June 7, 2013
Eugene, Oregon – On paper, coming into the final of the men’s 800 at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, it looked as if the final would turn into a two man battle between seniors Elijah Greer of Oregon and Cas Loxsom of Penn State.
Afterall, the two had the best PRs in the field and were experienced seniors who had battled it out for the NCAA indoor title in Arkansas in March with Greer coming out on top by just .12.
The final played out largely as expected as Greer and Loxsom were significantly better than everyone else in the field here on Friday night. In the end, Greer ended his collegiate career by earning his second NCAA individual crown in 1:46.58 to Loxsom’s 1:46.88.
Loxsom’s teammate Brannon Kidder ended up winning a tight battle for third in 1:47.51 over Minnesota’s Harun Abda 1:47.60 who had upset Loxsom last month at the Big 10 championships.
On a windy early evening (weatherunderground reported 15+ mph winds), there was naturally some reluctance for the runners to lead, but in the end, SEC champion Leoman Momoh of Arkansas took the field through 200 in 26.7 and 400 in 53.10. He was trailed closely by Greer (53.27 at 400) and Loxsom (53.46 at 400). Despite the modest early pace, there were no excuses tonight as the major players were perfectly positioned.
Momoh would lead until about the 550 mark, before Greer came up on his outside. Momoh made a big effort to hold him off but nothing was stopping Greer from NCAA title number two tonight. 600 was reached in 1:20.5 (the announcers said the 600 was 1:20.3 and we are assuming that’s a hand time) and Greer soon was in the lead making his bid for glory. But Loxsom was right behind Greer and full of run for himself, desperate to try to win his first NCAA title in his last collegiate race.
But Greer would not be denied as he closed in 26 flat. After crossing the finish line, Greer celebrated with the Oregon faithful by putting his arms out wide.
Quick takes, results and then post-race interviews with Loxsom, Greer, Kidder and Loyola’s Declan Murray (who was sixth tonight after finishing third indoors) are below.
Quick Take #1: Loxsom, who won world junior silver after his freshman year at Penn State, ends his fabulous career without an NCAA title. No shame in that as the 2010 world junior silver medallist has been facing some stacked fields over the years.
Freshmen year, Olympian Andrew Wheating got the win (Loxsom wasn’t in the final).
Sophomore year, Robby Andrews took home the crown in a race for the ages. Seriously relive that race by reading our recap of that race as it was special.
Junior year, Charles Jock got the win (Loxsom was low on iron and not in the final).
Loxsom’s main problem was he picked the wrong time to be born. Next year, the NCAA men’s 800 will be wide open as six of the eight finalists this year were seniors.
We asked Loxsom after the race if he ever thought he was sort of cursed and just born in the wrong year, but Loxsom said he welcomed the stiff competition:
“We’re in a pretty great era of young 800 runners right now, but I’d rather be racing these guys now than winning in an off year. I really take competition like this in a healthy fashion. It just drives me to train harder and be better.
Moving forward into the next year and into USAs, maybe having this chip on my shoulder might be a good thing in the long run. I have the opportunity to be ‘one of the best that has never won an NCAA title’ going forward.
It’s disappointing (not to win) but I think there are some things I can do in the future that will cancel out this disappointment.”
QT #2: Loxsom was happy with the way he ran the race and realized he was just beaten by a guy who was a little bit better than him.
“I thought I executed well and ran a smart race. Like I said, I thought it was going to come down to who was a little bit better today and I think Elijah with a little home field advantage and just some determination just kind of gutted it out. It’s an honor to race against him. I’m excited to meet up again at USAs and throughout the years. I think this is still kind of the early stages of both of our careers. I’ll get another shot at it- maybe not at the NCAA level – but sometime soon.”
QT #3: As for Greer, he told us he really wants to make the US team for Moscow. With KD out, it seems as if there is one spot open for Moscow behind Solomon and Symmonds.
One thing we thought was neat was when we had finished our work and were headed to grab some food at Track Town Pizza, we saw Greer riding a ratty old 10 or 12-speed bicycle on the side of the road. A few hours removed from receiving the adoration of thousands, he looked like your normal college kid on a Friday night.
QT #4: Kidder ended his freshmen year with a fantastic third place showing. As a prep, he ran a 4:03 mile and 1:51 800 but this year he took it to a new level – 3:59 indoors in the mile and 1:47 outdoors.
QT #5: In our race recap, we said Greer and Loxsom were way better than everyone else and the results prove it. The third place finisher Kidder was actually closer to finishing eighth (.73 seconds) than he was to finishing first (.93).
|1||Elijah Greer||UO||1:46.58||53.27 (53.27)||1:46.58 (53.31)|
|2||Casimir Loxsom||PSU||1:46.88||53.46 (53.46)||1:46.88 (53.42)|
|3||Brannon Kidder||PSU||1:47.51||54.41 (54.41)||1:47.51 (53.10)|
|4||Harun Abda||MINN||1:47.60||53.72 (53.72)||1:47.60 (53.88)|
|5||Leoman Momoh||ARK||1:47.86||53.10 (53.10)||1:47.86 (54.76)|
|6||Declan Murray||LOYI||1:48.02||53.84 (53.84)||1:48.02 (54.18)|
|7||Eliud Rutto||MTSU||1:48.07||53.64 (53.64)||1:48.07 (54.43)|
|8||Travis Burkstrand||MINN||1:48.24||54.55 (54.55)||1:48.24 (53.70)|