US Men Steeplechase Top 10 Rankings - 2009

2009 not a banner year for US male steeplechasers.

By LetsRun.com
December, 2009

Editor's Note: As for how we came up with the rankings, we'd say in general, we value top finishes at major events over time. We are sure it's possible that you disagree with our the rankings. If you disagree with them, please email us your suggestions or post your comments in the official steeple rankings thread here.

American steeplechase record holder Daniel Lincoln did not return to action, as he continues his medical school training and his recovery from a tough Achilles surgery. 2008 Olympic steeplechase finalist and US champion Anthony Famiglietti elected to try races - many races - at other distances and surfaces. So who were the 10 best American steeple runners in '09? Well, we start with a surprise addition to the US all-time top 10 list, and we end with some disappointed veterans.

LRC #1 Daniel Huling • Reebok • 8:14.69 • #6 US Performer Of All Time • USA Runner-Up

Year

      Best  

2005

8:58

 

2006

8:43

 

2007

8:27

 

2008

8:20

 

2009

8:14

 
Table: Dan Huling's steeplechase seasonal bests, '05-'09.

American Daniel Huling continued his steady yearly progress in a rather unusual way. After finishing a disappointing 12th in his heat in the Berlin Worlds steeplechase, Huling roared back with a stunning 8:14.69 performance in Brussels. Taking a look at the table to the left, one can see that Huling has progressed his personal best every year since 2005, when he was a student at University of Miami-Ohio.

Huling made a big leap forward by finishing 2nd behind Josh McAdams at the US steeplechase championships in Eugene to earn a trip to Berlin. He will finish the year as the 9th-fastest non-Kenyan of 2009. Somebody make this man a plaque!

LRC #2 Josh McAdams • New Balance • 8:22.83 • USA Champion

29-year-old Josh McAdams - the 2007 USA steeplechase champion, 2006 NCAA champion and 2008 US Olympian - continued to do what he has done for the past few years: run low-8:20s with a solid finishing kick in almost any race. McAdams is certainly one of the "best of the rest" in the world but is 100m or more behind the leading Kenyan and French steeplers. He's in a tough spot because he's constantly behind the frontrunners (and rabbits) in the big races, though he does a great job of beating the other guys. His biggest triumph of 2009 was winning his 2nd USA championship. His biggest disappointment surely came in Berlin, when he failed to make the Worlds final, running 9:02.

LRC #3 Kyle Perry • BYU • 8:29.24 (PR) • NCAA Champion

Kyle Perry makes it two BYU grads in the top 3, as he earns our #3 spot thanks to his NCAA championship in the steeplechase. Somewhat a surprise victor, Perry set a personal best in the NCAA final. He also was 4th at USAs.

LRC #4 Ben Bruce • Nike • 8:26.08 (PR) • 5th, USA Champs

Ben Bruce set a big PR in 2009 after three seasons in a row with an 8:32 personal best. Bruce finished 5th at USAs but twice ran 8:26 and won the Payton Jordan Invite steeplechase, a race with most of the best Americans in it.

Name Performance In Berlin Heat
Daniel Huling 8:46, 12th
Josh McAdams 9:02, 13th
Kyle Alcorn DNF
Table: Alcorn wasn't the only American steeplechaser to struggle in Berlin.

LRC #5 Kyle Alcorn • Nike • 8:34.02 • 3rd, USA Champs

Hard to believe a World Championships qualifier is only fifth-best of the year, but Kyle Alcorn fell way short of expectations in 2009. His PR, 8:21, wasn't challenged. He was a DNF at Worlds. Aside from his 3rd-place at USAs, Alcorn just couldn't get in gear in '09 after an amazing 2008 and 2007.

LRC #6 Tom Kloos • Transports adidas • 8:35.12 • 6th, USA Champs

Tom Kloos, 31, continued his career with one of his best ever USA Championship performances. Kloos ran his seasonal best in the heats before taking 6th in the steeple final.

LRC #7 Jake Morse • U. Of Texas • 8:34.57 • 4th, NCAA Champs • 11th, USA Champs

Track and Field: NCAA Indoor Championships Bearded Texas Longhorn star Jake Morse (left) ran 8:30 in 2008 and came back in 2009 with his eyes on faster times and bigger performances. Unfortunately, his first steeplechase race of the season was his fastest. Morse's season ended with some agony, as he totally went for it at NCAAs before fading to 4th. He ran poorly at USAs two weeks later, where he was 11th.

LRC #8 Brian Olinger • Reebok • 8:34.85 • 12th, USA Champs

Brian Olinger, the once-precocious collegian who ran 8:19 while enrolled at Ohio State under excellent steeplechaser and coach Robert Gary, only managed an 8:34 best this season and finished 12th at USAs.

LRC #9 Scott MacPherson • U. Of Arkansas • 8:38.87 (PR) • 5th, NCAA Champs • Eliminated Heats At USAs

We went down in the overall time list for 2009 to pick up MacPherson because he managed to run a personal best 8:38 in the NCAA final. MacPherson was running for points for the Arkansas Razorbacks at his home track. We used to think MacPherson was "under-talented" but he did run 13:49 indoors in 2007, so maybe the 8:38 isn't as impressive. All that aside, MacPherson managed a personal best in the biggest race of his life after finishing only 4th in the NCAA steeplechase regional. Not simply running fast steeple races, MacPherson was pulling major shifts for the Razorbacks, as he ran the 10,000/5,000/steeplechase triple to lead his team to an SEC Outdoor Championship title.

He probably shouldn't be ranked ahead of Nelson but we were impressed by his SEC triple.

LRC #10 Billy Nelson • Nike • 8:35.90 • 13th, USA Champs

Nelson had a superb 2008, finishing as runner-up at the NCAA championships and US Olympic Trials in the steeplechase. His first professional season did not go as well. He finished with a seasonal best 14 seconds adrift of his 8:21 PR and could only manage a 13th-place finish at USAs.

We have no idea who is coaching him but if he's moved on from Mark Wetmore all we can say is go back young man, go back.

Unhappy With Our Rankings?: Discuss Them In Our Official LRC Men's Steeple Rankings Thread


More LRC 2009 Men's Steeple Coverage:


*LRC
NCAA Outdoors: Perry Wins
*LRC
Josh McAdams Gets His 2nd USATF Steeple Crown

Worlds: LRC Men's Steeplechase Kemboi And Mateelong Go 1-2 In Amazing Men's Steeple We recap a super final that saw Paul Koech come in fourth in 8:01.26. Frenchman Bob Tahri broke up the Kenyan sweep, but it was still all smiles for champion Ezekiel Kemboi, who was hilarious after the race. *Videos
1st Round: LRC Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad Makes An Ass Of Himself, Americans Bomb In the men's steeple, France's Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, the guy who did the ridiculous celebration in Paris at the Golden League meet, dropped out and then made an ass of himself in the media room. We got some of it on video. The American men did horribly with 2 last places and one DNF.
Photos: *Worlds Photos

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