Husky Classic Preview
This is a quick preview I worked on last night and into this morning. This is breaking down the championship heats for all races 800m and up. I also included a top 5 prediction for each of the races as well. Predicting times for these races is awfully tough considering there are so many factors that go into racing.
This heat is loaded with all 1:48 or better PR guys and should produce a similar result with much of the mix running 1:48-1:49. Having Lawi Lalang in the mix is interesting and it will be fun to see how he decides to run the race. Ryan Waite is fit and is ready to roll his first 800 of the season. Litwiller of Sac State is a proven 800m runner and he alongside Burkstrand of Minnesota will also be in the mix. A wildcard will be Kyle Thompson who is coming off of a fabulous freshman season at Texas. If he improves like he should he could end up winning the race and running sub 1:47. I don’t see this heat running that fast at this stage in the season, but 1:48 is almost certain to be the winning time.
Lawi Lalang- Arizona 1:48.2
Kyle Thompson- Texas 1:48.3
Ryan Waite- BYU 1:48.5
Travis Burkstrand- Minnesota 1:48.9
Nathan Litwiller- Sac State 1:49.3
In a field full of pros and the best rabbit in the business, expect to see some of the faster times of the season, especially since the meet is at the Dempsey. Austin Mudd is coming off of his best run of the season breaking the 4 minute barrier last weekend at the Meyo invite. With Ricky West and Sean Obinwa, some of the top 800 meter runners in the NCAA will be in this heat. Add in Lopez Lomong and Tyler Mulder, there will be some fast times thrown down.
Lopez Lomong- OTCE 1:45.9
Tyler Mulder- OTC- 1:46.4
Austin Mudd- Wisconsin 1:47.2
Mark Weiczorek- Brooks 1:47.5
Ricky West- Penn State 1:47.7
Men’s Mile Championship Heat 1
This heat although not supposedly the fastest of the two, could end up running a faster time than heat 2 when you consider who is going to be pushing the pace in heat 1. Mitch Goose has already run sub-4 once before this and with another sub-4 man Ben Blankenship this heat will definitely be on pace to run under four minutes for a mile. Iona seems to have a good thing going right now with their milers and look for them to possibly have two sub-4 milers in this heat with Goose and Clorley (who ran 4:04 at the Armory last weekend). Patrick MacGregor of Texas is a solid miler and David Forrester, if healthy, is capable of sub-4, as long as he runs smart and lets the front pack pull him through, as he is better longer.
Mitch Goose-Iona 3:58.7
Ben Blankenship-OTC 3:58.9
Daniel Clorley-Iona 3:59.7
David Forrester- Florida State 4:00.3
Patrick MacGregor-Texas 4:01.9
This heat is absolutely loaded! There might not be a better heat in the entire meet than this mile heat. Kyle Merber is a 3:35 1500m runner, and so is Jordy Williamsz. This will be Evan Jager’s first real test since the Olympic Games, but we all know what his credentials are after breaking the American record in the Steeple, he will most definitely assert himself in the front of this pack. Other pro’s like Cabral and Bumbolough will be in this heat and will add to the already stacked field. Matt Maldonado is a sub-4 miler along with Alex Hatz of Wisconsin, Michael Hammond of Virginia Tech (who always seems to make the national final in the mile and 1500m) and Robby Creese of Penn State (stud freshman last season). Raul Botezan is another one of Oklahoma State’s sub-4 milers.The reason why I think the first heat could be faster is only because the last time a loaded field came together, both pro and college, at the 3000m at the UW Invite two weeks ago, the pace ended up being slow and the fast times we all expected never came. Hopefully that is not the case here, and it should not be, but don’t be surprised if it happens.
Evan Jager-OTC 3:58.5
Donn Cabral- OTC 3:58.8
Jordy Williamsz- Villanova 3:59.0
Kyle Merber- Texas 3:59.8
Alex Hatz- Wisconsin 3:59.9
Men’s 3000m Championship Heat 1
These heats are so unbelievably stacked that it is hard to say which one of the two is better, but regardless here is the preview for heat one. Will Mulherin stepped up big this year for Virginia Tech and is a solid 5k runner. Ben Bruce, the steeple pro, is used to this distance so it will be interesting to see how he does without the barriers in his way. Brian Shrader has been looking good ever since the cross country season and expect him to break out and run a fast time. Kirubel Erassa is a sub-4 miler and has one of the best training groups around to work out with. Rob Finnerty also stepped up for Wisconsin in cross country and that should help him be able to run well longer than his usual 1500 meters. Ryan Dohner was 6th at NCAAs in the 10,000m in the spring and has already run 13:52 for 5k and should be in the mix. Fabian Clarkson broke the four minute mile barrier at the Razorback invite and should carry his momentum into a fast time for 3000m. Tabor Stevens of Adams State is one of the best in Division II and should not surprise anyone when he sticks his nose in the mix from the beginning. He did the same thing in New Mexico to Anthony Rotich in the mile. With Kemoy Campbell rounding out this stellar field (16th at NCAA Cross), this is a tough call on the top five finishers.
Brian Shrader-NAU 7:53.1
Will Mulherin- Va Tech 7:54.3
Ben Bruce- Adidas 7:55.6
Kemoy Cambpell- Arkansas 7:56.2
Rob Finnerty- Wisconsin 7:57.9
This heat is full of top ten finishers at NCAA Cross and sub 13:30 5k guys, which could make this the race of the weekend (they all could be the race of the weekend). Ryan Hill is looking fit after already running 13:43 this season for 5k and has some serious momentum going into the middle of the season. Last year at this meet he ran 7:43 and look for him to improve upon that this weekend. Diego Estrada is coming off a solid mile run in Flagstaff where he went going away and had an altitude converted 4:03.40. Anthony Rotich has been on fire since a great break out cross country season. He’s already run sub-8 all by himself at altitude in Albuquerque and also has run a converted 3:57 mile. Look for him to possibly run sub 7:50. Girma Mecheso has yet to do much this indoor, but the rest of his teammates have and if he follows suit, he should be right in the heat of things with 400 meters to go. His teammate Tom Farrell has run 3:58 already this season and has some range having run 13:15 for 5k last year. The 3k should be a nice middle ground for him and he could run somewhere around 7:45. Patrick Casey has already run 3:56 this season, after a very good cross country season, his base is certainly there and 3k should not be too much of a stretch. He could go sub 7:50. Michael Atchoo of Stanford is coming off a great week of racing in New York and if he can convert that into a solid 3k, his speed is really coming around and could be a factor in the latter portion of the race. Matt Gillespie and Eric Jenkins are both recent sub-4 milers and this 3k race will be a good proving point of where they are aerobically.
With several guys in this heat that like to take it out hard (Estrada, Hill) there is no doubt that there will be some unreal fast times thrown down.
Ryan Hill- NC State 7:42.5
Anthony Rotich-UTEP 7:43.1
Diego Estrada- NAU 7:44.2
Tom Farrell- Oklahoma State 7:45.3
Girma Mecheso-Oklahoma State 7:46.2
Men’s Championship 5000m
With the who’s who in NCAA Cross Country in this field, I think I will refrain from writing a page worth of analysis for this race, but will give a brief description of why I put each runner where in my prediction.
Mo Ahmed- Wisconsin 13:31.2
Over the past several years Wisconsin does not seem to have focused as much on indoor, but this season is different. Byrne has his boys looking sharp indoors and Ahmed will surely be a beneficiary of such focus and should win this loaded heat.
Maverick Darling- Wisconsin 13:35.3
Trying not to seem a Wisconsin homer, but it’s obvious that these guys are rolling this indoor and have some of the best training partners in the country (Ahmed, Darling, Conner, Hatz, etc). Darling is coming off a very good cross country season and will most likely roll along side Ahmed for the majority of the race.
Anthony Rotich- UTEP 13:35.6
If Rotich does double in the 3k and 5k, it is hard to see him being able to win both, but the 5k is the first night so it is doable after a good night’s rest and a sufficient cool down. I think Rotich will allow the pace to get pushed early, make a move to the front with a mile to go, but with the 3k the next morning in the back of his mind, and look for him not to empty the tank. He still runs a solid sub 13:40 time.
Jared Ward-BYU 13:38.4
Because I get to see him workout every day and see where his fitness is at, it is hard for me not to put Jared Ward in the mix for this race. Some may call it bias, I call it using my resources and recognizing talent when it is right in front of you. He has looked great in workout as of late and has never been more mentally sharp. He’ll put himself right where it needs to be, but most likely will not be able to kick with some of the guys toward the front.
David Rooney- McNeese State 13:39.0
After the best cross country season in McNeese State history, Rooney had a rough Euro Cross, getting sick during and after which has affected his training. He seems to be fit and as tough a competitor he is, I have a hard time seeing him not putting himself right towards the front and pushing the pace with Ahmed and Darling.