The Husky Classic this weekend at the University of Washington is filled with top NCAA distance stars who are sure to rewrite the descending order list for qualification to nationals. There are also more than a few professionals looking for one last shot to notch the USATF indoor championships standard.
Take a look at some of the events we are most excited to follow on Friday and Saturday.
Who: Hannah Fields, Lindsey Butterworth, Samantha Murphy, Baylee Mires, Savannah Colon, Sabrina Southerland, Sage Hurta
When: Saturday, 4:02 PM PT
Why: Hannah Fields of the Brooks Beasts returns to the track after pulling out of the Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile due to illness. She owns the fastest PB in the field at 2:00.53, but has yet to crack 2:07 this season. The standard for USAs is 2:03, so expect these women to target that mark.
Noteworthy college entries include Sabrina Southerland of Oregon, who aided the Ducks to their NCAA leader in the DMR, and Sage Hurta of Colorado, a steeplechase specialist going down in distance this weekend.
Who: Eleanor Fulton, Hanna Green, Danae Rivers, Amy-Eloise Neal, Maddie Meyers, Haley Meier, Sabrina Southerland, Sarah MacPherson
When: Saturday, 3:27 PM PT
Why: It will be interesting to see what kind of foot speed Husky Amy-Eloise Neal has after an impressive runner-up finish at NCAA XC. The senior has typically opted for the 1500m or mile at NCAAs, though she has shown great promise in the longer distance events. She was third in the 3K at the UW Indoor Preview in 9:01.96, the fourth-fastest time in the NCAA, behind only Shalane Flanagan and Mel Lawrence.
Watch Amy-Eloise Neal battle Shalane Flanagan in the 3K at January's UW Indoor Preview:
Former Virginia Tech All-American Hanna Green enters here after winning the Camel City Invitational and securing a spot at USAs in the 800m with a mark of 2:02.58. Her PB in the mile is 4:32.5.
Who: Ednah Kurgat, Allie Ostrander, Weini Kelati, Charlotte Prouse, Elise Cranny, Christina Aragon, Vanessa Fraser, Fiona O'Keeffe, Nikki Hiltz, Gina Sereno, Taylor Werner, Lilli Burdon, Bethan Knights
When: Saturday, 4:20 PM PT
Why: The star-studded women's 3K field features a slew of All-Americans headlined by reigning NCAA XC champion Ednah Kurgat, who was slated to race the Millrose Games 3K last weekend against rival Karissa Schweizer but did not compete. Is she battling injury? Now that Schweizer owns the collegiate record, Kurgat seems like an underdog for NCAAs — as unlikely as that may have sounded after the Louisville championship.
Kurgat should have plenty of company here, not least from her Lobos teammates Weini Kelati and Charlotte Prouse, both of whom were top 12 at NCAA XC.
Reigning NCAA steeplechase champion Allie Ostrander of Boise State has not raced indoors since 2016, when she ran 15:21 for 5K and 8:54 for 3K at the Dempsey before a knee injury forced her to drop out of the 2016 NCAA Indoor 5K Championship. Clearly, she has great memories from the University of Washington's indoor track and she should be itching to go in her first indoor track season in two years after earning another top-five finish at NCAA XC.
Allie Ostrander reacts to clocking an NCAA lead of 8:54 as a true freshman at the 2016 Husky Classic:
Depending on how mid-distance stars like Elise Cranny, Christina Aragon, and Nikki Hiltz do here, it may influence which event they enter at NCAAs.
Who: Emily Infeld, Courtney Frerichs, Gwen Jorgensen
When: Friday, 5:10 PM PT
Why: Perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the meet is the women's 5K, which features a lot of hardware between Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen, world steeplechase silver medalist Courtney Frerichs, and world 10K bronze medalist Emily Infeld.
"Bowerman Babes" Infeld and Frerichs raced last weekend, respectively placing first and fourth at last weekend's USATF XC championships. They are joined by recent Portland transplant Gwen Jorgensen, who in November announced her intent to switch from the triathlon to the marathon in 2020. This will be Jorgensen's first race since giving birth to her son in August of 2017.
Infeld has run 14:56.33, Frerichs has run 15:31.62, and Jorgensen ran 15:52.19 as a college student back in 2009. The handicap is clearly on Infeld, but these results should nonetheless be interesting.
Who: Clayton Murphy
When: Saturday, 4:10 PM PT
Why: It's always exciting to watch the Olympic bronze medalist. The 22-year-old Murphy is running himself into shape this season, clocking 1:51.44, 1:50.47, and 1:46.61 at Millrose last weekend. What will we see on Saturday?
Who: Evan Jager, Lopez Lomong, Mick Stanovsek, Sam Prakel, Liam Dee, Cameron Griffith, Carlos Villarreal, Blake Haney, Sam Worley, Reed Brown
When: Saturday, 3:40 PM PT
Why: This race could look pretty similar to the 2017 Husky Classic, when Lopez Lomong barely edged Evan Jager for the win and both athletes ran 3:56.55. This year, Lomong has placed second and fourth in mile races at the Dempsey with a season-best of 3:59.75; world steeplechase medalist Jager started his season by running his first cross country race in more than 10 years to place fourth at USATF XC.
It will be fun to watch the matchup between true freshmen Reed Brown of Oregon and Sam Worley of Texas, both of whom competed against each other in high school in Texas. Brown ran 3:59.05 at the New York Armory this year, while Worley won the mile at the New Mexico Classic in 4:03.91 — with the standard conversion for altitude, that time is worth 3:58.60.
Sam Worley's mile win at the New Mexico was the most recent FloTrack Kick of the Week:
Who: Colby Gilbert, Hayato Seki, Garrett Corcoran, Craig Nowak, Ben Saarel, Kasey Knevelbaard, Jack Bruce, Alex George, Zach Perrin, Mike Tate, Sydney Gidabuday, David Ribich, Chartt Miller, Jeff Thies, Cooper Teare
When: Saturday, 4:44 PM PT
Why: After suffering injury last spring, Washington's own All-American Colby Gilbert looks to be back on track this indoor campaign. His PB of 7:45.71, set at the UW Invitational last year shortly before placing fifth at NCAA Indoors, is the fastest in the field. Notable returning All-Americans in the field include Ben Saarel and Zach Perrin of Colorado, Garrett Corcoran of Cal, and Arkansas duo Alex George and Jack Bruce, the latter of whom was runner-up in the NCAA Outdoor 5K.
There will be a heated secondary battle in the midst of the fastest section, as NCAA Division II stars Sydney Gidabuday of Adams State and David Ribich of Western Oregon will fight for both the overall win and DII bragging rights over each other.
Who: Suguru Osako, Shota Onizuka, Mike Tate, Alex Monroe, Sydney Gidabuday, Jack Bruce, Mohamed Hrezi, Hassan Abdi, Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse, Robert Brandt, Grant Fischer, Noah Droddy, Gilbert Kirui, Mickey Davey, Jack Rowe, Tanner Anderson, Emmanuel Rotich
When: Friday, 5:30 PM PT
Why: The appearance of the Nike Oregon Project's Suguru Osako here is interesting given that the Japanese distance runner is basically a marathoner now. (Placing third at Boston will do that to you.) Still, we saw Galen Rupp race a 5K at the Dempsey with fellow NOP'er Yomif Kejelcha, who went 13:34.67-13:34.78 to establish a new meet record. Suguru's personal bests in the 5K are 13:08.40 outdoors (the national record) and 13:28 indoors, both of which were set in 2015.