This is Notre Dame, This is Madness - This is the DMR
"Twenty-seven teams are entered in the DMR," said assistant coach Tim Conelly.
Then he quickly rattled off the start list. We stopped laughing.
If collegiate procrastination needed an example outside of the classic "all-nighter," it would be the Notre Dame Alex Wilson DMR.
Nearly every team has left it to the last weekend to ensure that they'll be among the top twelve relays traveling to NCAA Nationals. It's only fitting that they'll all be at the same meet.
The Sweet 16 (or 12) bubble isn't about to pop - it's about to be turned upside and spun around until it can't see straight. I haven't seen something or someone this shook up since Jack Woltz woke up with his prized horse's head in his bed.
As it stands right now, the twelfth and final time in the men's DMR is Cal's 9:41.18. After Friday, that won't be what it takes to make it to Fayetteville.
We think that eleven of the top twelve relay squads that will travel to NCAAs will come from Alex Wilson. Yes, you read that correctly - eleven.
|Team||NCAA Rank||ND Alex Wilson Heat||Seed Time|
|Montana State||#27||1||9:45.33 @|
|Eastern Michigan||#43||1||9:49.37 #|
Right now, no one is safe and that even includes Texas and their 9:31.82 NCAA-leading mark.
The Longhorns should make it through and while they won't be saying their seven Hail Mary's at night, it's still going to be close.
Consider the following: How many teams that are going to be at Alex Wilson are capable of running below Texas' time? Say, 9:29?
In a simple breakdown, a team would need to run 2:55, 48, 1:48, and 3:57 to break the 9:30-barrier. Right now, on paper, four teams could do it - Penn State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Stanford.
Only four (that's a statement and a half since only four did it last year and the year before)?! The reason it's not more is that this list only takes into account currents marks from this indoor season.
On any given day, teams like Oregon, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Indiana could be among with those select few. Throw in Illinois, Georgetown, Minnesota, and maybe a few others and you have a race that might as well be labeled the national final.
Rather, three races.
Historically, the staff at Notre Dame usually splits up the DMR into equal heats. It's generally just two separate races, but this year, they had to make a special accommodation for a third.
The usual train of thought when it comes to prelims is that the heat that runs last will have an advantage over the earlier ones. If the teams in the first two races run 'X' time, then the teams in the final heat know what time they have to hit to overtake them on the qualifier list.
However, how often do you think that's going to happen, and then it never pans out? "Why are they going out slow? All they need to do is run faster than 'Y' person to make it to the semifinals."
It's a great mystery of track and field.
Even still, the three heats are pretty well-divided. We'd give the nod to the first heat (listed below), but then honestly can't decide between the next two heats as there are a lot of sleeper teams that could pop a big one on Friday.
Below is a breakdown of the "A" and "B" squads in each heat. The label is less of a grade and more of a simple differentiation; think apples and oranges. "A" squads are the teams we think will move on while the "B" squads consists of teams that are on the cusp of making nationals.
Some teams are almost guaranteed to move on, while others are going to have to hustle and bustle at the Loftus Sports Center. It wouldn't be final qualifying weekend without some March Madness.
Tune in at 8:00pm ET to watch everything unfold.
Full Start List here
Note: All PRs are listed from TFRRS.com (edit: Related times are meant to reflect seasonal bests. Thanks for the correction!).
|Brannon Kidder||1200m||1:48.17 / 3:59.48|
|Raul Botezan||1200m||1:50.87 / 3:57.79|
|Isaiah Anderson||400m||Related (NT)|
|Kirubel Erassa||800m||2:28.00 / 3:58.24|
|Brett Johnson||1200m||1:54.27 / 3:58.62|
|Cameron Boy||400m||21.24 (200m)|
|Harun Abda||800m||1:15.80 / 1:48.44|
|Brandon Burton||1200m||1:19.85 / 1:55.94|
|Connor Gibson||1200m||1:53.65 / 4:07.27|
|Frezer Legesse||1200m||1:50.01 / 2:22.76 / 3:58.95|
|Patrick Rono||1200m||1:47.66 / 4:01.79|
|Travis Southard||400m||1:48.56 / 4:14.87|
|Tyler Stutzman||1200m||1:50.59 / 3:58.85|
|Michael Williams||1200m||1:49.53 / 2:26.52|
|Peter Callahan||1600m||4:11.23 (He's back!)|
|Todd Wakefield (Unofficial Kick of the Week)||1200m||1:53.02 / 4:05.13|
|Drew Jordan (Unofficial Kick of the Week)||1600m||4:04.64|
|Kyle Engnell||1200m||1:55.20 / 4:05.98|
|Austin Mudd||1200m||1:48.24 / 3:59.33|
|Robert Denault||1200m||2:24.61 / 4:00.04|
|Alexander Reber||400m||1:04.17 (500m)|
|Sam McEntee||1600m||3:36.81 (1500m)|
|Rorey Hunter||1200m||1:50.68 / 2:26.68|
|Sam Evans||1200m||1:51.68 / 4:02.49|
|Ahmed Bile||1200m||1:51.71 / 2:26.46|