Nuttycombe XC Men — Kiptoo’s Strategy Works

Wesley Kiptoo’s race plan was a simple one: run away with it. (CAROL CHEN)

VERONA, WISCONSIN, October 15 — Wesley Kiptoo’s plan was the story of the Nuttycombe Invitational men’s race. The Iowa State junior never substantially trailed in what became a run-away-and-hide win that took the measure of a field that included eventual runner-up Cooper Teare of Oregon.

Kiptoo’s 8K time of 23:11.2 was the best on the 8K Zimmer course since Lawi Lalang’s 23:02 record of 9 years ago. Track 5K champ Teare was more than respectable in 23:20.9 as he was followed by Charles Hicks of Stanford (23:21.9), his Duck teammate Aaron Bienenfeld (23:23) and Wisconsin yearling Bob Liking with the race of his young career in 23:27.

Making the day doubly nice for new Iowa State coach Jeremy Sudbury was the team win, which gave his squad a boost after a loss to BYU at Griak. Despite Stanford’s three low sticks with a 3-6-7 finish, the Iowa State pack claimed 17-20-21-29 behind Kiptoo to give the No. 6-rated Cyclones an 88–104 win over the No. 3 Cardinal. Six other ranked teams populated the top 9, with No. 12 Tulsa the best of them in 3rd with 160 points, followed by No. 11 Wisconsin (187) and No. 30 Air Force (225).

Stanford had 3 in the top 5 early and just after 2K had 5 in the top 9 for 33 points and looked primed for a runaway victory with Iowa State then back at 115. But Iowa State’s group steadily moved up while Stanford’s Nos. 4 & 5 fell back a bit and that made all the difference.

Kiptoo bided his time among the leaders — probably not so patiently given his predilection for taking off quickly — until about 1200m when he made his move. Almost before you could blink, it quickly became a race for 2nd. Within 800m, Kiptoo had begun to build his lead with a 5:39 split at 2K and “the field” in the person of Teare at 5:43; at 4K, it was Kiptoo at 11:29 and the trail pack at 11:43; and at 6K, Kiptoo was at 17:12 and the margin had ballooned to 20 seconds with the trail pack at 17:32.

Kiptoo said he was prepared to counter if anyone had made a move on him: “I knew this field was strong, and when I just went to the front and nobody was coming with me and then I was, you know, just running then, waiting for somebody to come.”

No one did. And that was just fine with the Kenyan, who went out hard and fast last spring at Oklahoma State and was eventually reeled in by champ Conner Mantz of BYU and runner-up Adriaan Wildschutt of Florida State.

Kiptoo said Sudbury wanted him to rein it in a bit early on and not be “running that crazy and see how my team was doing back there and help them get to the front.”

“I’m so happy for my team,” Kiptoo said. “We have been preparing for the last three weeks. We had our first meeting [at Griak, a loss to BYU]. You know, we got 2nd, and we went back to the training.”

That loss to BYU also included a narrow Kiptoo 2nd to Mantz, but Kiptoo said he’s not trying to look ahead too much.

“You wait, take it one meet at a time,” he said. “After this, we have two weeks to Conference. That’s why like we have been just taking it really easy. So we’re not going like out crazy and, you know, just maintaining and getting some good work in there and not like just killing every race.”


Teams: 1. Iowa State 88; 2. Stanford 104; 3. Tulsa 160; 4. Wisconsin 187; 5. Air Force 225; 6. Oregon 271; 7. Gonzaga 273; 8. Michigan 285; 9. Furman 302; 10. Colorado State 318.

Individuals (8K): 1. *Wesley Kiptoo’ (IaSt-Ken) 23:11.2; 2. Cooper Teare (Or) 23:20.9; 3. ***Charles Hicks’ (Stan-GB) 23:21.9; 4. Aaron Bienenfeld (Or) 23:23.2; 5. ***Bob Liking (Wi) 23:27.1; 6. ***Cole Sprout (Stan) 23:27.5; 7. ***Ky Robinson (Stan) 23:32.2; 8. Morgan Beadlescomb (MiSt) 23:32.2; 9. **Camren Todd (UtSt) 23:36.2; 10. *Marcelo Rocha (Prov) 23:36.9;

11. ***Wil Smith (Gonz) 23:37.1; 12. Alec Basten (Mn) 23:37.7; 13. Olin Hacker (Wi) 23:38.1; 14. *James Mwaura (Gonz) 23:38.2; 15. Joe Dragon (Syr) 23:39.6; 16. **Jackson Sharp’ (Wi-Aus) 23:40.6; 17. Festus Lagat’ (IaSt-Ken) 23:45.3; 18. *Scott Beattie’ (Tuls-GB) 23:45.7; 19. **Nick Scheller (AF) 23:46.2; 20. Thomas Pollard (IaSt) 23:46.5;

21. ***Gable Sieperda (IaSt) 23:47.9; 22. Dario De Caro (Boise) 23:48.4; 23. Peter Lynch (Tuls) 23:48.6; 24. ***Parker Wolfe (NC) 23:49.2; 25. *Arjun Jha (In) 23:49.7; 26. *Cormac Dalton’ (Tuls-Ire) 23:50.3; 27. Matthew Pereira (Harv) 23:50.8; 28. ***Graham Blanks (Harv) 23:51.9; 29. Ryan Ford (IaSt) 23:52.0; 30. Curtis Eckstein (Pur) 23:52.2;

… 40. *D.J. Principe (Stan) 23:55.7; 41. **Ezekiel Kibichii’ (IaSt-Ken) 23:56.0;… 48. ***Devin Hart (Stan) 24:02.1. ◻︎