Friday and Saturday's Music City Distance Carnival offers a little bit of everything. There will be professional runners making their season debuts, NCAA champions testing themselves against the nation's best, collegians who missed their national meet looking for a bit of redemption, and at least one high schooler with a chance to break four minutes in the mile.
Here are five events to watch in Nashville, Tennessee.
High School Boys 1 Mile: Saturday, 9:20 PM
High schooler Brodey Hasty didn’t open his season until the end of May, but he is quickly piling up the races. Saturday will be Hasty’s third race in less than two weeks, all at the mile distance. Last Saturday, he finished at the back of the Prefontaine Classic International Mile pack, running 4:04.53.
But there is a reason to believe Hasty can become the 11th American high schooler to break four minutes in the mile. Last year at this meet Hasty ran 4:01.75. During the indoor season he got even closer to four, running 4:00.05 at the Millrose Games. With two races under his belt and a competitive field, Saturday could be special.
It speaks to the depth of high school running in the United States that Hasty may not end the night as the fastest high school miler in the meet. With top preps Dalton Hengst and Josh Hoey entered, Hasty's victory is far from guaranteed. Hoey has been particularly impressive this year—running 1:48 on three separate occasions during the outdoor season and 1:47 indoors.
Ten minutes after the high school mile, the pros take the track. Lawi Lalang and Brandon Lasater lead the professional entrants. Lasater is coming off an 800m personal best of 1:45.85 and has run 3:41.13 in the 1500m. Lalang ran a 13:24.09 at the Payton Jordan Invitational 5000m, his best time since 2014.
Men’s Steeplechase: Saturday, 8:35 PM
This race is the 2018 steeple debut for Donn Cabral. The 2012 and 2016 Olympian has run two 10Ks on the roads and an indoor 5000 this year. He may be the favorite, but against this field Cabral will have some company and gets his first taste of the steeple in 11 months.
Mason Ferlic has run 8:21 and, at 24 years of age, is one of the young stars the U.S. will be counting on this event. Frankline Tonui is just two years out of college and finished runner-up at the 2016 NCAA Championships. Craig Nowak is a month away from his PR in the event—an 8:35 at the Payton Jordan Invitational, where he placed sixth.
Women’s 800m: Saturday, 7:35 PM
Ohio Northern’s Emily Richards is fresh off Division III national championships No. 9 and 10 last weekend in the 800m and 1500m. Her collegiate eligibility now exhausted, this is the first chance to see Richards as a post-collegian. We have seen her race into the summer before, with great success. Last year, she finished eighth at the U.S. Championships, demonstrating that her talent stretches far beyond her collegiate classification, and ran a PR of 2:00.62, at the 2017 Music City Distance Carnival.
Richards’ 2:02 personal best matches up well with Claudia Saunders’ season-best. The Stanford alum has run 2:02 twice this year, though she has a personal best of 2:00.63 from 2015 when she finished runner-up at the NCAA Championships. Carina Viljoen of Arkansas and Victoria Tachinski of Penn State both competed at last weekend’s NCAA Preliminary Round. Neither finished in the top 12 to advance to Eugene. Instead, they will compete on Saturday and try to end their season on a high note.
But the ascendant Darroneshia Lott, who was added to the field late last Saturday, could also take the title here. The Coker College senior, who entered this past weekend's NCAA DII Outdoor Championships with a 2:05.24 PR, decimated the DII national record in the 800m final with a 2:01.31—only to be disqualified within the hour for a lane violation. She told FloTrack that she has her eyes on a USATF Outdoor qualifier, and if she can replicate her DII Nationals performance (minus the lane violation, of course), she'll get it handily.
Men’s 800m: Saturday, 7:55 PM
The men’s 800m rolls out a solid field with Brandon Hazouri, Edose Ibadin, Strymar Livingston, Ryan Martin, Drew Piazza, and Eliud Rutto all entered in the 25-person field. Regardless of how the heats break down, the two names to watch will be Edward Kemboi and Thomas Staines.
Kemboi is the 2015 NCAA champion and has a personal best of 1:44.77. He’s had a busy 2018, racing 13 times since the beginning of the year including a 1:46.91 that he ran in Atlanta two weeks ago. Staines is just a sophomore but is quickly becoming one of the best 800m runners in Division II history. Racing for CSU-Pueblo, Staines posted a 1:46.56 over the weekend to take the national title and complete the indoor/outdoor sweep. How fast can he go in a deep field filled with runners capable of running 1:46?
Men’s 600m: Friday, 8:45 PM
Emmanuel Korir was targeting this race for a run at the 600m world record, but he scratched from the meet on Thursday morning. But there is a still a potent field of mid-distance runners including Cas Loxsom, Neil Gourley, Chris Giesting, and Drew Piazza.