What A Double – Lawi Lalang Is Back on Top – Arizona Junior Returns To Winning Ways With NCAA Meet Records in Mile & 3000

Lalang is Now the NCAA Meet Record Holder at Mile, 3000 and 5000

by LetsRun.com
March 9, 2013

Fayettteville, AR -Arizona junior Lawi Lalang is back – back with a vengeance.

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The NCAA indoor track and field collegiate 5000 record holder, who seemed unbeatable at the collegiate level through last year’s indoor meet before being defeated twice outdoors at NCAAs and then again in cross country, returned to the winner’s circle again tonight in impressive fashion in the men’s mile. Running from the front he went out and set a NCAA meet record of 3:54.74, as he held off a furious late charge from NC State senior Ryan Hill who came from way back and nearly pulled of a miraculous victory before finishing second in 3:55.25. The collegiate record holder and defending champion in the event, senior Chris O’Hare of Tulsa, was a surprise non-factor and finished 7th in 4:02.96.

If that wasn’t enough, Lalang came back later in the night and put an exclamation point on his resurrection as the king of NCAA distance as he set an NCAA meet record to win the 3000 in 7:45.94 in a race where 5000 winner Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech, who also is the man who took Lalang’s cross country title last fall, didn’t score.

Lalang is now the NCAA meet record holder at the mile (3:54.74), 3000 (7:45.94) and 5000 (13:25.11).


What the hell is going on? (Photo gallery here)

The mile race: Lalang Sets the NCAA Record in a Strange One
The mile was incredibly exciting and incredibly bizarre to watch. When it was over, we honestly had to re-check the splits and make sure they weren’t incorrect as they barely made sense. Here is what happened.

Lalang took it out like he promised last night. However, considering one had to run 3:59 just to qualify for NCAAs, the pace was nothing spectacular -58.75 for a quarter mile and 1:59.01 for half-way (unofficial, officially 1:59.76 at 809). Yet half-way into the race, no one was with Lalang. Many in the field who were doubling back from the DMR, simply didn’t bring their ‘A’ game.

It seemed inconceivable that no one was with Lalang and the half-way split was only 1:59.

The only one who even attempted to stay close with Lalang was Penn State sophomore Robbie Creese, but he was in second nearly 1.5 seconds back in  2:01.17 (FAT at 809) and would fade all the way back to 9th by the finish.  Ryan Hill, who wasn’t burdened by DMR duties last night, was in third at 2:01.69. Lalang’s tempo remained consistent through three quarters (2:58.47 for 1209) at which point his lead was the biggest of the night (2.62 seconds over Hill).

At this point, Lalang tightened the screws and brought it home in 56.27 (28.78, 27.49), but you’d never know it as Ryan Hill nearly came back from the dead to steal this thing.

Don’t Look Back: Here Comes Ryan Hill

Hill was sensational at the end of this race as he closed in 54. 17 (27.79, 26.38). As Hill put on his furious charge, the crowd’s got seriously excited for the first time this weekend. Hearing the noise, Lalang was able to dig deep and put the nail in the coffin.

What a race.

As for O’Hare, he simply didn’t have it tonight and offered no excuses afterwards. (Video interviews at bottom of article). For the first 400, he was right where he wanted to be in second. Then he suddenly fell back to seventh on the third lap after a stunning slow split of 31.11.

He stayed  in seventh through halfway before it seemed as if he just suddenly tried to will himself back into the race. On the 5th lap, O’Hare was the fastest of anyone in the field (29.41) as he moved back up to second. With a quarter left, he was still in third after a third 400 of  59.15, but all of that yo-yo-ing had done him in as he’d fade back to seventh.

When asked about his fade from the front to the back but his surge back up to contention, O’Hare said, “I felt terrible (at that point)- hence me falling back, falling back. Then I had a few words with myself and said, ‘What do you think you are playing at? This isn’t you. This isn’t where you are meant to be.’ So I picked it up. But the mind is only so strong. I wish my mind was stronger than my legs but it’s so often not. My legs had different things today.”

O’Hare refused to make excuses and was full of his praise for the guys who beat him.

Chris O’Hare Led the Chase Pack for a While

“I’m disappointed – absolutely disappointed. I’ve got to keep my head held high (though) – it’s not a total failure of a season. I always bounce back stronger form defeats like this and it wasn’t in God’s plan for me to be up there today,” said O’Hare.

When asked if he just felt horrible from the start, O’Hare said the following. “It’s hard to explain. It’s not like I felt really bad, but when I was trying to stick at that pace – which shouldn’t have been a ruthless pace – it wasn’t there. I was struggling to breathe a little bit. I was struggling to pick my knees up. It happens.”

“Obviously it’s hugely disappointing but I’m really happy for Lawi and Ryan. They both ran to form – they both ran really well. You know that’s what you hope to see in track – the strongest guy always wins. Today he (Lawi) was the strongest and you can’t be too mad about that.”

*Lap by Lap Splits

Event 5  Men 1 Mile
 Two heats.  Top 4 plus next 2 fastest advance to Final.                     
 2 waterfall start, 2 turn stagger.  (5,3)  Final: (7,3)                     
 Prelim: Random draw. Final: Top 3 outside, random.                          
    American: A 3:49.89  2/11/2005   Bernard Lagat                           
  Collegiate: C 3:52.98  2/16/2013   Chris O'Hare, Tulsa                     
   NCAA Meet: M 3:55.33  3/11/1995   Kevin Sullivan, Michigan                
    Facility: F 3:49.89  2/11/2005   Bernard Lagat, Nike                     
    Name                    Year School                  Finals  Points      
  1 Lawi Lalang               JR Arizona                3:54.74M  10         
  2 Ryan Hill                 SR North Carolina St.     3:55.25M   8         
  3 Austin Mudd               SO Wisconsin              3:57.93    6         
  4 Tyler Stutzman            SR Stanford               3:59.70    5         
  5 John Simons               JR Minnesota              3:59.71    4         
  6 Christopher Fallon        SR Ohio State             4:02.28    3         
  7 Chris O'Hare              SR Tulsa                  4:02.96    2         
  8 Michael Atchoo            JR Stanford               4:04.92    1         
  9 Robby Creese              SO Penn State             4:08.82              
 -- Raul Botezan              SR Oklahoma State             DNF

Men’s 3000: Lawi Lalang Comes Up With Another NCAA Meet Record To Conclude An Incredible Weekend; Eric Jenkins Big Breakthrough is Technically Wiped Out With A DQ
After Lawi Lalang won the men’s mile in record setting wire-to-wire fashion, we wouldn’t have blamed you in joining us in thinking that Lalang wasn’t going to be a big factor one hour and 41 minutes later when the men’s 3000m got under way.  Boy were we wrong.

In the men’s 3000, Lalang was facing the man who had last spring and this fall replaced Lalang as the king of NCAA distance running, 2012 NCAA cross country and 2013 NCAA indoor 5000 champion. Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech.

Kithuka Led Early

Kithuka, who was operating on a night’s rest, not less than two hours like Lalang, started out things with fast running as he led for the first seven laps taking the field through 400 in 62.19, 800 in 2:06.73, and 1200 in 3:09.30. Lalang took the lead before the 1600 (4:12.68). Lalang would peel off five straight laps that were all 31.3 or 31.4 as the pace wasn’t hot enough for him.

Only 600 meters remained between Lalang and an eventual NCAA 3000 meet record but the crazy thing was there were four guys behind Lalang that were still within one second of the lead. The four were Kirubel Erassa of Oklahoma State, Eric Jennings of Northeastern, Olympian Diego Estrada of NAU, and Jamaican Kemoy Campbell of Arkansas. The Razorback crowd started going nuts as the 15th fastest runner in the field Campbell was having the run of his life with Arkansas battling for the team title. Heavy favorite Kennedy Kithuka was not one of the challengers, as he was gapped in sixth 1.27 seconds back on his way to a non-scoring 9th place finish.

At the bell 7:19.35, the four challengers were all still within 1.02 of Lalang but over the last lap Lalang was able to summon a 26.60 to finish off the race and earn his second NCAA meet record in a little less than two hours  (1:49 from one race finish to the other according to the schedule).

You’re a Lying If You Said You Predicted the 2nd Half of this Picture. Well Done Eric

The initial race runner-up was Northeastern junior Eric Jenkins. The unheralded junior from New Hampshire had a breakout performance as he actually closed almost as fast as Lalang – 26.69 – to run 7:46.21.

However, Jenkins would eventually be DQ’d. As he was coming up to the bell, Jenkins was moving from fourth to third on the outside and wanted to come to the inside for the turn. However, he really wasn’t far enough ahead of Arkansas’ Kemoy Campbell to cut in and when he took a step inwards he lost his balance and ended up grabbing the jersey of Oklahoma State’s Kirubel Errassa from behind. After that, everything seemed to go back to normal for 2-3 steps before Campbell ended up stepping on Erassa from behind and nearly taking him out.  Replays showed the chain reaction was started by Jenkins initial move but the jersey grab made it look way worse than it really was. In the end, we understand why the DQ was made but it shouldn’t take from Jenkins amazing run.

Jenkins 7:46 doesn’t officially exist but Northeastern doesn’t need the team points and everyone including Jenkins knows what he ran. Had he just waited and stayed on the outside, he definitely would have been second as the ultimate second placer, Campbell, ended up at 7:46.95. Erassa was definitely hurt by the contact and ended up third in 7:49.17.

Quick Take #1: Was Lalang’s mile/3000 the greatest distance day in men’s NCAA indoor history? We’ll do the research but off the top of our head can’t imagine anything tops it.

Quick Take #2: It’s worth noting that the end of an amazing day, Lalang closed faster for his last 200 in the 3000 (26.60) than he did in the mile (27.49).

At Least Someone Was Tired Afterwards

Quick Take #3: What a great race for Jenkins even with the DQ!!!!

Quick Take #4: The mile/3000 double is very hard. Ryan Hill attempted it just like Lalang. After just losing to Lalang in the mile, Hill finished 11th in the 3000m. Amanda Winslow attempted mile/3000 double as well and ended up last in the 3000m after being runner-up in the mile.

After the race, Jenkins told us he ran 4:15 in HS off of aboug 25 mpw, but that he only ran his senior year. He improved to a 4:06 mile as a freshman, 3:59 last year and 3:58. Here’s the kicker, his 3k pb coming into the year? 8:37.69. Before the DQ, he’d run 7:46.21 – which means the unofficial all-time collegiate US 3000 list on non-oversized track was as follows:

7:44.69 Galen Rupp (Oregon) 02/07/09
7:46.03 Adam Goucher (Colorado) 03/14/9
7:46.21 Eric Jenkins (Northeastern) 3/10/2013
*Note Ryan Hill ran 7:43.08 on an oversized track last year.

Quick Take #4: Campbell’s 8 points proved to the clinchers for Arkansas tonight. The Jamaican deserved the great showing as in the DMR he was the victim of the chain reaction in the DMR and dropped the baton. He not only clinched the win for Arkansas and got the crowd cheering like in the McDonnell days, but he smashed his Jamaican national record of 7:53.61.

While we haven’t seen a race replay of the DMR and aren’t 100% certain it was caused by Princeton and Callahan, we did notice that the contact and asked people after the race if they thought Princeton might be DQd. After tonight’s DQ, we realize we weren’t too far off in our thinking.

*Lap by Lap Splits

Event 6  Men 3000 M
 Final only.  Two waterfall start, two turn stagger.  (11,5)                 
    American: A 7:32.43  2/17/2007   Bernard Lagat                           
  Collegiate: C 7:38.59  2/14/2004   Alistair Cragg, Arkansas                
   NCAA Meet: M 7:46.03  3/14/1998   Adam Goucher, Colorado                  
    Facility: F 7:38.30  2/14/2004   Boaz Cheboiywo, Kenya                   
    Name                    Year School                  Finals  Points      
  1 Lawi Lalang               JR Arizona                7:45.94M  10         
  2 Kemoy Campbell            JR Arkansas               7:46.95    8         
  3 Kirubel Erassa            JR Oklahoma State         7:49.17    6         
  4 Diego Estrada             SR Northern Arizona       7:49.53    5         
  5 Henry Lelei               SR Texas A&M              7:49.80    4         
  6 Andrew Bayer              SR Indiana                7:51.51    3         
  7 William Mulherin          SR Virginia Tech          7:55.08    2         
  8 Zachary Mayhew            SR Indiana                7:55.14    1         
  9 Kennedy Kithuka           SR Texas Tech             7:56.28              
 10 Maverick Darling          SR Wisconsin              7:58.43              
 11 Ryan Hill                 SR North Carolina St.     8:00.44              
 12 Anthony Rotich            SO UTEP                   8:03.76              
 13 Thomas Farrell            SR Oklahoma State         8:04.14              
 14 Aric VanHalen             SR Colorado               8:05.85              
 15 Nick Happe                JR Arizona State          8:14.46              
 -- Eric Jenkins              JR Northeastern                DQ   Impeeded
Men’s Mile/3000m Videos
Lawi Lalang After Mile/3000 Double Austin Mudd After 3rd Place
Kemoy Campbell After National Record and 3rd Place Clinches Win for Arkansas
Eric Jenkins Talking After He Thought He Finished 2nd  Eric Jenkins Speaks after Learning of DQ

Good Job Son – 39 More to Go
(Saturday Photo Galery)

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