Clearly they are most dominant in XC relatively, so the focus on recruiting and development would lend itself to track distances upwards of 800 meters. However, I've wondered why there haven't been great steeplers out of the best distance program in the country, does anyone know? Does the higher risk of injury at altitude/steelping in general play a role? Also, while the strength of the program is seen in XC and mainly 3k-10k (with some exceptional 1500s, but usually at the hands of their best 5k guys), does the training naturally discourage 800 specialists or 800/1500 guys?
In doing some research, their fastest 800 runner that was seemingly a pure mid d guy was Ryan Lanley. While not as known as the plethora of national level guys they've had over the other distances, he was a 1:49.1 guy who never raced over a mile (and his best being a 3:50 1500). How does a guy like this strive at a school like NAU? It seems like the bulk of the team focuses on distances 3k and up, but a great distance coach can presumably coach great "pure " mid d guys like this. I know they got Sahlman, who has run 1:48, but it seems like he would do events above the 800 since he can very well and could use that speed to compete in championship level races successfully.
Also, I don't like to name drop or call out people so I'm not trying to put a spotlight on Lanley, I'm just using looking at him as an example as a mid d guy surrounded by a distance heavy program that doesn't have many 800 runners. While obviously many milers are great 5k guys, there are also many milers that aren't very good at anything over a 3k and even that distance is stretching it.
Also, it seems like NAU could have a pretty gnarly DMR if they really wanted to. Not the most important for guys looking to go pro or who want to do a 5k or mile at nationals, but even their other guys seem like they could run something pretty quick. There's a lot to this post that may seem undirected but I'm most curious about how NAU trains mid d guys and why they have a lack of steeplers. Thanks!