Recaps of Qualfiying Round of Miles and 800s at 2013 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships

by March 8, 2013 Men’s Mile Fayetteville, Arkansas – The biggest guns in terms of 2013 performances all advanced to the tomorrow’s final in the men’s mile as Lawi Lalang of Arizona State and Ryan Hill of NC State went 1-2 in heat one and Penn state sophomore Robbie Creese and Tulsa’s Chris O’Hare, […]

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March 8, 2013

Men’s Mile
Fayetteville, Arkansas – The biggest guns in terms of 2013 performances all advanced to the tomorrow’s final in the men’s mile as Lawi Lalang of Arizona State and Ryan Hill of NC State went 1-2 in heat one and Penn state sophomore Robbie Creese and Tulsa’s Chris O’Hare, the collegiate record holder  and defending champion, went 1-2 in heat two to set up a much anticipated final on Saturday.

“I thought it was good. I didn’t know what to expect – who was going to take it. (Ryan) and Lawi looked pretty smooth in their prelim. I watched them with a close eye – they looked good, I felt good, (and) Robby looked good so it’s going to be a good final,” said O’Hare.

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Lalang was also pleased with how he ran today.

“It was good – just qualify and then we wait for tomorrow,” said Lalang. “Right now. I’m really strong in something like the 5k. The mile is my weakness so I’m working on my weakness.”

Lawi Lalang Leads

When asked if he was doing the mile/3k this year instead of the 5k/3k so he’d have more in the tank later in the year (last year Lalang won the 5k/3k indoors at NCAAs but was only 3rd in the 5k and 11th in the 1,500 outdoors), Lalang said the following, “That’s my main goal. I don’t want to be like last year when it comes to outdoor I was so stressed out.” (video here)

Lalang also added that he hasn’t been training recently with Bernard Lagat as they are focused on different things (Lalang the mile/Bernard a half-marathon).

As for the final, Lalang wants it to be an honest final.

“I want to set a pace where the fastest guy,  where the guy who will be strong, will win the race.”

The mile wasn’t without one big-name casualty however as Oregon’s Mac Fleet, the 2010 runner-up at NCAAs who is on the comeback trail from injury, was passed in the final meters of heat two to miss out on qualification. It wasn’t a good day for the Oregon Ducks as the Ducks had 3 competitors in heat two and none of them advanced.

Heat 1:
Lawi Lalang took this out in 59.04 with Texas Joe Stilin behind. The half-way split was 2:01.02. 1100 meters into the race Stilin took the lead before Lalang came back to the front with a quarter left (3:00.57). Over the last lap, it was clear the top two finishers in his heat in Lalang and 3:54 miler Ryan Hill were a class above of everyone else. It also was equally clear that the third and fourth placers Tyler Stutzman and Raul Botezan were better than fifth (Christopher Fallon) and sixth (John Simons) who’d both get in on time as the top six finished in pairs of twos.


The Sprint for Home Led by Chris O’Hare

Heat 2:

This heat was much slower from the start (61.71, 2:05.23). O’Hare went to the front at 1k and made it somewhat honest from there all the way home which was smart as terribly slow races often lead to falls. With a quarter to go (3:05.73), it was clear the last quarter would be fast. Creese went to the lead 1300 meters in but with 300 meters remaining it O’Hare, Creese, and Oregon’s Mac Fleet 1-2-3 and it seemed as if they were likely all going to qualify as a top 4 auto-qualifier. But Fleet got caught by Stanford’s Micahael Atchoo just before the line to lose out on qualifying by .05.

Quick Take #1: When asked about the kilt he wore to yesterday’s banquet. O’Hare said, “It’s pretty spot on for formal wears. I’ve broken it out a couple times here to just show what I’m made of. It’s good to keep the heritage going a little bit.”

It is apparently good luck for him as he did wear it last year as well.

Quick Take #2: Life sometimes just isn’t fair. With all he’s been through to get back to an elite level, it was cruel to see Fleet go out this way. He’s clearly one of the 10 best milers at NCAAs but just got put in the wrong heat.

Heat  1 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Lawi Lalang               JR Arizona                3:58.52Q             
  2 Ryan Hill                 SR North Carolina St.     3:58.91Q             
  3 Raul Botezan              SR Oklahoma State         3:59.85Q             
  4 Tyler Stutzman            SR Stanford               3:59.93Q             
  5 Christopher Fallon        SR Ohio State             4:00.36q             
  6 John Simons               JR Minnesota              4:00.47q             
  7 Joseph Stilin             SR Texas                  4:02.04              
  8 Julian Matthews           SR Providence             4:12.57
Heat  2 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Robby Creese              SO Penn State             4:01.67Q             
  2 Chris O'Hare              SR Tulsa                  4:01.76Q             
  3 Austin Mudd               SO Wisconsin              4:02.10Q             
  4 Michael Atchoo            JR Stanford               4:02.13Q             
  5 Mac Fleet                 JR Oregon                 4:02.18              
  6 Brett Johnson             JR Oregon                 4:04.11              
  7 Robert Denault            SO Villanova              4:04.29              
  8 Matt Miner                SR Oregon                 4:06.77


Women’s Mile

Emma Coburn Leads

#1 seed and 2012 US Olympic steeplechaser Emma Coburn, who was just running her second race of the indoor season tonight, looked good in controlling her heat and advancing to tomorrow’s final.  Even though she’s not really known as a miler, Coburn is definitely the prohibitive favorite as the #2 seed in the event, Florida’s Cory McGee failed to advance in heat 2.

Heat 1:

Boston College’s Jillian King took it out  as Emma Coburn was 2nd on the rail. After a 69.33 opening quafter, the two were side by side at 700 meters before Coburn started to pull away from the field. After halfway (2:20.32), she had 2-3 meters on the field and with a quarter to go she was probably up by 10 meters on the field. Oregon’s Anne Kesselring, who was the 2011 NCAA outdoor 800 champ, used that speed on the last lap to catch up to Coburn before Coburn got the heat win. Her teammate Becca Friday was the third auto-qualifier as Notre Dame’s Rebecca Tracy got the last auto spot in a heat where the top six would advance.

Heat 2:

With a quarter to go, Florida State’s Amanda Winslow had the lead and would keep it to the finish. With 200 to go, the top 3 started to pull away. The big development came in on the finish straight when the #2 seed, Florida’s Cory McGee, who is the SEC champ and was sixth last year, faded to 5th.

Quick Take #1: Even though she’s not a miler by nature, Coburn is a BIG favorite in the final in our minds. Here is why.

She has run 4:29.86 so far this year in her only race of the season indoors.

Only seven girls in the field tonight had run under 4:35.00 on the year and four of them didn’t make the final – King (BC), McGee (Florida) , Vicky Fouhy (Virginia) and Laura Roxberg (Missouri).

The two other sub-4:35 women on the season in the final with Coburn are Winslow (4:33.22) and Tracy (4:33.53).

Quick Take #2: If Coburn does lose, we’d imagine the 800 runner Kesselring would be the winner but we can’t imagine Coburn will let the pace dawdle. Coburn speaks after her heat in the interview below.

Heat  1 Preliminaries                                                           
  1 Emma Coburn               SR Colorado               4:37.47Q                
  2 Anne Kesselring           SR Oregon                 4:37.69Q                
  3 Becca Friday              SR Oregon                 4:37.80Q                
  4 Rebecca Tracy             SR Notre Dame             4:37.88Q                
  5 Kelly Williams            FR West Virginia          4:38.18q                
  6 Rachel Schneider          SR Georgetown             4:38.29q                
  7 Shannon Osika             SO Michigan               4:43.43                 
  8 Jillian King              SR Boston College         4:45.40                 
Heat  2 Preliminaries                                                           
  1 Amanda Winslow            SR Florida State          4:36.48Q                
  2 Carly Hamilton            SO Georgia                4:37.33Q                
  3 Agata Strausa             JR Florida                4:37.56Q                
  4 Amanda Mergaert           SR Utah                   4:38.56Q                
  5 Cory McGee                JR Florida                4:39.05                 
  6 Vicky Fouhy               SR Virginia               4:41.29                 
  7 Christine Babcock         SR Washington             4:41.55                 
  8 Laura Roxberg             SR Missouri               4:45.66

Men’s 800:

The men’s 800 could be an event that is critical to the team title. Based on the descending order list coming into the meet, Florida needs to outscore Arkansas by four in this event to win the meet.

Ironically, the only guy on Florida or Arkansas that looked like he might score today – was a guy who didn’t run the 800 at SECs, Patrick Rono of Arkansas (Rono was second in the mile). In the end. SEC champion Sean Obinwa of Florida advanced to the final as the last time qualifier, but Obinwa, looked like the guy who hadn’t broken 1:50 all year heading into SECs, not the guy who ran away with SECs at 1:48.40 and then ran 1:47.90 at Notre Dame last week to qualify. Arkansas’ Leoman Momoh wasn’t so lucky as the collegiate leader was tripped in heat two and failed to advance. Normally, the national leader from the host school with a chance for the team title not advancing would be a HUGE story, but that wasn’t really the case as Momoh only scored one point at SECs in 8th and had never scored at NCAAs before so it was hard to truly expect a lot from him.

Both heats were won by Oregon runners. If they went 1-2 could they somehow get in the men’s team mix? We doubt it.

Elijah Greer and His New Hair

Heat 1: Elijah Greer, the guy who we called the favorite in our NCAA preview, ran like one as he closed in 26.76 to get the heat win over Loyola’s Declan Murray who did most of the leading. Chilean indoor record holder Tomas Squella of Arkansas held the third auto-qualifying spot until the end of this heat when he was passed by Minnesota’s Harun Abda. In the end it didn’t matter as Squella would get in on time as would Obinwa.

Heat 2: After his stunning 2.66 second pb last week, we wanted to see if NCAA leader Leoman Momoh was for real but unfortunately we didn’t get the chance as he went down barely 200 meters into the race. At the bell, Penn State’s Cas Loxsom, who came into in the meet 0 for 3 in terms of making the NCAA final during his career indoors,  moved into the third auto qualifying spot and would stay there and make his first final.

The Aftermath of the Fall in Heat #2

Things got interesting on the back-stretch when Rono made a big move up on the outside to grab the second auto-qualifying spot. The heat was won by Oregon’s Boru Guyota. For the first 600, Guyota ran in second behind early leader David Mokone of Western Kentucky, who would fade to 7th.

Quick Take #1: In heat 1, Obinwa didn’t look good at all but we’ve got to give him credit for fighting hard to try to get into the final. Only 7th at the bell, he moved up late to get fifth and squeak in on time.

Quick Take #2: In heat 1, Iowa State’s Edward Kemboi was dead last. We don’t know what is plaguing him but something is up. Early in the year, he ran 1:47 but at Big 12s he only ran 1:55 in the final. Now, the guy who was 5th at the last two outdoor finals doesn’t even make the final? Email us if you know what the deal is.

Quick Take #3: The stats don’t look good at all for the guys at heat 2. There splits were faster at 400 and 600 but the winning time in heat 1 was faster. Greer is officially the favorite now.

Quick Take #4: North American high school 800 record holder Brian McBride of Canada was the first person not to advance as he was fourth in heat #2. We doubted the huge talent would be able to contend for the win in only his second collegiate 800 and were proven to be correct.

lace Name Affiliation Time 200m 400m 600m 800m
1 Elijah Greer ORE 1:48.13 27.34 (27.34) 54.61 (27.27) 1:21.37 (26.77) 1:48.13 (26.76)
2 Declan Murray LOYI 1:48.44 26.77 (26.77) 53.90 (27.13) 1:21.37 (27.47) 1:48.44 (27.08)
3 Harun Abda MINN 1:48.65 27.03 (27.03) 54.51 (27.49) 1:21.68 (27.17) 1:48.65 (26.98)
4 Tomas Squella ARK 1:48.76 27.03 (27.03) 54.09 (27.07) 1:21.50 (27.41) 1:48.76 (27.27)
5 Sean Obinwa UFL 1:48.83 27.20 (27.20) 54.73 (27.54) 1:22.36 (27.63) 1:48.83 (26.48)
6 Anthony Lieghio ARK 1:48.93 26.93 (26.93) 54.43 (27.50) 1:21.71 (27.28) 1:48.93 (27.23)
7 Samuel Ellison VILL 1:49.22 27.14 (27.14) 54.70 (27.57) 1:22.01 (27.31) 1:49.22 (27.22)
8 Edward Kemboi IAST 1:51.47 27.30 (27.30) 55.13 (27.83) 1:22.78 (27.66) 1:51.47 (28.69)
Place Name Affiliation Time 200m 400m 600m 800m
1 Charlene Lipsey LSU 2:05.02 29.36 (29.36) 1:01.63 (32.28) 1:33.96 (32.33) 2:05.02 (31.06)
2 Laura Roesler ORE 2:05.42 29.45 (29.45) 1:01.72 (32.28) 1:34.19 (32.48) 2:05.42 (31.23)
3 Natalja Piliusina OKST 2:05.78 29.85 (29.85) 1:01.84 (31.99) 1:34.44 (32.61) 2:05.78 (31.34)
4 Cydney Ross DUKE 2:06.04 29.65 (29.65) 1:02.07 (32.42) 1:34.62 (32.56) 2:06.04 (31.42)
5 Kendra Chambers TEX 2:06.15 29.70 (29.70) 1:01.87 (32.17) 1:34.41 (32.55) 2:06.15 (31.74)
6 Erika Veidis HARV 2:06.69 29.40 (29.40) 1:02.05 (32.65) 1:34.84 (32.80) 2:06.69 (31.85)
7 Benita Taylor HAMP 2:07.26 28.94 (28.94) 1:01.29 (32.36) 1:34.06 (32.77) 2:07.26 (33.21)
8 Vanessa McLeod PURD 2:11.59 29.70 (29.70) 1:01.90 (32.21) 1:34.97 (33.07) 2:11.59 (36.63)

Women’s 800:

The Fall in Heat #2

LSU teammates Natoya Goule (2:03.08) and Charlene Lipsey (2:02.48) came in with the top two seed times and they emerged with heat victories to advance to the finals as the top five seeds all advanced to tomorrow’s final. A fall in heat one did  take out the co-number six seeds in Shelby Houlihan or Arizona State and BYU’s Kelsey Brown.


Heat 1:

With just less than 400 meters remaining, the co-number six seeds Houlihan and Brown went tumbling to the track and Tennessee’s Nijgia Snapp who was behind them ended up also on the track. After the fall, Houlihan made a valiant effort to get back into it and ultimately gave her a chance at sneaking in as a time qualifier as she finished fifth in 2:07.90 – but both time qualifiers would come from heat 2.

Goule led this heat wire to wire and looked good doing so. She got our decently fast (29.19) to stay out of trouble, costed in the middle 32s for 2nd and third 200s, before picking it up for the final 200 (30.90)

Heat 2: 

2013 NCAA leader Charlene Lipsey did basically exactly what her teammate did in heat one but just ran a little bit faster. She got out moderately fast (29.36), coasted two 32s in the middle (32 lows whereas Goule ran 32 highs), before picking it up and closing in 31.90 to win easily in 2:05.02. The biggest difference was she didn’t have the lead early on as Hampton’s Benita Taylor led until just before the bell.

Oregon’s 5-time All-American Laura Roesler was second in 2:05.42. 2011 outdoor and 2012 indoor 800 runner-up Natalja Piliusina got the auto qualifying spot in 2:05.78 but didn’t look great in our minds.

Quick Take #1: Houlihan’s effort after the fall deserves praise.

Quick Take #2: We didn’t see what happened with the fall and when we interviewed Snapp afterwards (interview here), she herself didn’t even know what happened. If you know, email us.

Quick Take #3: After tonight, it looks like the two LSU teammates will be battling it out for the title on Saturday. At SECs, it wasn’t close as Lipsey won in 2:02.48 to Goule’s 2:03.08. Lipsey is a BIG favorite in our minds.

Day 1 Photo Gallery 
(That’s Olympic Champ Peter Rono and Son Peter Rono)


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