NCAA Indoors Day 1 Super Men’s Recap: Wesley Kiptoo & Oregon Break Meet Records as JuVaughn Harrison Makes History with HJ/LJ Sweep

March 12, 2021

The first full day of men’s action at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships saw some remarkable times in the distance events and a historic double victory by LSU’s JuVaughn Harrison in the long jump and high jump. Iowa State’s Wesley Kiptoo (13:23.77) and Oregon (9:19.98) both broke meet records to claim the 5,000 and distance medley relay titles, while the mile prelims were also full of drama as NCAA 1500 record holder Sam Tanner of Washington shockingly failed to advance.

The star of the day was Harrison, however, who became the first man in history to pull off the NCAA long jump/high jump double indoors (he accomplished the same feat outdoors in 2019). After starting the day with a personal best of 2.30m to win the high jump, he trotted over to the long jump runway and nabbed another personal best of 8.45m — making him the #3 performer in collegiate history, #3 performer in US history, and the longest jump in the world indoors in three years. Per ace statman Jon Mulkeen, Harrison is the greatest combination long jumper/high jumper ever — he is the only man to clear 2.30 in the high jump and surpass 8.40 in the long jump, and he did it on the same day. 

Recap, analysis, and results of the men’s distance events below.

Video highlights can be found here.

Men’s 5000: Wesley Kiptoo Goes Out CRAZY Fast, Holds On and Cruises To Break Meet Record

Iowa State’s Wesley Kiptoo came into the NCAA men’s 5000 as a) the heavy favorite and b) someone known for taking things out hard. He more lived up to both labels as Kiptoo took the race out in 59.79 for the first 400, 2:01.08 for the first 800, and 4:06.75 for the first 1600 before cruising to a dominant wire-to-wire win in a championship record time of 13:23.88, breaking Lawi Lalang‘s 13:25.11 mark from 2012.

Those that had nothing to do with Kiptoo’s world record pace early on ended up getting second and third as Colorado State senior Eric Hamer and Michigan State senior Morgan Beadlescomb ran personal bests of 13:29.60 and 13:29.96, respectively, after hitting halfway nearly 15 seconds behind Kiptoo.

Two brave — some might say foolish — souls did try to go with Kiptoo early. Florida State’s Adriaan Wildschutt of South Africa went out in 4:09.80 and ended up a well-deserved fourth in a pb of 13:30.55. Things didn’t turn out nearly as well for Arkansas’ Amon Kemboi. Kemboi clearly wanted to win, hoping to keep it close and use his 3:58 mile speed late, but Kemboi blew up big-time. After going out in 4:07, he ended up 13th in 13:50.10 after running his first half in roughly 6:38 and his second half in 7:12. 

Results *Splits
1 Wesley KIPTOO JR IOWA STATE 13:23.77 MR
2 Eric HAMER SR COLORADO ST. 13:29.60 PB
10 Jacob MCLEOD JR ARKANSAS 13:39.50 PB
11 Devin MEYRER SR MICHIGAN 13:40.66 PB
12 Gilbert BOIT SR ARKANSAS 13:46.48
13 Amon KEMBOI SR ARKANSAS 13:50.10
15 Colton JOHNSEN SR WASHINGTON ST. 14:01.86

Quick Take: Hand Kiptoo the XC title now?

Running 13:23 after going out super hard like Kiptoo did is a hard way to run the 5000 normally, but don’t tell that to Kiptoo who looked supreme tonight. He looked so good we are tempted to hand him the individual NCAA XC title on Monday.

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But we can’t quite do that as a suicidal early pace could potentially cost him in a 10k. Kiptoo admitted he doesn’t pay attention to time at all. “I don’t see the splits. I just run,” he said..

For the record, we also asked Kiptoo if he goes out hard simply because he hates running with others. He answered in the negative.

“If I run with guys next to me, it’s fine because I like working with them as we are runners. If they are close to me, we will work together,” said Kiptoo. “If no [one] is coming, I will just be by myself.”

Kiptoo did describe the OSU course as hard but said he’s “always confident.” When asked if he thought about running a slower race today as it might make coming back for XC on Monday a little easier, Kiptoo said there was no need to do anything like that.

“You have like three days. It’s just like a long run and you do the workout the following day — so it’s not that hard. It’s just like the long run. I feel tired but I know I have tomorrow and Sunday so I’ll be good,” said Kiptoo.

Why was Kiptoo wearing gloves? “It’s cold”

Wesley Kiptoo can’t hear your cheers

You may have noticed that Kiptoo wore gloves in this race, despite the fact that it was held indoors — the first time we can ever recall seeing an athlete do that. After the race, we asked him why.

“My hands, it’s cold,” Kiptoo said. “The only way I can keep my hands [warm] is just wearing gloves.”

Unfortunately, we’re not in Fayetteville to confirm how cold it is in the Tyson Center. But Kiptoo also wore gloves at Texas Tech when he won the Big 12 title two weeks ago. We’re guessing he has a different definition of “cold” than everyone else.

Eric Hamer ran great for second

Eric Hamer was no slouch coming into this one. Afterall, he was 18th at NCAA XC in 2018 and had a 13:37 pb and was the 4th seed. But this was his first NCAA championships on the track. To finish second in a sub-13:30 is about as good as he could have hoped for.

Hamer celebrates

Check out this link for a nice profile of Hamer in The Coloradoan. COVID-19 hasn’t been all bad — Hamer was glad he got an extra year of college.

Third placer Morgan Beadlescomb came into the race with similar credentials to Hamer. He was 23rd at NCAA XC in 2019 and had a 13:33 pb before tonight.

Lots of people ran great – the top 11 PR’d

The times in this one were pretty amazing as the top 11 guys all PR’d. If you aren’t familiar with the story of Southeast Lousiana’s Shea Foster, who was sixth tonight in a pb of 13:32.78, you need to read this thread now:

MB: Shea Foster of SELU goes from 15:00 5k to 28:40 10k in 9 months?!

Yes, that’s right. Last year, Foster sported a 15:00 5000 pb. Now he’s run 13:32 and just scored individually at NCAAs.

Men’s DMR: Cooper Teare and Oregon Win With Style

Teare wasn’t about to lose this one

Cooper Teare began his day watching one Oregon team become NCAA champions.

A few hours later, he got to experience the feeling for himself.

Teare, the collegiate mile record holder at 3:50.39, likes to motivate himself on race day by watching old races, particularly Oregon victories. His choice of viewing in his Fayetteville hotel room today? The 2016 NCAA distance medley relay final, in which the Ducks prevailed thanks to a legendary anchor leg by Edward Cheserek, who split 3:52.84 barely half an hour after winning the 5,000m title.

Sufficiently pumped up, Teare and his teammates took to the track for the DMR final this afternoon at the NCAA Indoor Championship and promptly replicated the feat. And they did it in style: the 2021 Ducks clocked 9:19.98 to take over seven seconds off the meet record of 9:27.27 set by that 2016 Oregon team.

Teare (3:52.99 split), who received the baton in first place, ran a masterful anchor leg, holding off Ole Miss’ Mario Garcia Romo (3:53.28). His splits were very consistent until the end as he roughly went 59, 1:59, 2:59 before closing things off in impressive fashion. Over the final 400, he winded the pace down over the final 2 laps. With 100 meters to go, Teare hit his top gear and Romo finally broke, allowing Teare time to pound his chest three times before crossing the finish line as an NCAA champion for the first time. His final 400 was 53.2 and final 200 was 26.2. Reed Brown (2:52.73), Xavier Nairne (47.58), and Charlie Hunter (1:46.70) ran the other legs for the Ducks; Brown, Hunter, and Teare all had the fastest splits of the day for their legs.

Overall, it was a historically fast race. Ole Miss’ 9:20.75 for second was the third-fastest time in collegiate history and third-place Texas’s 9:23.73 was #4. Texas’ time was also a school record, surpassing the 9:25.97 mark by the legendary 2008 team that held the collegiate record for 12 years and included two-time NCAA 800 champ Jacob Hernandez and future Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano. North Carolina in fourth ran 9:25.80, the #6 time in NCAA history and also under the previous meet record.

As you would expect from a record race, this one began quickly, with Oregon’s Brown handing off in first after a 2:52.73 opening 1200m split. Nairne quickly gave that lead up — he ran the slowest 400 leg of any team — but that ultimately proved irrelevant when Hunter cruised to the front on the final lap of the 800 leg to hand off in first. At that point, Ole Miss was the only school close to the Ducks, but others quickly joined; 400m in, the lead pack had ballooned to six.

But Teare knew exactly what he was doing. Though he wasn’t running fast enough to pull away from the field, he was keeping it quick enough to tire out the men behind him who had spent their energy reeling him in early in the leg while saving enough in reserve for the final 400 meters.

With two laps to go, Oregon, Ole Miss, Texas, and UNC were all still in the mix. Then Teare decided to up the ante. 

“It was just, make it as far as I can while pressing the pace and making everyone hurt, and from there it was just closing it down,” Teare said. “…I got to 400 to go, and that’s really been our bread and butter the last two weeks. So it was kind of just about closing it down and making sure for the last 400, each 100 gets faster and faster.”

Results *Splits
1 OREGON 9:19.98 MR
2 OLE MISS 9:20.75 SB
3 TEXAS 9:23.73 SB
6 ARKANSAS 9:33.65 SB
7 INDIANA 9:34.30 SB
8 MIAMI (OHIO) 9:35.17 SB
9 IOWA STATE 9:36.00
10 TEXAS TECH 9:38.89
11 TENNESSEE 9:41.98
12 ALABAMA 9:50.92

Quick Take: Step one is complete for Oregon

Oregon entered the meet as the heavy favorites for the team title and held the #1 seed in four distance events — the 800, mile, 3k, and DMR. With the DMR victory, Oregon is one-for-one, but Teare says the goal is to win all four.

“Why come in ranked #1 and not try to get it in all those events?” Teare said. “That’s been our motivation throughout the whole season.”

So far, so good: Brown and Cole Hocker both advanced to the mile final (and Hocker’s top rival, Washington’s Sam Tanner, was eliminated), and Hunter looked great in winning his 800 prelim and splitting 1:46 on the DMR (the only blemish: 800 man Luis Peralta failed to advance). Only one team — Oregon in 2015 — has won four mid-d/distance events at a single NCAA indoor champs, but it’s certainly a realistic possibility for the 2021 Ducks heading into day 2.

Quick Take: The times today were absurd

As noted above, the top four teams today ran the #2, #3, #4, and #6 times in NCAA history. And this was not the only event today to feature historically fast times. In heat 1 of the mile, every man ran 3:58.40 or faster. In the 5k, nine guys ran 13:33 or faster. There has never been a day quite like this at NCAA Indoors.

We know what many of you are thinking right now: it’s gotta be the shoes. And we agree — they certainly played a role in those times.

But they weren’t the only reason everyone ran fast today. There were a couple other factors at play that should not be overlooked.

First: the track. The Tyson Center got an overhaul recently and it’s clear from the times this season (including Teare’s NCAA mile record in February) that the surface is very good for distance runners.

Second: the race dynamics. Why did eight guys run 3:58 or faster in heat 1 of the mile? Well, a big reason is because Cole Hocker decided to push the pace and run 3:56 from the front. Everyone in that race had to run 3:59 or better to get into the meet, so when you have a field of guys who have peaked for this meet  and a guy who is basically acting as a pacemaker up front, it shouldn’t be a huge shock to see everyone run fast.

The same was true in the 5k (where Wesley Kiptoo pushing the pace ensured a fast race from the gun) and the DMR, which featured a 2:52 opening leg and remained fast throughout.

To ignore the effect of the shoes would be foolish. But we’re also used to seeing tactical distance prelims/finals at NCAAs, which produce slower times. When the best athletes decide to go hard from the gun, times are naturally going to be faster.

Men’s Mile Prelims: Sam Tanner Goes Home Early

We didn’t have to wait long for the first shocker of the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Washington’s Sam Tanner, who set a collegiate record at 1500 meters (3:34.72) less than a month ago, surprisingly failed to advance out of the mile prelims and will be watching tomorrow’s final from the stands.

After an incredibly fast first heat (all eight men ran 3:58.40 or faster), it became obvious early in heat two that there would be no time qualifiers from heat two, only the four automatic qualifiers. At the bell, five men had separated from the field, meaning one man would go home devastated.

Coming off the final turn, Tanner was still in position to qualify, but behind him BYU’s 3:55 miler Lucas Bons was charging hard and it became apparent the final spot would go to one of those two men. Bons and Tanner battled to the line, with Bons ultimately edging Tanner by the narrowest of margins, 4:06.19 to 4:06.20.

Tanner (on the inside) was just edged out

With Tanner out, Oregon’s Cole Hocker becomes the clear favorite in Saturday’s final. After allowing teammate Reed Brown to lead the first three laps in heat 1, Hocker took over from there, reeling off a string of 29-second laps to pull away from the field and win comfortably in 3:56.57 — a remarkably quick time for a prelim, and one Hocker, a 3:50 miler, made look easy. 

Hocker’s fast pace up front led to fast times across the board behind him. Michigan’s Tom Dodd and Villanova’s Sean Dolan, closed well, going from last and second-to-last with 600 to go to second and third at the finish to grab the next two auto spots. SEC champ Waleed Suliman of Ole Miss, Brown, and Nebraska’s George Kusche took the next three spots, all of whom advanced to the final.

Results *Splits
1 Cole HOCKER SO OREGON 3:56.57 Q 1(1)
2 Tom DODD JR MICHIGAN 3:57.00 Q 1(2) PB
3 Sean DOLAN FR VILLANOVA 3:57.20 Q 1(3) PB
4 Waleed SULIMAN SR OLE MISS 3:57.64 Q 1(4)
5 Reed BROWN JR OREGON 3:58.01 q 1(5)
6 George KUSCHE JR NEBRASKA 3:58.24 q 1(6)
7 Benjamin NIBBELINK SO VIRGINIA TECH 3:58.34 1(7) PB
8 Davis BOVE SO LSU 3:58.40 1(8)
9 Eliud KIPSANG FR ALABAMA 4:05.63 Q 2(1)
10 Yusuf BIZIMANA FR TEXAS 4:05.64 Q 2(2)
11 Adam FOGG JR DRAKE 4:05.73 Q 2(3)
12 Lucas BONS FR BYU 4:06.19 Q 2(4)
13 Sam TANNER SO WASHINGTON 4:06.20 2(5)
14 Zach STALLINGS JR WASHINGTON ST. 4:09.05 2(6)
15 Aaron WIER JR FURMAN 4:09.80 2(7)
16 Duncan HAMILTON SO MONTANA STATE 4:10.34 2(8)

Quick Take: These mile prelims were fascinating

The two prelims could not have been more different, but both were incredible in their own way. Heat 1 was remarkably fast. Coming into the meet, only four men in this mile field had run faster than 3:56.57 this season. Hocker ran that in a prelim.

Behind him, the next two guys, Dodd and Dolan, both ran personal bests. And spare a thought for Virginia Tech’s Benjamin Nibbelink. The last guy into the meet, he ran a pb of 3:58.34 and that still wasn’t good enough to get into the final as he missed the last spot by .10.

The second heat was totally different. With the time qualifiers difficult to attain (they would have needed to run faster than 3:58.24), no one wanted to take the lead, resulting in a fantastic last-lap battle for the four auto spots.

Quick Take: Should Sam Tanner have tried to lead his prelim?

After Tanner was eliminated, we immediately saw critics complaining that he should have done what Hocker did: get to the front and push the pace. After all, Tanner has run the equivalent of a 3:52 mile, three seconds faster than anyone else in his prelim. Why take the risk of letting it come down to a kick?

The problem with that reasoning is it assumes Tanner could have run fast enough from the front to guarantee a top-four spot. Yes, on paper he should be able to do it, but did you watch the race? Tanner never looked comfortable, repeatedly glancing over his shoulder on the last lap to see if anyone was coming for him, and he was run down in the final straightaway, during which the top three clearly separated from him. Yes, if he had run this race smarter, he may have been able to make the final. But based on what we saw today, he may not have been that competitive in it. Mainly, it looked like Tanner just didn’t have it today.

Quick Take: If you are Cole Hocker, do you just front-run the final?

Cole Hocker gapped his prelilm

Coming into NCAAs, we wondered how Hocker would fare in a tactical championship final. After all, he’s a great 3k and 5k guy as well, so a slow, tactical final might not be his cup of tea. With Tanner out, why would Hocker even dare let it go slow? His pb is almost five seconds faster than anyone else in the field. Will he pull a Lawi Lalang and just front-run it? Given the fact that he front-ran his prelim, we think the answer is most likely yes.

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

Quick Take: Props to Drake’s Adam Fogg

Heat 2 was a five-man race for four spots entering the last lap, and if you were going to pick one man to miss out, it would have been Drake’s Adam Fogg. This year, Tanner had run 3:34, Alabama’s Eliud Kipsang split 3:51 in a DMR, Bons had run 3:55, and Texas’ Yusuf Bizimana won the Big 12 mile and owns a 1:46 800 pb. Fogg, meanwhile, was the slowest guy on paper in the race, with a 3:59.03 pb.

Yet Fogg ran like he belonged, closing in 1:53.48 for his last 800 in a tactical race. Now he’s in the final, where anything can happen.

1    433 Cole Hocker                   SO Oregon              3:50.55
2    620 Sam Tanner                    SO Washington          3:55.23 
3    117 Lucas Bons                    FR BYU                 3:55.45
4    418 Waleed Suliman                SR Ole Miss            3:55.60
5    431 Reed Brown                    JR Oregon              3:56.61
 6     30 Eliud Kipsang                 FR Alabama             3:56.88
 7    332 Duncan Hamilton               SO Montana State       3:57.30
8    276 Davis Bove                    SO LSU                 3:57.49 
9    354 George Kusche                 JR Nebraska            3:57.74
10    518 Yusuf Bizimana                FR Texas               3:57.81
11    626 Zach Stallings                JR WA State            3:58.13
12    306 Tom Dodd                      JR Michigan            3:58.47
13    585 Sean Dolan                    FR Villanova           3:58.53
14    184 Aaron Wier                    JR Furman              3:58.88 
15    134 Adam Fogg                     JR Drake               3:59.03
16    605 Benjamin Nibbelink            SO VA Tech             3:59.04

Men’s 800: The Big Guns Make It To Saturday

The men’s 800 prelims were devoid of any major drama as five of the top six seeds advanced. In each heat, only the top 3 were guaranteed to advance to the final and in both heats the top two finishers looked much better than everyone else so we’d be surprised if the winner isn’t one of those four.

In heat 1, Iowa State’s Jason Gomez went wire-to-wire to win in 1:47.65 as Notre Dame’s Samuel Voelz was right behind him most of the way.

In heat #2, Oregon’s Charlie Hunter went from last to first on the third lap and looked great in winning in 1:48.47 as Finley McLear of Miami of Ohio proved he belonged at the NCAA level by finishing just behind him in 1:48.56. Less than an hour later, Hunter split 1:46.70 on the 800 leg of the DMR to take Oregon from fourth to first.

800 Results *Splits
1 Jason GOMEZ SO IOWA STATE 1:47.65 Q 1(1)
2 Samuel VOELZ JR NOTRE DAME 1:47.82 Q 1(2) PB
3 Takieddine HEDEILLI SR TEXAS TECH 1:48.07 Q 1(3)
4 Bashir MOSAVEL-LO JR VIRGINIA TECH 1:48.18 q 1(4) PB
5 Charlie HUNTER JR OREGON 1:48.47 Q 2(1)
6 Finley MCLEAR SO MIAMI (OHIO) 1:48.56 Q 2(2)
7 Ackeen COLLEY JR WESTERN ILLINOIS 1:48.56 q 1(5) PB
8 Marco VILCA FR TEXAS TECH 1:48.66 1(6) PB
9 Kieran TAYLOR SR ARKANSAS 1:49.01 Q 2(3)
10 Cooper WILLIAMS SR INDIANA 1:49.16 2(4)
11 Abdullahi HASSAN FR WISCONSIN 1:49.58 2(5)
12 Baylor FRANKLIN JR OLE MISS 1:49.83 1(7)
13 Luis PERALTA SO OREGON 1:49.87 2(6)
14 Juan Diego CASTRO JR OKLAHOMA STATE 1:50.09 1(8)
15 Christopher CONRAD JR MISSOURI 1:50.73 2(7)
16 Allon CLAY FR TEXAS A&M 1:52.41 2(8)

 1    435 Charlie Hunter                JR Oregon              1:45.59 Won Heat2
2    555 Takieddine Hedeilli           SR TX Tech             1:45.68 3rd Heat 1
3    227 Jason Gomez                   SO IA State            1:47.02 Won Heat 1
4    298 Finley McLear                 SO Miami (Ohio)        1:47.47 2nd Heat 2
5    438 Luis Peralta                  SO Oregon              1:47.61 
6    378 Samuel Voelz                  JR Notre Dame          1:47.93 2nd Heat 1
7    404 Juan Diego Castro             JR OK State            1:47.98
8    220 Cooper Williams               SR Indiana             1:48.09 
 9     89 Kieran Taylor                 SR Arkansas            1:48.32 3rd Heat 2
10    604 Bashir Mosavel-Lo             JR VA Tech             1:48.34 1st time qualifier
11    562 Marco Vilca                   FR TX Tech             1:48.39
12    329 Christopher Conrad            JR Missouri            1:48.45
13    542 Allon Clay                    FR Texas A&M           1:48.45
14    413 Baylor Franklin               JR Ole Miss            1:48.59
15    631 Abdullahi Hassan              FR Wisconsin           1:48.61 
16    627 Ackeen Colley                 JR W. Illinois         1:48.61 2nd time qualifier

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