of NCAA Competitors


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