WTW: NCAA Conference Recap, Meet 17-Year-Old Phenom Phoebe Gill, and the 2024 Bowerman Mile Field is INCREDIBLE

The Week That Was in Running, May 6-12, 2024

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. 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

If you missed our extensive coverage of the Doha Diamond League meet, where Beatrice Chebet looked good in the 5000, no one broke 4:00 in the women’s 1500, and Brian Komen and Samuel Firewu earned their first Diamond League wins, catch up here as we don’t talk about it below since we covered it extensively on Friday.

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NCAA conference roundup

The NCAA track & field season is reaching its climax. Last weekend was conference weekend for most of the country, regionals are May 22-25 (the East region is in Lexington, Ky., the West is in Fayetteville, Ark.), and NCAAs are in Eugene from June 5-8. 

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Who is looking good heading into the postseason? Below, we’ve run through the top returners from the distance races at 2023 NCAAs as well as the NCAA indoor champions from 2024 to see how they fared at their conference meets.


Top Returner From 2023 NCAAs
Event Athlete Conference Result
800 2. Yusuf Bizimana (Texas) 1st 800 (1:46.07), 3rd 1500 prelims (3:42.20, did not make final) at Big 12s
1500 1. Nathan Green (UW) 2nd in 1500 (3:54.57) at Pac-12s to Oregon’s Elliott Cook (3:54.30) and 4th in the 800 (1:49.97), also won by Cook (1:48.18)
Steeple 3. Victor Kibiego (Texas A&M) Won SECs by 2+ seconds in 8:57.15
5k/10k 1. Ky Robinson (Stanford) Won 5k by 6 seconds (14:11.49) and 10k by 25 seconds (29:15.03) at Pac-12s
2024 Indoor Champs
800 Rivaldo Marshall (Iowa) 4th at Big 10s (1:48.54), but remember he was only 5th at Big 10s indoors and then won NCAAs
Mile Luke Houser (Washington) 5th 800 (1:50.20), 3rd 1500 (3:54.78) at Pac-12s
3k/5k Nico Young (NAU) 3rd 800 (1:49.68), 2nd 1500 (3:47.59), 1st 5000 (14:02.70) at Big Sky


Top returner from 2023 NCAAs
800 1. Michaela Rose (LSU)  Won SECs in 1:58.89
1500 1. Maia Ramsden (Harvard) Broke meet records in 1500 (4:09.29) and 5000 (15:47.23) at Ivy Champs on 5/5
Steeple 1. Olivia Markezich (Notre Dame) Won ACC 5k by 9 seconds (15:23.14)
5000 1. Parker Valby (Florida) Won SECs by 18 seconds (15:07.86)
10,000 5. Hilda Olemomoi (Alabama) Won SECs by 10 seconds (33:47.19)
2024 Indoor Champs
800 Juliette Whittaker (Stanford) 3rd in 1500 at Pac-12s in 4:17.47
1500 Maia Ramsden (Harvard) Broke meet records in 1500 (4:09.29) and 5000 (15:47.23) at Ivy Champs on 5/5
3000/5000 Parker Valby (Florida) Won SEC 5k by 18 seconds (15:07.86)

In case you are wondering how the fastest people in the NCAA this spring did at their conference meet, here’s how it broke down for the men.

NCAA 800 leader Sam Whitmarsh (1:44.46) of Texas A&M dominated the SEC meet by 0.79 in in 1:45.27. 1500 leader Colin Sahlman of NAU (3:33.96) won both the 1500 and 800 at the Big Sky meet (beating Nico Young in both races) and anchored the 4 x 400 as NAU came up one point short of Montana State. Sahlman won the 1500 by 0.31 in 3:47.28 and the 800 by 1.10 in 1:48.08.

Virginia junior Nathan Mountain, the NCAA steeplechase leader at 8:20.68, won the steeple at ACCs in 8:30.05 and was 10th in the 5000 (13:50.79) as the Cavaliers won team title #1 under Vin Lananna. The NCAA 5000 leader, Oklahoma State freshman Brian Musau of Kenya (13:13.29 pb), was 4th in the Big 12 1500 in 3:41.45. The 10,000 leader, North Carolina senior Alex Phillip (27:51.26), was 3rd in the 10,000 (29:23.49) and second in the 5000 (13:34.11) at ACCs.

The women are already largely covered above. Michaela Rose (1:58.37), Maia Ramsden (4:07.30), Hilda Olemomoi (15:06.42), and Parker Valby (30:50.43) are your flat NCAA women’s leaders this year. Alabama freshman Doris Lemngole leads the steeple at 9:22.31 and she won the steeple at SECs (9:28.21) and was second in the 5000 (15:25.86).

Colin Sahlman beats Nico Young (twice), Elliott Cook beats all of the UW guys (twice)

Last week at the Pac-12 and Big Sky meets, there were some interesting 1500 matchups on the men’s side with potential NCAA title ramifications.

At the Big Sky meet (at 4,926 feet of elevation in Bozeman, Mont.), the two fastest 1500 guys on the year in Nico Young and Colin Sahlman raced each other in both the 1500 and 800. On May 4 in a rabbitted race at Oxy, Young beat Sahlman, 3:34.56 to 3:34.64. But championship 1500s are different, and a week later in a non-rabbitted race, Sahlman got the win at Big Sky as we expected.

Salhman ran in the front from start to finish. The first 700 was tactical – 1:54.18, after a 66.95 between 300 and 700. He got the win by closing in 1:53.1 (60.4, 52.7) even though he slightly misjudged the final 400 as we had him going 26.0-26.7. Young’s final 800 was slightly faster (1:53.0) as he was running 3rd or 4th for much of the race but Sahlman’s last lap was a tiny bit faster (0.11).

In the 800, Young never challenged for the win as Sahlman and Idaho’s Zac Bright (1:48.91 pb) were clear of the field by 600. Sahlman owned the final 50 and won by more than a second in 1:48.08 to Bright’s 1:49.18 and Young’s 1:49.68. Sahlman ran a big negative split, going 55.77- 52.31.


As mentioned above, at Big Sky NAU lost the men’s team title to host Montana State by one point even though Nico Young tripled. That being said, if Young had run the 10,000, 5,000, and 1500 instead of the 1500, 800, and 5000, NAU would have likely won by 3 assuming Young won the 10,000 and 5,000 and was still second in the 1500.

But congrats to Montana State coach Lyle Weese. What a way to win the program’s first outdoor title since 2005.


Last weekend was the final edition of the Pac-12 championships as the conference is essentially disbanding after this season (Oregon State and Washington State are the only two schools that will remain for the 2024-25 season). And in the men’s distance events, the meet belonged to Oregon’s Elliott Cook, who swept the 800 and 1500, and Stanford’s Ky Robinson, who won the 5k/10k double.

Cook, who didn’t make the NCAA indoor meet despite running 3:55.50  in December, took down the three NCAA champions from Washington and everyone else to win the 1500. Tactically, the race was similar to the Big Sky race – a slow first 700 (1:59.67 for Cook after a 70.55 from 300 to 700) – and the winner was someone in the front or right near it from start to finish.

Cook won in 3:54.30 by closing in 52.41 (last 800 of 1:54.64). 2023 NCAA 1500 champ Nathan Green closed in 52.38 and was second in 3:54.57 with two-time NCAA indoor mile champ Luke Houser third in 3:54.78. 2022 NCAA 1500 champ Joe Waskom, who had won the steeplechase the night before, only ran a 53.23 final lap and placed 4th in 3:55.13 as he used a ton of energy to get up near the lead prior to the bell.

(Free coaching advice: as both of these 1500s showed, there is a huge advantage to being in the front when it’s tactical — just ask Matthew Centrowitz).

You can watch the final 300 below. Pay attention to Houser, who briefly took the lead on the last lap. Had Houser won, do you think a DQ would have been warranted for him using his hands to take the lead just before entering the final 200?

Incredible sprint times at SECs once again

Year after year, the SEC outdoor track & field championships is one of the best meets in the world. Last year’s meet saw five collegiate records go down. At this year’s meet in Gainesville, Fla., there were four world leaders in the span of three hours. And that does not include Tarsis Orogot’s 19.75 in the 200 or Ja’Kobe Tharp’s 13.18 in the 110 hurdles. Another world leader, Tennessee’s Jacious Sears (10.77 in the 100) did not get the chance to improve her time as she pulled up injured at the end of the 100.

It also does not include the 47.69 run by Tennessee/France’s Clement Ducos in the 400 hurdles – which would have been #2 in the world this year had Ducos not been DQ’d for going around one of the hurdles.

Here are all the winning times from the sprint events:

Event SEC champion 2024 world lead
M100 9.99, Godson Oghenebrume, LSU 9.93, Christian Miller & Kendal Williams
M200 19.75, Tarsis Orogot, Alabama 19.67, Kenny Bednarek
M400 44.05, Christopher Morales-Williams, Georgia 44.05, Christopher Morales-Williams
M110H 13.18, Ja’Kobe Tharp, Auburn 13.11, Daniel Roberts
M400H 48.43, Chris Robinson, Alabama 46.86, Alison dos Santos
M4x100 38.19, LSU 37.40, USA
M4x400 2:59.03, Arkansas 2:59.03, Arkansas (all 4 legs are American)
W100 10.91, Brianna Lyston, LSU 10.77, Jacious Sears
W200 22.03, McKenzie Long, Ole Miss 22.03, McKenzie Long
W400 49.32, Nickisha Pryce, Arkansas 49.32, Nickisha Pryce
W100H 12.53, Grace Stark, Florida 12.40, Tobi Amusan
W400H 55.12, Gabrielle Matthews, Ole Miss 53.72, Rushelle Clayton
W4x100 42.42, Tennessee 41.85, USA
W4x400 3:24.44, Tennessee 3:21.70, USA

The race of the day was the women’s 400, where the top four women all broke 50 seconds, led by Nickisha Pryce’s 49.32. The top four from SECs are now the top four in the world in 2024 and occupy half of the top eight spots on the NCAA all-time list. 

NCAA all-time women’s 400m list
49.13 Britton Wilson, Arkansas 2023 SECs
49.20 Rhasidat Adeleke, Texas 2023 NCAAs
49.32 Nickisha Pryce, Arkansas 2024 SECs
49.47 Kaylyn Brown, Arkansas 2024 SECs
49.51 Amber Anning, Arkansas 2024 SECs
49.57 Athing Mu, Texas A&M 2021 NCAAs
49.71 Courtney Okolo, Texas 2016 LSU Alumni Gold
49.79 Aaliyah Butler, Georgia 2024 SECs

That means that Amber Anning, while #3 in the world, is also just #3 on her college team.

Amazingly, Arkansas only finished 3rd in the SEC 4×400 – though that’s because Pryce, Brown, and Anning did not run (LSU already had an insurmountable lead in the team race entering the 4×400).

Some of the most impressive performances at SECs were turned in by teenagers. Georgia’s Christopher Morales-Williams, who ran the fastest indoor time ever in February (44.49, though it did not count as a world record) ran a .44 second pb of 44.05 to win the 400. Morales-Williams, who is 19 years old, also broke the Canadian record of 44.44 set by Tyler Christopher to earn bronze at the 2005 Worlds. Christopher is the only Canadian man to medal in the 400 since 1932; Morales-Williams will have a shot to end that drought in Paris this summer.

Arkansas’ 19-year-old Kaylyn Brown has been having an incredible true freshman season, though to this point she has been largely overshadowed by her teammates (Arkansas went 1-2-3 in the 400 at NCAA indoors without Brown). Brown was a youth phenom in North Carolina, running 53.14 as a 14-year-old in 2019, but she barely improved her pb as a high schooler, graduating last year with a best of 53.11. She has been thriving at Arkansas, however, running 50.83 indoors and 49.95, 49.86, and 49.47 so far outdoors. Brown turns 20 on December 31, which means she is not eligible for U20 records. But if she was born one day later, her 49.47 runner-up time at SECs would have broken Athing Mu’s American U20 record of 49.57.

Another true freshman, Auburn’s Ja’Kobe Tharp, won the 110 hurdles, and he’s actually young for his grade – he does not turn 19 until September 30. Tharp’s time of 13.18 broke Renaldo Nehemiah’s 46-year-old American U20 record of 13.23 in the 110 hurdles and ranks him #2 on the all-time U20 list (42 inches) behind only 2004 Olympic champ and former world record holder Liu Xiang.

Arkansas’ 21-year-old Sanu Jallow is not a teenager, but she deserves a shoutout for running a huge 2+ second pb of 1:59.29 to finish 2nd in the SEC 800 behind reigning NCAA champ Michaela Rose (1:58.89). Jallow, who moved to the US from Gambia at age 9, did not make the final at NCAA indoors but is now tied for 5th on the all-time NCAA list with Alysia Montaño.

World, meet Phoebe Gill

Speaking of 800-meter breakthroughs, one of the performances of the weekend came across the pond as Great Britain’s Phoebe Gill soloed a 1:57.86 at the Belfast Irish Milers Meet to move into a tie for #2 in the world this year. A solo 1:57 is impressive for anyone, but it was particularly impressive when you consider Gill only turned 17 years old two weeks ago. She is now #2 on the all-time world U18 list, behind only Yuan Wang, who ran 1:57.18 at the notorious 1993 Chinese National Games.

Gill already had some impressive results to her name, running 2:03 for 800 and 4:14 for 1500 at age 15 and 2:01 and 4:11 last year at age 16, but 1:57 puts her in a new stratosphere (although her 4:05.87 in a mixed race on May 1 indicated sub-2 was possible).

With Keely Hodgkinson and Jemma Reekie, Great Britain has one of the strongest 800m squads in the world, but Gill has a legitimate chance to claim that third Olympic spot in Paris.

Gill’s emergence reminds us of the last Olympic year, where a teenager named Athing Mu made an enormous leap and wound up winning 800m gold in Tokyo. At this time in 2021, Mu’s 800 pb was 1:57.71, very similar to Gill’s. Mu – who was two years older than Gill is now – kept improving and ultimately ran 1:55.04 by the end of the season. It’s unfair to expect that sort of improvement from Gill, but it will be exciting to follow her progress over the next few months.

American records tumble at US 25K champs

Betsy Saina notched another impressive result on her redemption tour after dropping out of the US Olympic Marathon Trials with just five miles to go. On March 3, exactly one month after the Trials, Saina ran 2:19:17 at the Tokyo Marathon to move to #3 on the all-time US women’s list. And on Saturday, she repeated as champion at the US 25K champs in Grand Rapids, Mich., running 1:22:32 to hold off Annie Frisbie, who was 2nd in 1:22:36. 

Trials 3rd placer Dakotah Lindwurm was also 3rd in Grand Rapids, running 1:23:07, which is 2:20:19 marathon pace. So her fitness is pretty good three months out from the Olympics (Lindwurm’s half marathon pb is 69:36 and on Saturday she came through the half in 69:42). It’s certainly improved a lot in the last month as on April 13 she only averaged 5:11/mile pace at the Boston 5K (16:06) and here she ran 5:21 pace for 25k despite slowing down quite a bit late.

Saina’s time was the fastest by an American woman in a 25k race but others have split faster in marathons, led by Deena Kastor’s 1:21:57 at 2005 Chicago.

There was an American record on the men’s side as 34-year-old Diego Estrada, who has rejuvenated his career in 2024 under Swedish coach Janne Bengtsson, took the win in 1:13:10. Estrada’s time smashed the previous record of 1:13:48 set by Parker Stinson at the same race in 2019. Estrada took home $10,000 for the win plus another $5,000 for the AR.

Track Fest: US steeple champs impress as 10,000m women DNS

Late on Saturday night, Sound Running’s Track Fest was held in Los Angeles and Irish journalist Cathal Dennehy was there to cover it for us.

It was a great night for the 2023 US steeple champs. Krissy Gear ran a big 1500 pb of 4:03.65 (previous pb of 4:09.00) in her first outdoor track race of 2024 and Kenneth Rooks PR’d in the men’s steeple, winning by nearly eight seconds in 8:15.08. It would be foolish to bet against them making the team at this point.

We were anticipating a number of top US women going for the 10,000m Olympic standard, but in the end that didn’t happen. Agent Ray Flynn has told us that former American marathon record holder Keia D’Amato will take a crack at the standard at the Night of the 10,000m PBs this weekend in London while Elly Henes, who currently is the first person out on the Road to Paris rankings list, has decided to focus on the Trials. As things stand, Henes would make the Olympics if she finishes in the top three at the Trials – Alicia Monson won’t be going due to injury so Henes would take the final spot.

Luis Grijalva had a good night as well, winning the B heat of the 1500 and then the 5000. Afterward, he gave an interesting interview where he explained his thought process for the rest of the year.

*Full Track Fest Coverage *Post-Race Interviews From Track Fest

Time to get excited about the Prefontaine Classic

The Prefontaine Classic is just 12 days away and it promises to be one of the highlights of the 2024 track season. We already knew the Bowerman Mile was going to be great when Pre announced in March that Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Josh Kerr, and Yared Nuguse would all be squaring off. On Friday, Pre revealed the full field and it is amazing. It’s not a stretch to say this will be one of the most anticipated races in Pre’s 51-year history.

There are 15 guys currently entered and almost all of them bring an intriguing storyline to the start list. Check it out:

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Norway (3:43.73 pb): His first race of 2024 after an Achilles injury sidelined him in the winter. Also his first race against Josh Kerr since their months of trash talk following Kerr’s win at the 2023 Worlds. And his first race against Jake Wightman since Wightman beat him at the 2022 Worlds on the same track.

Yared Nuguse, USA (3:43.97 pb): Nuguse returns to the scene of his American record from September. That race was the closest Nuguse has ever come to beating Ingebrigtsen (he’s 0-4 lifetime).

Olli Hoare, Australia (3:47.48 pb): His first Diamond League since June 2023. A sports hernia cost him the rest of the 2023 season.

Mario Garcia Romo, Spain (3:47.69 pb): Garcia Romo was 4th and 6th at the last two Worlds and was 4th in the 2023 DL final in his last race in Eugene.

Reynold Cheruiyot, Kenya (3:48.06 pb): 2022 world U20 champ is still just 19 years old.

Cole Hocker, USA (3:48.08 pb): First Diamond League since earning World Indoor silver in March.

Hobbs Kessler, USA (3:48.66 pb): Kessler’s Diamond League debut (he was 2nd in the B race at ‘22 Pre). How does he stack up against Nuguse and Hocker one month out from the US Olympic Trials?

Josh Kerr, Great Britain (3:48.87 pb): This is the world champion’s first 1500/mile of 2024 and first race against Ingebrigtsen since Worlds.

Matthew Centrowitz, USA (3:49.26 pb): Can he get the 3:50.40 Olympic standard? With a fast field to chase, he won’t get a better opportunity.

Neil Gourley, Great Britain (3:49.46 pb): First race back from injury for the 2023 British champion.

Jake Wightman, Great Britain (3:50.30 pb): First race against Ingebrigtsen since upsetting him at 2022 Worlds. Also still needs Olympic standard.

Abel Kipsang, Kenya (3:50.87 pb): 4th at 2021 Olympics and 2023 Worlds.

Geordie Beamish, New Zealand (3:51.22 pb): How does the World Indoor champ do in a fast race?

Cam Myers, Australia (3:52.44 pb): Just the second DL start of his career.

Lamecha Girma, Ethiopia (debut): Steeple world record holder making mile debut.

As if that was not enough, Pre also announced on Sunday that Faith Kipyegon will make her 2024 season debut at Pre in the 5,000 meters. It will be Kipyegon’s first race since she was upset at the World Road Running Champs in the mile in October – she was meant to race the 1500 in Xiamen on April 20 but withdrew due to injury. 

MB: Start Lists for the Men’s and Women’s Mile/1500 at Pre are up

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.

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