2024 NCAA Men’s Indoor Preview: Nico Young Looks For NCAA Titles #1 & 2 & Can Anyone Stop The UW Milers?

We preview the mid-d and distance events as well as team score

The 2024 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships will take place at a sold-out The TRACK at New Balance in Boston on Friday and Saturday. Below are previews of the men’s mid-d and distance events in the order that they occur as well a look at the team battle. Our women’s preview is here: 2024 NCAA Women’s Indoor Preview: Parker Valby And Olivia Markezich To Clash.

*Schedule & Heat Sheets *TV & Streaming

5:20 pm ET Friday – Men’s 5000 – Nico Young Looks For His 1st NCAA Title As The Collegiate Record Holder

Event 7  Men 5000 Meter Run
           Name                        Year School                 Seed           
  1    354 Nico Young                    JR No. Arizona        12:57.14 
  2    485 Ky Robinson                   JR Stanford           13:06.42 
  3    339 Parker Wolfe                  JR North Carolina     13:13.61 
  4    330 Habtom Samuel                 FR New Mexico         13:14.85 
  5    350 Aaron Las Heras               SR No. Arizona        13:16.68 
  6    352 Theo Quax                     SR No. Arizona        13:16.83 
  7     59 Peter Maru                    FR Arkansas           13:17.86 
  8    383 Alex Maier                    SR OK State           13:21.28 
  9    303 Tom Brady                     SR Michigan           13:24.16 
 10     74 Kirami Yego                   SR Arkansas           13:24.36 
 11    670 Jackson Sharp                 SR Wisconsin          13:25.51 
 12    382 Denis Kipngetich              FR OK State           13:26.34 
 13    329 Evans Kiplagat                FR New Mexico         13:26.56 
 14    252 Said Mechaal                  JR IA State           13:27.43 
 15     57 Patrick Kiprop                JR Arkansas           13:27.55 
 16    334 Alex Phillip                  SR North Carolina     13:27.83 

Stanford’s Ky Robinson pulled off the NCAA 5k/10k double last year with ease, but the new NCAA 5000 record holder Nico Young of NAU comes in as the only collegian in history to break 13:00. Nico has never won an NCAA title but he’s the favorite here. His kick has failed him in years past, but he’s run a 3:57 mile at altitude this year and dominated the mile at the Big Sky Champs where he also ran 1:49.61 in the 800 for third.

Photo courtesy James B Daves/NCAA

UNC’s Parker Wolfe was the star of the ACC meet where he dominated the mile (3:54.17) and 3000 (7:51.11), but he’s never finished higher than 5th at NCAAs. A decade ago, New Mexico freshman Habtom Samuel, who entered the NCAA with PBs of 13:13 and 27:20 after having won two world junior bronzes, would have been expected to dominate for four years. However, it would be a surprise if the NCAA XC runner-up won this race.

Arkansas’ team title hopes may very much depend on how newcomer Peter Maru does. A month ago, the Ugandan, who has a 13:07 5000 pb, had never raced for the Razorbacks but in his first race out he broke Alistair Cragg‘s school record by running 13:17 and now he’s the double SEC 3k/5k champ. He has better speed than Samuel (5th at World Jrs in 1500 in 2021).

Harvard’s Graham Blanks, the NCAA XC champ who briefly held the collegiate 5000 record, is out with an injury.

Rojo Prediction: Young breaks through and gets the win.

Who wins the men's 5000?

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6:00 pm ET Friday – Men’s DMR – Who Punts and Who Goes For It?

  1  Northern Arizona                                     9:17.43 
  2  North Carolina                                       9:17.92 
  3  Washington                                           9:18.81 
  4  Virginia                                             9:18.95 
  5  Michigan                                             9:19.33 
  6  Oklahoma State                                       9:19.74 
  7  Arkansas                                             9:20.09 
  8  Wisconsin                                            9:21.07 
  9  Virginia Tech                                        9:22.71 
 10  Indiana                                              9:23.41 
 11  Georgetown                                           9:23.78 
 12  Iowa State                                           9:24.22

I’m expecting big things from Nico Young at NCAAs this year but considering this race starts just 40 minutes after the 5000 final starts (so like 26.5 minutes after it ends), I’m not expecting him to anchor here. Galen Rupp famously led Oregon to the 5000, DMR and 3000 titles in 2009 but that was back when the NCAA men’s and women’s meets were run at the same time so the DMR started 1:10 after the mile — he had an extra 30 minutes of rest. I’d also rule out Parker Wolfe and UNC with the same logic. In fact a ton of the top seeded teams are going to punt here.

Article continues below player.
Nathan Green (r) with his teammates in February 2023
Kevin Morris photo

Rojo’s Prediction: Washington has been Miler U in recent years. They have 3 NCAA mile/1500 champs on the team in Luke Houser (2023, mile), Nathan Green (2023, 1500m)m and Joe Waskom (2022, 1500m) so they probably are my pick although if all three of those guys run they will be doubling back from prelims. UCLA transfer Ronan McMahon-Staggs has run 3:54 for UW this year and could run a leg fresh as he wasn’t entered in the individual mile but he only ran 4:02 last week. Would you rather have him fresh or one of the stars tired?

If Washington doesn’t win, I think the winner is Oklahoma State. Actually, let me pick them FTW. They are the defending champs and will have last year’s anchor Ryan Schoppe, the Big 12 mile champ who has run 3:55, fresh on the anchor. Dave Smith has a ton of options for the 1200 leg.

Who does he pick? 2023 NCAA indoor 3000 champ Fouad Messaoudi hasn’t had a great indoor campaign as a result of illness and didn’t qualify individually for NCAAs so he could run the 1200 like he did last year. Or do you go with 3:55 miler Brian Musau who ran the 1200 when they qualified? Or what about Alex Stitt (2:22 1k at Big 12s)?

Who win's the men's DMR?

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4 pm ET Saturday – Men’s Mile – Luke Houser Looks To Defend

  1    653 Luke Houser                   SR Washington          3:51.73 
  2    463 Anass Essayi                  JR South Carolina      3:51.91 
  3    671 Adam Spencer                  JR Wisconsin           3:52.70 
  4    353 Colin Sahlman                 SO No. Arizona         3:53.17 
  5    140 Isaac Basten                  SR Drake               3:53.54 
  6    657 Joe Waskom                    JR Washington          3:53.64 
  7    305 Nick Foster                   SR Michigan            3:54.48 
  8    115 Aidan Troutner                JR BYU                 3:54.51 
  9    338 Ethan Strand                  JR North Carolina      3:54.62 
 10    184 Abel Teffra                   JR Georgetown          3:54.62 
 11    618 Gary Martin                   SO Virginia            3:54.73 
 12    109 Lucas Bons                    JR BYU                 3:54.82 
 13    473 Isaiah Labra                  SO So. Utah            3:55.02 
 14     97 Steven Jackson                JR Boston College      3:55.39 
 15    162 Parvej Khan                   FR Florida             3:55.41 
 16    174 Carson Williams               JR Furman              3:55.46

Defending champ Luke Houser of Washington is the #1 seed and the man to beat. The #2 seed Anass Essayi of South Carolina doesn’t seem to win a lot of big races as he was beaten by Florida freshman Parvej Khan of India at SECs. Wisco’s Adam Spencer, who was third outdoors, ran 3:31 last summer and made it to the semis of Worlds for Australia. NAU’s Colin Sahlman is having a nice sophomore year after a so-so freshman campaign but it’s hard to see him winning considering he lost to Nico Young by a lot in a mile earlier in the year. Drake’s Isaac Basten nearly won last year and can’t be discounted.

2022 NCAA 1500 champ Joe Waskom didn’t win NCAAs indoors or out last year, but he made Team USA for Worlds. It looks like he’s not ready to win this early in the year but can’t be discounted for Paris once again.

Washington’s Nathan Green, who won the NCAA 1500 last year, has opted for the 800 where he’s the #2 seed.

Rojo Pick: Houser FTW although picking against a 3:31 guy may be stupid. If it’s slow, watch out for Khan of Florida.

Who wins the men's mile?

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4:3o pm ET Saturday – Men’s 800 – Yusuf Bizimana Goes For The Repeat

  1    520 Yusuf Bizimana                SR Texas               1:45.88 
  2    652 Nathan Green                  SO Washington          1:46.50 
  3    668 Abdullahi Hassan              JR Wisconsin           1:46.61 
  4    249 Darius Kipyego                JR IA State            1:46.71 
  5    155 Sam Austin                    JR Florida             1:46.80 
  6    429 Handal Roban                  SO Penn State          1:46.81 
  7    242 Rivaldo Marshall              JR Iowa                1:46.86 
  8    179 Tinoda Matsatsa               FR Georgetown          1:46.87 
  9    604 Sean Dolan                    SR Villanova           1:46.90 
 10    619 Conor Murphy                  JR Virginia            1:46.95 
 11    251 Finley McLear                 SR IA State            1:46.97 
 12    198 Leo Davis                     FR Hampton             1:47.05 
 13    130 Tarees Rhoden                 SR Clemson             1:47.08 
 14    428 Carter Fitzgerald             SO Penn State          1:47.25 
 15    633 Nicholas Plant                SO VA Tech             1:47.33 
 16    525 Cole Lindhorst                JR Texas               1:47.39
New rule if you finish in lane 3 auto DQ!

Texas’ Yusuf Bizimana of the UK is the defending champ and the #1 seed by a decent amount. Last year, he got the win without crossing the finish line first as Mississippi State’s Navasky Anderson was DQ’d. Outdoors, he was only beaten by Will Sumner who has gone pro after his freshman campaign. #2 seed Nathan Green is a MONSTER talent but he’s a miler and hasn’t won any of his 800s this year. It seems like he’s running an off event with the focus being on USAs and possibly Paris.

Rojo’s Prediction: Bizimana gets to celebrate as he crosses the finish line first.

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Who wins the men's 800?

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5:00 pm Saturday Men’s 3000 – Nico Young x2?

  1    485 Ky Robinson                   JR Stanford            7:36.69 
  2    350 Aaron Las Heras               SR No. Arizona         7:37.26 
  3    339 Parker Wolfe                  JR North Carolina      7:37.41 
  4    354 Nico Young                    JR No. Arizona         7:37.73 
  5    386 Brian Musau                   FR OK State            7:38.04 
  6    387 Ryan Schoppe                  JR OK State            7:38.80 
  7    434 Matt Strangio                 JR Portland            7:39.02 
  8    463 Anass Essayi                  JR South Carolina      7:39.11 
  9    352 Theo Quax                     SR No. Arizona         7:39.85 
 10    653 Luke Houser                   SR Washington          7:40.40 
 11    330 Habtom Samuel                 FR New Mexico          7:40.63 
 12    606 Liam Murphy                   JR Villanova           7:42.51 
 13    498 Yaseen Abdalla                SR Tennessee           7:42.63 
 14    171 David Mullarkey               JR FL State            7:42.89 
 15    383 Alex Maier                    SR OK State            7:43.22 
 16    605 Marco Langon                  FR Villanova           7:43.83
Photo via NAUAthletics.com

We’ll have a good idea of what to expect in this race based on how the 5000 plays out. That being said, this race adds in some of the guys who stayed fresh for the DMR anchor leg on Friday night like Oklahoma State’s Ryan Schoppe. Washington’s Luke Houser, my mile favorite, might be tough to beat if this is tactical. Doubling back from the mile, which takes place just an hour before this race, is quite tough, although Cole Hocker famously did it in 2021.

Defending champ Fouad Messaoudi of Oklahoma State was sick for most of indoors and didn’t qualify.

Rojo’s prediction: Nico Young arrives as an NCAA star. Do you guys remember when Galen Rupp had never won an NCAA title? Then all of a sudden he won 3 of them indoors in 2009.

Who wins the men's 3000?

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Team Battle – Most Teams Will Struggle To Get To 40

Looking at the USTFCCCA’s computer rankings, Arkansas is #1 but if you score the descending order list of entrants, Texas Tech is your projected winner. Here are the projected point totals based off of seasonal best marks of the entrants for the top 5 ranked teams.

Texas Tech – 47 points

60 -21 points
1 Terrence Jones JR TX Tech 6.49
2 Don’dre Swint SR TX Tech 6.51
6 Caleb Dean SR TX Tech 6.54

60h -7 points

3 Caleb Dean SR TX Tech 7.57
8 Antoine Andrews SO TX Tech 7.62

200 – 10 points

1 Terrence Jones JR TX Tech 20.28

4 x 400 – 4 points

5 Texas Tech 3:03.20

HJ – 5 points
4 Omamuyovwi Erhire SR TX Tech 2.23m

Arkansas – 40 Points

5000 – 2 points
7 Peter Maru FR Arkansas 13:17.86

4 x 400 — 6 points
3 Arkansas 3:03.07

DMR  – 2 points
7 Arkansas 9:20.09

HJ – 10 points
1 Romaine Beckford SR Arkansas 2.27m

J – 10 points
1 Wayne Pinnock JR Arkansas 8.34m

Shot –  4 points
5 Roje Stona SR Arkansas 19.94m

t – 6 points
5 Yariel Soto Torrado SR Arkansas 6017
7 Jack Turner JR Arkansas 6000

NAU – 36 points

Mile – 5 points
4 Colin Sahlman SO No. Arizona 3:53.17

3k  – 13 points
2 Aaron Las Heras SR No. Arizona 7:37.26
4 Nico Young JR No. Arizona 7:37.73

5k -17 points
1 Nico Young JR No. Arizona 12:57.14
5 3Aaron Las Heras SR No. Arizona 13:16.68
6 Theo Quax SR No. Arizona 13:16.83

Weight – 1 point
8 Garret Bernt SO No. Arizona 22.93m

Washington – 36 points

800 – 8 points
 2 Nathan Green SO Washington 1:46.50

Mile –
13 points
1 Luke Houser SR Washington 3:51.73
6 Joe Waskom JR Washington 3:53.64

DMR – 6 points
3 Washington 9:18.81W

Weight -6 points
3 Jayden White JR Washington 23.73m

Hept –
3 points
6 Bruno Comin Pescador SR Washington 6000

Florida – 35 points

200- 14 points
2 163 Wanya McCoy SO Florida 20.29
3 Robert Gregory SR Florida 20.31

400 –
2 points
7 JeVaughn Powell SR Florida 45.35

4 points
5 Sam Austin JR Florida 1:46.80

4 x 400 – 8 points

2 Florida 3:02.78

– 7 points
3  Malcolm Clemons JR Florida 8.22m
8 Caleb Foster JR Florida 8.00m

More: Our women’s preview is here: 2024 NCAA Women’s Indoor Preview: Parker Valby And Olivia Markezich To Clash.

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