Record Alert: Top Collegians Take Aim At History In California

Forty-four years, 28 days.

That’s how long Henry Rono has held the 5000-meter collegiate record.

*Checks calendar*

Twenty-three days.

The same could be said about Eliud Kipsang in the 1500 meters.

Both of those records could be in danger tonight at the Sound Running Track Meet: Rono’s 13:08.4h, set on April 8, 1978, in a tri-meet against Arizona State and California; Kipsang’s 3:33.74, established less than four weeks ago on April 15 at the Bryan Clay Invitational.

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Age before beauty, but when discussing Rono’s former world record in the 5000 meters, it is equally as old as it was gorgeous. One week after covering the same distance in 13:22, Rono broke away from the pack by the halfway point and pushed the pace. With one lap to go, Rono only needed to close the last lap in 64 seconds to claim the world record, but sprinted home in 59.6 seconds to demolish the previous all-time best of 13:12.9 by 4.5 seconds. It was one of four world records Rono set within the span of 81 days.

Prior to the NCAA DI Outdoor Championships last year, the closest any collegian had come to Rono’s record – during the collegiate season – was Diego Estrada in 2013 at 13:15.33. Then we saw an absolute assault on the record book at the reimagined Hayward Field 11 months ago. Estrada – ranked second all-time from April 28, 2013, to June 10, 2021 – dropped down to fifth, as Cooper Teare (No. 2, 13:12.27), Luis Grijalva (No. 3, 13:13.14) and Athanas Kioko (No. 4, 13:13.47) all moved within five seconds of Rono with their performances in Eugene, Oregon. Teare set a meet record in the process.

Eight years and one week to the day after Estrada starred at the Payton Jordan Invitational, a Northern Arizona trio – led by NCAA Indoor double champion Abdihamid Nur – will compete in the absolutely stacked OAC Men’s 5000m at 10:40 pm ET. Nur, Drew Bosley and Nico Young are scheduled to line up alongside European record-holder Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 17-time NCAA champion Edward Cheserek and back-to-back NCAA cross-country champion Conner Mantz, among others. Meet organizers said the plan for the race is for it to be paced for 13:10.

Nur finds himself in a better position, comparatively, to Estrada and Teare ahead of their overtures at Rono’s record. The current NAU standout has a 5000m PR of 13:19.01, set in a winning effort at the NCAA Indoor Championships back in March. Estrada and Teare were at 13:26.94 and 13:20.24, respectively. Both Estada and Teare clocked their marks outdoors.

Yared Nuguse proved he didn’t need competition to run record-breaking speeds last year. After all, Nuguse established the former 1500-meter collegiate record of 3:34.68 in a solo effort during the prelims at the ACC Championships (Kipsang since topped Nuguse’s time). When challenged, Nuguse blazed the track indoors this year with a collegiate-record 7:38.13 in the 3000m and a PR in the mile of 3:54.46.

When the Athletic Brewing Men’s 1500m lines up on the track at 9:30 pm ET, Nuguse will be flanked by fellow collegian Brian Fay, among others. Fay already moved up to No. 6 on the all-time chart in the 5000m at 13:16.52 and recorded one of the fastest anchor legs in collegiate history in the distance medley relay at 3:52.81 (Kipsang is also up there with his 3:51.73 from the SEC Championships last year). Meet organizers said the race will be paced for 3:32.

Not to be overlooked, two athletes to keep an eye on in the Coros Women’s 5000m at 10:20 pm ET are Roisin Flanagan and Courtney Wayment. Flanagan is the NCAA DII record-holder in the event at 15:28.41, while Wayment has demonstrated great range this year with all-time top-10 collegiate marks in both the indoor 3000m and 5000m, as well as the steeplechase. If Wayment is to challenge the 13-year-old collegiate record of 15:07.64 set by 2009 The Bowerman winner Jenny Barringer (now Simpson), it would require a PR of more than eight seconds. The closest anybody has come to Barringer’s record since 2009 was Aisling Cuffe’s 15:11.13 on this weekend eight years ago.