WTW: Teare > Hocker (at 10k XC), Time To Get Pumped For Yared Nuguse and Nico Young + How To Exploit the WA XC Rankings Like the US Tax Code

The Week That Was in Running, January 15-21, 2024

After a late fall/early winter hiatus, the Week That Was — our written weekly recap on the world in running — is back!!! (Our audio weekly recap — the LetsRun.com Track Talk Podcast — never takes a break)

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.

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6 Thoughts on USA XC

While it’s a World XC year, I don’t want to make too much of the 2024 US cross country championships that were held outside of Richmond, Va., on Saturday. Many of America’s top stars didn’t show up and you never know where people are in their training in the middle of January. Plus we don’t know who will or won’t necessarily go to Worlds — though women’s champ Weini Kelati said she is going while men’s champ Cooper Teare isn’t planning on it.. That being said, here are six takeaways.

Kevin Morris photo

1. It was a nice win for Cooper Teare

Prior to the race, I had an epiphany that I posted an hour or two before the men’s race on the message board, “I know one thing. Cooper Teare has to do at least one thing – beat training partner Cole Hocker.”

Why? Well, Teare is a strength-based 1500/5,000 runner. He’s not as fast as Hocker. If his endurance isn’t as good as Hocker’s, then Teare is screwed in terms of being really relevant as a top US guy/player on the world scene.

Teare not only beat Hocker by a ton (46.1 seconds), he beat everyone else in the race as well, winning the title by 5.1 seconds.

2. Kudos to Weini Kelati

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Kevin Morris photo

Kelati is one of America’s top female talents and set the American record in the half marathon just six days before running at USA XC. It’s great she a) showed up for the race; b) dominated despite being sick for much of the week; and c) plans on testing herself against the world’s best in Serbia at World XC on March 30.

Let’s hope she tries to take advantage of the world cross country rankings loopholes to qualify for the Olympics by running the Cross Internacional das Amendoeiras em Flor in Portugal on February 25 (more on that below).

3. Welcome back to Team USA, Allie Ostrander

It was nice to see Allie Ostrander, the three-time NCAA steeple champion who made the Worlds team in the steeple in 2019, back competing at an elite level. Ostrander has struggled mightily in recent years with an eating disorder and even served a 4-month drug ban in 2023 due to acne medication. Now unsponsored, she finished 4th to make the Worlds team.

4. 4th placer Morgan Pearson will be running (and swimming and biking) for Team USA in Paris

Former Colorado runner Morgan Pearson was the one pushing the pace late in the men’s race. Pearson, whose best finishes at NCAAs were a 5th in the 3k way back in 2015 and 17th in XC in 2013, ended up 4th overall, pretty impressive considering he’s a part-time runner and full-time triathlete. Pearson surprisingly locked in an Olympic spot at the World Triathlon Olympic Games Test Event Paris in August after only getting into the race as an alternate. He said afterwards that it would be irresponsible for him to go to World XC in March, so we’ll see him next in Paris.

5. It was surprising Katie Izzo didn’t make the team but kudos to her for taking advantage of the WA XC ranking system

If you take a look at the World Athletics cross country world rankings, American Katie Izzo is 12th in the world and #1 in the US. However, Izzo’s ranking is mainly the result of the fact that the rankings give you a ton of points for doing well at World Athletics gold label meets, regardless of whether those meets have any quality at all. For example, on December 23, Izzo dominated a meet in Spain that only had an 11-person field. The 2nd placer in that race has PRs of 4:31 for 1500, 9:53 in the steeple, 33:45 for 10k, and 77:52 for the half.

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Izzo was only 8th at USA XC last weekend (she was 6th last year), but it’s possible that when it’s all said and done Izzo’s XC world ranking ends up giving her the equivalent of the 30:40 10,000 Olympic standard — a standard that only five American women have ever run and that only one (Alicia Monson) has achieved during the 2024 qualifying cycle.

The whole thing reminds me of the US tax code. The thing makes no sense but you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t try to take advantage of it in a legal manner.

6. College coaches, come on — you should be encouraging your runners to run the U20 race

It was surprising to see Stanford freshmen Leo and Lex Young absent from the start line at USA XC. Last year, it was great to see two of the US’s top high school talents trying to make the team (Leo made it and was 16th at Worlds but an injured Lex did not). Considering the twins are were born in February 2005, they were eligible to run again this year but didn’t enter.

While I don’t know for sure that Stanford forbid them from running the race, I feel pretty confident in writing that they didn’t encourage them to do it. Instead, they’ve been running indoor races with modest success. Why burn a season of eligibility to run 4:06/13:49 (Leo) or 4:07/14:01 (Lex), particularly since Stanford doesn’t have an indoor conference meet to worry about (the PAC-12 doesn’t sponsor indoor track)? It would be much better to let them get stronger and focus on XC in the winter.

If I was still in college coaching and in charge of two guys of their talent levels with their DOBs and at a school that doesn’t care about indoor conference, you can bet your last dollar they would have been on the start line at USAs last week. Plus college is supposed to be educational. Wouldn’t it be much more educational and memorable to get to travel to Serbia, meet people from all over the world, and represent the US?

More: LRC Cooper Teare & Weini Kelati Win 2024 USATF Cross Country Titles Teare became the first man in 56 years to win US titles in the 1500 and XC while Kelati won by 37 seconds just six days after setting the half marathon AR.

It’s Almost Time For Yared Nuguse’s Pro 5,000 Debut / Is Graham Blanks’s Collegiate Record on Borrowed Time?

As we get towards the end of January, that means the temperature outside is cold but the action is about to start heating up indoors in a big way. This Friday and Saturday, we are going to get to see where some big stars’ early-season fitness is at as the men’s 5,000 at Boston University’s John Thomas Terrier Classic is STACKED.

Check out some of these names on the entry list. (I’m sure I missed some big ones; don’t get offended — just run faster so I notice you next year):

Sam Atkin, Morgan Beadlescomb, Geordie Beamish, Andrew Coscoran, Brian Fay, Willy Fink, Ben Flanagan, Ignacio Fontes, Mario Garcia Romo, Olin Hacker, Dylan Jacobs, Woody Kincaid, Joe Klecker, Morgan McDonald, George Mills, Abdihamid Nur, Yared Nuguse, Theo Quax, Jonas Raess, Ky Robinson, Nico Young

Ever since we learned Yared Nuguse was going to try the 5,000 in this meet, I’ve been counting down the days as I want to see if he’s going to build on his incredible 2023 season. Last year, Nuguse stunned the running world by opening up his season at this very same meet with a 7:28.23 indoor American record.

Remember when we thought Nuguse running 3:47 in the mile was good?

Considering Nuguse ended his 2023 campaign with a 3:43 mile, almost no time that Nuguse puts up on Friday will stun me. But it’s a really smart plan to open him up in a different event and make him get a little uncomfortable in training for the 5,000, where he only has a 13:40.63 PR.

How fast will Yared Nuguse run the 5000 on Friday?

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So I’m super-pumped to see what Yared can do — it’s safe to say it will be a LONG time before we next get the opportunity to see a 3:43 American miler make his pro 5,000 debut. But I’m also super-pumped to see what one other guy in that field runs:

Nico Young of Northern Arizona University.

The last time Nico was at BU, he was super impressive. On December 2, he won the 3,000 in 7:37.73, then came back a few hours later and picked up an NCAA qualifier of 13:22.96 in the 5,000. Considering he’s already safe for NCAAs in the 5,000, there is no need for him to go back to BU unless he wants to run fast — super fast. And all indications are he’s going to do it in Boston.

Nico Young at the 2020 NCAA xc meet (Photo by Shane Bevel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

On Friday night in Flagstaff, Young ran a 3:57.33 indoor mile at 6,900 feet of elevation. According to the NCAA altitude conversion, which may be a little generous for someone who lives and trains at altitude, that’s equivalent to a 3:48.71 mile.

Young’s 5,000 PR is 13:11.30. I fully expect him to DESTROY that, and if the pacing is good I think Graham Blanks’s NCAA collegiate record of 13:03.78 will be history. Will we see the first sub-13:00 in NCAA history? Assuming the rabbiting is spot on, I think we will.

Speaking of records, is there a chance the world record goes down on Friday in Boston? Last year, Woody Kincaid defeated Joe Klecker to win this race in an American record of 12:51.61. The world record of 12:49.60 by Kenenisa Bekele from 2004 is only two seconds faster. And this year, the BU field is much stronger: Kincaid plus Klecker, Nuguse, US champ Abdihamid Nur. It’s not out of the question.

How fast will Nico Young run the 5000 on Friday?

Your vote has been counted. Thank you!

Georgetown Freshman Tinoda Matsatsa Breaks Collegiate 1,000 Record

If Nico Young does break Graham Blanks’s 5,000 collegiate record of 13:03.20, that means Blanks will have held the record for only 55 days. That’s still 48 days longer than Texas’s Yusuf Bizimana held the collegiate 1,000 record.

On January 12, Bizimana, the 2023 NCAA indoor 800 champ, ran 2:18:10 to break Brannon Kidder‘s collegiate record of 2:18.26 that had stood since 2016. On Friday, exactly one week later, Georgetown’s Tinoda Matsadsa, a 19-year-old true freshman who ran 1:47.61 in HS and was the first black US high schooler to go sub-4 in the mile (3:58.70), ran 2:18.05 at Virginia Tech.

The Most Popular Forum Threads

Did you make it over to our world-famous fan forum/message board last week? If not, here are the top 15 most popular threads from last week:

  1. Kilian Jornet Is Organising A Boycott Of UTMB !!!
  2. Allie O Dumped by NNormal
  3. RIP: Shawn Barber – 2015 pole vault world champ and Canadian record holder – has died at age 29
  4. Keira D’Amato Insane Strava Workout – Trials Favorite?
  5. Nico Young just ran a 3:57 mile at 7k feet, conversion? 3:48.71!!!
  6. 2024 USATF Cross Country Champs – Hocker, Teare, Kelati and more!!
  7. Why do pretty blonde women get all the NIL deals!???
  8. Millrose Mens 2 Mile Field!!!
  9. The 6,12,18,24 Challenge
  10. Abdi Abdirahman, 47, confirms he’ll be on the starting line in Orlando for his sixth Olympic Trials
  11. Josh Kerr: “Come championship day, I am the best athlete in the world. And no LetsRun article is going to tell me otherwise.”
  12. Zach Panning in 2:05 shape? He recently did his marathon simulator workout at 4:47 mile pace
  13. Marathon with $1k for 1st held in -67F (-55C) temps in the coldest city (Yakutsk) on earth. Guess the winning time
  14. Game over? Sport Illustrated kaput
  15. I got DM’d by a college coach and I’m a HS sophomore. Is this allowed?

Last Week’s Home Pages

You should come to LetsRun each and every day for the latest news but if you miss a day, you can always go to our archive page. If you like our written weekly recap, you’ll love our weekly Track Talk Podcast as well.

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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