Track & Field Preview: Distance Runners

One of the richest traditions in collegiate athletics is found in track & field, but we have been unable to bring you good coverage of the standout Stanford program until now. New track & field writer Bob Kinder takes this task under his wing this winter and spring. Today he offers the first part of his 2007 outdoor preview, focusing on the men's and women's distance runners.

This starts a series of articles of the future fortunes of Stanford's Track & Field teams.  We'll cover a group of events each article, starting with the Distance Runners.  We'll cover who they are, single out the top five in each event (where Stanford has five) and discuss the school record and alums who are competing at a world class level.

When I met last week with Stanford Track & Field Head Coach Edrick Floreal, one of the items I wanted to understand was redshirting in track & field.  It's a spring sport, so coming back for one's fifth year requires much more than say football, which would be for only one quarter.  Well, the answer is: 'We don't redshirt, as a rule.'

Looking below you see a number of athletes who could complete for a fifth year, however it is seldom if ever planned.  Many of those who have a fifth year can't or don't use it.  They graduate and move on; they graduate and don't gain admission to graduate school at Stanford; or they just can't stretch out their fifth year as an undergraduate.  Keep in mind that many student-athletes are on a partial scholarship in track & field, and a fifth year could be a sizable expense.  Four athletes who would have strongly contributed this season, by my count, did not return for their final year of eligibility.

Redshirting happens mostly because an injury never allows the athlete to come back to their top form, or an athlete is not in the best of shape.  The lack of shape could be caused by illness or injury or school activities.  Many track & field events require a solid base of training (obvious for distance runners) for an athlete to perform their best.

One of my pet peeves, and maybe my biggest peeve, is running the 1500m instead of the Mile. While drugs have done much to narrow the fan base of track & field, I think seldom running the Mile has done more.  What sports fan can't tell you what a Mile Race is?  To help, since my battle is very uphill, I'll list the men's 1500 times, the Mile time if better or a converted 1500 to Mile time for each individual.  The college women have always run the 1500 so that hasn't been confusing.  "c" equals converted from 1500 to Mile or Mile to 1500.

Also as to class, I'll be consistent with the roster posted by the Stanford Track & Field office.  For instance RS JR means two years of eligibility remaining.  The times/distances posted are personal bests.

1500-Women

School Record: Malindi Elmore, 4:10.42

Arianna Lambie    RS JR  4:13.14
Katy Trotter      SR     4:22.03
Anne St. Geme     FR     4:22.31
Lauren Centrowitz JR     4:22.89
Amanda Trotter    SR     4:23.42
Alica Follmar     SO     4:24.49

Lambie is fourth on the all-time Stanford list and was 19th in the U.S. last year.  Katy Trotter was 21st in the Mile in the U.S. and St. Geme 22nd.  St. Geme's mother, Cici Hopp St. Geme, is ninth in Stanford history.  Lambie is the second-fastest returning collegian.

Alums Lauren Fleshman and Sara Bei Hall ranked 13th and 17th, respectively, in the U.S. last season.

Stanford has a great chance to score big in the outdoor NCAAs.  Lambie is a solid threat to break the school record.

1500-Men

School Record: Michael Stember, 3:35.11, c 3:52.7

Russell Brown       RS JR  3:41.72, c 3:59.5
Lauren Jesperson    RS JR  3:43.1 c, 4:00.99
Joaquin Chapa       RS JR  3:43.22, c 4:01.00
Jacob Gomez         SR     3:43.37, c 4:01.2
Justin Marpole-Bird FR     3:45.99, c 4:03.8

Brown was the 23th fastest in the Mile last year in the U.S.  Yes, they do run the Mile once in a while; they should always run it.  He ran 3:59.65 indoor, to about equal his 1500 time.  Jesperson's PR is two years old, and hopefully he can return to this form.  Marpole-Bird improved by leaps and bounds over the summer.  He's Canadian.

Brown placed in the NCAAs last year, and like the women, this could be a good event for Stanford at the NCAAs.  Stanford actually has three more runners under the 4:05 mile-equivalent, and they will be mentioned in the longer races.

Alums are running very strong.  Jason Lunn was sixth in the U.S. in the 1500, Jonathan Riley 15th, and in the huge comeback from nowhere, Gabe Jennings was 11th.

Steeplechase-Women

School Record: Katy Trotter, 10:07.55

Katy Trotter   SR  10:07.55
Lindsay Allen  JR  10:26.71
Amanda Trotter SR  10:36.73

Katy Trotter, Allen and Amanda Trotter rank first, fourth and fifth, respectively on Stanford's all-time list.

Stanford hardly ran this event last year, so no rankings.  Katy Trotter's time is from two years ago and would have been #14 in the U.S. last year.

Stepplechase-Men

School Record: Ian Dobson 8:32.09

Jonathan Pierce SR     8:40.88
Chris Mocko     RS SO  9:32.97
Kevin Bickham   SR     9:42.59

Pierce is fourth on Stanford's all-time list and was the 18th American last year and an NCAA placer.

Alum Ian Dobson concentrates on the 5K and 10K.

5K-Women

School Record: Lauren Fleshman 15:15.48

Arianna Lambie   RS JR  15:44.23
Amanda Trotter   SR     16:07.71
Katy Trotter     SR     16:14.19
Teresa McWalters RS JR  16:19.60
Lindsay Flacks   RS SO  16:48.08

These are the five women placers on the NCAA Cross Country Championship.  Flacks missed last year, or much of, and there are three others a bit faster.  But she really came back in the Cross Country Championships and was the third Stanford finisher.

Lambie may double at the NCAAs; she was the 17th American last year.  The Trotters may concentrate on this race at the NCAAs.  All five are potential NCAA scorers.

Alums Fleshman and Bei Hall are the fifth- and seventh-ranked Americans, respectively, and strong Olympic contenders.

5K-Men

School Record: Ian Dobson 13:15.33

Neftalem Araia         RS JR  13:44.78
Brett Gotcher          SR     13:56.35
Jacob Gomez            SR     13:56.36
Hari Mix               RS SO  14:03.09
Hakon DeVries          RS SO  14:08.08i
Garrett Heath          RS SO  14:09.33
Jonathan Pierce        SR     14:09.55
Forrest Tahdooahnippah RS JR  14:10.86

Tremendous depth here behind Araia, who will run the 10K in the NCAAs.  13:50 was 40th fastest in the US last year, and Stanford has a number of runners who could run that.

Alums Ryan Hall (ninth), Jonathon Riley (15th), and Ian Dobson (24th) are all Olympic contenders.  Although Hall, who recently set the U.S. Half
Marathon record by nearly a full second, is moving up to the longer races.

10K-Women

School Record: Alicia Craig 32:19.97

Katy Trotter     SR     34:53.10
Lindsay Flacks   SR     35:30.82
Katie Harrington RS SO  37:02.58

No one here has a real decent time, but Stanford will have runners in the Pac-10 Meet and maybe the NCAAs.  There are several younger runners who could move up.

Craig's time listed above was also an American collegian record.  Last year Craig, recovering from injuries, was the 30th American at 33:52.44.

10K-Men

School Record: Ian Dobson 27:59.72

Neftalem Araia         RS JR  28:27.43
Forrest Tahdooahnippah RS JR  28:35.95
Jonathan Pierce        SR     28:54.98
Brett Gotcher          SR     28:57.19
Hari Mix               RS SO  28:58.90

Stanford is loaded here.  Araia was #15 in the U.S. last year.  Tahdooahnippah's best was two years ago but would have been 19th, Pierce 33rd, Gotcher 34th and Mix 37th.

Alum Ian Dobson was #8 in the U.S. last year.


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