Collegiate Record Eliud Kipsang Eliminated In 1500, Fast Steeple Times Highlight Day 1 Distance Action at 2022 NCAA Outdoors 

June 8, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. — The men’s 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships got underway today at Hayward Field. Below we recap the semifinals in the 800, 1500 and steeplechase and then the sprint and field action after that. The men’s 10,000 final got its own article: 2017 Foot Locker Champ Dylan Jacobs Wins NCAA 10,000m Title, Unheralded Former High School Phenom Alex Maier 2nd Jacobs threw down the hammer the final 400m to upset pre-race favorite Abdihamid Nur. 

1500 Semis: Garcia Romo looks good as Kipsang and Essayi go home early

The men’s 1500 heats had some drama as two men who were viewed as contenders for the win didn’t make the final. On the one-year anniversary of the day that he ran 3:34.58 in Hengelo to qualify for the Olympics, Morocco’s Anass Essayi of South Carolina led heat 1 through the first three laps but had nothing left in the final 200 and didn’t end up even finishing the race. A source later told us Essayi likely suffered a strained hamstring after stepping over the rail early in the last lap (a hamstring injury also kept him out of SECs last month).

In heat #2, the collegiate record holder Eliud Kipsang of Alabama also did the leading early but had nothing over the final lap as he finished last in the heat and failed to advance.

The two heat winners were Jonathan Davis of Illinois, the indoor 4th placer in the mile, in heat #1 (3:37.39) and Mario Garcia Romo, the indoor mile champ for Ole Miss, in heat #2 (3:39.32). Only one other indoor finalist made the 1500 final (indoor 5th placer Isaac Basten of Drake).

Fastest 10 1500 seeds / Result
1. Eliud Kipsang, Alabama 3:33.74 – DNQ – led early but last in heat #2
2. Jonathan Davis, Illinois 3:36.85 Q- Won heat 1 in fastest time of day 3:37.39
3. Mario Garcia Romo, Ole Miss 3:36.91Q – Won heat #2 in 3:39.32
4. George Kusche, NAU 3:37.31 – q – Snagged the last time qualifier after finishing sixth in heat #2 in 3:39.67
5. Adam Spencer, Wisconsin 3:37.40 Q – 5th in heat #2
6. Ryan Schoppe, Oklahoma State 3:37.43 – q – 1st time qualifier as 6th n heat #1 in 3:37.94
7. Luke Houser, Washington 3:37.51 Q – 4th in heat #2
8. Cathal Doyle, Portland 3:38.05- DNQ – 8th in heat #1
9. Thomas Vanoppen, Wake Forest 3:38.34  Q- 4th in heat #1
10. Elliott Cook, Oregon 3:38.92 – DNQ – 9th in heat #1

Results *Results by heat and lap splits
1 Jonathan DAVIS SR ILLINOIS 3:37.39 Q 1(1)
2 Nathan GREEN FR WASHINGTON 3:37.46 Q 1(2) PB
3 Sam ELLIS SR PRINCETON 3:37.60 Q 1(3) PB
4 Thomas VANOPPEN JR WAKE FOREST 3:37.65 Q 1(4) PB
5 Adam SPENCER FR WISCONSIN 3:37.81 Q 1(5)
6 Ryan SCHOPPE SO OKLAHOMA STATE 3:37.94 q 1(6)
7 Mario GARCIA ROMO JR OLE MISS 3:39.32 Q 2(1)
8 Joe WASKOM SO WASHINGTON 3:39.45 [3:39.444] Q 2(2) PB
9 Isaac BASTEN JR DRAKE 3:39.45 [3:39.450] Q 2(3)
10 Luke HOUSER SO WASHINGTON 3:39.60 Q 2(4)
12 George KUSCHE SR NORTHERN ARIZONA 3:39.67 q 2(6)
13 Nehemia TOO SR IOWA STATE 3:40.01 2(7)
14 Nathan HENDERSON JR SYRACUSE 3:40.06 2(8) PB
15 Jacob BRUECKMAN SR COLORADO ST. 3:40.82 2(9)
16 AJ ERNST SR PROVIDENCE 3:41.04 1(7)
17 Rhys HAMMOND SO CORNELL 3:41.36 2(10) PB
18 Jesse HUNT JR NORTH CAROLINA 3:42.28 2(11)
19 Cathal DOYLE JR PORTLAND 3:42.56 1(8)
20 Eliud KIPSANG SO ALABAMA 3:43.30 2(12)
21 Elliott COOK SO OREGON 3:44.47 1(9)
22 Sean PETERSON SR YOUNGSTOWN ST. 3:47.07 1(10)
23 Nick DAHL SR DUKE 3:48.14 1(11)

Quick Take: The NCAA 1500/mile record curse continues

As mentioned in the LetsRun preview, men who break the collegiate record in the 1500 or mile don’t have a great track record at NCAAs and that continued today as Kipsang, who ran 3:33.74 on April 15 to set the collegiate record, was last in his heat. That means the last nine men to break the NCAA 1500 or mile record have all failed to win that event at NCAAs in that season. And two of the last three – Kipsang and Sam Tanner in 2021 – failed to even make the final.

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Kipsang said that overall he is still pleased with his season as getting the CR was a big deal. And he’s not done yet either – he will be heading back to his native Kenya to compete at their Commonwealth Games/World Championship trials. As for why he was off the pace today, Kipsang said he missed a few days of training with an illness following regionals and that set him back.  

“I was not feeling good since regionals,” Kipsang said. “…I can’t complain. It’s a race. It is what it is.”

Quick Take: Mario Garcia Romo is fine with any sort of race in the final and looking forward to running one last race for his Ole Miss family

Garcia Romo looked comfortable in winning heat 2 and with Kipsang and Essayi gone, he has to be the clear favorite for Friday’s final. Of course this is the NCAA championships, where favorites are beaten all the time, but one of the things to like about Garcia Romo is that he is well-suited for any kind of race. He has the fastest pb of the finalists (3:35), he won NCAA indoors in 4:07 so we know he can kick, and if you’re looking for something in between, well, he dropped Kipsang with a huge mid-race move to win SECs.

Friday will be Garcia Romo’s final race in an Ole Miss singlet, and he said it means a lot to him to carry on the tradition established by predecessors like Sean Tobin, Craig Engels, and Waleed Suliman.

“Ole miss is my family,” Garcia Romo said. “I’ve been here for four years, especially far away from my family back home [in Spain]. I don’t race only for the university, I also race for my friends and for my teammates and I try to do things that are going to make my team proud and my coach proud.”

Quick Take: Jonathan Davis wins his prelim again

Indoors, Davis, a sixth-year senior at Illinois, won his prelim and finished 4th in the mile final. Once again, Davis looked strong today to win his prelim and the good news for him is that two of the guys who beat him indoors won’t be in Friday’s final – Michigan State’s Morgan Beadlescomb is running the 5,000 and Oregon’s Reed Brown didn’t qualify for NCAAs. If anyone is to make it three straight US champions in this event, Davis is the most likely bet.

Steeple semis: Duncan Hamilton runs new NCAA leader as the favorites cruise

The men’s steeple semis were largely without drama as 9 of the top 10 seeds all advanced to the final, with the lone casualty being 4th seed Ben Fleming of Virginia Tech who didn’t make it as a time qualifier despite running 8:37 in heat #1.

BYU sophomore Kenneth Rooks ran a 6+ second pb to win heat #1 in 8:24.88 before Montana State’s Duncan Hamilton ran even faster (8:23.13) to take heat #2. Hamilton said he ran fast as he hadn’t run fast in a while, thought he could get the WC standard of 8:22, and also wanted to help his teammate Levi Taylor (8:30.20) get in on time after Taylor ran 8:30.20 in heat #1. Hamilton’s theory is a lot of people crater if they go out hard in a steeple and in the end Taylor did get in.

Fun fact, there were six men in the semis tonight that were in last year’s final and all six made the final once again: Alec Basten (2nd), Ryan Smeeton (3rd), Duncan Hamilton (5th), Parker Stokes (8th), Bennett Pascoe (11th), and Colton Johnson (12th).

Results *Results by heat and lap splits
1 Duncan HAMILTON JR MONTANA STATE 8:23.13 Q 2(1) CL
2 Kenneth ROOKS SO BYU 8:24.88 Q 1(1) PB
3 Parker STOKES SO GEORGETOWN 8:26.04 Q 1(2) PB
6 Estanis RUIZ FR LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 8:29.12 Q 1(5) PB
8 Alec BASTEN SR MINNESOTA 8:30.01 Q 2(3) SB
9 Levi TAYLOR SO MONTANA STATE 8:30.20 q 1(6) PB
10 Matthew WILKINSON JR MINNESOTA 8:30.52 Q 2(4) PB
11 Colton JOHNSEN SR WASHINGTON ST. 8:31.64 q 1(7) PB
12 Bennett PASCOE SR ARKANSAS STATE 8:34.93 Q 2(5) SB
13 Ben FLEMING SR VIRGINIA TECH 8:37.79 1(8)
14 Yasin SADO FR VIRGINIA 8:41.63 2(6)
15 Alexander KORCZYNSKI SR NORTHEASTERN 8:43.00 1(9)
16 Carson WILLIAMS SO FURMAN 8:44.27 1(10)
17 Adam BUNKER FR UTAH VALLEY 8:44.67 2(7)
18 Ahmed KADRI FR EASTERN KENTUCKY 8:45.69 2(8)
19 Garrett MARSING SR BYU 8:45.71 1(11)
20 Benjamin NIBBELINK JR VIRGINIA TECH 8:46.25 2(9)
21 Christian HUBAKER SR MICHIGAN 8:48.91 1(12)
22 Bryce LENTZ FR AIR FORCE 8:52.33 2(10)
23 Tom SEITZER JR NOTRE DAME 8:54.43 2(11)
24 Ben GARNER SR SAMFORD 8:55.49 2(12)

Quick Take: It’s still anyone’s race in the final

The top three qualifiers – Duncan Hamilton (8:23), Kenneth Rooks (8:24), and Parker Stokes (8:26) – all ran personal bests, so they will be tested coming back again two days later for the final. But Hamilton is expecting the field will rise to the occasion and predicted a winning time under 8:20 in the final.

“I think we’re gonna go in the teens for sure,” Hamilton said. “It’s gonna be good…I’m looking for that Worlds standard, I’m sure a couple of other guys are. And that’s just kind of just how I race too. I prefer to run fast from the gun.”

Quick Take: Kenneth Rooks has come back to fitness quickly following a two-year mission to Uganda (and Utah)

Rooks was an NCAA finalist as a true freshman in 2019 but spent his next two years on a Mormon mission – mostly in Uganda, but also in Orem, Utah (he was sent home during the pandemic). A mission in Utah? Yes, they do exist.

“We do work with a lot of members of the church, but we work with whoever really wants to listen to us,” Rooks said of his time in Orem.

Rooks returned from his mission 11 months ago, and it took him a while to get back up to speed – his first race back in December was a 4:21 mile. That’s not uncommon – BYU coach Ed Eyestone will often redshirt athletes returning from a mission – but Rooks ran a full indoor season and by April he was already running faster than his pre-mission steeple times. Now he’s an 8:24 guy…with two more years of outdoor eligibility beyond this one.

Quick Take: Ed Trippas feeling ready for Friday’s final

If, as Duncan Hamilton predicted, Friday’s final is won in sub-8:20, there’s only one guy in the field who has done that before: Princeton’s Ed Trippas. Trippas was an Olympian last year but didn’t compete for Princeton as classes were virtual and the Ivy League didn’t hold an outdoor track champs in 2021. He didn’t want that to be his final year at Princeton, so he unenrolled for the year and returned in 2022. So far, so good.

Trippas was part of a big day for the Tigers as they qualified a man for the 800, 1500, and steeplechase finals – the only school to do so.

Steeple Top 10 Seeds / Results

1 Jaziri, Ahmed JR-3 Eastern Kentucky 8:24.33 – Q – 3rd in heat #1
2 Hamilton, Duncan JR-3 Montana St. 8:26.44 – Q Won heat #2 in NCAA leading 8:23.13
3 Trippas, Ed SR-4 Princeton 8:30.25 -Q 2nd in heat #2
4 Rooks, Kenneth SO-2 BYU 8:31.19 Q Won heat #1
5 Fleming, Ben SR-4 Virginia Tech 8:31.97 DNQ – 1st guy out of final after running 8:37.93 for 8th in heat #1
6 Stokes, Parker SO-2 Georgetown 8:32.22 Q – 2nd in heat #1
7 Sado, Yasin FR-1 Virginia 8:33.39 DNQ – 6th in heat #2 in 8:41.63
8 Johnsen, Colton SR-4 Washington St. 8:34.33 q – nabbed last time qualifier i heat #1 (8:31.64)
9 Smeeton, Ryan SR-4 Oklahoma State 8:34.37 Q – 4th in heat #1.
10 Ruiz, Estanis  FR-1 Loyola Marymount Q – 5th in heat #1

Men’s 800: The Top 3 seeds led by world leader Moad Zahafi look good

The men’s 800 heats are almost always a little tricky but the top 3 seeds on the year all looked fantastic as world leader Moad Zahafi of Texas Tech won heat #2 wire to wire in 1:46.66, #2 seed Navasky Anderson of Mississippi State, the SEC champ, ran the fastest time of the day in heat #2 (1:45.89) thanks to the leading of #3 seed Brandon Miller, the indoor champ from Texas A&M, who was just behind in 1:46.03.

However, the five other men in today’s semis that had also run under 1:47.00 on the season were all sent home as shown below.

Moad Zahafi (r)

Top 10 800 Seeds / Result

1. Moad Zahafi, Texas Tech 1:43.69 – Q – Won heat 2 wire to wire in 1:46.66.
2. Navasky Anderson, Mississippi State 1:45.89 – Q – Won heat 3 in fastest time of day 1:45.94
3. Brandon Miller, Texas A&M 1:46.03 – Q – Led heat 3 until the end 1:46.00.
4. Clayborn Pender, Georgia 1:46.71 – DNQ – 3rd in heat #1 in 1:47.71
5. Ayman Zahafi, Miami 1:46.79 0 DNQ – 4th in heat #1 in 1:47.92
6. Baylor Franklin, Ole Miss 1:46.83 – DNQ – 4th in heat #2 in 1:47.81
7. Lorenz Herrmann, Idaho 1:46.90 – DNQ- 5th in heat #3 in 1:47.49
8. Cebastian Gentil, Iowa State 1:46.97 – DNQ – DNF in heat #1
9. Jason Gomez, Iowa State 1:47.12 – Won heat 2 in 1:47.02 with big move on backstretch from last to first
10. Yusuf Bizimana, Texas – 1:47.19 –  Q – 2nd in heat #2 in 1:47.45

The win in heat #2 by Jason Gomez of Iowa State, the former DII runner for Notre Dame de Namur, was impressive as he made a huge move on the back stretch to go from last to first.

Results *Results by heat and lap splits
1 Navasky ANDERSON JR MISS STATE 1:45.94 Q 3(1)
2 Brandon MILLER SO TEXAS A&M 1:46.00 Q 3(2) SB
3 Jonathan SCHWIND SR LIPSCOMB 1:46.40 q 3(3) PB
4 Moad ZAHAFI SR TEXAS TECH 1:46.66 Q 2(1)
5 Sean DOLAN SO VILLANOVA 1:46.96 Q 2(2) PB
6 Jason GOMEZ JR IOWA STATE 1:47.02 Q 1(1) PB
7 Samuel RODMAN FR PRINCETON 1:47.30 q 3(4)
8 Dayton CARLSON FR ARIZONA STATE 1:47.45 [1:47.441] q 2(3) PB
9 Yusuf BIZIMANA SO TEXAS 1:47.45 [1:47.445] Q 1(2)
10 Lorenz HERRMANN SO IDAHO 1:47.49 3(5)
11 Sebastian FERNANDEZ FR BYU 1:47.66 3(6)
12 Clayborn PENDER JR GEORGIA 1:47.71 1(3)
13 Baylor FRANKLIN JR OLE MISS 1:47.81 2(4)
14 Tim ZEPF SR NOTRE DAME 1:47.88 2(5)
15 Ayman ZAHAFI SR MIAMI (FLA.) 1:47.92 1(4)
16 Miles BROWN FR MICHIGAN 1:47.99 1(5) PB
17 Collin EBLING JR DUQUESNE 1:48.02 2(6)
18 Samuel VOELZ SR NOTRE DAME 1:48.47 3(7)
19 Abdullahi HASSAN SO WISCONSIN 1:48.49 3(8)
20 Christopher CONRAD JR MISSOURI 1:48.56 1(6)
21 Aman THORNTON JR CLEMSON 1:49.57 1(7)
22 Luis PERALTA SO OREGON 1:50.02 2(7)
23 Sam VAN DORPE SR USC 1:52.45 2(8)

Quick Take: Meet Moad Zahafi

When Moad Zahafi ran 1:43.69 on April 16 at the Tom Jones Invitational, he didn’t expect it to last as the world leader for more than a month. Well we’re now at seven weeks and counting and Zahafi is still #1 in the world in 2022.

Zahafi is an interesting case as he completed five years of college in Morocco before coming to the NCAA. He actually needed to get a waiver from his school in Morocco in order to compete in the NCAA (because your eligibility is supposed to expire five years after graduation), but he wanted to pursue the competitive opportunities available to him in the US. It’s looked like a wise decision as he has improved to 1:43.69 and likely will have more sponsorship opportunities available to him now – especially if he can finish the season as an NCAA champion.

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, though. At NCAA indoors, Zahafi said he was dealing with a “medical situation” that was exacerbated in the semifinals. By the final, he was spent and wound up dropping out. Outdoors, Zahafi said he pulled an abdomen muscle at Big 12s (which is why he didn’t run the final) but is feeling better now.

Quick Take: Brandon Miller said “God has been teaching me a couple lessons” this outdoor season

Miller was sensational indoors, running an American collegiate record of 1:45.24 and winning the NCAA title, but outdoors he has not shown the same form as he was trounced by Zahafi in April at Tom Jones and was only 6th at SECs. Chalk Tom Jones up as a bad race, but as for SECs, Miller revealed he was sick for the race, and while he stressed “it’s still no excuse” – he was hoping for a Michael Jordan flu game performance – it makes the result a lot more understandable. He looks to be back to fighting shape for the final, which is a dangerous proposition as Miller ran 1:44.97 to finish second in this race a year ago.

Quick Take: Iowa State’s Jason Gomez exorcized some Hayward Field demons

Last year, Gomez raced three 800’s at Hayward Field. He DNF’d two of them and ran 1:55 in the third at the Olympic Trials. Not a great track record (though to be fair, he was rabbitting the first race). Today went much better – he made a huge move from last to first on the back straight of heat 1 and wound up winning it going away. Gomez is tempering expectations for the final – he said he’d be happy with top three – but he looked good today.

Sprint recap: Harding runs 19.98 but is DQ’d

The biggest story of the day in the sprint prelims came in the 200 meters, where NCAA indoor champ Javonte Harding of North Carolina A&T went from high to low. Harding ran a pb of 19.98 to win heat 2 and lead all qualifiers to the final, only to be disqualified for a lane violation. That left defending champ Joseph Fahnbulleh of Florida as the top qualifier in 20.10.

The top performance that actually counted belonged to Fahnbulleh’s teammate Champion Allison, who clocked a scorching 44.29 personal best (#6 time in the world this year) to win heat 2 ahead of 2021 champ Randolph Ross of North Carolina A&T (44.43). In the 100, Oregon’s Micah Williams led all qualifiers by running 10.03 and looking quite comfortable doing so, while world leader Trey Cunningham of Florida State was the top qualifier in the 110 hurdles in 13.21.

Field recap: Pinnock & Guttormsen sweep indoor & outdoor titles

Four NCAA titles were awarded on day 1 in the field. In the shot put, 2019 champ Tripp Piperi of Texas took down 2021 champ Turner Washington of Arizona State, throwing 21.52m – just .02 off his outdoor pb – to win handily as Washington (21.05) was the only other man to go beyond 21m.

The long jump came down to the wire as Tennessee’s Wayne Pinnock and Florida State’s Jeremiah Davis both recorded a best jump of exactly 8.00 meters. That meant it came down to each athlete’s second-best jump to determine the champion, and Pinnock’s 7.96 beat out Davis’ 7.87 to give the Jamaican Pinnock the NCAA outdoor title to go with the indoor title he won in March.

Princeton’s Sondre Guttormsen did the same thing in the pole vault, clearing 5.75m to give him a sweep of the 2022 NCAA indoor and outdoor titles ahead of runner-up Clayton Fritsch of Sam Houston State.

Southeast Missouri State’s Logan Blomquist got the win in the hammer with a personal best throw of 73.37m in round six.

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More: 10,000 Recap: 2017 Foot Locker Champ Dylan Jacobs Wins NCAA 10,000m Title, Unheralded Former High School Phenom Alex Maier 2nd Jacobs threw down the hammer the final 400m to upset pre-race favorite Abdihamid Nur. Recap, results, analysis, post-race videos.

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