Jock, Puskedra Among Roster Changes for 2018

Here's a quick refresher on who is on the roster for some of the nation’s top mid-distance and distance clubs. Some of these changes are brand new to 2018, while others happened toward the latter half of 2017. 

Nike Oregon Project

Key additions: Clayton Murphy, Craig Engels, Yomif Kejelcha

Key losses: Mo Farah

Farah won 10 gold medals while training with Nike Oregon Project, but late last year he decided to return to Great Britain to be coached by Gary Lough. The switch comes as Farah plans to fully transition to the marathon distance after wrapping up his career on the track last September. In his place, the group retools with two ascendent American stars and one of the world’s best 5000m runners. 

Craig Engels and Clayton Murphy began working out in October and will join gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz in creating a superb mid-distance trio in Portland. Both Engels and Murphy have experience in the 800m and 1500m. Murphy has an Olympic bronze medal from the 800m in Rio and a personal best of 1:42.93. Engels was fourth at the U.S. championships last year in the 1500m, missing out on a qualifying spot by .02 seconds. Clearly, Centrowitz will have no shortage of quality of training partners as he tries to rebound from an injury-plagued 2017. 

In the longer distances, the Oregon Project added Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha at the tail end of 2017. Kejelcha has a 5000m personal best of 12:53.98 in addition to two fourth-place finishes at the world championships in 2015 and 2017. Kejelcha and Eric Jenkins will head up the group’s efforts in the 5000m and 10,000m and perhaps provide a speed work partner for Galen Rupp

Bowerman Track Club

Key Additions: Kate Grace, Marielle Hall, Josh Thompson, Marc Scott 

Key Losses: Betsy Saina

The most successful American women’s group of 2017 gets even stronger this year. With the addition of Kate Grace, the Bowerman Track Club has every event covered from 800m through the marathon. Grace was eighth at the 2016 Olympics in the 800m and made the world championships team last season in the 1500m. Fellow 2016 Olympian Marielle Hall has also made the move to Portland, where she will add to the already deep BTC contingent in the 5000m and 10,000m.  

For the men, the group adds two recent NCAA products. Oklahoma State’s Josh Thompson finished fourth at the NCAA championships and eighth at the U.S. championships in the 1500m. Thompson’s interest in the steeplechase would also make him a nice fit with the established steeple contingent in Portland. British 10,000m standout Marc Scott has also joined the group. He won the 10,000m while competing for Tulsa last spring and qualified for the world championships for Great Britain in the 5000m. 

Oregon Track Club Elite

Key Additions: Shea Collinsworth, Hanna Green, Luke Puskedra

Key Losses: Charles Jock, Elijah Greer

Compared with 2017, the changes are relatively minor to the Eugene-based group. At the end of 2016, there were 11 athletes who didn’t continue with OTC in 2017. This year, there are only two departures and three additions. Hanna Green and Shea Collinsworth finished second and fourth, respectively, in the 800m at the NCAA championships last year. Now, they have the opportunity to train alongside Francine Niyonsaba, the two-time silver medalist and owner of a 1:55.47 personal best.  

The men’s group loses two mid-distance mainstays in Charles Jock and Elijah Greer. Jock made the 2016 Olympic team in the 800m. 

Luke Puskedra will return to the site of his college years as he becomes the only marathoner on the OTC roster. Puskedra was fourth at the Olympic Trials in 2016 and has a personal best of 2:10:24. 

Brooks Beasts

Key Additions: Henry Wynne, Savannah Camacho 

Key Losses: Nick Symmonds, Shaquille Walker

Symmonds announced his retirement last summer and completed his final race on the track at the U.S. championships. The group still has a strong mid-distance contingent with Drew Windle, Garrett Heath, Izaic Yorks, Brandon Kidder, and the newest member of the group, Henry Wynne. Wynne was 2016 NCAA indoor champion in the mile and has a personal best of 3:38.05 in the 1500m. 

New Jersey/New York Track Club

Key Additions: Megan Mansy

Mansy was a two-time All-American at North Carolina State with a personal best of 4:08.22 in the 1500m. She made the semifinals of the U.S. championships last summer. 

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