2019 NCAA Men’s Distance Prelims: Bryce Hoppel Gets a PR, a Terrific 1500 Final Is Set, & the Heat Claims Some Victims in the Steeple

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By LetsRun.com
June 5, 2019

AUSTIN, Tex. — The men’s distance prelims are in the books at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field championships. A steamy opening day (temps in the 80s with humidity over 70%) saw a personal best from the favorite in the men’s 800, Bryce Hoppel, an impressive kick from Arizona State’s William Paulson in the 1500, and brutally hot steeplechase that claimed several victims, including the fastest qualifier from regionals, Princeton’s Ed Trippas. We break down everything below.

Men’s 1500

The biggest names that we expect to contend for the title on Friday advanced to the final in defending champ Oliver Hoare of Wisconsin, indoor DMR hero Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame, Pac-12 champ William Paulson of Arizona State, and Big 10 champ Justine Kiprotich of Michigan State. Throw in Texas’ super talented sophomore Sam Worley and the final looks like it will be a thriller.

In today’s semis, Hoare and Nuguse went 1-2 in heat 1 while Paulson and Worley went 1-2 in heat 2.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some casualties. Four of the top nine men in the field based on seasonal bests were left out of the final.


Heat 1

14William PAULSONSRArizona State3:45.82 Q45.28 [45.28]1:51.10 [1:05.82]2:52.21 [1:01.11]3:45.82 [53.62]
26Sam WORLEYSOTexas3:46.43 Q45.39 [45.39]1:51.38 [1:05.99]2:52.26 [1:00.89]3:46.43 [54.18]
33Kasey KNEVELBAARDJRSouthern Utah3:46.47 Q46.05 [46.05]1:51.65 [1:05.61]2:52.37 [1:00.73]3:46.47 [54.11]
45Justine KIPROTICHSRMichigan State3:46.59 Q45.22 [45.22]1:51.25 [1:06.03]2:52.57 [1:01.33]3:46.59 [54.02]
510Jack ANSTEYJRIllinois State3:46.73 Q45.54 [45.54]1:51.42 [1:05.88]2:52.61 [1:01.20]3:46.73 [54.12]
62George KUSCHESONebraska3:46.8745.03 [45.03]1:50.90 [1:05.88]2:52.09 [1:01.19]3:46.87 [54.79]
712Ryan ADAMSJRFurman3:47.2145.74 [45.74]1:51.20 [1:05.47]2:52.56 [1:01.36]3:47.21 [54.66]
88Kenneth HAGENSRIndiana3:47.4045.43 [45.43]1:51.34 [1:05.91]2:52.32 [1:00.99]3:47.40 [55.08]
91Waleed SULIMANSOOle Miss3:48.0245.09 [45.09]1:50.97 [1:05.89]2:52.13 [1:01.16]3:48.02 [55.90]
107Logan WETZELJRVillanova3:48.4145.88 [45.88]1:51.46 [1:05.58]2:52.49 [1:01.03]3:48.41 [55.92]
119Carlos VILLARREALJRArizona3:48.5445.58 [45.58]1:51.05 [1:05.47]2:52.34 [1:01.30]3:48.54 [56.20]
1211Dalton HENGSTFROle Miss3:48.8345.68 [45.68]1:51.50 [1:05.82]2:52.47 [1:00.98]3:48.83 [56.36]

Heat 2

15Oliver HOAREJRWisconsin3:44.25 Q43.59 [43.59]1:45.78 [1:02.20]2:48.02 [1:02.24]3:44.25 [56.23]
29Yared NUGUSESONotre Dame3:44.33 Q43.65 [43.65]1:45.83 [1:02.18]2:48.05 [1:02.22]3:44.33 [56.28]
32Talem FRANCOJRBYU3:44.46 Q43.79 [43.79]1:45.96 [1:02.17]2:48.14 [1:02.18]3:44.46 [56.33]
43Mick STANOVSEKJRWashington3:44.50 Q43.87 [43.87]1:46.13 [1:02.27]2:48.21 [1:02.08]3:44.50 [56.29]
56Casey COMBERJRVillanova3:44.53 Q44.30 [44.30]1:46.34 [1:02.04]2:48.37 [1:02.04]3:44.53 [56.17]
612Cameron GRIFFITHSRArkansas3:44.6244.65 [44.65]1:46.78 [1:02.14]2:48.19 [1:01.41]3:44.62 [56.44]
77Eduardo HERRERASOColorado3:44.7844.12 [44.12]1:46.63 [1:02.51]2:48.46 [1:01.83]3:44.78 [56.33]
84Joseph MURPHYSRIndiana3:45.2644.22 [44.22]1:46.44 [1:02.23]2:48.49 [1:02.05]3:45.26 [56.77]
91Christopher TORPYJRMiami (Ohio)3:45.7744.02 [44.02]1:46.26 [1:02.25]2:48.29 [1:02.03]3:45.77 [57.49]
1010Ryan MCGORTYSRWilliam and Mary3:49.4344.47 [44.47]1:46.55 [1:02.09]2:48.81 [1:02.26]3:49.43 [1:00.62]
118Teddy BROWNINGSOIndiana3:50.0144.41 [44.41]1:46.76 [1:02.36]2:49.00 [1:02.24]3:50.01 [1:01.01]
1211Reed BROWN

Quick Take: Of the 9 men who had gon sub-3:40 this year, 5 of them advanced to the final

The biggest casualty was Arizona junior Carlos Villarreal, the 2nd fastest man in the NCAA this year at 3:37.22. Villareal, who looked great at regionals by running the fastest time of the weekend by some margin (3:39.67) after finishing 4th at Pac-12s, was only 11th in heat 1.

Oliver Hoare Wisconsin JR 3:37.20 Auto Q – Won heat 1
Carlos Villarreal Arizona JR 3:37.22 Eliminated – 11th in heat 1
Yared Nuguse Notre Dame SO 3:38.32 Auto Q – 2nd to Hoare in heat 1
William Paulson Arizona State SR 3:38.35 Auto Q – Won heat 2
Sam Worley Texas SO 3:38.64 Auto Q – second in heat 2
Waleed Suliman Ole Miss SO 3:38.72 SEC champ was eliminated, 9th in heat 1
Reed Brown Oregon SO 3:38.76 Eliminated, last in heat 2
George Kusche Nebraska SO 3:39.33 Eliminated by 1 spot after finishing 6th in heat 2
Cameron Griffith Arkansas SR 3:39.86 1st time qualifier, 6th in heat 1

Quick Take: Defending champ Ollie Hoare thinks that losing at Big 10s was the best thing to happen to him this season

Hoare entered NCAAs as the collegiate leader at 3:37.20, but the 2018 NCAA champ did not win his conference meet, losing out to Michigan State’s Justine Kiprotich. But rather than dwell on the defeat, Hoare views it as a positive. Running 3:37 in a time trial-style race is impressive, but it’s not the best prep for NCAAs, which is usually a tactical race. Hoare said that both Big 10s and regionals have helped him readjust to what is required to succeed at the NCAA meet. If today’s race is any indication, it’s working.

Hoare said the biggest lessons he learned from Big 10s is that he needs to be more tactically aware and trust himself, though he gave credit to Kiprotich, the 2017 NCAA runner-up, whom he referred to as a “tricky bugger” (he meant it as a compliment).

“[It’s important to] get that feeling of being comfortable with what you’re doing,” Hoare says. “And I think, for me, Kip beating me has really helped that.”

Quick Take: Arizona State’s William Paulson looked the best of anyone today

Paulson, who took down a stacked field — including Grant Fisher — to win the Pac-12 1500 title, looked terrific in running heat 1. He made one big move on the back straight and won easily, closing in 53.62, the only man to break 54 on the last lap today.

That doesn’t make Paulson the favorite — you may recall he had the fastest time of all qualifiers at NCAA indoors but only finished 5th in the final — but it was certainly a good sign.

When Paulson placed 5th indoors, it represented his first appearance in an NCAA final — he twice went out in the semis during four years at Princeton. Paulson said the biggest lesson he learned from that race was that you have to be ready to respond when the big move is made — or, as Paulson did today, make the big move yourself.

“[You have to] always be right in someone’s back pocket when they make a move,” Paulson said. “Against these guys, they’re so good, you give ’em a yard, and it’s over. Everybody’s got that last lap closing speed…Either make the move first, or be right there to respond.”

Interview with Texas’ Sam Worley — even he admitted the weather was pretty tough

Men’s 800

Kansas’ Bryce Hoppel entered this meet a perfect 17-for-17 in 2019 and the NCAA favorite. And after winning heat 1 in the fastest time of the day — a PR of 1:45.27 — Hoppel is now 18-for-18 and an even bigger favorite.

Heat 1 featured Hoppel and the NCAA leader, Devin Dixon of Texas A&M, and the way it played out may have served as a preview of Friday’s final. Dixon went to the front and strung things out; with 100 meters to go, Hoppel was the only man still with him. With the top two advancing automatically, Hoppel could have stayed on Dixon’s shoulder and jogged it in, but he wanted to push to preserve his win streak. The result was a heat win and a personal best for Hoppel (whose previous PR of 1:45.67 came in last year’s NCAA final).

Texas Tech’s Jonah Koech and Iowa State’s Festus Lagat (thanks to a big kick) earned the other two heat wins, but neither looked as strong as Hoppel, the NCAA indoor champion. Heat 2, which Koech won, was notable for the fall by Iowa State’s Roshon Roomes on the final turn; Harvard’s Myles Marshall also got caught up in it, and though both men got up and finished the race, neither was advanced to the final.

Mostly, the prelims went to form as six of the top eight seeds by SB advanced to the final, and one who didn’t was Roomes, the #6 seed, who fell. The only other notable casualty was USC’s Isaiah Jewett, the #3 seed, who was third in heat 3 and missed out on the second auto spot by .04 of a second.


Heat 1

15Bryce HOPPELJRKansas1:45.26 Q51.06 [51.06]1:45.26 [54.21]
24Devin DIXONJRTexas A&M1:45.67 Q50.92 [50.92]1:45.67 [54.75]
33Carlton ORANGEJRTexas A&M1:46.8751.18 [51.18]1:46.87 [55.70]
42Vincent CRISPSRTexas Tech1:47.4651.41 [51.41]1:47.46 [56.06]
57Otis JONESSRSouth Carolina1:49.5752.43 [52.43]1:49.57 [57.14]
69Leon ATKINSJRBuffalo1:49.6451.85 [51.85]1:49.64 [57.79]
76Alek SAUERSRColumbia1:51.4251.62 [51.62]1:51.42 [59.81]
88Miles OWENSSOWilliam and Mary1:54.7352.20 [52.20]1:54.73 [1:02.54]

Heat 2

14Jonah KOECHSRTexas Tech1:47.86 Q52.77 [52.77]1:47.86 [55.10]
23Michael RHOADSJRAir Force1:47.90 Q52.76 [52.76]1:47.90 [55.14]
37Bashir MOSAVEL-LOSOVirginia Tech1:49.0052.94 [52.94]1:49.00 [56.07]
48Avery BARTLETTSRGeorgia Tech1:49.3153.33 [53.33]1:49.31 [55.98]
59Sean TORPYJRMiami (Ohio)1:50.4852.86 [52.86]1:50.48 [57.62]
62George ESPINOSRSouthern Utah1:51.1453.22 [53.22]1:51.14 [57.93]
76Myles MARSHALLSRHarvard1:58.5552.62 [52.62]1:58.55 [1:05.94]
85Roshon ROOMESJRIowa State2:01.8252.56 [52.56]2:01.82 [1:09.26]

Heat 3

14Festus LAGATJRIowa State1:47.54 Q52.85 [52.85]1:47.54 [54.69]
26Cooper WILLIAMSJRIndiana1:47.76 Q52.65 [52.65]1:47.76 [55.12]
35Isaiah JEWETTJRUSC1:47.8052.41 [52.41]1:47.80 [55.39]
47Dejon DEVROESRMiss State1:48.0652.09 [52.09]1:48.06 [55.98]
53Erik MARTINSSONSRUT-Arlington1:48.3551.86 [51.86]1:48.35 [56.49]
69John RIVERASOOle Miss1:49.0352.24 [52.24]1:49.03 [56.79]
72Luca CHATHAMSRUTSA1:50.6053.09 [53.09]1:50.60 [57.51]
88Abbas ABBKARJRSavannah State1:51.8852.77 [52.77]1:51.88 [59.12]

Quick Take: Bryce Hoppel is in a great spot

After the race, Hoppel admitted that his win streak was in the back of his mind when he kicked by Dixon to win heat 1. But he looked good doing it, and it’s not hard to imagine him dipping into the 1:44s in Friday’s final.

“I like to say I go all-out every race, but I think there’s always still a little more left in the tank,” Hoppel said.

So far in 2019, there hasn’t been anyone who has been able to pull away from Hoppel. Based on the evidence today, there still isn’t.

How the top seeds fared:

Devin Dixon Texas A&M JR 1:44.76 2nd in heat 1
Bryce Hoppel Kansas JR 1:45.87 Indoor champ won heat 2
Isaiah Jewett USC JR 1:46.11 Pac-12 champ was third in heat 3. Eliminated.
Jonah Koech Texas Tech SR 1:46.42 Won heat 2
Festus Lagat Iowa State JR 1:46.58 Won heat 3
Roshon Roomes Iowa State JR Fell and finished last in heat 2. Eliminated.
Michael Rhoads Air Force JR 2nd in heat 2
Carlton Orange Texas A&M JR 3rd in heat 1 and advanced on time

Men’s Steeple

Stanford’s Steven Fahy, who was third last year, and Oklahoma State’s Ryan Smeeton, the fastest collegian this year, were the two winners of the men’s steeplechase semifinals today. Additionally, defending champ Obsa Ali of Minnesota looked good (2nd in heat #2). Of the top 10 fastest entrants, only two men failed to make the final. Missing out on the final was Ivy League champion Ed Trippas of Princeton, who had nothing left (DFL 9:29) after running a 16-second PB at regionals (8:33) and Big 10 fourth placer Alec Basten, the #6 seed.

All 4 of BYU’s runners advanced to the final as well.

How the top seeds fared

Ryan Smeeton Oklahoma State SO 8:27.90 Won heat 2 (8:53)
Obsa Ali Minnesota SR 8:31.15 Defending champ was 2nd in heat 2
Matt Owens BYU SO 8:32.59 Auto Q (3rd heat 2)
Ed Trippas Princeton SO 8:33.90 Aussie was dead last (9:29).
Daniel Michalski Indiana SR 8:34.26 Big 10 runner-up was 2nd in heat 1.
Alec Basten Minnesota SO 8:34.50 Eliminated (7th heat 2) in NCAA debut
Alex Rogers Texas SR 8:35.25 Made final (3rd in heat 1).
Kenneth Rooks BYU FR 8:36.08 Valedictorian of HS class made final (4th heat 2).
Clayson Shumway BYU JR 8:36.25 Final qualifier out of heat 2 (5th  8:54)
Kigen Chemadi Mid. Tenn. State JR 8:38.28 Auto Q in heat 1 (4th)
Steven Fahy Stanford SR 8:39.60 Won Heat 1, fastest time of day 8:36.


Heat 1

PlLnAthleteAffiliationTimeLap 1Lap 2Lap 3Lap 4Lap 5Lap 6Lap 73000m 
14Steven FAHYSRStanford8:41.60 Q4.60 [4.60]1:18.84 [1:14.24]2:34.90 [1:16.07]3:50.77 [1:15.87]5:06.08 [1:15.32]6:20.47 [1:14.40]7:32.83 [1:12.37]8:41.60 [1:08.78]
22Daniel MICHALSKISRIndiana8:41.62 Q4.41 [4.41]1:19.25 [1:14.84]2:35.01 [1:15.76]3:50.93 [1:15.93]5:05.94 [1:15.01]6:20.33 [1:14.39]7:32.72 [1:12.40]8:41.62 [1:08.91]
39Alex ROGERSSRTexas8:43.09 Q4.27 [4.27]1:18.36 [1:14.10]2:34.37 [1:16.02]3:50.44 [1:16.07]5:05.69 [1:15.26]6:20.17 [1:14.49]7:32.95 [1:12.78]8:43.09 [1:10.14]
41Kigen CHEMADIJRMid. Tenn. State8:44.79 Q4.35 [4.35]1:18.72 [1:14.38]2:34.87 [1:16.15]3:51.28 [1:16.42]5:06.65 [1:15.37]6:21.18 [1:14.53]7:33.29 [1:12.12]8:44.79 [1:11.50]
53Bailey ROTHSRArizona8:46.28 Q4.51 [4.51]1:19.03 [1:14.53]2:34.42 [1:15.40]3:50.47 [1:16.05]5:05.75 [1:15.29]6:20.40 [1:14.65]7:33.04 [1:12.64]8:46.28 [1:13.25]
611Nathan MYLENEKJRIowa8:48.194.33 [4.33]1:19.07 [1:14.74]2:34.82 [1:15.76]3:50.73 [1:15.91]5:06.25 [1:15.52]6:20.77 [1:14.53]7:34.38 [1:13.61]8:48.19 [1:13.82]
710Jacob HESLINGTONJRBYU8:54.214.56 [4.56]1:18.58 [1:14.03]2:34.70 [1:16.12]3:50.63 [1:15.94]5:06.10 [1:15.47]6:20.63 [1:14.53]7:33.69 [1:13.07]8:54.21 [1:20.53]
87John RICEJRTexas9:03.324.36 [4.36]1:18.56 [1:14.21]2:34.63 [1:16.07]3:50.53 [1:15.90]5:05.86 [1:15.34]6:20.58 [1:14.72]7:40.46 [1:19.88]9:03.32 [1:22.86]
96Stephen JONESJRMiss State9:21.484.74 [4.74]1:18.82 [1:14.08]2:35.23 [1:16.42]3:51.79 [1:16.56]5:12.28 [1:20.50]6:35.08 [1:22.81]7:58.92 [1:23.85]9:21.48 [1:22.56]
108Colin DALYJRPenn9:22.964.48 [4.48]1:19.39 [1:14.92]2:35.33 [1:15.94]3:51.84 [1:16.51]5:10.95 [1:19.12]6:35.42 [1:24.48]8:00.64 [1:25.23]9:22.96 [1:22.32]
115Ed TRIPPASSOPrinceton9:29.444.30 [4.30]1:18.94 [1:14.64]2:35.09 [1:16.16]3:51.41 [1:16.32]5:10.41 [1:19.01]6:35.71 [1:25.30]8:03.43 [1:27.73]9:29.44 [1:26.01]
DNF12Johannes MOTSCHMANNSRIona4.21 [4.21]1:18.45 [1:14.25]2:34.52 [1:16.08]3:50.86 [1:16.35]5:07.62 [1:16.76]6:29.11 [1:21.49]

Heat 2

PlLnAthleteAffiliationTimeLap 1Lap 2Lap 3Lap 4Lap 5Lap 6Lap 73000m 
14Ryan SMEETONSOOklahoma State8:53.71 Q4.48 [4.48]1:21.48 [1:17.00]2:40.90 [1:19.43]3:59.65 [1:18.76]5:16.24 [1:16.60]6:34.09 [1:17.85]7:46.13 [1:12.04]8:53.71 [1:07.59]
27Obsa ALISRMinnesota8:54.11 Q4.54 [4.54]1:21.95 [1:17.42]2:41.28 [1:19.33]3:59.92 [1:18.65]5:16.51 [1:16.59]6:34.28 [1:17.77]7:46.34 [1:12.07]8:54.11 [1:07.77]
31Matt OWENSSOBYU8:54.21 Q4.41 [4.41]1:21.36 [1:16.95]2:40.87 [1:19.51]3:59.68 [1:18.82]5:16.75 [1:17.07]6:34.64 [1:17.90]7:46.41 [1:11.77]8:54.21 [1:07.80]
45Kenneth ROOKSFRBYU8:54.39 Q4.77 [4.77]1:22.27 [1:17.50]2:41.03 [1:18.77]3:59.91 [1:18.88]5:16.89 [1:16.98]6:34.48 [1:17.60]7:46.68 [1:12.20]8:54.39 [1:07.72]
510Clayson SHUMWAYJRBYU8:54.45 Q4.68 [4.68]1:22.42 [1:17.75]2:41.55 [1:19.13]4:00.23 [1:18.69]5:16.97 [1:16.74]6:35.01 [1:18.05]7:46.97 [1:11.96]8:54.45 [1:07.48]
62Felix KANDIESOLiberty8:56.204.58 [4.58]1:22.05 [1:17.47]2:41.52 [1:19.47]3:59.55 [1:18.04]5:16.20 [1:16.66]6:34.39 [1:18.19]7:46.83 [1:12.44]8:56.20 [1:09.37]
711Alec BASTENSOMinnesota8:56.264.52 [4.52]1:22.21 [1:17.70]2:41.31 [1:19.10]3:59.99 [1:18.68]5:16.72 [1:16.74]6:34.56 [1:17.85]7:46.54 [1:11.99]8:56.26 [1:09.72]
812Albert KOSGEIJRLouisville8:58.764.49 [4.49]1:21.83 [1:17.35]2:41.15 [1:19.32]3:59.79 [1:18.65]5:16.80 [1:17.02]6:34.32 [1:17.52]7:46.73 [1:12.41]8:58.76 [1:12.04]
96Julien SANCHEZ-PINTOSRMemphis9:00.144.59 [4.59]1:22.52 [1:17.94]2:41.75 [1:19.23]4:00.16 [1:18.42]5:17.01 [1:16.85]6:34.93 [1:17.92]7:47.22 [1:12.30]9:00.14 [1:12.92]
109Will BATTERSHILLJRHarvard9:02.984.86 [4.86]1:22.77 [1:17.92]2:41.98 [1:19.21]4:00.51 [1:18.53]5:17.16 [1:16.66]6:35.18 [1:18.02]7:48.66 [1:13.48]9:02.98 [1:14.32]
113Fitsum SEYOUMSOVirginia Tech9:10.964.47 [4.47]1:22.07 [1:17.60]2:41.42 [1:19.35]3:59.44 [1:18.03]5:16.46 [1:17.02]6:34.74 [1:18.29]7:50.74 [1:16.00]9:10.96 [1:20.22]
128Emmanuel ROTICHSRTulane9:18.205.04 [5.04]1:22.07 [1:17.04]2:41.33 [1:19.27]4:00.11 [1:18.79]5:17.33 [1:17.23]6:34.70 [1:17.37]7:48.18 [1:13.49]9:18.20 [1:30.02]

Quick Take: The heat was a killer today

The men’s steeple was moved forward by two and a half hours due to weather concerns, and the result was that the races were held in hot, humid conditions with the Texas sun beating down at 4:30 in the afternoon. The temperature was in the high 80s, but with the humidity, it felt close to 100 and several athletes in heat 1 struggled in the heat. Iona’s Johannes Motschmann collapsed to the ground after the penultimate water jump and had to be helped off the track; three other men failed to break 9:20, including Princeton’s Ed Trippas, who had the fastest time at regionals (8:33.90) but only ran 9:29 today.

Thankfully the distance finals will be held later in the day on Thursday and Friday, but the women’s finals on Saturday could be affected by the heat, particularly the steeple, which goes off at 5:54 p.m. (sunset isn’t until 8:31).

Quick Take: Stanford’s Steven Fahy looks to bounce back from injury to claim family bragging rights

One athlete who didn’t struggle in the heat was Stanford’s Steven Fahy, who looked good in winning heat 1 in 8:41, just off his 8:39 sb. Fahy was sidelined by a hip injury during the cross country season and came along slowly indoors (4:03 mile, 14:01 5k) but now he’s back to his best, running 8:39 and 13:34 outdoors.

Fahy’s brother, Darren, was the NCAA runner-up for Georgetown in 2017, and Steven will be looking to do him one better in Friday’s final. The family record in the steeple (8:31.08) has been a goal of Steven’s as well, but he said that isn’t important in the final.

“We’re not looking for times on Friday, we’re just looking to win, but [the time] definitely would be nice for the bragging rights,” Fahy said.

Interview with NCAA leader Ryan Smeeton of Oklahoma State

Talk about the day 1 action on our world famous messageboard / fan forum/

MB: Official 2019 NCAA Outdoor Day 1 Discussion Thread.