2024 USA Indoors Are STACKED: Nuguse Leads Loaded 3K as Lyles & Coleman Square Off in 60m

Some of America's biggest track stars will be in Albuquerque chasing berths on the 2024 World Indoor team

The 2024 USATF Indoor Championships will be held on Friday and Saturday in Albuquerque, and some of the men’s races are among the most competitive the meet has ever seen. With Noah Lyles vs Christian Coleman in the 60, Yared Nuguse vs Cole Hocker vs Cooper Teare vs Abdihamid Nur in the 3000, and Hocker vs Teare vs Nur vs Hobbs Kessler in the 1500, a number of America’s biggest stars will be battling it out for national titles and spots on Team USA for the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow (March 1-3).

Think about how good those fields are. We’ve got the reigning world 100m champion against the 60-meter world record holder. The last three US champions in the outdoor 1500 battling it out in the 3000 against the reigning US 5000 champ. A 20-year-old American who just ran a 3:48 mile trying to make his first US team on the track. It’s rare to see that much talent at USA indoors, let alone in an Olympic year when stars are typically more focused on the summer season.

And remember, at World Indoors, there are only two spots per country, not three, in each event.

To get you ready for an amazing meet, here’s our preview of the top nine events to watch in Albuquerque this weekend, starting with the most exciting (from a distance-oriented LetsRun perspective) and working our way down.

Meet details

What: 2024 USATF Indoor Championships
When: Friday, February 16 – Saturday, February 17
Where: Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque, N.M.

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*Schedule, entries, & results *TV/streaming *All LRC 2024 USA Indoor coverage *World Athletics Road to Glasgow tool

1) Men’s 3000 (Friday, 9:59 p.m. ET): Nuguse steps up to face a star-studded field

What a treat. Yared Nuguse, America’s fastest-ever miler and one of the top middle-distance runners in the world right now, will be going for his first US indoor title and first World Indoor team. Standing in his way:

  • 2021 US 1500 champ Cole Hocker, a rival of Nuguse since their college days, who is in great shape having just run 8:05 for 2 miles at Millrose.
  • 2023 US 5000 champ Abdihamid Nur, also running his first USA indoors.
  • 2022 US 1500 champ Cooper Teare, in his first season back training under his college coach Ben Thomas.
  • 2023 US 5k road champ Morgan Beadlescomb, who ran a 5k pb of 13:03 in Boston on January 26.
Hocker owned Nuguse in 2021. Nuguse owned Hocker in 2023. Who will own 2024? (Kevin Morris photo)

It’s a minor surprise to see Nuguse in this event rather than the 1500 (his coach Dathan Ritzenhein outlined the reasoning behind their decision to LetsRun.com earlier this week). But he is a force in either event. Remember, just one year ago Nuguse set the American indoor record of 7:28.23 for 3000m, and both he and Ritzenhein believe Nuguse is in better shape now than a year ago (even if his results so far don’t quite bear that out). Nuguse is in great aerobic shape and has a strong kick, which makes him the favorite in this event.

But the rest of this field, Nur and Hocker in particular, is very strong, and the fact that this race is at 4,959 feet of elevation adds an extra layer of intrigue. There are a couple of ways Nuguse could be defeated.

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The first scenario is that Nur grinds the field into submission. He won his US 5000 title last summer by taking off with 1k to go, and he trains at the highest elevation of any of the contenders (Nuguse is at 5,400 feet in Boulder, Hocker at sea level in Blacksburg). We know Nur, who ran a 13:03 5k pb in Boston, is pretty fit and trying to turn this into a 7:50 race might be his best bet against milers like Nuguse and Hocker.

The other scenario is that this thing goes way slow because no one wants to be the one to push the pace at 4,959 feet. The winning time at USAs last year was 8:12 with Sam Prakel running a 25.75 last lap to win it. The slower the race, the more people still in it at the end, the more vulnerable Nuguse becomes. The most dangerous guy in this situation would be Hocker, who is one of the world’s best milers himself and used to outkick Nuguse in college (see: 2021 NCAAs, 2021 Olympic Trials).

As far as qualifying for Worlds, Nuguse has the inside track. Because the 3000 at World Indoors is a straight final, World Athletics is only taking 15 entrants which means they’ve set a very aggressive auto standard of 7:34.00. Nuguse is the only man in the field with the standard and I can promise you no one is running 7:33 at altitude on Friday.

Where things get really wonky is that if there are not 15 men with the auto standard, World Athletics will fill the field based on world ranking. But since there is no world ranking for the indoor 3000, they are using an athlete’s 5000 world ranking instead. Nur and Beadlescomb are both ranked in the top 25 and would be in good position to get an invite since many of the men ahead of them will scratch. But Cole Hocker gets screwed.

Hocker has not run a 5000 since August 2022 and thus has no 5000 world ranking. And while Hocker ran a 2-mile at Millrose last week that was superior to a 7:34.00 3000, WA foolishly* does not accept conversions, only en-route splits, and Hocker’s 3000 split at Millrose was 7:35.35. He is clearly deserving of a spot on the start line in Glasgow if he finishes top-2 in the 3000 in ABQ, but as it stands, Hocker’s only path to World Indoors is in the 1500 (which he is also running).

*Editor’s note: In the year 2024, it’s absurd that WA doesn’t just automatically convert all miles to a 1500 time for world ranking/qualifying purposes and all 2-miles to 3000s

We reached out to USATF communications and were told that if someone without the standard places in the top two at USAs, USATF will wait to see if that athlete earns an invitation to World Indoors based on their world ranking before naming the team. That is the most sensible approach, but yet again it directly contradicts USATF’s published selection policy, which says the first two finishers with the standard are on the team.

Considering this was already an issue with USATF’s Olympic marathon selection policy, USATF really needs to ensure that its written selection policy reflects its actual selection policy or we could end up with another lawsuit similar to what happened with the 2019 Pan American Games team.

Who wins the men's 3000 at USAs?

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2) Men’s 60 (Saturday, 5:56 p.m. ET): Lyles v Coleman

Is this the most-anticipated 60 meters at USAs ever? In the past decade, the only one that comes close is 2018 when Christian Coleman looked set to break the world record (and did just that). But that race was Coleman against the clock. This time it’s Coleman, who is undefeated in three* appearances at USA indoors, against Noah Lyles, the reigning 100-meter world champion who is threatening to invade Coleman’s turf.

*One of those three appearances was 2020, but Coleman’s result was later invalidated due to his whereabouts suspension

Lyles has owned the men’s 200 for years, and last year he expanded his dominion by winning the 100-meter world title. Now he is looking to conquer the shortest sprint event and win the 60-meter world title. Such an idea would have seemed unfathomable just three years ago. At the end of the 2021 indoor season, Lyles’ 60 pb stood at just 6.57 seconds. In his only appearance in the 60 at USA indoors to that point, in 2018, he failed to make the final.

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But Lyles has put in the work to improve the first 30 meters of his race, and his results over the past three years have reflected that. Lyles has improved his 60 from 6.55 in 2022 to 6.51 in 2023 to 6.44 in 2024, which he ran at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on February 4. That’s the fastest time in the world this year and makes him a legitimate threat to win the US (and world) title.

To do that, Lyles has to stay healthy. He said after his 6.44 in Boston that he will continue to race indoors as long as everything is going well, but in an Olympic year, even a minor tweak can be cause for concern. Last year, Lyles withdrew from the US indoor final after experiencing tightness in his hip flexor after the semi. If there is any hint of an issue in the rounds in Albuquerque, Lyles could pull the plug given the importance of the outdoor season.

Even if Lyles stays healthy, he still has to go through Coleman. Lyles may have the world lead (Coleman ran 6.51 at Millrose in his only 60 of 2024), but Coleman has one of the best starts in history and has been near-unbeatable in the 60 meters. Since the 2016 NCAA indoor championships, when Coleman was a sophomore at Tennessee, he has lost only one 60m race: the 2022 World Indoor final in Belgrade. In that race, Olympic 100 champ Marcell Jacobs ran one of the fastest times in history (6.41), and even then he only beat Coleman by three-thousandths of a second. Plus Coleman beat Lyles in three of their four 100m matchups in 2023 (Bermuda, USAs, Pre), though Lyles won the most important one at Worlds.

No matter the outcome, it’s awesome to see two of the US’s biggest sprint stars squaring off in this race.

More on Lyles/Coleman from 2019: LRC Is the Next Great Sprint Rivalry Here?

Who wins the men's 60 at USAs?

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3) Men’s 1500 (Saturday, 5:35 p.m. ET): Kessler goes for first US title

Kevin Morris photo

Everyone in the field has the World Indoor standard, so no need to worry about that: the top two finishers earn a spot on the plane to Glasgow (should they choose to go). Based on 2024 form, Hobbs Kessler (3:48 mile at Millrose) and Cole Hocker (8:05 2-mile at Millrose) are the men to beat. Kessler, who has already taken down 2022 world champion Jake Wightman this season, has the advantage of being fresh for this race whereas Hocker will be coming off the 3000 final 17 hours earlier. But anyone who watched the 2021 NCAA indoor meet, when Hocker won the mile and 3000 in the span of an hour, knows that Hocker can handle double duty just fine. He also won the 3000 and 1500 at USA indoors in 2022.

Kessler and Hocker are the two most talented men in the field, and the expectation is that they will go 1-2 in some order. But this is a championship race, where upsets can and do happen. Here are the contenders who could mix things up:

  • Henry Wynne, Brooks Beasts: Wynne is always in the mix, finishing 5th at USA outdoors in 2021 and 2023 and 2nd at USA indoors last year, but has yet to make a team at age 28.
  • Josh Thompson, Nike Bowerman Track Club: Thompson won this race in 2020 and was first across the finish line last year as well before he was controversially DQ’d. But he’s been awful so far in 2024, running 4:02 and 3:59 in his two mile races.
  • Cooper Teare, Nike: Teare won the US XC title in January but didn’t look quite ready for the speed of a mile race last week as he was only 8th at Millrose in 3:53.
  • Sam Prakel, adidas: Prakel is the defending champ and was 4th at USA outdoors last year but finished more than 4 seconds behind Kessler in Boston two weeks ago and was even farther back at Millrose, taking 11th in 3:55.
  • Casey Comber, UA Mission Run Baltimore: Comber, the 2019 NCAA runner-up for Villanova, was the #3 American at Millrose behind Nuguse and Kessler, running 3:51 for 5th.
  • John Renewicki, UA Mission Run Baltimore: Comber’s training partner, Renewicki is #3 in the US this year in the mile thanks to his 3:51 at BU last weekend.
  • Craig Engels, Nike: The 2019 US indoor/outdoor champ has been racing a bunch indoors and has gotten better each week, running 3:54 at BU on January 26, 3:37 for 1500 at the NBIGP on February 4 (behind only Kessler and Wightman), and most recently 3:52 at BU last weekend behind Renewicki.
  • Abdihamid Nur, Nike: He’ll be doubling back from the 3000 and isn’t known as a 1500 guy. But he’s worth keeping an eye on if he runs well in the 3000 on Friday.

So if we’re examining the challengers to Hocker and Kessler, the guys in the best form right now have never been close to making a team, while those who have made teams or come close aren’t in good form. All signs point to Kessler and Hocker but there is a reason they run the race.

Who wins the men's 1500 at USAs?

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4/5) Men’s and women’s 60 hurdles (Friday, 10:15 and 10:25 p.m. ET): Holloway on WR alert again

These are always among the most competitive events at USAs, and 2024 is no exception. As usual, world record holder Grant Holloway (7.32 sb) is the headliner, looking to extend his unfathomable 59-race win streak against a resurgent Trey Cunningham (7.44 sb) and Daniel Roberts (7.49 sb). The surprise package here is Dylan Beard, a 25-year-old unsponsored deli employee at a North Carolina Walmart who ran a huge pb of 7.44 to win Millrose last week. What a story it would be if he could make the team to Glasgow.

On the women’s side, Tia Jones, who ran 7.72 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix to move to #6 on the world all-time list, has been in the best form this year. She’ll have to deal with Masai Russell (7.75 pb), last year’s NCAA runner-up indoors and out who finished 3rd in the 100 hurdles at USAs last year.

6) Women’s 1500 (Saturday, 5:23 p.m. ET): St. Pierre v Hiltz

St. Pierre was upset in this race two years ago in Spokane © 2022 Kevin Morris

The story here is the showdown between Nikki Hiltz, reigning US 1500 champ and American record holder in the outdoor mile (4:16.35), and Elle St. Pierre, who just lowered her own American record in the indoor mile by running 4:16.41 at Millrose on Sunday. St. Pierre, who will be doubling back from the 3000 on Friday, has not lost a step since giving birth to son Ivan in March 2023; in fact, she has been running faster than ever.

Meanwhile, Hiltz has yet to race at the 1500/mile distance this season but has run 2:34 for 1000 (the fastest ever by an American female indoors) and 9:15 for two miles (roughly equivalent to 8:34 for 3000, which would mark a sizable pb). St. Pierre and Hiltz will be among the top contenders not just to make this summer’s Olympic team, but to win the Olympic Trials, and one can strike an early blow with victory here.

Only two other women in the field have the World indoor standard: Emily Mackay and Addy Wiley. Mackay beat the 20-year-old Wiley convincingly when the two raced over 1500 in Boston on February 4, 4:05.04 to 4:07.32. But Wiley, who was 5th at USA outdoors last year and has run 3:59, has the higher ceiling.

Wiley may skip this event, however. She is also entered in the 800 at USAs (where she has the fastest sb in the field at 2:00.84) and the 800 final is just 27 minutes before the 1500 final. The 1500 may just be a backup in case Wiley bombs out of the 800.

7) Men’s 800 (Saturday, 5:04 p.m. ET): Hoppel goes for 5th straight US title

Hoppel won convincingly at Millrose last week (Kevin Morris photo)

Bryce Hoppel has been unbeatable in US championships recently, winning the indoor and outdoor US 800 titles in both 2022 and 2023. Mr. Consistent has run well in his two 2024 races (2:16 1k in Boston, 1:45 win at Millrose last week) and will be favored in Albuquerque this weekend.

His biggest competition comes from a pair of Brooks Beasts: Isaiah Harris, who was 2nd behind Hoppel at USA indoors and outdoors last year; and Brandon Miller, who just ran 1:14.03 for 600 last weekend (#2 on the all-time indoor list). Miller, who won the NCAA indoor title as a sophomore in 2022 and just turned 22 years old, is in his first year with the Beasts after coming over from Bobby Kersee‘s group and has vast potential.

Currently, Hoppel and Harris are the only two men with the World Indoor standard of 1:46.00. Miller’s world ranking could be enough to get him in (he’s ranked 42nd and WA takes 30 men) but he can make things simpler by hitting the standard in the prelims or the final.

8) Women’s 800 (Saturday, 4:55 p.m. ET): Akins tries to repeat

The Brooks Beasts’ Nia Akins had her coming-out party at this meet last year, winning in Albuquerque to begin a year that would include a US outdoor title and a 6th-place finish at Worlds in a big pb of 1:57.73. This time around, Akins, who has yet to race an 800 this year, is the clear favorite. Allie Wilson, who won at Millrose last weekend and was US indoor runner-up in 2023, will be among her chief challengers, but the most intriguing name in the field is 20-year-old Addy Wiley. Wiley ran 1:57.64 last summer (among US teenagers, only Athing Mu has gone faster) and is the #1 seed in this field based on her season’s best at 2:00.84.

9) Women’s 3000 (Friday, 8:10 p.m. ET): St. Pierre is the big favorite

Elle St. Pierre has run 8:25 this year, more than 20 seconds faster than anyone else in the field, and it would be stunning if she does not win this race. Josette Andrews, whom St. Pierre beat by nine seconds in the Wanamaker Mile last week, figures to be her top competition. Elly Henes, working her way back from a scary lung surgery last fall, is the only woman in the field apart from St. Pierre who has the World Indoor standard. But Andrews, currently ranked #30 in the world, might be able to secure a spot based on her ranking if enough people scratch.

Talk about the 2024 USA Indoor meet on our messageboard:

MB: USA Indoors are LOADED – Official 2024 USA Indoor Discussion Thread,

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