2022 NCAA Indoor Day 2 Men’s Recap: Abdihamid Nur Completes The Double, Front-Runners Excel As Texas Wins The Team Title

By Robert Johnson and Jonathan Gault
March 12, 2022

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – It paid to be a front runner on day 2 of the men’s 2022 NCAA Indoor Track and Field championships as Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss, Brandon Miller of Texas A&M, and Abdihamid Nur of Northern Arizona took home the men’s mile, 800, and 3000 titles by controlling things from the front. Elsewhere on the track and in the field, the final day was full of top performances, drama, and just a hint of controversy as the Texas men won the first NCAA track title in school history with 47 points ahead of North Carolina A&T (36), and Tennessee (31). Distance powerhouse Northern Arizona rounded out the podium in fourth with just three scorers: Nur, Nico Young, and Drew Bosley.

Individually, the standout performers of the day were Florida State’s Trey Cunningham, who won the 60m hurdles in 7.38 to join Grant Holloway as the only collegians ever under 7.40, and North Carolina A&T’s Randolph Ross, who 44.62 to win the 400, the third-fastest time ever indoors. The only faster times also came at NCAAs: USC’s Michael Norman ran 44.52 in 2018 and Florida’s Kerron Clement ran 44.57 in 2005.

Men’s 60 winner Davonte Burnett of USC deserves praise as he actually had to win the race twice. After initially crossing the finish line first in 6.52 a race where two men didn’t run it as they pulled up once they heard the beep from the false start system (but the second gun was never fired), Burnett came back 17 minutes later and ran even faster (6.50) to win.

Men’s Mile: Garcia Romo goes wire to wire

Garcia Romo got things started in the first distance final by going wire-to-wire to win his first NCAA title and in so doing conduct a masterclass on how to control a race from the front. Garcia Romo got to the lead early by going out in 30.73 for his last lap, but he would slow the pace dramatically from there and passed 809 meters in just 2:11.91. It was not until 600 to go that Garcia Romo picked things up, and from there he would run dramatically faster every lap to the finish: first 28.84, then 27.48, and finally 25.83 for the final lap. He won in a blanket finish in 4:07.54 as the top six were separated by just .24 of a second.

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Garcia Romo’s last lap was just the fifth-fastest in the field, but, more importantly, he had the lead at the bell and did not have to run any extra distance passing anyone. Michigan State’s Morgan Beadlescomb, known mostly as a 5k guy before 2022 (he had never broken 4:00 in the mile before this year), showed an impressive close to go from sixth to second over the last lap (he closed in 25.55), but came up just .05 short of Garcia Romo in 4:07.59.

Results *Splits
3 Reed BROWN SR OREGON 4:07.64
4 Jonathan DAVIS SR ILLINOIS 4:07.69
5 Isaac BASTEN SO DRAKE 4:07.72
6 Nick DAHL SR DUKE 4:07.78
7 Crayton CARROZZA SO TEXAS 4:08.03
8 Eliud KIPSANG FR ALABAMA 4:09.34
9 James YOUNG SR OLE MISS 4:09.57
10 Jack YEARIAN SR OREGON 4:09.59

Quick Take: Garcia Romo said he was thinking of Matthew Centrowitz’s 2016 Olympic win in the middle of this race – and did a pretty good impression

Garcia Romo didn’t mean to lead the entire race, but once he realized it was going slow, he recognized that he was in the best possible spot and made sure he fought to keep that position.

“If you’re in first and it’s an indoor track, you don’t have any wind and you’re running less meters than everybody else,” Garcia Romo said. “…In the middle of the race, I was thinking about Matthew Centrowitz when he won Olympic gold. I was thinking, well if he did it, I think I can do it too.”

Of course, Centrowitz had to close faster (and hold off a much better field) to win the gold in Rio in 2016, but in terms of smart tactical races, Garcia Romo’s run was similar to Centro’s run as both men made sure to defend their position. 

With Ole Miss’s campus less than a three-hour drive from Birmingham, Garcia Romo had a ton of supporters in the stands today and his win was a significant moment for the program. Since taking over in 2013, Rebels distance coach Ryan Vanhoy has transformed Ole Miss into one of the country’s top distance programs, finishing on the podium at NCAA XC in 2016, winning the NCAA DMR title in 2017, and producing a future US champion in Craig Engels. But until today, one of Vanhoy’s athletes had never won an individual NCAA title. 

Quick Take: Morgan Beadlescomb was a great miler this year, but he may be even better in the 5000 this spring

Even though he entered as the top seed, it was a bit of a surprise to see Beadlescomb run the mile at NCAAs as he was better known as a distance guy before this season and only finished 3rd in the Big 10 mile two weeks ago. But Beadlescomb wanted to see how he could do against the country’s top milers in a championship setting, and today he found out.

“If I do go into a 1500 in outdoor, I know I can kick with those guys, I know I can run tactical,” Beadlescomb said.

Though Beadlescomb said “the temptation is there” to run the 1500 this year outdoors, his focus is on the 5000. Last year, Beadlescomb was 6th in the Olympic Trials final, and one of the reasons he ran the mile at NCAAs was to expand his skillset and get exposure to different styles of racing. From that standpoint, this weekend was an unqualified success.

“We came here [to prepare] for the 5k in outdoor,” Beadlescomb said. “I think we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish. A first place would have been great, I’m fairly disappointed. But now I know…

“It really takes a special kind of person to perform in all types of 5ks because it can really turn into an 800 if you let it or it can be a long grind and you’ve gotta be prepared for whatever.”

Quick Take: Reed Brown really wanted the win but was happy to finish 3rd after missing the first half of indoors with a significant hamstring strain.

Brown said he was extra motivated to do well after his “ridiculous” DQ from the NCAA outdoor meet. Off-camera, he told us he doesn’t work out much with Cooper Teare and Cole Hocker as they are more in a more distanceoriented group.

Quick Take: Jonathan Davis records his best NCAA finish in 4th

Illinois’ Davis said “it’s hard not to be happy” after finishing 4th at an NCAAs. For him, it’s something to be proud of as in the past he’s had some difficult NCAA meets (he’d never made a final before) and said he was “pretty happy with it.” Obviously when 0.15 away from the win, you want a little more. Off-camera, he said the splits were very similar to the Big 10 mile final where he ended up in first and Beadlescomb was third (Big 10 results).

Men’s 800: Brandon Miller goes wire to wire

Texas A&M’s Brandon Miller waited a bit longer than Garcia Romo to take the lead in the men’s 800 final as he hit the front just before passing halfway in 52.57. And while it didn’t hurt that Miller didn’t have to run any extra distance during the second half of the race, the main reason he won today was because he was on a different level than the rest of the field over the final 200 meters. Leading by a meter over Texas’ Jonathan Jones at the bell, Miller was sensational on the last lap, closing in 26.87 to win by daylight in 1:47.19 as Jones held on for second in 1:47.93. Jones and fourth-placer Yusuf Bizimana grabbed a huge 13 points in the event to help the Longhorns to the team title.

Results *Splits
1 Brandon MILLER SO TEXAS A&M 1:47.19
2 Jonathan JONES JR TEXAS 1:47.93
3 John RIVERA SR OLE MISS 1:48.03
4 Yusuf BIZIMANA FR TEXAS 1:48.09
5 Tiarnan CRORKEN JR OLE MISS 1:48.60
7 Luis PERALTA SO OREGON 1:53.32

Quick Take: Brandon Miller takes the next step in an impressive collegiate career 

Miller has always had talent, running 1:49.87 as a 15-year-old in 2017 after his freshman year of high school. But when he enrolled at Texas A&M in 2020, his pb wasn’t much faster – 1:49.55. Miller says that was down to a lack of training partners to push him in high school, but that was not a problem upon his arrival at in College Station. Last year, he ran 1:44 as a true freshman and came .29 shy of winning the NCAA title. This year, he’s gone undefeated and looked terrific in becoming the first Aggie to win an NCAA indoor 800 title. And he says he’s not done.

“I want to win [USAs], I want to win Worlds,” Miller said. “I believe in the ability God gave me. I feel like the biggest difference between last year when I went into Trials, I believed that I could make the team. But this year, I know I can make the team. And I’m ready for it all. I’m coming for it all.”

Quick Take: It’s official – Texas A&M is “800 U”

Miller was the fourth Aggie 800 runner to win a national title in the last seven years. The full list:

Donavan Brazier (2016 outdoors)
Sammy Watson (2018 outdoors)
Jazmine Fray (2019 outdoors)
Brandon Miller (2022 outdoors)

Devin Dixon was also 2nd at the 2019 indoor meet, and the list doesn’t even include the greatest Aggie of them all, Athing Mu, who ran collegiate records indoors and outdoors last year and then won Olympic gold.

Quick Take: The Texas mid-d squad was the surprise of the meet and was instrumental in them winning the team title

On paper coming into the meet, looking at the descending order list, the Longhorn mid-d men were projected to score just 8 points – all in the 800 – at NCAAs. Instead they racked up 25 points – 10 in the DMR, 2 in the mile and 13 in the 800 – and they won the team title by 11 as a result.

We caught up with an ecstatic distance coach Pete Watson after the meet. He took pride in the fact that “99%” of his guys are from Texas and explained how he’s got two crews at Texas – an xc/distance squad (that two 13:41 guys in Rodger Rivera and Haftu Knight who didn’t even make this meet) and then the mid-d squad.

We asked Watson how Yaseen Abdalla – who anchored the Longhorns to the DMR title last night – has been able to improve from 4:05 to 3:57 in the mile, from 8:13 to 7:51 in the 3k, and from 14:11 to 13:33 in the 5k this year.  He said the key was Abdalla really went all-in on running over the summer when he went to Kenya to train alone.

“I kept hounding him, ‘you gotta run [more] you gotta run [more].’ And he showed up at practice one day and he said, ‘I bought a ticket to Kenya,’” said Watson, who added that once Abdalla went to Kenya and saw what the elites do over there he greatly upped his mileage – from 65-70 last fall to 110 to 115 mpw this fall with roughly 100 of that coming on the treadmill

Texas head coach Eldrick Floreal

Floreal has coached a number of incredible athletes through the years, including world and Olympic champions Kori Carter, Keni Harrison, and Sydney McLaughlin, but until tonight had never coached an NCAA team champion in track & field. He said winning the title in year #4 at Texas was like taking a monkey off his back.

Interview with Ole Miss’s John Rivera who was third in his first NCAA final

“Third place at a good national final, I’ll take it. I am happy but I’m in the hunt for more,” said Rivera.

Men’s 3000: Abdihamid Nur does it again

In the last distance event of the day, NAU’s Abdihamid Nur earned his second NCAA title in 24 hours as he added the 3000m crown to the 5000m title he won on Friday night. Unlike the 5000m, in which Nur set a meet record of 13:19.01, the 3000m went out a lot slower, with the field hitting 1600 in just 4:28.88.

A number of athletes wanted to get to the lead before the kicking started in earnest, and after making an unsuccessful attempt to pass Arkansas’ Amon Kemboi with just over 700 meters to go, Nur got around on the homestraight and had the lead with three laps left. On the penultimate lap, Nur faced three separate challenges from Colorado’s Eduardo Herrera – who tried to pass on the back straight, turn, and home straight – but withstood them all to keep the lead at the bell. Just like Garcia Romo, Nur didn’t have one of the fastest last laps in the field (three men closed faster), but, when combined with his superior positioning with 200 to go, his final lap of 27.87 was enough to deliver the title in 7:59.88. Kemboi, who was only 7th in the 5000 last night, rebounded to take second in 8:00.21 as Stanford’s Charles Hicks closed well for third in 8:00.23. Wisconsin’s Olin Hacker actually had the best close of anyone in the field by some margin (27.03), but was so far back at the bell in ninth that he could only parlay that speed into a fourth-place finish.

Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse, who broke the NCAA record earlier this year with his 7:38 in Boston, struggled and finished outside the scoring positions in ninth.

Results *Splits
1 Abdihamid NUR SO NORTHERN ARIZONA 7:59.88
3 Charles HICKS SO STANFORD 8:00.23
5 Eduardo HERRERA SR COLORADO 8:00.58
9 Yared NUGUSE SR NOTRE DAME 8:01.53
11 Cameron PONDER JR FURMAN 8:03.99
13 Wesley KIPTOO JR IOWA STATE 8:05.53
15 Athanas KIOKO SR CAMPBELL 8:14.16
16 Ben VEATCH SR INDIANA 8:16.23

Quick Take: Nur was super pumped to complete the double and now will contemplate if he should go for the NCAA 10,000 title in the spring or try to make the US Worlds team

The Somalian-born Nur took a page out of the Mo Farah playbook (who he has met in Flagstaff and said is “like my big brother”) to win both titles by not giving up the lead late. 

“The race plan was just to be patient today and when I felt it just go. And once I went coach told me to hold my position. ‘You are strong enough to hold the position and finish strong,’ Coach told me.”

Chales Hicks was thrilled to have finished third in the 3000 as he spent much of indoors focused on some big long-term plans (getting ready for some big 10,000s is what it sounds like)

Yard Nuguse revealed that he was a little bit “banged up” after Alex Wilson but is feeling optimistic that he’ll be ready to roll outdoors

“I didn’t mention it yesterday but I was a little bit banged up after Alex Wilson,” Nuguse said. “It was a tough race and coming out of it I wasn’t really like how I felt before, but I didn’t want to make a huge deal of it. So we tried to take ACCs a little easier and hope that I’d be better off for nationals. Obviously I think it might have been still affecting me a little somewhat but I still came out and had a great time here.”

Be a fan and talk about the 2022 NCAA Indoor day 2 action on our world-famous fan forum/messageboard: 

  1. Official Day 2 NCAA Indoors Discussion Thread (+Instant Reaction Show at 11 pm ET) 
  2. What’s up with Nuguse?
  3. Katelyn Tuohy is baaaack! 2nd in 5000 
  4. They really Centrowitzed that mile today huh 
  5. Definitive Proof DIII > DI 
  6. Who is Ky Robinson?? 2nd place NCAAs.. 
  7. I caught up with Olympic champion Athing Mu to see what she’s been up to since Millrose 
  8. Wtf just happened in the men’s 60m final?!
  9. Boling 6.56 60m PR 
  10. Trey MF Cunningham! 7.38!! 

Did you miss our day 1 coverage or our women’s coverage. Complete 2022 NCAA Indoor coverage here. *All Post-2022 NCAA Interviews

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