TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA, October 15 — BYU’s Conner Mantz overcame a barrage of surges from Florida State’s Adriaan Wildschutt to win the FSU Invite/Pre-Nationals at Apalachee Regional Park. Northern Arizona took the team title with only 64 points to handily defeat Colorado and Arkansas (both at 128) and BYU (131).
Wildschutt has had no fear in leading races in his collegiate career and on his 8K home course he wanted to do the same. “I wanted to come out here and put up a flawless performance for the crowd and what this course means to me and the ’Noles,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure I was in the front pack for the first 3K and was trying to push the pace onward.”
The strategy worked as the pack was whittled down to 8 by 5K (14:24). Trying to match each move was Mantz who was a bit uncertain of his fitness coming in after a delayed beginning to his cross country training.
“I had a late start this summer [because he ran the Olympic Trials],” said the reigning NCAA champ. “I entered a race three weeks ago, I had to adjust. Since I’m starting late if I don’t win it’s alright. I don’t have to win every race. It’s just adjusting to those expectations.”
Mantz was finally able to get the upper hand over Wildschutt on the downhill finish to win in 22:47.0, 1.8 seconds better than the previous previous course record. The final kilo was run in a sizzling 2:43.7.
Mantz wasn’t sure of the final outcome until the finish. “I actually thought as soon as I made my move, I knew I couldn’t let up. He was on my tail or pushing the pace. He knows this course, he knows what he’s doing so when I make my move, my last final move, I don’t look back, I don’t focus on him, I just focus on making it to that finish line.”
Northern Arizona made short work of the field taking a 6-point lead at 3K and extending it to a 64-point win over Colorado and Arkansas by the end.
Abdihamid Nur, Drew Bosley and Nico Young all finished in the top 10 to lead the Lumberjacks. Nur, who finished 4th in 22:55.2, was pleased with his and his team’s performance.
“In this time of the year and us being off for four weeks of racing, I am really happy with how we ran today as a team and how I ran as an individual,” he said. “I tried to hold on as long as possible, but in the end they got away from me, but I think that is something I can go back in the next four weeks and work on.”
After the mid-season checkpoint, Nur summed up his team’s strategy and goal of performing well in the postseason.
“For us, we’re a team that runs together and looks out for each other. I think that’s the biggest positive we have and keeps us going. I think at Nationals that’s exactly what we are going to do. We came here with the mission to run together and make a statement and show that we’re not afraid of anything and ready to compete with anybody at any time. Come Nationals, we’re going to be prepared and I’m excited. There are some teams that weren’t here today, but we’re going to be ready when the time comes.”
PRE-NATIONALS MEN’S RESULTS
Teams: 1. Northern Arizona 64; 2. Colorado 128; 3. Arkansas 128; 4. BYU 131; 5. Notre Dame 203; 6. Texas 233; 7. Princeton 271; 8. Florida State 281; 9. Alabama 325; 10. Georgetown 331.
Individuals (8K): 1. *Conner Mantz (BYU) 22:47.0; 2. *Adriaan Wildschutt’ (FlSt-SA) 22:49.5; 3. ***Victor Kiprop’ (Al-Ken) 22:54.8; 4. **Abdihamid Nur’ (NnAz-Som) 22:55.2; 5. *Dylan Jacobs (NDm) 22:55.5; 6. **Drew Bosley (NnAz) 23:00.5; 7. Eduardo Herrera (Co) 23:01.4; 8. **Casey Clinger (BYU) 23:06.0; 9. ***Nico Young (NnAz) 23:12.4; 10. Amon Kemboi’ (Ar-Ken) 23:13.1;
11. *Ahmed Muhumed’ (FlSt-Som) 23:13.1; 12. *Duncan Hamilton (MtSt) 23:14.7; 13. ***Eliud Kipsang’ (Al-Ken) 23:16.0; 14. **Nickolas Scudder (Char) 23:17.1; 15. *Vincent Mauri (AzSt) 23:19.3; 16. Gilbert Boit’ (Ar-Ken) 23:22.7; 17. *Danny Kilrea (NDm) 23:23.1; 18. Michael Coccia’ (Ms-Can) 23:23.6; 19. *Brandon Garnica (BYU) 23:24.0; 20. *George Kusche (NnAz) 23:24.0;
21. Fearghal Curtin (ChSn) 23:25.2; 22. *Zach Facioni’ (WF-Aus) 23:25.5; 23. *Brendan Fraser (Co) 23:26.0; 24. **Austin Vancil (Co) 23:26.3; 24. **Theo Quax’ (NnAz-NZ) 23:26.3; 26. *Mario Garcia Romo’ (Ms-Spa) 23:27.7; 27. *Andrew Kibet’ (Ar-Ken) 23:28.0; 28. **Haftu Knight (Tx) 23:28.2; 29. ***Yaseen Abdalla (Tx) 23:28.3; 30. *Florian LePallec (CalB) 23:29.1; 31. *Emmanuel Cheboson’ (Ar-Ken) 23:29.9. ◻︎