Murphy, DeGrasse, Droddy And More: Mt. SAC Men's Preview
Who: Ronnie Baker, Andre De Grasse, Ameer Webb, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Mike Rodgers, Just'N Thymes, Cameron Burrell
When: Saturday, 2:36 PM PT/5:36 PM ET
Why: Canadian Andre De Grasse, a three-time Olympic medalist in Rio, headlines the field. He anchored Athletics Canada to world-leading times in the 4x100m (38.15) and 4x200m (1:19.91) at the Florida Relays and will make his season debut in an individual event here. Top competition includes his ALTIS training partners Wilfried Koffi and Ameer Webb, a fellow 2016 Olympian.
Watch Andre De Grasse anchor Athletics Canada to a world lead ahead of Team USA in the 4x100m at the Florida Relays:
Mike Rodgers, the fourth-placer at last year's U.S. Olympic Trials 100m, enters Mt. SAC with a win from last weekend's Grenada Invitational. Rodgers ran his 100m PB of 9.85 (+1.3) in 2011.
USATF Indoor 60m champion Ronnie Baker will make his outdoor debut here.
Just'N Thymes of USC is the top-ranked collegiate athlete in the field per his runner-up finish at the Texas Relays -- he ran a wind-legal 10.14 in the prelims in Austin, and a slightly wind-aided 10.08 in the final.
Who: Curtis Mitchell, Just'N Thymes, Carvin Nkanata
When: Saturday, 4:45 PM PT/7:45 PM ET
Why: Just'N Thymes of USC will return to the track a few hours after the 100m final for what is arguably his "better" event, the 200m. Thymes was third in the 200m at the NCAA Indoor Championships and will be making his outdoor season debut here. His outdoor PB of 20.46 dates back to April of 2015, though he ran 20.36 indoors this year.
Watch Just'N Thymes place second in Section 2, third overall in the 2017 NCAA Indoor Men's 200m final:
Several highly experienced professionals will pose a challenge in the fastest section, especially Curtis Mitchell of ALTIS, who won bronze at the 2013 IAAF World Championships and owns a PB of 19.97. Mt. SAC will be his outdoor debut.
Who: Quincy Hall, Marcus Chambers, Bryshon Nellum, Ricky Morgan, Jr., Dontavious Wright, Raymond Kibet
When: Saturday, 2:00 PM PT/5:00 PM ET
Why: Two weeks ago, 18-year-old Sequoias freshman Quincy Hall clocked a stunning 45.32 to win the Stanford Invitational going away, a time that would rank No. 1 in the NCAA DI right now. Mt. SAC is an exciting test for Hall -- he'll face a slew of experienced professional and collegiate stars, including Bryshon Nellum, who is a world champion and Olympic silver medalist in the 4x400m relay, plus Oregon's Marcus Chambers, a three-time Pac 12 champion and seven-time All-American with a 400m PB of 44.95.
Watch true freshman Quincy Hall run 45.32 at the Stanford Invitational:
Watch out for Tulane's Raymond Kibet in the first section; the freshman represented Kenya at the Olympic Games last summer and owns a quarter mile PB of 45.39.
Who: Clayton Murphy, Duane Solomon, Erik Sowinski, Eliud Rutto, Sampson Laari
When: Saturday, 2:55 PM PT/5:55 PM ET
Why: Clayton Murphy will run his first outdoor track race since winning the Olympic bronze medal at Mt. SAC this weekend. Check out our newest FloFilm for more on the 22-year-old Murphy, who improved an astronomical 12 seconds in the 800m in three and a half years. For the record, his PB is 1:42.93, and he's the third-fastest American of all-time. The Men's Invitational 800m will be one of the brightest highlights of the weekend as Murphy is slated to race against one of the few athletes in American history to run faster than him: Duane Solomon, who ran 1:42.82 in 2012. Now, Murphy is the clear favorite, but the 32-year-old Solomon always makes sure the pace is hot and rest assured that Mt. SAC will be no different in what is also his own season debut.
Watch the trailer for Clayton Murphy: No Limits below, and check out Episode 1 here.
Murphy, who won the 1K at USATF indoor nationals, has another 2017 national champion in his midst: Erik Sowinski, who won the 600m in Albuquerque in 1:15.07. Sowinski has enjoyed an indoor season full of PBs after placing fifth in the Olympic Trials 800m last summer. His outdoor PB of 1:44.58 actually dates back to 2014.
Middle Tennessee State duo Eliud Rutto (1:45.37 PB) and Sampson Laari (1:46.44 PB, third in NCAA indoor mile) are the top collegiate entrants.
Who: Sydney Gidabuday, Noah Droddy, Marc Scott, Colby Gilbert, Morgan Pearson, Jack Bruce, Jerrell Mock
When: Friday, 8:20 PM PT/11:20 PM ET
Why: Adams State's Sydney Gidabuday gave us one of the most memorable races of 2016 when the then-freshman kicked past a group of experienced studs to win the Mt. SAC 5K in a new PB time of 13:36.83. A year later, Gidabuday has four NCAA DII titles under his belt and most recently nailed a comfortable 29:08.28 10K at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival to auto qualify for nationals.
Watch Sydney Gidabuday win the Invitational 5K at the 2016 Mt. SAC Relays:
He'll attempt to defend his title here in California vs. one of the fastest-rising distance runners in the nation -- Noah Droddy. The mustachioed graduate of DePauw, an NCAA DIII school, was 20th in the U.S. Olympic 10K Trials last summer and, in a year, dropped his half marathon PB from 64:08 to 61:48. He set his 5K PB last April at 13:49.49 and it will be interesting to see how his newfound spark affects a shorter race.
Of course, there's also a few top-notch DI guys who will be in the mix, including Marc Scott of Tulsa, runner-up in the 5K and third in the 3K at NCAA indoors; and Colby Gilbert of Washington, who has run 13:34 and took fifth at the NCAA Indoor 3K. Jerrell Mock of Colorado State broke the school record in the 10K at the Stanford Invitational in 28:11.8, his debut at the distance and a strong indicator that his 13:44.65 5K PB is ready for an upgrade.
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