WTW: Britton Wilson Amazes, Big 12>SEC?, Katelyn Tuohy Runs 4:06, & Aliphine Tuliamuk is BACK

The Week That Was in Running, May 9 – 15, 2022

By Robert Johnson and Jonathan Gault
May 16, 2022

Each week, we try to make the sport more fun to follow by putting the prior week’s action in perspective for you. Past editions of our Week That Was weekly recap can be found here. Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us, or post in our forum.  

If you missed our coverage of Gary Martin’s historic 3:57.98 prep mile or the 2022 WANDA Diamond League opener in Doha, please catch up now as we don’t talk about those things below.

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Britton Wilson Has a Day for the Ages at the SEC Championships

There were a ton of great performances at last weekend’s NCAA conference championships, but no one had a more impressive weekend than Arkansas’ Britton Wilson. Actually, “weekend” is overselling it. In the span of two-and-a-half hours, Wilson ran 50.05 to win the 400 meters (#3 in the world this year, #6 in NCAA history), 53.75 to win the 400m hurdles (#1 in the world this year, #6 in NCAA history), and split 48.60 on the anchor leg of the Razorbacks’ 4×400 relay – the fastest recorded 4×400 split in NCAA history. That is three world-class performances in a single evening.

Unfortunately for Wilson, her heroic 4×400 split was not enough to deliver the win as it came in the fastest women’s 4×400 in collegiate history. The top two schools – Kentucky (3:21.93) and Texas A&M (3:22.01) – both broke the collegiate record of 3:22.34 set last year by an Athing Mu-led A&M squad, while Arkansas’ 3:22.55 put them fourth on the all-time NCAA list but only third at the 2022 SEC meet. 

It also featured some of the fastest splits in NCAA history. Entering the meet, Mu had the fastest recorded 4×400 split in NCAA history at 48.85 from NCAAs last year. Two women ran faster than that at SECs – Wilson (48.60) and Abby Steiner, who split 48.78 on leg 3 for Kentucky – while A&M’s Charokee Young also split 48.90 on the anchor.

MB: Britton Wilson getting attention only on Twitter? 400H world lead, 400 in 50.05, relay 48.60 

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Blasphemy? Big 12 Sprints > SECs????

We always say the best NCAA conference meet every year is the SEC championships. You can actually make the case that winning SECs is harder than winning NCAAs, depending on what you value. To win NCAAs, you need a few individual stars who can rack up major points in their main events. Winning SECs requires greater depth; that’s why the LSU men, who destroyed everyone at NCAAs last year led by studs like Terrance Laird and JuVaughn Harrison, only finished third at SECs that same season.

The traditional strength of the SEC is its sprints, and once again there were some impressive times. We already mentioned Britton Wilson’s 50.05/53.75 double, but she was far from the only person to have a great weekend at SECs. LSU’s Favour Ofili also won two events in fast times, 10.93 in the 100 (into a 0.7 headwind) and 22.04 in the 200 (plus she ran a leg on the winning 4×100). 

But there were also some crazy-fast times at the Big 12 championships, including Texas’s Julien Alfred’s 10.80 in the women’s 100 and her teammate Jonathan Jones’ 44.43 in the men’s 400. It got us to thinking, “How did the sprint times at Big 12s compare to the SECs?”

Now it was windy at the Big 12 championships, and the meet was also held at 3,202 feet of elevation in Lubbock, Tex., (as opposed to 505 feet in Oxford, Miss.). We tried our best to factor the conditions in by comparing each winning performance in the table below, converting the marks to account for wind/elevation in the 100, 200, and 400 using Jonas Mureika’s online tool. Unfortunately, Mureika’s tool does not exist for the hurdles or relays, so we left those events alone, but the numbers are still pretty interesting.

Event

SEC winner

Converted time

Big 12 winner

Converted time

Edge

M100

Favour Ashe, 10.04 (+0.6)

10.07

Micaiah Harris, 9.93 (+2.4)

10.06

Big 12

M200

Matthew Boling, 20.01 (+0.3)

20.05

Micaiah Harris, 19.72 (+3.8)

20.00

Big 12

M400

Champion Allison, 44.74

44.77

Jonathan Jones, 44.43

44.66

Big 12

M110H

Eric Edwards Jr., 13.28 (+0.5)

 

Maliek Kendall, 13.45 (+1.9)

 

SEC

M400H

Moitalel Mpoke, 48.84

 

Nathaniel Ezekiel, 48.42

 

Big 12

M4x100

Florida, 38.66

 

TCU, 38.50

 

Big 12

M4x400

Florida, 2:59.44

 

Baylor, 3:02.73

 

SEC

W100

Favour Ofili, 10.93 (-0.7)

10.88

Julien Alfred, 10.80 (+2.4)

10.95

SEC

W200

Favour Ofili, 22.04 (+0.2)

22.07

Kynnedy Flannel, 22.23 (+2.0)

22.45

SEC

W400

Britton Wilson, 50.05

50.08

Stacey Ann Williams, 50.21

50.44

SEC

W100H

Alia Armstrong, 12.46 (+2.1)

 

Demisha Roswell, 12.44 (+1.5)

 

Big 12

W400H

Britton Wilson, 53.75

 

Gontse Morake, 56.19

 

SEC

W4x100

LSU, 42.59

 

Texas, 42.35

 

Big 12

W4x400

Kentucky, 3:21.93

 

Baylor, 3:26.92

 

SEC

       

Overall edge

TIED, 7-7

Here’s a fun fact about how good the SEC meet is annually at sprinting. This year was the first since 2016 that the men’s 100 was won in a time over 10.00 seconds.

MB: SEC Outdoor – 2022 
MB
: Steiner 48.7 4×4 split
MB: Matt Boling (20.01) absolutely destroys Fahnbullah (20.13) in SEC 200 Finals. NCAA champs here we come.   
MB:UNIVERSITY OF (SPRINTS) TEXAS !!!

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Maria Garcia Romo Crushes Men’s 1500, Parker Valby Is Florida’s Hero

The SEC champs at Ole Miss wasn’t just a sprint meet, however. There was some great middle-distance and distance action as well. In the men’s 1500, the much-anticipated battle between NCAA mile champ Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss and NCAA 1500 record holder Eliud Kipsang of Alabama proved to be no contest at Garcia Romo crushed Kipsang 3:36.91 to 3:39.09, which means the NCAA record curse could live on at NCAAs. 

Ole Miss won the women’s 1500 as well as Sintayehu Vissa ran 4:08.72 (#2 in the NCAA this year) to hold off Arkansas’ Lauren Gregory (4:09.73, #3 in the NCAA this year).

There was also an interesting result in the men’s 800 as NCAA indoor champ Brandon Miller surprisingly bombed and only finished in 6th place (1:47.69). The win instead went to Navasky Anderson of Mississippi State and Jamaica in 1:45.89.

In the long distances, the men’s 5000 proved pivotal in the team battle, which was super tight between Alabama and Arkansas. Heading into the 5000, only the 5000 and 4 x 400 remained and the team score was Alabama 98, Arkansas 94. Could Alabama win its first outdoor SEC team title since 1980?

Alabama and Arkansas both dominated the event with 3 scorers each but the Hogs won the meet as they went 1-2-3 and outscored Alabama 24 to 10 in the event en route to their 21st SEC outdoor crown.

SEC Men’s 5000 Results

  1. Patrick Kiprop (KEN), Arkansas, 13:41.05
  2. Amon Kemboi (KEN), Arkansas, 13:43.02
  3. Emmanuel Cheboson (KEN), Arkansas, 13:43.66
  4. Victor Kiprop (KEN), Alabama, 13:45.95
  5. Eliud Kipsang (KEN), Alabama, 13:54.12
  6. Cole Bullock, Ole Miss, 13:55.27
  7. Eric Casarez, Texas A&M, 13:55.37
  8. Hillary Cheruiyot (KEN), Alabama, 14:01.14

In the women’s long-distance SEC action, 2021 spring NCAA XC champ Mercy Chelangat of Alabama was utterly dominant, winning the 5000 by 9.24 seconds in 15:22.89 and the 10,000 by 56.21 seconds in 33:15.66. The 5000 was critical to the women’s team title, which went to Florida by 4 points over Arkansas. Arkansas scored the most in the event (13) as Lauren Gregory was 3rd (15:39.04), Isabel Van Camp 4th (15:51.71), and Logan Jolly 7th (16:06.00) but the unsung hero of the day was Florida redshirt freshman Parker Valby.

Valby, who was an All-American in cross country, hadn’t finished a race since the end of January. She’d never run at SECs in track in her career. Her 5000 pb was 17:14 (although she’d run faster in XC and has an 8:53.89 3000 pb). The result? She came through totally clutch and ran 15:32.41 to grab 2nd and help the Gators get the team title. What a gutsy run. The gun went off and she put the hammer down from the start. She led the first 4400 meters and was rewarded with a much-deserved second-place showing.

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The Women’s 100/200 at NCAAs Are Going To Be Sensational

Last year, only one woman, Alabama’s Tamara Clark, broke 11 seconds wind-legal during the NCAA regular season (10.96). Four collegians did it last weekend alone, including two from Texas: Julien Alfred, whose 10.81 in the Big 12 prelims puts her third on the NCAA all-time list, and Kevona Davis, who also ran 10.95 in the Big 12 prelims. LSU’s Favour Ofili was the third, and the fourth came at the Sun Belt Championships, where Coastal Carolina’s Melissa Jefferson took .12 off her personal best to run 10.88 in the final. If conditions are good, it’s possible someone could run 10.8 at NCAAs and finish off the podium.

The 200, meanwhile, pits NCAA record holder Ofili (21.96) against two-time NCAA indoor champ Steiner (22.05 pb, #4 all-time NCAA). We got a preview of that last weekend as Ofili edged Steiner at SECs, 22.04 to 22.07.

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Katelyn Tuohy is Thriving At NC State, Yared Nuguse Will Not Run At NCAAs

The big news out of the ACC champs from the LetsRun perspective was that Katelyn Tuohy – the star redshirt freshman for NC State – had a big breakout run in the women’s 1500 as she lowered her pb from 4:12.58 to 4:06.84 to move into the top 10 all-time at the NCAA level. Tuohy doubled back and was beaten by teammate Samantha Bush in the 5000. Bush, who did the unusual 800/5000 double at ACCs, won the 5000 in 15:46.20 to Tuohy’s 15:50.02 (Bush was 7th in the 800 in 2:06.22).

MB: Katelyn MF Tuohy 4:06 (ACC 1500m Champ) 

For the men, the biggest news out of ACCs was what didn’t happen. Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse didn’t run at all as he injured his hamstring at Sound Running’s Track Meet the week before and as a result will not at this year’s NCAA meet. Even though Nuguse ran 3:39.29 at The Track Meet, it won’t count as an NCAA qualifier as the meet didn’t have the minimum number of events.

When we spoke to Notre Dame coach Sean Carlson last week, he said the focus was making sure Nuguse was healthy for USAs (June 23-26) and that he would not race Nuguse at ACCs in case he was 100% healthy. The fact that Nuguse didn’t run last weekend clearly shows he still needs some time to heal, and he has six weeks until USAs. The bad news is, he doesn’t have the World Championship standard of 3:35.00 and may need to get it at USAs if he is to make the team (his world rank currently places him at #45 in the world if you cap it at three per country and WA’s targeted field size is 45).

We wonder how Nuguse feels about his decision to return to Notre Dame for his final year of eligibility. 

We liked his decision to return to Notre Dame. Despite being an Olympian, if he turned pro last year at best he was going to be offered the third-most amount of money for a miler in the US. Hobbs Kessler was given a shit-ton from adidas to go pro out of HS and Cole Hocker won the Olympic Trials. 

Plus – and this can sometimes get lost amongst the $$$ – running on a college team is fun! Nuguse wanted to come back and try to win an NCAA XC title for Notre Dame this year (he also wanted to get his master’s degree). Winning an NCAA XC team title with your best friends is the biggest dream for every NCAA distance runner and that sort of experience is hard to put a price on. Now if you get a huge offer, you may feel compelled to take the money, but nothing in pro track can replicate the camaraderie of being on a college team, let alone a potential NCAA-winning team.

Unfortunately for Nuguse, he and the Irish had a horrible day at NCAA XC as he finished 158th and the team was 9th after finishing 2nd the year before. Nuguse’s track season started a lot better as he ran 7:38 to break the long-standing NCAA 3000 record in February, but he has been snakebitten with injuries since then.

This year, he won’t be competing against Kessler or Hocker for a contract, but considering how his 2021-22 campaign has gone, we imagine many assume he may have lost some money. And one agent told us exactly that — he believes Nuguse lost a significant amount of money by delaying his decision to turn pro. Another agent disagreed and reminded us that in 2009, Olympian Jenny Simpson went back to college after running 3:59 in the 1500, totally bombed NCAA XC and then went pro and came out making more than if she’d gone pro initially. “I don’t know that [he] lost anything. He may not have gained anything, but he’ll get a good contract — definitely,” said the agent.

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Tuohy wasn’t the only NCAA star who failed to win their conference 5000 title after winning the 1500 title. At the Big Sky champs, NAU’s Abdihamud Nur, who is the in-season NCAA collegiate record holder at 5000, won the 1500 in 3:43.55 over teammate Nico Young’s 3:43.72 but was only third in the 5000 in 14:10.90 as Montana State’s Ben Perrin won in 14:10.55 with Young second in 14:10.74.

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PR of the Week

Prior to the weekend, Irish 800 Olympian Louise Shanahan, 25, had run the 800 eight times this year and never run faster than 2:04.68. The results database Tilastopaja.eu listed 118 800s for her career, with the fastest being just 2:01.44. On Saturday at the Belfast Irish Milers meet, she ran 1:59.42 – a massive pb and Irish record. Ciara Mageean, who held the old record at 1:59.69, was 2nd in 1:59.86.

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Aliphine Tuliamuk Wins Her First US Title Since Giving Birth, USATF Blocks A Local TV Station From Broadcasting Its National Championships

On Saturday, HOKA NAZ Elite’s Aliphine Tuliamuk won her first US title since her victory at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2020. Competing at the US 25K champs in Grand Rapids, Mich. (held as part of the Amway River Bank Run), Tuliamuk ran 1:23:19 to win, pulling away from US marathon record holder Keira D’Amato after 11 miles (D’Amato finished second in 1:24:04, Tuliamuk hit the half marathon mark in 70:12, D’Amato in 70:42). It was a long road back to the top for Tuliamuk as between February 2020 and May 2022, she finished just one race due to a combination of COVID, pregnancy, and a hip injury that caused her to DNF at the Olympics. Just a reminder that, when healthy, she’s one of the country’s top road racers – this was her 11th national title.

In the men’s race, the top two from the US Half Marathon Champs a week earlier, Leonard Korir and Futsum Zienasellassie, ran it back and finished in the same order with Korir winning in 1:15:53 to Zienasellassie’s 1:16:29, with Korir going through the half in 63:46 (Zienasellassie was 64:12).

One more note on the US 25K champs: thumbs down to USATF for blocking the live stream of the race. A station in Michigan, WOOD TV 8, broadcast the race on local TV and was prepared to stream it online as well but was blocked from doing so by USATF. Okay, fair enough: if USATF wants to live-stream the race on USATF.TV, that’s their right.

Except that’s not what happened. There was no live stream of the race at all, only post-race highlights uploaded to RunnerSpace after the fact. Tuliamuk’s coach Ben Rosario was furious, and justifiably so. Fans could have watched a free live stream of a national championship produced by a tv station featuring two of America’s best and most popular distance runners and instead got tape-delayed highlights. Isn’t it USATF’s job to promote the sport?

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Other Road News of Note – Cheptai & Kimeli Win $34,000 in Bengaluru, Genzebe Dibaba Sighting, Anna Rohrer Gets Her Olympic Trials Qualifier 

One of the richest road races in the world was held last week in Bengaluru, India, as the TCS World 10K took place. The big winner on the men’s side was 2021 Olympic 5000 4th placer Nicholas Kimeli, who two weeks after running 12:55 on the roads won $34,000 in a course record of 27:38. 2021 world junior 3k champ Tadese Worku of Ethiopia was 2nd (27:43, $17,000) with 2020 World Half silver medallist Kibiwott Kandie third (27:57, $10,000).

2017 world XC champ Irene Cheptai, 30, who was the runner-up at the United Airlines NYC Half earlier this year, picked up $34,000 in the women’s race with her 30:35 course record as Hellen Obiri, the 2019 world XC champ, was second in 30:34 ($17,000) and Joyce Tele third at (31:47, $10,000).

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Two-time Eastbay XC champion (then Foot Locker) Anna Rohrer made her marathon debut over the weekend and she qualified for the 2024 US Olympic Marathon Trials in the process by running 2:36:31 to finish 2nd at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. In college, Rohrer finished in the top 20 at NCAA XC 4 times and top 10 3 times (17th 2019, 10th 2018, 3rd 2016, 6th 2015).

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1500 world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, 31, who hasn’t finished a track race of major significance since the 2019 Zurich Diamond League, finished her first road race of the year at the ABSA Run Your City Cape Town 10k in South Africa where she was only third in 31:02 (she also was a DNF at RAK Half in February).

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Tweet of the Week

Is this a confession that he did take EPO?

A tweet from Asbel Kiprop that has been deleted

MB: Kiprop effectively just ADMITTED his 3:26 was doped 

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Recommended Reads

To read our favorite reads from past weeks, go here.

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Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages

To see the quotes of the day from last week or last week’s home page or any home page, go to our archive page.

Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post in our forum.

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