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2008 LetsRun.com US Men's 800, 1,500 Rankings June 11, 2008
June 11, 2008
by: LetsRun.com

This is our third week of the LetsRun.com mid-distance rankings. Our previous two rankings can be found here (Week #2, and Week #1)

The ranking are based on current form and are supposed to reflect how we think they'd end up if you lined them up and had them race right  now -  it's not a cumulative yearly ranking.

Our stats came from a combination of TrackandFieldNews.com US leaders lists, USATF.org's leaders, our own adjustments, and incredible individual stats at tilastopaja.org

Email us at [email protected] with any comments you have.. If anyone has some photos they'd like us to use, please email us.

Men's 1500: Lukezic Moves Up - Jennings Shows Up - Myers Disappears

Changes this week: Biggest riser this week was Chris Lukezic and biggest faller was Alan Webb. Gabe Jennings comes into the rankings as Rob Myers and Will Leer drop out.  

This Weekend: Alan Webb's runing the 800 on Saturday and w'ell be watching that race closely. At the same meet (American Milers Club), Lukezic will chase the Olymipc A one last time.  NCAAs will tell us a lot about Manzano as well.

Previous ranking appears in (). Big movers have arrows.

USA Men's 1,500 Meter Stats

2008 Top Times
Changes this week in bold
3:35.14 Bernard Lagat  adidas 05/18

3:36.36 Lopez Lomong  adidas  05/18
3:36.61 Jon Rankin adidas  05/18
3:37.53 Chris Lukezic 6/5
Said Ahmed 6/6
3:38.11  Will Leer adidas  05/18  

3:38.60 Andrew Wheating Oregon 05/09

3:39.74 Chris Lukeic adidas 5/31
3:40.04  Matt Tegenkamp Cardinal 05/04  
3:40.22  Andrew Bumbalough Princeton  04/1
3:40.25  Bobby Curtis   Swarthmore  05/13
3:40.41  Jonathon Riley  ASU  04/12  

2007 USATF Finals
1 Alan Webb Nike 3:34.82
2 Leonel Manzano Texas 3:35.29
3 Bernard Lagat Nike 3:35.55
4 Christopher Lukezic Reebok 3:36.95
5 Andrew McClary unattached 3:39.81
6 Said Ahmed Nike 3:40.80
7 Russell Brown Stanford 3:41.80
8 John Jefferson Oregon TC 3:42.46
9 Garrett Heath Stanford 3:42.88
10 William Leer unattached 3:44.20
11 Rob Myers Reebok 3:45.59
12 Gabriel Jennings Saucony 3:47.54

2007 Top 10 Seasonal Bests (All under 3:38.00)
3:30.54 Alan Webb (Nike)
3:33.85 Bernard Lagat (Nike)
3:34.25 Matt Tegenkamp (Nike)
3:35.29 Leo Manazano (Texas)
3:35.72  Jon Rankin (Nike)    
3:36.49  Rob Myers (Reebok)    
3:36.95  Chris Lukezic (Reebok)    
3:37.13  Adam Goucher (Nike)    
3:37.27  Chris Solinsky (Wi)   
3:37.56  Russell Brown (Stan)

#1 (1) Bernard Lagat - DOB: 12/12/1974 Personal Best: 3:26:34 2008 Best: 3:35:14 Last Race:  3:35:14 2007 Best: 3:33.85
Was there any doubt? The double world champion at 1,500 and 5k outdoors last year deserves to be #1. Obviously he only finished 3rd at USAs last year but the golds in Osaka more than made up for it and made everyone forget that Lagat was really struggling last July (after USAs, he got 7th in Paris and 3rd in Sheffield).  

So far in 2008, he's done pretty well for himself as he currently sits at #1 on the US list at both 5k (13:16.19)and 1,500 (3:35.14).

Lagat is a stud but he's far, far from a sure thing at the Olympics. Given the heat that is expected, we think he's probably a more sure thing for a medal at 5k than he is at 1,500. Given the fact that Bekele isn't going to double, if the Africans don't work together to push the pace in the 5k, it's likely to come down a kick which makes it easy pickings for Lagat.

#2 (3)  Leonel Manzano - DOB: 9/12/1984 Personal Best: 3:35:29 2008 Best: 3:56:98 mile or 3:41.80 1,500 at altitude Last Race:  3:41:80 2007 Best: 3:35.29
The Longhorn has proven himself to be simply unbeatable in the college ranks so far this year. He's race 8 times at 1,500 or the mile and won 8 times - way more if you count the DMRs and 4 x miles he's run.  He beat Lagat last year at USAs and has a really, really good chance of ending up on the Olympic team this year as he's got a great, great kick.

He's in super form now as he's totally 100% race sharp. We refuse for now to break the tie between him and Lomong however. But if Manzano blow away the field at NCAAs, we may move him ahead of Lomong.

Stat of the week: In researching the stats for this piece, we were surprised to learn that Manzano is only 5 months younger than Chris Lukezic.

#2 (3) Lopez Lomong - DOB: 1/1/1985 Personal Best: 3:36:36 2008 Best: 3:36:36 Last Race: 3:36:36 2007 Best: 3:37.07
We are big, big fans of the Lopez. Heading into last year, we thought he'd do some serious damage at 1,500 as he had shown himself fast enough to run 1:47.00 in the 800 and strong enough to get 4th at NCAAs in cross country. We figured a good 1,500 had to be in there somewhere and Lopez certainly didn't disappoint.  He captured NCAAs in the 1,500 and ended up running 1:45.79 for 800.

After falling at adidas before the restart, he rebounded well with the biggest win of his pro career at Reebok. At Prefontaine, he beat Rankin once again.

#4 (5) Jon Rankin- DOB: 2/9/1982  Personal Best: 3:35.26. 2008 Best: 3:36.61 Last Race:  3:36.61 (6th adidas) 2007 Best: 3:35.72
Given the fact that he's run 3:35, Rankin is way more under the radar than he probably should be. It's probably because he hasn't proven himself to be a big-time championship runner yet. Rankin never made the finals of the NCAA 1,500 while in college (in 2005, he failed to make the NCAA final when he was one of the favorites). His only top 10 showing at USAs was when he was 6th in 2005.

But Rankin is running well so far this year and was only .25 behind Lomong at the adidas meet. But in that meet, Lomong was up front all along, Rankin moved up late. He finished behind Lomong yet again at adidas but ahead of Webb.

#5 (3) Alan Webb - DOB: 1/13/1983 Personal Best: 3:30.54 2008 Best: 3:30.54 Last Race:  DNF Carlsbad 5k 2007 Best: 3:30.54
Webb had a phenomenal 2007. A win at USAs and win in the Paris Golden League.  Add in the American record in the mile (3:46.91) that served as the world leader in the event plust a world leader in the 1,500 and a stunning 1:43.84 800 (world's #2 time) and you've got yourself a hell of a runner. On paper, Webb looks even better than Lagat as Lagat is 33 and Webb is in his prime at age 25.

The problem is Webb's 2008 seasonstarted terribly. A 16th place showing in the US 8k championships and then a DNF in the Carlsbad 5k. The knock on Webb in the past has been that he doesn't know how to peak properly when it counts and that he doesn't know how to not overtrain. The early season results certainly don't assuage those fears.

The good news? Both of Webb's early season disasters came in distance events. Plus he skipped indoors. That can mean only one thing. Webb was focused on building his strength which was what we wanted to see from him after last year's amazing track season.  Webb still seems confident and it doesn't seem possible that he could burn himself out with proper distance training. Overtain a little? Yes.

Cook himself entirely? Not likely.

Going into Pre we wrote: "If he bombs in his first 1,500 of the year this week at Pre, we no longer are giving him the benefit of the doubt and move him way, way, way down the list." Well his 3:55 performance at Pre wasn't great and it wasn't a a bomb. It really still leaves big question marks about whether he'll be top 3 at the Trials. If he improves like he did last year from his 1st race to his 2nd (3:57 to 3:51), he'll be fine. If not, he's finished.

#6 (9) Chris Lukezic: DOB: 4/24/1984 ,PB: 3:33.28 (2006), 2008 Best: 3:39.74, Last Race: 3:39.74, 2007 Best: 3:36.95.
Hard to believe that Lukezic is still only 24 years old and that he ran 3:33.28 as a 22 year old. Not too shabby. However, it seems like Lukezic has almost been forgotten by the press in recent years.  That's what you get when you turn pro early, as America is a society that focuses on winners and Lukezic hasn't won anything since his junior days.

Lukezic ran weell last year at USAs. Many seem to forget that he was right with Webb, Manzano and Lagat until the last 200. He didn't have a good indoor season this year (4:05 mile at Reebok Boston). Outdoors didn't start amazingly well as he lost to 5k stud Matt Tegenkamp at Stanford (3:40.04 to 3:40.29) and beat who you'd expect at Reebok and lost to who you'd expect as well. But this last week he won the Boston High Performance Series in 3:37.53 so we're moving him up. We hear he's in excellent shape and hope he gets the A standard on Saturday.

#7 (7) Said Ahmed: DOB: 12/10/1982 PB: 3:35.94 (2006), 2008 Best: 3:38.26,  2007 Best: 3:39.00
has been training Kenya since February. He opened with a 3:38.26 win at an African Grand Prix meeting (category II) in Sudan on May 26th. He beat Abdala Abdulgadir (who usually does the peacemaking for Abubaker Kaki) (3:38.59) and Yahya Osman (18 years) who improved to 3:39.25.  

He then raced Wednesday in Sweden where he ran 3:41.47 for 4th in a tactical race. Teen 800 sensation Abubaker Kaki smoked everyone the last 100 and Ahmed and 3 others finished within .35 of one another.

At Bislett, Ahmed ran the 1,500. He had the lead at 1200 (2:52.94) but didn't have much left after that as he finished 5th in 3:37.84 in a race that was won in 3:35.33. Certainly not encouraging for someone to make the jump up to the top 3.

#8 (6) Andrew Wheating - DOB: 11/21/1987 PB: 3:38:60 (2008), 2008 Best: 3:38:60, 2007 Best: 3:45:17.
The 20 year old Oregon sophomore has been the revelation of the US collegiate scene so far in 2008 as he's the collegiate leader at both 1,500 (3:38.60) and 800 (1:46.83). He's got a nasty kick as shown by the video on the right where he throws down a 26.1 last 200 to set the collegiate leader of 3:38.60.

From a no-name to an Olympic contender all in a year. We sure hope he's enjoying the magical ride as much as we are. We really wanted to see him run the 1,500 at NCAAs as we wanted to see him have a showdown between and Manzano, but Wheating opted for the 800 which leads us to believe he'll aim for that event in the Trials. As a result, we're moving him down below Ahmed and Lukezic. We think if Wheating was focused on the 1,500 he might beat them particularly in a 3:38 race, and if we hear he's going to run the 1,500 at the Trials, we'll move him back up up most likely.

#9 (8) Matt Tegenkamp:DOB: 1/19/1982 PB: 3:34.25 (2007), 2008 Best: 3:40.04 Last Race: 3:40.04, 2007 Best: 3:34.25
Tegenkamp is the #1 American born talent in the 5k currently. He's unlikely to run the 1,500 Trials at USAs but the schedule is set up so that if you bomb the 5k, you can come back and try in the 1,500. If that doomsday scenario takes place, Tegenkamp could make some noise - particularly if the pace is honest.

At 1,500, he appears to be a bit overmatched by the big 1500 studs as exemplified by him losing to Lomong by .62 in Arizona early in the year (3:39.50 to 3:40.12). However, he can more than hold his own against guys that aren't likely to make the Olympic team but are strong candidates for a top 10 showing. For example, he defeated Lukezic at Stanford by .25 on May 4th.

#10 (NR) Gabe Jennings -DOB: 1/25/1979 PB: 3:35:21 (2000), 2008 Best: 3:40.58 Last Race: 3:40.58, 2007 Best: 3:39.59.
A blast from the past. The 2000 US Olympic Trials champ is back in the ranking after winning the 1,500 developmental race at Prefontaine in a dominating 3:40.58 as 2nd place was 3:42.03.  Jennings often performs like an artist - either he's on or he's not.  He can go from looking really bad to really good. Last year, he looked amazing the in the prelims at USAs and bombed in the finals. He's starting to look good again.

Dropped Out: Rob Myers & Will Leer.

Men's 800: Matt Sherer Moves Up - KD Remains #1 - and Harris/Burley Show Up
The men's 800 features the Big 2, Khadevis Robinson and Nick Symmonds.

Changes this week: Matt Scherer moves up after his 2nd straight PR. Kevin Hicks moves down and Sam Burley shows up in the rankings as Ryan Brown drops out.

Others to watch:Carlos Phillips of Florida
ran 1:46.70 to win the East region a few weeks go. If he runs well at NCAAs, we're putting him in the top 10.

Previous rankings appear in (). Big movers have arrows.

USA 800 Meter Stats
Note: Our stats came from a combination of TrackandFieldNews.com US leaders lists, our own adjustments, and incredible individual stats at tilastopaja

2008 Top 10 Seasonal Bests
changes this weeek in bold
1:45.55 Khadevis Robinson 5/31
1:45.01    Nick Symmonds (Oregon Track Club)

1:45.56 Jebrah Haris 6/11
1:45.58  Sam Burley 6/11

1:45.68 Jacob Hernandez Univ of Texas  5/31

1:46.11 Matt Scherer
1:46.27     James Hatch (unattached)    
1:46.55  Kevin Hicks
1:46.58     Jeremy Mims (unattached)  Oregon  
1:46.70    Carlos Phillips  Florida 5/31

1:46.75   Felix Kitur    VMI 5/31
1:46.83    Andrew Wheating (Univ of Oregon)  
1:46.97   Sam  Burely (Asics)
1:47.01 Jon Rankin 6/11
1:47.12     Tim Harris (Miami)   
1:47.16     Elliott Blount (OTC)    
 1:47.16   Brandon Shaw (OTC)  
1:47.18   Ryan Brown (Asics)   Mt SAC  

2007 Top 10 Seasonal Bests
1:43.84     Alan Webb (Nike)   
1:44.27     Khadevis Robinson (Nike)    
1:44.54     Nick Symmonds (OTC) Eugene GP   
1:44.69     Jonathan Johnson (Reebok)   
1:45.69     Duane Solomon (USC)    
1:45.92     Jebreh Harris (Reebok)  
1:46.11     Floyd Thompson (SMTC)   
1:46.20     Brandon Shaw (OTC)  
1:46.22     Elliott Blount (OTC)    
1:46.62     Trent Riter (unattached)

2007 USATF Finals
1 Khadevis Robinson Nike 1:44.37
2 Nicholas Symmonds Oregon TC 1:45.17
3 Duane Solomon U S C 1:45.69
4 Jonathan Johnson Reebok 1:45.79
5 Lopez Lomong Northern Arizona 1:45.79
6 Floyd Thompson Santa Monica T C 1:46.11
7 Golden Coachman unattached 1:47.18
8 Trent Riter unattached 1:48.00

#1 (1) Khadevis Robinson - DOB: 7/19/1976 Personal Best: 1:43.68 (2006) 2008 Best: 1:45.55 2007 Best: 1:44.27
The US Champ from 2007 outdoors also won the 2008 indoor title. He's got a good rivalry going with Nick Symmonds but in our minds the choice between #1 and #2 was an easy one. In 2007, Robinson twice ran faster than Symmonds personal best (1:44.54) and he put four times that were better than Symmonds second fastest best time.

That was before they raced. At Reebok, Robinson looked good as
he was a very close 2nd (.02) to Kamel defeating Gary Reed and Nick Willis in the process. At Prefontaine, he was 3rd in a US Leading 1:44.55 - the exact same time he ran at Reebok.

#2  (2) Nick Symmonds - DOB: 12/30/1983 Personal Best: 1:44:54  (2007) 2008 Best: 1:46.14 2007 Best: 1:44.54
The USATF runnerup indoors in 2008 and outdoors in 2007, Symmonds is a clear #2 in the US 800.

Symmonds gave the fans in Oregon a thrill as he made a big move towards the lead at Prefontaine between 500 and 600 meters in, but it proved to be too much too soon as he ended up 4th in 1:45.01. If Symmonds wants to learn how to make the next level, he needs to watch a replay of the race and realize the move was way too big and way too soon. He needs to watch how patient Yego was and how it's better ideally to be positioned a little closer to the front. Symmonds run from the back style is the perfect way to go for a bronze (like Rich Kenah at worlds in 2001) but a real hard way to win .

#3 (3) Jacob Hernandez  9/8/1985 Personal Best: 1:45.68 2008 Best: 1:45.68 2007 Best: 1:48.10
Jacob Hernandez is a huge, huge talent. He ran 1:48.48 in high school. Until Saturday he was a guy who had had some great college success (especially on relays where he was on Texas world record DMR team), but had barely improved on his high school pr (he had run 1:47.96 his freshman year while at TCU but not improved since).

That all changed on Saturday. Hernandez dropped a 1:45.68 to destroy the field at the NCAA Midwest Regional. We had talked to UT coach Jason Vigilante earlier in the week about something else and he was raving about Herhandez workouts. The last time we heard him raving about one of his athletes was when Leo Manzano was an unheralded freshman at the University of Texas.

#4 (5) Andrew Wheating - DOB: 11/21/1987 PB: 1:46.83 (2008), 2008 Best: 1:46.83, 2007 Best: 1:50.17
If we'd started our ranking early in the year, this guy would have been nowhere the top 10. Hell he likely wouldn't have been in the top 10 of his conference.  But the 20 year old Oregon sophomore has been the revelation of the US collegiate scene so far in 2008 as he's the collegiate leader at both 1,500 (3:38.60) and 800 (1:46.83).

The only question mark regarding Wheating is what is his true event as his coaches at Oregon said they are unsure if he's an 800 or 1,500 man ultimately.Since he entered the 800 at NCAAs, we're moving him back up as clearly this is his focus. Time will tell if we have him ranked too high as looking good in college races is totally different than pro ones.

#5 (6) Alan Webb - DOB: 1/13/1983 Personal Best: 1:43.84 (07) 2008 Best: None.  2007 Best: 1:43.84
Heading into last year in the 7 years starting in 2000, Alan Webb had only once ended up with a seasonal best in the 800 under 1:47 (1:46.09 in 2004).  Thus the fact that he ended the year with a PB of 1:43.84 which also served as the world's 2nd fastest time was a big-time shock to say the least.

Webb doesn't race many 800s so it's hard to say how he'd do if he stepped on the track right now and raced. We imagine it would take a rust-buster or two for him to reach top form. Thus he might be beat by some US guys.  We'd like to see Webb run a quality 800 on US soil (maybe the next time there are no world champs) just to see if he could dominate or not.  However, it would probably be in his best long-term interest to try a 5k instead (13:10.86).

That's how good Alan Webb is. Fast enough to be the world's #2 at 800 and strong enough to do serious damage in the 5k. Hell his 10k PR is better than Olympic marathoner Dathan Ritzenhein. The total package for sure when he's on.

#6 (NR) Jebreh Harris - DOB: 9/22/1978 Personal Best: 1:45:56 (08) 2008 Best: 1:45.56 2007 Best: 1:45.92
Harris enters the rankings after a surprise PR at the American Miler Series meet in Indiana tonight (6/11). The last two years he ran 1:45.92 and 1:45.91 so his 1:45.66 was a pr. In 2006, he ran 1:45.91 to place third at nationals. If he PRs again this year at USAs, he has a shot of ending up in Beijing. If he runs like he did last year at USAs (out in the 1st round), it may be the end of his Olympic dream as he's 29.

#7 (NR) Sam Burley - DOB: 2/13/1981 Personal Best: 1:45:39 (02) 2008 Best: 1:46.97 2007 Best: 1:47.42
Burley enters the rankings after breaking 1:47 for the first time since 2006 in winning the 800 at the Boston High Performance Series.  He then ran a 1:45.68 tonight (6/11) at the American Miler Series meet. For all of the college runners who assume they'll just run faster and faster as they get older, take note: Burley's PR came when he ran 1:45.39 to be the runner-up win NCAAs six years ago.

#8 (11) Matt Scherer- DOB: 11/21/1983 Personal Best: 1:46.11 (08) 2008 Best: 1:46.11 2007 Best: 1:47.89
Scherer is an interesting prospect. He's a 45.19 400m runner but in America that means you think about moving up to the 800 which he did in earnest last year. He ran 1:47.89 last year. This year outdoors he had run 1:49, 1:49 and then 1:51, but in his last race out this past weekend he busted out with a 1:46.61 pb win. Has he finally figured out the 800 or will he revert back to the 1:48s? Well he followed that up with another PR by running 1:46.11 at Prefontaine.

#9 (9) James Hatch - DOB: 9/271982 Personal Best: 1:46.27 (08) 2008 Best: 1:46.27  2007 Best: 1:50.50 The NCAA indoor runner-up from 2005 certainly wouldn't have been on anyone's radar heading into this year as his seasonal best was 1:50.50 last year. But he's at a new level this year. 5th indoors at USAs, Hatch has opened up outdoors with a lifetime best and US leader. Talk about a great time to open in a PR - how about the Olympic year. Not sure why he hasn't raced since early May.

#10 (7) Jonathan Johnson - DOB: 3/5/1982 Personal Best: 1:44:69 (07) 2008 Best: 1:46.90 2007 Best: 1:44.69
When Johnson won USAs and NCAAs in the same year in 2004, it seemed like the sky was the limit. A humbling 6th at NCAAs the next year (while we hate seeing people go pro early, that right there is an example of why many of them do), brought expectations down a lot.  

Thus people may not have noticed but Johnson actually set his PR in Europe (1:44.69) last year. Earlier in the year, he finished 4th at USAs. We guess it makes more sense that not nearly as many people are noticing because 4th in USAs 3 years after winning it, isn't likely to create a lot of publicity.

Johnson ran poorly in his last outing, finishing 7th at Reebok in 1:47.29

#11 (10) Duane Solomon - DOB: 12/28/1984 Personal Best: 1:45:69 (07) 2008 Best: 1:47.33 2007 Best: 1:45.69
The USC senior finished an impressive 3rd at USAs last year by running a pr of 1:45.69.  This year he's the # 3 American on the US collegiate leaderboard but he's was crushed by Andrew Wheating at Pac 10s (1:46.83 to 1:47.65) and at regionals.

#12 (4) Kevin Hicks - DOB: 11/7/1984 Personal Best: 1:44.94 2008 Best: 1:46:55 2007 Best: 1:47.28
Kevin Hicks is another huge talent. He ran 1:44.94 in 2005 to get second at NCAAs as a sophomore. He followed that up by getting third at USAs. Then he disappeared. Since 2005 he's never made the finals at USATF, and has never been under 1:47.28 until two weeks ago, when he ran 1:46.55 to finish behind Nick Symmonds at the Nike Mile 800. His fastest time in 3 years came at the right time heading into the Olympic Trials. But he followed that up be running 1:47.88 and getting beat by Christain Smith in the developmental race at Pre.

#13 (NR) Christian Smith - DOB: 10/31/1984 Personal Best: 1:44.86 ('06) 2008 Best: 1:47.72 07 2007 Best: 1:48.92
The former Kansas State star beat Kevin Hicks in the development race of Pre to make our top 13.

Dropping Out:
Ryan Brown who dropped out of Prefontaine developmental race.

We're sure we made a few errors as this is our first attempt at this.  Comments, suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

We rushed to put this up and didn't include photos. If anyone has some photos they'd like us to use, please email us.

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