March 14, 2015
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A pair of veterans claimed NCAA titles in two very fast 800s tonight at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. 2013 champ Natoya Goule of Clemson (she won the ’13 title while at LSU) set a meet record by blitzing a 2:01.64, which featured a 56.63 (!) first 400. Collegiate leader Edward Kemboi of Iowa State took the men’s race in 1:46.05, the fastest time in the NCAA this year and the fastest at an NCAA championships in 14 years. Recaps and analysis of both races below.
Women’s 800: Goule Gets the Meet Record
Goule said after Friday’s prelims that her aim was to come out and run a (indoor) personal best today and she demonstrated immediately that she meant business with a 27.08 opening 200. Much of the field didn’t know how to react to such a staggeringly quick first 200 and immediately the runners were strung out close to single file. Goule kept her foot on the gas to come through 400 in 56.63; Virginia Tech’s Hanna Green, who upset Goule at ACCs, was in second at that point, almost two seconds back in 58.57, closely followed by Arkansas’ Chrishuna Williams and Baylor’s Olicia Williams. The rest of the field was further back, though only two women — UNC’s Elizabeth Whelan and Oklahoma State’s Kaela Edwards — came through in slower than 60 seconds for the first half of the race.
Goule widened her lead on the third lap, and though she started to give some of it back over the final 200, she was so far in front (2.91 seconds at the bell) that she still won comfortably. The race for second was far more eventful as both Olicia and Chrishuna Williams were slowing down, opening the door up for Edwards, who had sat near the back for the first three laps. The three battled it out on the home stretch, with Edwards moving by Olicia Williams at the last second to claim runner-up honors.
Results and quick takes appear below.
*Lap by Lap splits appear here.
Quick Take #1: Natoya Goule set out to run an indoor PR and she got it done with a meet-record 2:01.64
Despite losing her conference meet, Goule was very confident after the prelims yesterday (her coach had her read the LRC 800m preview) and demonstrated today that her faith was well-placed as she dominated the field, winning by almost two seconds in a meet-record 2:01.64. Goule was shocked when she saw the clock at 400 (56.63).
“My expectation was to go out there in 29 for the first 2 and like a 58, but I saw 56 and I was like ‘Wow,’” Goule said. She added that she was hoping to run 2:00 but that she will take the indoor pb and meet record. With more even splits (she went 56.63-65.01), 2:00 may have been in the cards, but ultimately it didn’t make that much of a difference as no one was beating Goule today. Now Goule’s attention shifts to the outdoor season, where she’ll attempt to get under 1:59 (her pb is 1:59.93).
Quick Take #2: Patience paid off for Oklahoma State’s Kaela Edwards
Edwards expected the pace to go out fast but trusted her ability and hung toward the back for most of the race (she was last at 400 and sixth at the bell) before using a monster 30.96 last 200 (no one else in the field broke 32.32 for their final lap) to mow down the field and take second, edging out Baylor’s Olicia Williams by .08 seconds.
Men’s 800: Kemboi Runs Fast
Iowa State’s fifth-year senior Edward Kemboi won NCAA title #1 of his career, taking control halfway through the race before pulling away for the victory in a quick 1:46.05, the fastest winning time since 2001. Kemboi ran 1:46.06 as a freshman in 2011 but until tonight an NCAA title had proved elusive as he finished 5th, 5th, and 2nd in his three previous NCAA final appearances. Monmouth sophomore Dylan Capwell hung on for second in a PR 1:46.70 while defending champion Brandon McBride faded to fourth after leading early on.
Kemboi and McBride both went out hard, battling for the lead, with Kemboi hitting 200 in first at 25.57 seconds. McBride took the lead shortly thereafter and reached halfway at 52.31 with Kemboi on his shoulder. Kemboi took off at that point and the field began to string out. McBride began to fade over the next lap as the only man to respond to Kemboi was Capwell, but Kemboi proved he was in a class of his own over the final 200 meters as he separated from Capwell and the rest of the field for a victory four years in the making. Capwell held out for second while Akron’s Clayton Murphy passed McBride in the home stretch for third.
Results, quick takes and screen shots appear below.
*Lap by Lap splits appear here.
Quick Take #1: Finally, an NCAA championship for Edward Kemboi
Kemboi has consistently run in the low-1:46s throughout his Iowa State career (1:46.06 as a freshman, 1:46.20 as a sophomore, 1:46.14 as a junior, now 1:46.05 as a senior) but until tonight hadn’t been able to put it together at NCAAs (he didn’t even make the final last year outdoors). Things changed in 2015 as Kemboi went undefeated in the 800 this indoor season (including an impressive 800-1k double win at Big 12s when the events were separated by just 20 minutes) and provided a key leadoff leg for the Iowa State DMR on Friday night, which took third. It can be frustrating to be great for so long and never win a championship, so kudos to Kemboi for sticking with it and coming through in one of his final chances as a senior.
Iowa State with coach Martin Smith at the helm is starting to make a name for itself in the distances and they had a strong cheering section this weekend.
Kemboi had the best opening leg on the DMR yesterday and got his first NCAA title today. Very impressive. He said afterwards he was not going to let it go slow and was determined not to be the runner-up.
Quick Take #2: Dylan Capwell might have to get a new tattoo
Capwell got a tattoo to commemorate making NCAAs as a freshman last year (photo here) (he didn’t make the final outdoors). Now he’s the runner-up as a sophomore, and though his family may not totally approve, Capwell said he may need to add some more ink after tonight.
Running-wise, Capwell was pleased with his result, which was a great end to a breakout indoor season. Prior to NCAA Regionals last year, Capwell’s pb was 1:49. He got down to 1:48 in the first round of regionals and made nationals after running 1:47 in the second round. This year, he got down to 1:46.82 and lowered that further to 1:46.70 tonight.
Capwell attributed that jump to “system-based training” under coach Chris Tarello, in which he uses a heart monitor in workouts and undergoes periodic blood testing to check lactic acid levels. Capwell believes in the training and it certainly is working.
Quick Take #3: Defending champion Brandon McBride was upbeat despite only finishing fourth
Though McBride won his heat, he didn’t look totally comfortable yesterday and said he was still shaking the rust off this season. After the final today, where he finished fourth, McBride said that he was still pleased because he PR’d (indoors, with a 1:47.16) even though he’s been doing mostly strength work and his speed isn’t close to where he’d like it to be. McBride was clearly very excited for the upcoming outdoor season, and it should be a great one when the two 1:45 men Kemboi and McBride square off at outdoor NCAAs in Eugene.
Screen shots from the ESPN broadcast appear below (click for larger image).