Meet Preview: Collegians Ready For 114th Millrose Games

Collegians have a rich and storied history at Millrose Games, which is billed as “The World’s Longest-Running and Most Prestigious Indoor Track & Field Competition.”

There have been a number of collegiate records set and all-time marks turned in over the years at both Madison Square Garden from 1914 to 2011 and The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory, where it has resided since 2012.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results | Records & Lists

We don’t expect the 114th edition of the meet to be any different when it begins in earnest on Saturday in New York City. You can watch the action LIVE on NBC from 2:30-4:30 pm ET.

Here are three major races we have our eyes on this weekend.

Men’s Wanamaker Mile

Collegiate Record: Cooper Teare, Oregon – 3:50.39 (2021)

When top collegians get invited to compete in the Men’s Wanamaker Mile, they run fast.

How fast? Well, try six of the top-10 performers in collegiate history: Lawi Lalang at No. 4 in 3:52.88; Chris O’Hare at No. 5 in 3:52.98; Miles Batty at No. 7 in 3:54.54; Josh Kerr at No. 8 in 3:54.72; Olli Hoare at No. 9 in 3:54.83; and Ryan Hill at No. 10 in 3:54.89. Lalang, O’Hare and Batty were all former collegiate record holders thanks to their efforts in New York.

The lone collegian in the field this year in Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss.

Garcia Romo, who will be the first Rebel to compete in the legendary event since Robert Domanic in 2018, has a mile PR of 3:56.46. That was clocked on the oversized track at Vanderbilt last February during the Music City Challenge (Garcia Romo finished runner-up in the race to teammate Waleed Suliman, who led six athletes under the fabled four-minute barrier at 3:55.60).

For Garcia Romo to crack the all-time top-10, 3:54.89 is the target.

Garcia Romo has shown plenty of speed over the past year, including a 3:37.17 mark over 1500 meters last April and a 1:47.93 clocking in the 800. Earlier this season, Garcia Romo set a PR in the 1000 of 2:20.12 to win the event title at the Vanderbilt Invitational this past weekend.

Two hours before the Wanamaker Mile, the Michael Blum Men’s Mile will be held and features six collegians in its field: Dan Schaffer of Binghamton, Adam Fogg of Drake, Cameron Ponder of Furman, Aaron Wier of Furman, George Kusche of Northern Arizona and Theo Quax of Northern Arizona.

Men’s 3000 Meters

Collegiate Record: Alistair Cragg, Arkansas – 7:38.59 (2004)

Strong fields usually pull collegians to fast times at the Millrose Games.

That’s especially true in the men’s 3000, where four of the top-5 marks in collegiate history have been registered: The Bowerman three-time finalist Edward Cheserek at No. 2 in 7:40.51; Grant Fisher at No. 3 in 7:42.62; and Morgan McDonald at No. 4 in 7:42.76. Don’t forget about Amon Kemboi at No. 9 in 7:44.77, who ran his mark in the same race as Fisher and McDonald.

Collegians have long been chasing the collegiate record of 7:38.59, set by Alistair Cragg way back in 2004 at the Tyson Invitational. Cragg actually reclaimed his own record from 2003 that Nick Willis broke two weeks earlier with a 7:44.90 effort at the Boston Indoor Games.

Three collegians will try to leave their mark on the all-time chart this weekend: Morgan Beadlescomb of Michigan State, Charles Hicks of Stanford and Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State (Nico Young of Northern Arizona was entered as of Wednesday, but was a late scratch on Thursday). Kiptoo holds the best PR in the event at 7:48.36, which still sits a full second out of the all-time top-25. Both Beadlesomb and Hicks have yet to crack the eight-minute barrier.

Expect them all to be much faster this weekend, especially Kiptoo after he already set PRs in the mile and 5000 this season, the latter making him the third-fastest man in collegiate history at 13:14.74.

A 7:44.90 gets them in the all-time top-10; 7:42.79 gatekeeps the top-5.

Women’s 3000 Meters

Collegiate Record: Karissa Schweizer, Missouri – 8:41.60 (2018)

Karissa Schweizer had a senior year to remember on the track.

Schweizer, who won three NCAA track titles in 2018, including an indoor distance sweep, set PRs in each of her first four meets. We’ll skip the first three – where she dazzled in the 5000, 1000 and mile, in that order – to get to the heart of the matter: Schweizer took down 2009 The Bowerman winner Jenny Barringer’s nine-year-old collegiate record in the 3000 at the Millrose Games. Schweizer nearly won the race in 8:41.60, just 0.40 seconds behind the winner.

One year later, Alicia Monson topped the podium at the same distance with her 8:45.97. That put her No. 3 on the all-time collegiate chart behind Schweizer and Barringer. Monson is joined by three other women in the top-10 who starred at the Millrose Games over the years: Abbey Cooper at No. 6 in 8:51.91; Emily Sisson at No. 8 in 8:52.60; and Kate Avery at No. 9 in 8:53.12.

Courtney Wayment of BYU is on deck as the only collegian in the field on Saturday.

Earlier this season, Wayment moved up to No. 7 on the all-time list in the 5000 following a third-place finish at the BU Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener in 15:15.46. Wayment made headlines last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships when she doubled back from anchoring BYU’s title-winning distance medley relay to win the 3000 by a hair over Lauren Gregory.

The all-time top-10 in the 3000 is well within Wayment’s reach, given her 8:54.90 PR.