Bryce Hoppel Still Unbeaten In The 800

For double NCAA 800 champion Bryce Hoppel it’s 11-for-11 this year. (JEFF COHEN)

KANSAS JUNIOR Bryce Hoppel is riding a hot streak and he knows it. With his smashing 1:44.48 victory in the 2-lapper at the new Sunset Tour, the in/out NCAA champion has gone undefeated in every race this season—a total of 11 finals in his specialty. The 21-year-old Texan admits he used the talk of his win streak to motivate himself. “I kinda focused on it a little bit. It’s obviously something that I noticed that people are talking about,” he says. “I like to take it more race by race than build up this thing that’s going along with me. But it’s definitely helped me focus and make sure that I’m doing the best that I can.”

The strong finish that he used to win the NCAA Outdoor in 1:44.41 helped him in his first race against the pros, as he missed his PR by only 0.07 in the process of dominating miler Craig Engels (1:44.68 PR). “Going into it I always have high, high expectations of myself,” says Hoppel, “I think I was thinking of reasons to get out there and compete and do the best I can do.”

As for an explanation of how he went from a 1:45.67 soph (4th at last year’s NCAA) to one of the top Americans overall, Hoppel doesn’t think it’s any one factor: “I can’t narrow it down to anything specific. A lot of things came together at the right time here at Kansas, with the coaching and some of the guys I get to train with.” Working primarily with Jayhawk assistant Michael Whittlesey, Hoppel has certainly progressed since the 1:53.24 he ran as a junior at Midland High, the year he decided to leave soccer behind and concentrate on running. “It probably ended up being one of the best decisions of my life,” he says.

Hoppel admits that his success has been challenging to fully grasp. “A lot of it just still doesn’t seem real to me,” he says. “I’m still kind of trying to grasp the things I’ve been accomplishing lately, but… I just try to stay humble and just be the best that I can be, whether it’s on the track or just the person that I am.”

With a pair of 1:44s now—as well as a win in a pro race, it’s a fair question whether Hoppel will return to Lawrence for his senior year. The Business Finance major says, “I don’t want to say anything decisive. I’m still trying to keep my options open and decide what’s best for me. I’m definitely going to finish my education. But how I go about doing it, whether it’s finishing my eligibility or taking my talents into the professional world is something that I’m trying to figure out right now. Ultimately I’ll hopefully do what’s best for me personally and maybe what’s best for the KU program if I decide to stay.”

For now, Hoppel is focused on the USATF meet. Last year, he finished last in his heat; his expectations are a bit higher now, and he feels he has more in the tank. “Absolutely. I kind of like to think that I run to my competition and do whatever it takes to win. That’s how I’ve been going throughout this season, that just doesn’t really matter who I’m running against. I’m just going to run until my heart gives out.”

Hoppel’s wasn’t the only notable 800 at the SoCal evening meet. Kate Grace looked to be in fine form in winning the women’s race in 1:59.58, ahead of Shelby Houlihan, who finally joined the sub-2:00 club with her 1:59.92, joining Shannon Rowbury as Americans who have broken 2:00, 4:00 & 15:00.

In the fastest of the men’s 1500s, Ben Blankenship scored the win in 3:36.22, but notable was the 3rd place of Donavan Brazier, running 3:37.18 in his first 1500 ever. Nikki Hiltz beat Colleen Quigley in the women’s race, 4:05.97–4:07.19.

Minnesota’s Obsa Ali PRed with an 8:28.49 steeple. Lopez Lomong won a deep 5000 in 13:25.13. And toward the end of the evening, Houlihan came back to pace the first 8 laps-plus of the 5000, helping teammates Karissa Schweizer (15:01.63), Marielle Hall (15:02.27) and Vanessa Fraser (15:07.58) score Olympic standards.


SUNSET TOUR MEN’S RESULTS

Azusa, California, July 9—

800: I–1. Bryce Hoppel (US) 1:44.48; 2. Craig Engels (US) 1:44.68 PR; 3. Josh Kerr (GB) 1:45.35 PR; 4. Brannon Kidder (US) 1:45.39 PR; 5. Erik Sowinski (US) 1:46.08; 6. Neil Gourley (GB) 1:46.12 PR; 7. Matthew Centrowitz (US) 1:46.32; 8. Drew Piazza (US) 1:46.68. II–1. Izaic Yorks (US) 1:46.97 PR; 2. Henry Wynne (US) 1:47.00 PR; 3. David Ribich (US) 1:48.30.

1500: I–1. Ben Blankenship (US) 3:36.22; 2. Chris O’Hare (GB) 3:36.57; 3. Donavan Brazier (US) 3:37.18 PR; 4. Drew Hunter (US) 3:37.29; 5. Robert Domanic (US) 3:37.70; 6. Geordie Beamish (NZ) 3:38.09 PR; 7. Graham Crawford (US) 3:38.86; 8. Tripp Hurt (US) 3:39.06 PR; 9. William Paulson (Can) 3:39.80; 10. Craig Nowak (US) 3:40.09; 11. James Randon (US) 3:40.28; 12. Eric Avila (US) 3:46.74; 13. Garrett O’Toole (US) 3:47.98. II–1. Amos Bartelsmeyer (Ger) 3:37.44; 2. Sam Prakel (US) 3:37.54; 3. James West (GB) 3:37.77; 4. Nick Willis (NZ) 3:37.86; 5. Nanami Arai (Jpn) 3:38.18 PR; 6. Josh Thompson (US) 3:38.71; 7. Justine Kiprotich (Ken) 3:38.83 PR; 8. Rob Napolitano (US) 3:39.35; 9. Patrick Joseph (US) 3:39.37 PR; 10. Julian Oakley (NZ) 3:40.37; 11. Pat Casey (US) 3:40.53; 12. Mac Fleet (US) 3:41.14; 13. Kyle Merber (US) 3:41.74; 14. Blake Haney (Can) 3:41.98; 15. Will Leer (US) 3:47.76. III–1. Jordan Mann (US) 3:39.64 PR; 2. Kasey Knevelbaard (US) 3:40.30 PR; 3. Tim Gorman (US) 3:40.52 PR; 4. Vincent Ciattei (US) 3:40.76; 5. Paul Ryan (US) 3:41.05 PR.

St: 1. Obsa Ali (US) 8:28.49 PR; 2. Daniel Michalski (US) 8:30.69 PR; 3. Isaac Updike (US) 8:38.17; 4. Mark Parrish (US) 8:40.53; 5. Steven Jones (US) 8:41.27 PR; 6. John Gay (Can) 8:41.45; 7. Bryce Miller (US) 8:42.81; 8. Joseph Berriatua (US) 8:44.37 PR; 9. Evan Verbal (US) 8:49.58 PR; 10. Kyle Medina (US) 8:52.49.

5000: 1. Lopez Lomong (US) 13:25.13; 2. Hassan Mead (US) 13:27.71; 3. Woody Kincaid (US) 13:28.83; 4. Grant Fisher (US) 13:29.03 PR; 5. Riley Masters (US) 13:29.50; 6. Dillon Maggard (US) 13:33.01; 7. Sam Atkin (GB) 13:33.70 PR; 8. David Elliott (US) 13:34.88 PR; 9. Reid Buchanan (US) 13:35.23; 10. Connor Winter (US) 13:35.60 PR; 11. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Jpn) 13:36.61; 12. Lawi Lalang (Ken) 13:37.88; 13. Jeff Thies (US) 13:38.00 PR; 14. Hyuga Endo (Jpn) 13:38.82; 15. Leonard Korir (US) 13:39.53; 16. Christopher Olley (GB) 13:40.35 PR; 17. Tommy Curtin (US) 13:40.40; 18. Abdi Hassan (Som) 13:40.81 PR; 19. Aaron Templeton (US) 13:41.51; 20. Reed Fischer (US) 13:43.46 PR; 21. John Reniewicki (US) 13:48.96 PR.

SUNSET TOUR WOMEN’S RESSULT

200(0.9): 1. Courtne Davis (US) 23.05 PR; 2. Jasmine Blocker (US) 23.06 PR; 3. Jaide Stepter (US) 23.30; 4. Ashley Henderson (US) 23.42.

800: I–1. Kate Grace (US) 1:59.58; 2. Shelby Houlihan (US) 1:59.92 PR; 3. Sinclaire Johnson (US) 2:00.43 PR; 4. Lindsey Butterworth (Can) 2:01.33; 5. Dana Mecke (US) 2:02.22; 6. Jessica Smith (Can) 2:03.21; 7. Sammy Watson (US) 2:03.22; 8. Kaela Edwards (US) 2:04.53; 9. Sabrina Southerland (US) 2:06.86. II–1. Savannah Colon (US) 2:03.22; 2. Marta Pen (Por) 2:03.49; 3. Julie Labach (Can) 2:03.64; 4. Samantha Murphy (Can) 2:04.13; 5. Ashley Taylor (Can) 2:04.33; 6. Shea Collinsworth (US) 2:04.36; 7. Yuliya Stepanova (Rus) 2:05.18; 8. Sadi Henderson (US) 2:05.26; 9. Brooke Feldmeier (US) 2:05.58. III–1. Guiping Zhang (Chn) 2:05.27 PR; 2. Jessica Teal (US) 2:05.74 PR; 3. Gabby Crank (US) 2:06.45.

1500: 1. Nikki Hiltz (US) 4:05.97; 2. Colleen Quigley (US) 4:07.19; 3. Cory McGee (US) 4:08.79; 4. Elise Cranny (US) 4:08.99 PR; 5. Karisa Nelson (US) 4:09.33 PR; 6. Dani Jones (US) 4:09.68; 7. Katie Mackey (US) 4:10.56; 8. Hanna Hermansson (Swe) 4:10.74; 9. Hanna Green (US) 4:11.77; 10. Lauren Johnson (US) 4:14.21; 11. Kim Conley (US) 4:15.29. II–1. Courtney Frerichs (US) 4:11.05 PR; 2. Rebecca Mehra (US) 4:11.24 PR; 3. Millie Paladino (US) 4:12.20 PR; 4. Jenny Celis (US) 4:12.25 PR; 5. Eleanor Fulton (US) 4:12.30; 6. Amanda Eccleston (US) 4:12.53; 7. Xiaoqian Zheng (Chn) 4:12.97; 8. Grace Barnett (US) 4:15.36; 9. Heather Kampf (US) 4:16.97; 10. Mel Lawrence (US) 4:17.89; 11. Emily Lipari (US) 4:18.68. III–1. Baylee Mires (US) 4:14.52 PR; 2. Min Geng (Chn) 4:16.45 PR; 3. Leah Rosenfeld (US) 4:18.11 PR; 4. Tricia Terry (US) 4:19.88 PR.

St: 1. Regan Yee (Can) 9:35.49 PR; 2. Maria Bernard (Can) 9:36.12 PR; 3. Marisa Howard (US) 9:36.46; 4. Paige Stoner (US) 9:39.10 PR; 5. Alycia Butterworth (Can) 9:40.71 PR; 6. Jessica Furlan (Can) 9:52.81; 7. Alex Wilson (US) 9:54.26; 8. Breanna Sieracki (US) 10:04.17; 9. Anna McDonald(US) 10:09.38; 10. Megan Rolland (US) 10:12.08; 11. Briar Brumley (US) 10:12.55; 12. Christine Thorn (US) 10:12.92.

5000: 1. Karissa Schweizer (US) 15:01.63 PR; 2. Marielle Hall (US) 15:02.27 PR; 3. Vanessa Fraser (US) 15:07.58 PR; 4. Allie Buchalski (US) 15:22.29 PR; 5. Shannon Rowbury (US) 15:24.37; 6. Shuangshuang Xu (Chn) 15:26.44 PR; 7. Laura Galván (Mex) 15:27.26 PR; 8. Elvin Kibet (Ken) 15:27.74 PR; 9. Heidi See (Aus) 15:28.35; 10. Josette Norris (US) 15:29.34 PR; 11. Cally Macumber (US) 15:30.60 PR; 12. Stephanie Garcia (US) 15:34.36; 13. Maddie Alm (US) 15:41.43 PR; 14. Malindi Elmore (Can) 15:44.97; 15. Alycia Cridebring (US) 15:45.35; 16. Brenda Flores (Mex) 15:45.88; 17. Anne-Marie Blaney (US) 15:46.56; 18. Maggie Montoya (US) 15:50.59; 19. Sarah Pagano (US) 15:56.06; 20. Jess Watychowicz (US) 15:58.43.

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