800 Previews: 9 Worlds Qualifiers Battle For 4 Spots

by LetsRun.com
February 21, 2014

The men’s and women’s 800s get started on Saturday at the 2014 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque.

Making the final isn’t easy as in both races, only the winners advance automatically. For the men, the next two best advance on time and in the women it’s the next three best.

We preview the action for you below. Athletes in bold have Worlds qualifying times.

Men 800m






Heat 1

James Gilreath

Adidas Team Green Running


Former Baylor Bear. Also ran on 4 x 400 that ran 3:01.77.

Casimir Loxsom



Silver medal in 2010 World Juniors. Indoor 600 PR of 1:15.42 would be the AR if not for coming on a 300m track. NCAA runner-up indoors and outdoors last year.

Owen Dawson


1:47.77 PR from 2010.

Robby Andrews



Also set an indoor 800 PR (way off outdoor PR of 1:44.71, though) and was another entrant who was on the 2nd-place team in the 4 x 800 WR race. Didn’t look quite as sharp or as into the race in the 1,000 at Millrose last time out. 2nd place at Indoor Nationals a year ago.

Tetlo Emmen


1:47.95 indoor PR from 2011. 3:58 road mile.

Heat 2

Tyler Mulder

Nike / Oregon TC Elite


1:44.34 PR outdoors. 3rd at Nationals indoors and 5th outdoors last year.

Mark Wieczorek



Set outdoor PR of 1:45.36 last year.

Richard Jones


Part of 7:13.11 indoor 4 x 800 WR team. 1:45.56 outdoor PR from 2011.

Harun Abda

Oregon TC Elite


Fast indoor 600 PR of 1:15.80 from last year. Former Big 10 indoor 400 champ.

Michael Rutt

New Jersey New York Track Club


SB is also an indoor PR (1:45.08 outdoors). On the 2nd-place team (NJ/NY TC) that git under the former indoor 4 x 800 former WR. Made world final in 2012.

Heat 3

Nicholas Symmonds



2013 WC silver medalist and 7-time national champion. 1:42.95 outdoor PR.

Jacob Waterman

Wright Distance Project


2013 DIII indoor champ at Wabash College.

Grant Grosvenor, Jr.

Montana St.


Montana State runner.

Nicholas Guarino

Syracuse Chargers Track Club, Inc.


1:47.13 outdoor PR.

Brian Gagnon

New Jersey New York Track Club


Another runner who’s set an indoor PR this season. Also on 2nd-place team in WR 4 x 800 race.

 Heat 4

Mark Husted


1:48.54 indoor PR came in the heats at USATF Indoors in Albuquerque last year and he went on to place 5th in the final.

Nicholas Thornton


PRs came in 2004 and 2005. Still going strong in the shorter mid-distances at age 32.

Joshua Guarino

Syracuse Chargers Track Club, Inc.


Outdoor PR of 1:47.35.

Christopher Bilbrew

Adidas Team Green Running


Former Arkansas Razorback. 1:47.96 outdoor PR (1:48.40i).

Erik Sowinski



National indoor champ last year. Set 2 indoor PRs (800, 1,000) this season. Briefly had a WL at 600 in January. Part of 7:13.11 indoor WR 4 x 800.

Nick Symmonds celebrates his victory at the 2012 US Olympic Trials Nick Symmonds celebrates his victory at the 2012 US Olympic Trials.

Only five men in the field have the Worlds qualifying time of 1:47.00 (or 1:44.00 outdoors). 2013 World Championships silver medalist Nick Symmonds hasn’t looked totally amazing so far this year indoors but he did run 2:18 for the 1k last week. The week before, he didn’t get in a good effort as his team was out of the 4 x 800 in Boston. The week before that, he crushed Cas Loxsom in North Carolina. Symmonds will have to fight for it, but we certainly expect him to make the team. Fight for it indeed, as he’s got one of the other Worlds qualifiers in his first round heat and there is only one guaranteed advancer to the 6-person final. The second spot for Worlds is there for the taking. Mike Rutt and Erik Sowinski waged an epic battle for the 4 x 800 world record in Boston and might just wage another one here for a Worlds spot.

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We break down the heats for you:

Heat 1 Heat one gives us a re-match of former NCAA and World Junior rivals Robby Andrews and Cas Loxsom.

While Andrews won an NCAA title as a frosh, many forgot that Loxsom grabbed silver over Andrews’ bronze at World juniors that year. Loxsom actually leads their head-to-head match-ups 3 to 1 (Loxsom didn’t make the finals at NCAAs as frosh indoors or out). Andrews has the best time of anyone in the heat so far this year and his come-from-behind strategy is perfectly suited for a small field of five racers where only the winner advances.

That being said, Andrews, the 2013 USA indoor runner-up, looked horrible last week at Millrose. This is a big weekend for him. He usually does well indoors in races where he’s not overmatched. Another bad showing here and he’s got a lot of thinking to be doing. A top 2 showing and a sub-1:47.00 time and Andrews’ career is suddenly resurgent.

Heat 2 Michael Rutt has the US#1 time so far this year and he anchored the NY/NJ 4 x 800 team in Boston this year to a near world record. Two years ago, he made the finals of World Indoors. He’s certainly the favorite in this heat but 1:44 man Tyler Mulder and 1:45 man Mark Wieczorek won’t go down without a fight.

Heat 3 A tough draw for Brian Gagnon. Gagnon has the #3 time the country and he gets drawn into a heat with Nick Symmonds where only the winner automatically advances. Symmonds is our pick to advance in this heat where those two are the class of the field.

Heat 4 Reigning US indoor champ Erik Sowinski has run under 1:47.00 this year and he anchored a team to a 4 x 800 World record. He should make the final out of this one as this seems to be the easiest heat with no one else under 1:49 on the year.

Women’s 800

There are currently just four women in the field with the 2:03.00 qualifying time for Worlds. But given how lax that standard is, we imagine anyone who is top 2 in the final will advance. The leading candidates for the top two spots are current teen phenom Ajee’ Wilson and past teen phenom Chanelle Price. Price ran a 2:01.91 PR in January in the UK and then surprisingly gave Mary Cain a run for her money over the 1k distance in Boston. Wilson was awful in the 1k in Boston but then rebounded with a 2:01.81 Millrose win. As a Worlds outdoor finalist in 2013, it’s hard to imagine she doesn’t make the team here. But don’t tell that to Molly Beckwith. She was only half a second behind Price in the 1k and is the person most likely to qualify if the top two seeds in Price and Wilson falter. Beckwith and Wilson have both been drawn into heat 1 – the heat of death. We don’t know how the #1 and #4 seeds got drawn into the same heat.

Normally the seeds are dispersed to the heats like this: 1-2-3-3-2-1-1-2-3-3-2-1. So you’d expect the top seed and sixth seed to show up in the same heat. If you understand, please email us. And if that’s not bad enough, Heat 1 also includes 2012 World Indoors bronze medalist Erica Moore. It’s great to see Beckwith back on the circuit as the last two years have been tough on her.

Women 800m (2:03 indoors/1:59.00 outdoors) Bold = Has Qualifying standard
Name Affiliation Mark Comment
Heat 1      
Ajee’ Wilson adidas 2:01.81 The winner in this event last year just won at Millrose with an indoor PR. World Junior champ in 2012. WJR of 1:26.45 for indoor 600.
Lauren Wallace Oiselle 2:05.24 2013 outdoor All-American at UC-Davis.
Erica Moore Brooks NT The 2012 champ in this event boasts an indoor PR of 1:59.97. Comes in with a 1:20.10 time for 600 yards this season. Has an indoor pentathlon score of 4,030 from 2009. Won bronze at World Indoors in 2012.
Molly Beckwith Saucony 2:02.13 Former Indiana All-American set indoor PR this season.
Heat 2      
Chanelle Price Speed Factory Athletics 2:01.91 Runner-up last year just set an indoor PR in January.
Heather Kampf Asics / Team USA Minnesota 2:04.28 9-time All-American and 2006 NCAA indoor 800 champ at Minnesota. 2012 national road mile champ also has a 4:08.37 1,500 PR.
Shannon Leinert Oregon TC Elite 2:04.24 Former Missouri runner got an indoor PR this Feb. 1st. Outdoor PR of 2:01.65.
Cydney Ross New Jersey New York Track Club 2:03.91 Duke All-American ran indoor PR on Feb. 7th.
Heat 3
Phoebe Wright Nike 2:04.29 The 2011 USATF indoor 800 champ also won indoor and outdoor NCAA titles in 2010 for Tennessee. Indoor/outdoor PRs of 2:00.39/1:58.22. Popular blogger.
Bethany Praska 2:03.59 3rd place last year. SB is only 2 hundredths off PR.
Stephanie Herrick Central Park Track Club (CPTC) New Balance 2:05.57 Former DIII runner-up at The College of New Jersey.
Stephanie Charnigo New Jersey New York Track Club 2:02.15 Former DII All-American at Findlay set all-time PR to win Valentine Invy on Feb. 7th. Also has a 4:33 mile win this season.


Ajee Wilson Wins the 600 Ajee’ Wilson wins the 600.
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