Bowerman Bonaza And Josh Kerr: Five Events To Watch At Bryan Clay

 By Lincoln Shryack


The 2018 Bryan Clay Invitational is absolutely loaded with the best professional and NCAA distance talent that the United States has to offer. With the Bowerman Track Club bringing a big portion of their roster to Azusa, California, for this weekend’s meet, plus several recent NCAA champions lining up as well, world leads and even collegiate records appear to be in danger.

You can watch the 2018 Bryan Clay Invitational LIVE on FloTrack on Thursday and Friday, April 19 and 20. Below are the top five races to watch at the meet.

Men’s 1500m

When: Friday 7:50 PM PT

Who: Josh Kerr, Ryan Hill, Justyn Knight, Andy Trouard, Sam Prakel, David Ribich, Robert Domanic, Mick Stanovsek, Oliver Hoare

Analysis: Three-time NCAA champion Josh Kerr of New Mexico will face a spectacular field as he returns to the site of his breakout 3:35.99 win last year. That time slotted Kerr into the sixth-fastest 1500m in NCAA history, and with another year of dominance under his belt the Brit could take aim at Sydney Maree’s 3:35.30 collegiate record from 1981.

The pacers are slated to bring the field through 800m in 1:55 and 1200m in 2:53, the latter time being a hair faster than what Kerr split last year. Lopez Lomong will be tasked with taking the race this far, and if successful, would put the record on watch.

Here’s what New Mexico coach Joe Franklin had to say to FloTrack about his star’s chances of breaking the record on Friday:

“When people try to run fast in the 1500 it rarely happens, but if you create a great race that sets up fast, the sky is the limit."

Create a great race they have, as world indoor silver medalist Ryan Hill of the Bowerman Track Club will join two 2018 NCAA DI champions in Justyn Knight of Syracuse and Andy Trouard of Northern Arizona to turn the heat up on Kerr. Trouard—who out-kicked Knight in the thrilling NCAA 3K in March—will be making his outdoor debut, as will Hill, who was third in the race last year in 3:37.95. Knight is surely ready to lower his 3:39 PR here, as he showed tremendous finishing speed—he closed in 55 seconds—last weekend in winning the Bison Classic 1500m.

The big names keep coming, however. Kerr’s pursuit of the collegiate record will get a lot of the attention, but Western Oregon’s David Ribich will be searching for one of his own in this race. Ribich, the reigning NCAA DII 1500m champion and a 2017 USATF outdoor finalist, has an excellent chance to break the DII record of 3:38.91. The senior has a 3:39.56 PR from last season and will be coming off a 1:48.09 800m PR three weeks ago at Stanford.

Lastly, don’t sleep on Peter Callahan. The former Princeton and New Mexico All-American has continuously shown a lethal kick over the years, and he’ll enter Bryan Clay on a high after winning the Stanford 1500m in 3:38 on March 30.

Women’s 1500m

When: Friday 9:05 PM PT

Who: Shelby Houlihan, Colleen Quigley, Courtney Frerichs, Kate Grace, Amy-Eloise Neale, Allie Ostrander

Analysis: It’s a Bowerman Babes show in the women’s 1500m at Bryan Clay, as each of Shelby Houlihan, Colleen Quigley, Courtney Frerichs, and Kate Grace will make their 2018 outdoor debuts.

Coming off a stellar indoor season in which she recorded PRs in both the 1500m and 3,000m and notched top-five finishes in both events at the World Indoor Championships, Shelby Houlihan should be considered the big favorite here. Her 4:03 outdoor PR might be a bit out of reach for this early in the season, but certainly the 4:14 meet record should be easily surpassed by Houlihan and Co.

Quigley is also returning to the track after a solid indoor season—she was ninth in the world indoor 1500m—and despite being a step behind Houlihan, when they’ve matched up in 2018, she has an identical 4:03 outdoor PR.

It will be especially interesting to see how Grace and Frerichs perform on Friday. The Bowerman newcomer Grace had a bumpy end to her indoor campaign—she was just 10th at USAs—and said afterward that she was still adapting to Jerry Schumacher’s training. We’ll get another progress report on Friday.

Frerichs did not run indoors and hasn’t finished a track race since her stunning steeple silver medal at worlds last August; she doesn’t have near the 1500m wheels of her teammates but it’ll be fun to see how she hangs in this one.

Men’s 5,000m

When: Thursday 7:40 PM PT

Who: Evan Jager, Lopez Lomong, Futsum Zienasellassie, Suguru Osako, Tyler Day, Matthew Baxter, Colby Gilbert, Sydney Gidabuday

Analysis: The Bowerman hits keep coming in the men’s 5,000m as world and Olympic medalist Evan Jager makes his 2018 outdoor debut at Bryan Clay. Thursday’s race will be the 29-year-old’s first 5K since 2016, but given his 13:02 PR and massive success in the steeple over the years, Jager seems to be a cut above this field.

Still, the challenges will be plenty.

Teammate Lopez Lomong ran his 13:12 indoor PR in 2017 and is coming off a solid 10,000m debut of 28:21 at Stanford. The 33-year-old has had an up-and-down last few years but has looked more like the Lopez of old since the beginning of 2017; he was fifth in the USA 5,000m final last summer.

NAZ Elite’s Futsum Zienasellassie will make his outdoor debut just a month after finishing 10th in New York City Half (63:39). His PRs lag behind those of Jager and Lomong, but Zienasellassie still owns the meet record at Bryan Clay of 13:37, so he’s clearly comfortable on the Azusa track. Don’t count him out.

The sleeper here is Adams State’s Sydney Gidabuday. It’s always tempting to overlook DII athletes, but Gidabuday has elite wheels to go along with his 13:36 PR. The junior swept the NCAA DII indoor 3K and 5K last month.

Women’s 5,000m

When: Thursday 8:00 PM PT

Who: Marielle Hall, Amy Cragg, Samantha Nadel, Amy Davis, Sarah Disanza,

Analysis: Yes, more Bowerman Track Club. Marielle Hall wrapped up her first indoor season with Jerry’s group by finishing fifth in the USA 3,000m, and she’ll make her outdoor debut at Bryan Clay. Her 15:06 PR makes her the favorite here, but it will be quite something to see what teammate Amy Cragg is capable of coming off her PR at the Tokyo Marathon in February. She’s not a track runner anymore, but as Shalane Flanagan showed this past winter, marathoning and track speed aren’t always mutually exclusive.

Cragg’s last two marathons have each been home runs, as she won the bronze medal last August at the World Championships before running more than a five minute PR of 2:21:42 in Tokyo. The fitness is there, and especially this early in the season, her marathon strength could be a big advantage. Cragg’s 15:09 PR is from 2013.

Others names to watch: Oregon’s Samantha Nadel was an All-American in the 5,000m last spring and owns a 15:37 PR, while Wisconsin’s Amy Davis seems primed for a breakout after running 15:44 indoors. Davis, a junior, had never broken 16:00 before 2018.

Her teammate Sarah Disanza has struggled throughout her career with injuries, but she had an All-American outdoor season in 2017, and, of course, owns a 15:20 PR from way back in 2014. The senior didn’t finish her last track race on March 31 and didn’t compete indoors, so it’s tough to discern how fit she’ll be in this one.

Men’s 800m

When: Friday 1:50 PM PT

Who: Collins Kibet, Thomas Staines

Analysis: Arizona’s Kibet owns the fastest PR in the field with his 1:46 from 2015, but the favorite should be CSU-Pueblo’s Thomas Staines. Staines, a sophomore, was the DII indoor champ back in March and there he set the championship record of 1:47.23. With just a 1:48 outdoor PR— a time that was run at 4,700 feet— Staines seems primed to knock out a big one on Friday at Bryan Clay.

Ironically, the facility record at APU Stadium—Khadevis Robinson’s 1:45.24 from 2005—is identical to the DII 800m record. It’ll be fun to see if Staines can sniff that mark this weekend in California.

Five Burning Questions For The 2019 World Cross Country Championships

null

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

The 43rd edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships is this Saturday, March 30, in Aarhus, Denmark. A hilly and eclectic 10,000m course awaits the senior men and women, and below I’ve tried my best to answer five of the most pressing questions entering this weekend’s championship races.

Holloway Debuts, Kenny B's Back, Another ASU Star Thrower Emerges

It’s still the early days of the outdoor season, with athletes regrouping from the indoors and slowly trickling into the spring season. This weekend’s action was light, especially compared to next weekend’s trifecta of big meets at Stanford, Florida and Texas, but there were some notable results.

Talented ADP Squad Likes World XC Medal Chances On Tough Aarhus Course

null

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

When Shadrack Kipchirchir lines up for the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships on March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark, the 30-year-old American is hoping for the nastiest weather that the Danish city can provide.

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Here's Why USATF Honoring World Rankings Would Be A Disaster

Earlier this week we published an opinion stating why it is a good thing for USATF to use time standards as the only means to guarantee a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team. Our main reason was based on the fact that the new world rankings are unfair, but more importantly, the world rankings make the selection process even worse.

CAS Delays Semenya Decision Until Late April

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Thursday that they will push back a ruling in the case involving Caster Semenya until late April. 

House Of Run: Everything To Be Excited About In The Outdoor Season

Jason and Kevin discuss the 42 most interesting storylines heading into the outdoor season. How healthy is Wayde Van Niekerk? Who will be the top women's 1500m runner? Can the Jamaican men win a sprint medal? What will Eliud Kipchoge do for an encore? Will this be the year of the 400m hurdles?

The Best Track And Field Athlete From Every NCAA Tournament School

The 2019 NCAA DI Men’s Basketball Tournament begins this week, and in honor of March Madness we’ve selected the best track and field athlete— past or present— from each of the tournament’s 68 schools (minus Old Dominion, who does not have a track team; get a track team Old Dominion). Some of the names below are NCAA track and field legends from major programs. Others on this list never even qualified for the NCAA Championships. The 68 here ran the gamut, from Olympic heroes to mere school record holders.

Why LetsRun Is Wrong & USATF Is Right About Olympic Qualifying

Last week, the IAAF announced its new qualification process for the 2020 Olympic Games, which included tougher entry standards and new computerized world rankings. The reaction was intense as some media outlets painted an apocalyptic worldview for U.S. athletics. In reality, it’s not that dramatic.

Cal Coach Tony Sandoval To Retire

Tony Sandoval, the director of track and field and cross country at Cal, will retire at the conclusion of the outdoor season. Sandoval spent 37 years at the university, beginning as the head women’s coach in 1982. 

Six Reasons We're Looking Forward To The NCAA Outdoor Track Season

As exciting as 200-meter ovals and banked curves are, we’re ready for the unpredictable weather, sprint relays and 10K races of spring track season. Here’s a few reasons to get excited for NCAA outdoor track and field.