We laughed when we heard the number over the phone.

“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
Indiana #2 3 9:33.42
Stanford #3 2 9:34.20
Oregon #4 1 9:35.06
Arkansas #5 2 9:35.50
Penn State #6 1 9:39.50
Wisconsin #7 3 9:40.18
UCLA #8 3 9:40.18
Minnesota #13 1 9:41.20
Nebraska #14 1 9:41.67
Oklahoma #16 2 9:42.37
Illinois #18 2 9:42.63
Kansas #24 3 9:44.87
Virginia Tech #25 3 9:45.23
Montana State #27 1 9:45.33 @
Virginia #30 1 9:45.70
Duke #32 2 9:46.77
Villanova #35 3 9:47.59
Georgetown #39 3 9:48.78
Princeton #42 2 9:49.29
Eastern Michigan #43 1 9:49.37 #
Brown
1
Air Force
2
Loyola
3
New Mexico
3
Houston
2
Washington State
2
Oklahoma State
1

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!).
 



Heat 1

"A" Squads


Penn State

Name Leg Related SB
Brannon Kidder 1200m 1:48.17 / 3:59.48
Brandon Green-Bennett 400m 46.82
Za'Von Watkins 800m 1:49.03
Robby Creese 1600m 3:57.11

Oklahoma State
Name Leg Related SB
Raul Botezan 1200m 1:50.87 / 3:57.79
Isaiah Anderson 400m Related (NT)
Kirubel Erassa 800m 2:28.00 / 3:58.24
Thomas Farrell 1600m 3:58.20

Oregon
Name Leg Related SB
Brett Johnson 1200m 1:54.27 / 3:58.62
Arthur Delaney 400m 47.63
Boru Guyota 800m 1:47.42
Mac Fleet 1600m 4:01.04

"B" Squads

Minnesota
Name Leg Related SB
Travis Burkstrand 1200m 1:49.18
Cameron Boy 400m 21.24 (200m)
Harun Abda 800m 1:15.80 / 1:48.44
Nick Hutton 1600m 4:00.15





Virginia

Name Leg Related SB
Brandon Burton 1200m 1:19.85 / 1:55.94
Payton Hazzard 400m 47.17
Anthony Kostelac 800m 1:48.86
Taylor Gilland 1600m 4:04.70

Nebraska
Name Leg Related SB
Connor Gibson 1200m 1:53.65 / 4:07.27
Cody Rush 400m 48.25
Tommy Brinn 800m 1:49.11
Trevor Vidlak 1600m 4:05.55



Heat 2

"A" Squads

Oklahoma
Name Leg Related SB
Frezer Legesse 1200m 1:50.01 / 2:22.76 / 3:58.95
Jamel Wood 400m 46.35
Malcolm Wankel 800m 1:51.51
Patrick Casey 1600m 3:56.28

Arkansas
Name Leg Related SB
Patrick Rono 1200m 1:47.66 / 4:01.79
Travis Southard 400m 1:48.56 / 4:14.87
Anthony Lieghio 800m 46.77
Kemoy Campell 1600m 4:00.98

Stanford
Name Leg Related SB
Tyler Stutzman 1200m 1:50.59 / 3:58.85
Spencer Chase 400m 48.34
Luke Lefebure 800m 1:51.34
Michael Atchoo 1600m 3:57.14

"B" Squads

Princeton
Name Leg Related SB
Michael Williams 1200m 1:49.53 / 2:26.52
Austin Hollimon 400m 47.95
Russell Dinkins 800m 1:52.25
Peter Callahan 1600m 4:11.23 (He's back!)

Washington State
Name Leg Related SB
Todd Wakefield (Unofficial Kick of the Week) 1200m 1:53.02 / 4:05.13
Jacob Sealby 400m 47.23
Jesse Jorgensen 800m 1:50.98
Drew Jordan (Unofficial Kick of the Week) 1600m 4:04.64

Illinois
Name Leg Related SB
Kyle Engnell 1200m 1:55.20 / 4:05.98
Stephon Pamilton 400m 46.07
Ryan Lynn 800m 1:49.29
Graham Morris 1600m 4:00.17



Heat 3

"A" Squads

Wisconsin
Name Leg Related SB
Austin Mudd 1200m 1:48.24 / 3:59.33
Tyler Woloszyk 400m 47.78
Zach Mellon 800m 1:50.92
Alex Hatz 1600m 4:00.65

Villanova
Name Leg Related SB
Robert Denault 1200m 2:24.61 / 4:00.04
Alexander Reber 400m 1:04.17 (500m)
Christopher Fitzsimons 800m 1:49.86
Sam McEntee 1600m 3:36.81 (1500m)

Indiana
Name Leg Related SB
Rorey Hunter 1200m 1:50.68 / 2:26.68
Nathan Pierre-Louis 400m 49.10
Lance Roller 800m 1:50.00
Andrew Bayer 1600m 4:00.20

"B" Squads

New Mexico
Name Leg Related SB
Sam Evans 1200m 1:51.68 / 4:02.49
Charles Lewis 400m 48.19
Edwin Herring 800m 1:50.59
Luke Caldwell 1600m 4:08.89

Georgetown
Name Leg Related SB
Ahmed Bile 1200m 1:51.71 / 2:26.46
Mike Andre 400m 48.67
Billy Ledder 800m 1:49.85
Andrew Springer 1600m 4:01.65

UCLA
Name Leg Related SB
Nick Hartle 1200m 1:51.30
Pete Lauderdale 400m 47.96
Ferdinand Edman 800m 4:05.77
Danniel Herrera 1600m 4:05.03