WTW: Relay Madness at Penn + Which Olympic 1500 Team Is Harder to Make – USA or GB?

The Week That Was in Running, April 22 - 28, 2024

Each week, we try to make the sport more fun to follow by putting the prior week’s action in perspective for you. If you missed our extensive coverage of the Suzhou DL on Saturday, catch up here as we don’t talk about that below.

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Quincy Wilson, the Providence Women and Georgetown Men Win While Losing at Penn Relays

What does it mean to win in track?

Technically, it means to cross the finish line first.

But unlike team sports, where what you do impacts what the other team does, in running, what you do has little impact on everyone else. And in the sprints, where every runner has their own lane, you don’t impact your competitors at all.

Even if you run the race of your life, it may not be enough to beat a more talented or better trained athlete. And sometimes, you just catch a bad break.

That certainly happened a lot at the Penn Relays.

The star of the show was 16-year-old Quincy Wilson of the Bullis School in Maryland. Wilson was already well-known heading into the meet. Last year, he turned heads at Penn by splitting 45.06 on the 4×400 as a freshman. This year indoors, he ran 45.76 at New Balance Nationals to break the national high school record. But what Wilson did at Penn on Saturday may have topped them all.

In the prelims of the boys’ 4×400, Bullis dropped the baton, which meant that Wilson got the baton in 6th place in the final exchange. Knowing his team needed a fast time to advance to the finals later that day, Wilson split an incredible 44.37 on the anchor leg to bring Bullis from 6th to 1st. That’s the fastest split ever by a high schooler in the 128-year history of the Penn Relays.

Making it even more impressive is that Wilson definitely ran more than 400 meters on his leg. When you pass five teams, you are going to run extra distance. Watch the video below. Wilson runs most of the first turn and the first half of the second in lane 5 (the Penn track is funky so lane 5 is the equivalent of lane 2 on a regular track). Lane 2 on a track is 407.7m long. So if Wilson ran 404m instead of 400, that equates to 43.93 for 400. Absurd.

Wilson was back in action again for the final later that day, but unfortunately one of his Bullis teammates fell again. So even though Wilson ran another incredible anchor split (44.69), Bullis could only manage 3rd in 3:13.10.

As a result the Jamaican win streak at Penn, which dates to 2008 on the boys’ side, continued as Kingston College won in 3:11.86. If not for the fall, Wilson almost certainly would have been kicking his team to victory.

While the fall was frustrating for Wilson and his Bullis teammates, it is hard to assign anyone blame. Bullis’ third leg, Cameron Horner, only fell down because the incoming runner from Excelsior fell down right in front of him. Nothing Horner could do about that. Some wanted to blame the Penn officials, but there’s not much they could have done, either. When you have five teams handing off at the same time and changing positions in the final 100 meters, it is hard to impose any sort of order. Sometimes, falls happen.

In the girls’ 4×400, Bullis broke their own national record of 3:35.23 by running 3:35.17 but that wasn’t enough to beat the 3:34.78 by Hydel of Jamaica.

The collegiate records in the women’s 4×800 and DMR entering Penn Relays weekend stood at 8:17.45 and 10:48.38. The Providence women ran 8:17.17* and 10:39.04 and won zero wheels.

In the DMR, the Harvard team of Sophia Gorriaran (3:30.36), Chloe Fair (53.20), Victoria Bossong (2:02.54), and Maia Ramsden (4:21.47) ran 10:37.55 to get the win and collegiate record and win their first-ever women’s Championship of America race. Amazingly, Harvard did not even qualify for the DMR during the indoor season, but their time on Friday was significantly faster than the NCAA record of 10:43.39 set by Washington during this past indoor season.

Maia Ramsden got it done for Harvard (Kevin Morris photo)

*In the 4×800, the Providence women didn’t technically run 8:17.17 as anchor Shannon Flockhart dropped the stick in the final 100 meters, resulting in the win and NCAA record of 8:17.28 going to Washington’s Marlena Preigh (2:07.94), Wilma Nielsen (2:05.06), Samantha Friborg (2:02.12) and Chloe Foerster (2:02.17). 

Flockhart and Foerster were neck-and-neck down the home stretch and Providence coach Ray Treacy told LetsRun that Flockhart thought Foerster accidentally knocked the baton out of Flockhart’s hands as they ran next to each other. So even though Providence crossed the line first, they were DQ’d because Flockhart did so without the baton.

Watch the final 100 below:


In men’s action at Penn, no collegiate team had ever broken 16:00 in the 4 x mile prior to this year as the record had belonged to the men of Oregon since 2009. That year, their all-star team of future Olympic champ Matthew Centrowitz (3:59.53), future two-time Olympian and 3:30 runner Andrew Wheating (3:59.60), future Boston Marathon third placer Shadrack Biwott (4:05.20), and future two-time Olympic medallist Galen Rupp (3:58.91) ran 16:03.24.

While a number of NCAA teams have had 4+ sub-4:00 milers on their roster at the same time, the sub-16:00 4 x mile has been a white whale for a number of years, usually because teams are reluctant to push the pace on all four legs. Last year, Washington brought a superteam including the reigning NCAA indoor (Luke Houser) and outdoor (Joe Waskom) champions. Not only did UW fail to win (they were 3rd), the winning time was just 16:14. In fact, in the previous 10 editions of Penn, only one team had even broken 16:10 (Oregon’s 16:09.67 in 2014).

That changed big-time in 2024 as three teams broke 16:00 on Saturday at Penn. Villanova’s team of Seán Donoghue (3:59.32), Charlie O’Donovan (4:00.09), Marco Langon (3:58.18), and Liam Murphy (3:54.32) ran 15:51.91 for the win and NCAA record.

Villanova goes sub 16:00 at Penn (Kevin Morris photo) Villanova goes sub-16:00 at Penn (Kevin Morris photo)

That is not the fastest 4 x mile ever run, however. That honor still belongs to the Irish team of Eamonn Coghlan, Ray Flynn, Frank O’Mara, and Marcus O’Sullivan, who ran 15:49.08 way back in 1985. There are more than a few Irish connections to the 2024 Villanova squad as both Donoghue (Dublin) and O’Donovan (Cork) hail from the Emerald Isle. And O’Sullivan, of course, is now the Villanova coach.

UVA’s squad, coached by Vin Lananna – who also coached that 2009 Oregon squad – was 2nd in 15:52.30. UVA anchor Gary Martin deserves credit for continuing to push the pace once sub-16:00 was in sight, though his split of 3:55.22 was not quite enough for the win. Georgetown, who finished 3rd in 15:52.56 gets a couple of nice consolation prizes as they were the only team to have all four legs break 4:00 (Lucas Guerra 3:59.61, Parker Stokes 3:59.89, Camden Gilmore 3:58.82, Abel Teffra 3:54.26). Additionally, they were the only team comprised solely of Americans, so their mark will be an American record.

In the DMR, the day before, the same three teams battled it out for the win and once again Murphy and Villanova got the glory and win.

Colin Sahlman and Nico Young Stay Hot + Cooper Teare PRs

As they have for much of the 2024 season, the Northern Arizona duo of Colin Sahlman and Nico Young impressed at Saturday night’s Desert Heat Classic in Tucson, this time in the 800 meters.

The 20-year-old Sahlman earned a dominant win over NCAA indoor champ Rivaldo Marshall of Iowa in 1:45.63 as Marshall ran 1:46.38. Nico Young was third in 1:47.65.

Those times were pbs for the two Lumberjacks as Sahlman, who was just 6th at NCAA indoors in the mile but ran 3:33.96 for 1500 (#2 all-time NCAA) at Bryan Clay two weeks ago, had a PB of 1:46.99 coming in. Young’s previous best was 1:48.00 as both men earned rave reviews on the messageboard.

Our thoughts? The praise is warranted. Sahlman and Young certainly have the speed needed to be world class at the end of races in their respective events (1500 for Sahlman, 5/10k for Young). When Sahlman ran 3:33, he became just the fourth American to break 3:34 before their 21st birthday, joining Jim Ryun, Cole Hocker, and Hobbs Kessler. Of that group, only Ryun and Sahlman also broke 1:46 in the 800 before turning 21.

One day later in Charlottesville, 2022 US 1500 champ Cooper Teare opened his outdoor season by running a pb of 3:32.16 (previous pb: 3:32.74) at the Virginia High Performance Meet. There were only two finishers in the race, similar to last week’s meet at Wake Forest where Teare’s training partner Hocker ran a 13:08.25 pb for 5,000 in a race where Hocker was the only finisher. Teare paced Hocker in that race and Hocker returned the favor on Sunday, leading Teare through 1100.

MB: Cooper Teare 3:32.16

Which Men’s Olympic 1500 Team Is Harder to Make – USA or GBR?

The results of Teare and Sahlman generated a lot of buzz on the messageboard about how difficult it is going to be to make the US 1500 team this year.

One poster, Kobbs Hessler, wrote, “There is so much chatter about how difficult it will be to make the British 1500 Olympic team this year. It is looking more like it’ll be harder to make the American team.”

So is that true? Will it be harder to make the American or British Olympic 1500 team in 2024?

The US has a deeper pool of contenders. Twelve Americans have broken 3:35 this year or last and that doesn’t include 2016 Olympic champ Matthew Centrowitz, two-time NCAA mile champ Luke Houser of Washington, or Craig Engels, who was 5th and 4th at the last two Olympic Trials and has run 3:35 already this year.

In Great Britain, only seven men have broken 3:35 in the last two years. However, in judging how difficult it is to make a team, it’s a mistake to look at how many men might make it. A better way to judge may be to look at how good the first guy left off the team is. On paper, that still might be the Brits.

Up front, only two Americans have run faster in 2023 or 2024 than Teare’s 3:32.16 from Sunday. In the UK, five men have run 3:31.30 or faster and that doesn’t include 2022 world champ Jake Wightrman or 3:48 indoor miler Adam Fogg. The question we have about the Brits is about health. Three of their sub-3:32 guys from 2023 haven’t raced at all in 2024 — Neil Gourley, Elliot Giles, and Matthew Stonier. Additionally, Jake Hayward, who ran 3:31.08 in 2022 and was an Olympic finalist in 2021, hasn’t raced in 2023 or 2024. According to the messageboard, all of them but Giles have been injured.

Right now, the fourth-fastest Brit in 2024 has run the equivalent of 3:35.9 in the 1500 (Callum Elson‘s converted 3:53.22 mile).

We’ve compiled two tables to show you the leading US and UK men.

The sub-3:35 UK men from 2023 and 2024

Rank Time Athlete Comment
1 3:29.38 Josh Kerr 2023 world champ
2 3:30.60 Neil Gourley 9th at Worlds last year, hasn’t raced in 2024
3 3:30.92 Elliot Giles Semis of Worlds 2023, hasn’t race this year
4 3:30.95 George Mills Has run 3:48 in mile and 12:58 this year
5 3:31.30 Matthew Stonier Ran 3:31 at age 21 last year, 4th at EuroU23s, hasn’t raced this year
6 3:34.06i Jake Wightman 2022 world champ
7 3:34.37+i Adam Fogg Ran 3:49.62 at Millrose this year

The sub-3:35 US men for 2023 and 2024

Rank Time Athlete Comment
1 3:29.02 Yared Nuguse A 3:43 miler, 5th at ‘23 Worlds
2 3:30.70 Cole Hocker 6th at ‘21 Olympics at age 20, 7th at ‘23 Worlds
3 3:32.16 Cooper Teare Won USAs in 2022
4 3:32.61 Hobbs Kessler World Indoor bronze
5 3:33.96 Colin Sahlman Only 6th at NCAA Indoors but on fire as of late
6 3:34.24 Casey Comber Pan Am bronze in 2023, 3:51 indoors this year, 7th USA indoors.
7 3:34.35 Johnny Gregorek Has made 2 teams in past
8 3:34.50 Eric Holt Ran 3:51.46 mile at Penn Relays on Saturday
9 3:34.55 Kasey Knevelbaard Didn’t make final at USAs last year
10 3:34.55 Henry Wynne 5th last year at USAs, 3rd indoors
11 3:34.63 Sam Prakel 4th at USAs last year
12 3:34.64 Joe Waskom Made team last year, 2022 NCAA champ
13 3:34.79 Nathan Green 2023 NCAA champ

Additionally, Vincent Ciattei (3:50.56 indoor mile, equivalent to 3:34.92) has run the equivalent of sub-3:35 for 1500 this year.

Oh and if you were wondering about Yared Nuguse, he raced on Saturday for the first time since his World Indoor 3000 silver in Glasgow on March 2. Nuguse and World Indoor 1500 champ Geordie Beamish (who paced the race) were trying to help their On Athletics Club teammate Ollie Hoare attain the 3:50.40 Olympic standard in the mile at Penn, but Hoare wound up leading once Beamish dropped out with just under a lap to go. Nuguse eventually kicked by Hoare off the final turn to win in 3:51.06 to Hoare’s 3:51.28 with Eric Holt 3rd in 3:51.46.

Marco Arop & Emmanuel Wanyonyi Look Incredible on the Roads in Germany

Two of the world’s top 800 runners put on a show at the annual adidas Road to Records event on the adidas campus in Germany, where three Americans earned runner-up finishes.

The ease with which Marco Arop and Emmanuel Wanyoni handled Americans Bryce Hoppel and Hobbs Kessler in the 800 and mile, respectively, was impressive. They are just at a whole other level.

Men’s 800 video:

It’s not every day that you see a road 800, particularly one where the winner has time to relax and celebrate before the line and still run 1:44.30 (Hoppel ran 1:45.6 for 2nd). 

And Wanyonyi, who is still a teenager, was equally as impressive in setting a road mile world record of 3:54.50 in his first mile of his life, 1.6 seconds up on world indoor bronze medallist Hobbs Kessler (who held the previous road mile WR of 3:56.10). Wanyonyi’s win also included time for an early celebration and relaxation before the line. It was so impressive that afterwards we started to wonder if Wanyonyi, who only has one 1500 result on his CV (a 3:43 win from 2022), would want to try the 800/1500 double in Paris.

There is no overlap of the two events but he’d have to run the 1500 first, which makes it much less likely that he tries it. We assume the 2022 world junior 800 champ who won senior silver last year will be all-in on the 800.

Final 400 of men’s mile:

American Addy Wiley was also second in Germany in the women’s mile, which was a battle between two 20-year-olds. Wiley ran 4:31.97 behind the 4:30.93 put up by Nelly Chepchirchir, the 5th placer at Worlds last year.

More: *Adizero full results and race replay

*MB: adizero Road to Records with Yomif Kejelcha, Agnes Ngetich, Hobbs Kessler was Sat. morning

Hardly anyone is breaking 10 seconds this year in the 100

We are about to enter the month of May in an Olympic year, and the world leader in the 100 meters is a 17-year-old American high schooler. That would be Christian Miller, who ran 9.93 in Clermont on April 20. Only three other men have broken 10 seconds wind-legal in 2024: 19-year-old T’Mars McCallum of the University of Tennessee (9.94), 25-year-old Brandon Hicklin (9.94), and 22-year-old Favour Ashe of Auburn University and Nigeria (9.96).

How does that compare to previous years?

Year Sub-10 men on May 1
2015 0
2016 5
2017 4
2018 1
2019 2
2020 1
2021 10
2022 7
2023 7
2024 4

It’s significantly fewer than we saw in any of the last three years. And it’s not as if the best athletes have not been racing. We’ve already had two Diamond Leagues in 2024 (the first two Diamond Leagues ever run in the month of April) and many of the world’s best sprinters were in action this past weekend. None broke 10 seconds with a legal wind.

Suzhou Diamond League (Wind: -0.1)

1. Akani Simbine, South Africa 10.01
2. Christian Coleman, USA 10.04
3. Fred Kerley, USA 10.11

East Coast Relays, Jacksonville (Wind: +0.9)

1. Andre De Grasse, Canada 10.11
2. Marcell Jacobs, Italy 10.11
3. Trayvon Bromell, USA 10.14

USATF Bermuda Grand Prix (Wind: +3.0)

1. Noah Lyles, USA 9.96
2. Aaron Brown, Canada 10.09
3. Pjai Austin, USA 10.10

So what to make of all this? On the one hand, we are still three months out from the Olympic final in Paris on August 4. As athletes round into shape for championship season, we are certainly going to see more sub-10s. But it’s also worth pointing out that the world-leading time of 9.83 last year was the slowest since 2004 (excluding the COVID year of 2020).

Can any man separate himself in 2024? While the world-leading time was slow in 2023, 12 different men broke 9.90 (including six at age 22 or younger), which was the most ever in a single year.

By the way, the USATF Bermuda Grand Prix was shown live on Sunday afternoon on NBC (4-6 p.m. ET). That’s a plum TV window, which is why it’s disappointing that USATF barely promoted the meet ahead of time (entries were not available until two days before the meet) and that the fields were so poor. It did not help that the meet was bumped down from a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meet in 2023 to a Silver meet in 2024.

Lyles, obviously, is one of the biggest names in the sport, but many of the other fields lacked quality or depth. The winner of the women’s 800 hasn’t broken 2:03 this year. The winner of the men’s 1500 barely broke 4:00 in the mile indoors this year. No offense to those athletes, but that performance level would struggle to win US high school nationals right now, and yet it’s been shown on a pro meet on NBC?

And frankly, Bermuda just is not a great place to hold an elite track meet this time of year because it is always so windy. This year, no one broke 2:06 in the women’s 800, no one broke 3:53 in the men’s 1500, and only one man broke 47 seconds in the 400. And remember in 2022 when Grant Holloway refused to run because the wind was too big?

It’s hard these days to get elite track on live television in the US, so when it does, we have to make it count. Unfortunately, this meet will go down as a missed opportunity.

UPDATE: Initially when we published this article, we said only three men had broken 10.00 in 2024. It is actually four; we missed Brandon Hicklin and have updated the article accordingly.

Odds & Ends / A road mile isn’t the same thing as a track 1500

At the Drake Relays, it was interesting that for both the men and women, the results of the road mile flipped when the same people raced four days later over 1500 meters on track.

At Tuesday’s Grand Blue Mile, which doubled as the US road champs, Rachel McArthur won in 4:32.20 over Anna Camp Bennett (4:33.67), but when they raced over 1500 meters on the track on Saturday, Camp Bennett won in 4:07.82 to McArthur’s 4:08.39.

For the men, Vince Ciattei won the road mile in 3:56.97 over John Reniewicki’s 3:58.48 but on the track Reniewicki won with a 3:36.44 meet record with Ciattei second in 3:36.57.


One of the world’s richest road 10ks was held over the weekend in Bengaluru, India: the TCS World 10K with $26,000 first-place purses.

In the women’s race, world cross country silver medallist Lilian Rengeruk crushed the field and won by 20 seconds in 30:56 as World XC 4th placer Emmaculate Anyango, who ran 28:57 Seville in January, was second.

In the men’s race, Peter Njeru, who has never broken 60:00 in the half marathon (60:29 pb) but recently ran a 27:52 road pb at the Cooper River Bridge Run in South Carolina (2nd place), was the surprise winner in 28:14, 19 seconds ahead of 58:53 half marathoner Hillary Chepkwony.


2017 World XC champ Irine Cheptai’s marathon debut in Hamburg went quite well as she got the win with a negative split 2:18:22 (1:09:44/1:08:38) as defending champ Bernard Koech repeated in the men’s race in 2:04:24.


Last Week’s Home Pages

Past editions of our Week That Was weekly recap can be found here. 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.


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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