There were 5 Men’s finals on the first day of the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships. Here’s how they played out:
Wisconsin’s fifth-year senior Morgan McDonald handily lived up to his favorite’s role, augmenting his status as NCAA cross champion with a swift-kicking win over Colorado junior Joe Klecker, 13:41.76–13:42.79. BYU’s Clayton Young (3rd in 13:45.35) led for 11 laps early, Campbell’s Amon led for 10 until 400 to go, and then McDonald took over, with finishing figures of 55.78 and 26.47. McDonald’s win following Alicia Monson’s in the women’s 5K made Wisconsin the first school to claim both crowns in the same year. The Aussie also set the stage for a highly anticipated 3K rematch with his Millrose vanquisher, Grant Fisher of Stanford, on Saturday.
Iowa State held the lead through 3 legs, powered by Festus Lagat’s runaway 1200 (2:53.46), Eric Fogltanz’s 400 (46.92) and Roshon Roomes’s 800 (1:47.95), setting up a come-from-way-behind (40-plus meters) fight among four schools with quality milers to catch up. Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse led the chase charge on the last leg and finally caught Cyclone Dan Curts with 2½ laps left. Stanford’s Grant Fisher stalked 2m behind but had had to carry his school from 9.15 off the pace at the final exchange. Fisher went past with 300 left and looked ready to take it for the Cardinal but over a hard-fought last lap Nuguse clawed back for an Irish win at the line, 9:31.55–9:31.70. The Notre Dame soph timed 3:56.02, Fisher 3:54.23. “When I’m doing it for my team out there I give it all that I have, and it paid off tonight,” said Nuguse.
Even though Mondo Duplantis was facing probably the toughest field in meet history, many figured the CR holder would have another cakewalk. He didn’t, needing two attempts at both 18-1¾ (5.53) and 18-5½ (5.63), at that point standing only 6th. But he righted the ship at 18-9½ (5.73), being the only one of 5 left to clear on first attempt. Chris Nilsen (South Dakota State) and Jacob Wooten (Texas A&M) both cleared on final try, Wooten PRing, but could go no higher. Mondo then cleared 18-11½ (5.78) on his second attempt and 19-1½ (5.83) on his first before missing thrice at a world-leading 19-5¾ (5.94). Thinking team scoring, Duplantis said, “Seeing Rayvon [Gray] get the win in the long jump, that hyped me up, it motivated me.”
As they had at the SEC, LSU’s Rayvon Gray and Florida’s Grant Holloway staged a great battle. The former won the conference title by just three-quarters of an inch, and that was the exact margin by which the Tiger beat his Gator rival here, 26-1¾ (7.97) to 26-1 (7.95). Where this script differed was that Houston’s Trumaine Jefferson split them, PRing at 26-1 (7.96) to take 2nd. Said Gray, a junior, “Coming into this meet, I didn’t really care how far I went, I just wanted to get the win. It means a lot to me to contribute 10 points to the team. I came here to have fun and that’s what I did.” Busy on the straightaway at the same time as the LJ, Holloway passed his three final attempts.
New CR holder Payton Otterdahl had a chance to put the competition away as the first thrower in the order. The North Dakota State senior didn’t squander the opportunity, unleashing the No. 4 throw in collegiate history, 71-2¾ (21.71). The rest of his series was anticlimactic, with a two fouls, a pair of 66s and a 68. Behind him, Texas soph Tripp Piperi PRed twice to take the runner-up spot after hitting 67-11½ (20.71) in the first round and 68-10 (20.98) in the second. □