800 Meter Run
Jordan Grant (OH), Jenna Diers (IL), and Emma Kuntz (KY - duPont Manual), Stephanie Pierce (OH), Megan Worrel (MI), and Emma Milburn (IL) all come in with times under 2:15. They will chase the field house record of 2:08.84 from 2011. If any of them can break 2:11.80 they will place themselves as the #2 US time this indoor season (only behind Sammy Watson's ridiculously fast 2:01.78). There are a handful of other Kentucky ladies in the middle of the group running that can set nice early season times with a good race.
The boys 800m could see an overall national record on the track! Cameron Cooper (MI) ran a 1:50.07 last weekend and will challenge Robby Andrews 1:49.21 national record. Cameron ran fourth here last season with a 1:54.64 and will look to shatter the field house record of 1:51.08 from 2007. He will have some help to push the pace from Ryne Bevan (GA), Christian Pigues (NC), and Mikah Bailey (KY - Paul Dunbar).
One Mile Run
The girls distance races might be Kentucky's best chance to show out. In the one mile run, Ellie Brush (OH) comes in with the best seed time, but Alena Sapienza-Wright (KY - duPont Manual), Katelynne Hart (IL), and Maddie Walker (OH) are all within three second of Ellie. This race looks like it will come down to who has the best kick. With multiple state champs in the race, they know how to win and each will look to solidify their position.
Kaitlyn Lacy (KY - Louisville Male) and Kathleen Simms (KY - Sacred Heart) are also in the top 10 seeds. Simms dueled with powerhouse Michaela Reinhart at the Wildcat Classic and certainly wants to build on that momentum as she prepares for her junior season. Lacy has been a mover and shaker since she stormed on the scene as an 8th grader, placing in the top 4 the last three years of the state meet 1600m. This will be a fun race to watch for Kentucky running fans.
Three guys have the potential to break the field house record of 4:12.25 set in 2010. Dustin Horter (OH) and Yared Nuguse (KY - duPont Manual) will duel with Miles Menyhert (OH) looking to work his way into the crowd. Nuguse, the Notre Dame signee, has been a force since winning the 1600m state title last May. He is the reigning cross country state champ and KY Gatorade Runner of the Year. His Wildcat Classic 800m kick was impressive as he blew past Mikah Bailey. Will that same speed translate to the one mile this weekend? Watch for a wild finish with this one if these three hold up to their projections.
Trevor Warren (KY - Trinity) and Austin Mathews (KY - Paul Dunbar) are two of the other Kentucky talents tackling this stout one mile field. Mathews won the Wildcat Classic about a month ago. Watch for these two to work their way up into the pack and possibly make some noise.
Two Mile Run
The Kentucky distance queen will break out for the two mile run when Michaela Reinhart (KY - Lexington Catholic) takes on the field. The two time KY Gatorade Runner of the Year and Duke signee will take on Katelynne Hart (IL) and Sarah Michels (KY - Assumption). These three are 8 second clear of the field. This will pit the experience of the senior Reinhart against the youth of the freshman Hart. They will all look to set the field house record which was set in 2014 by Annie Heffernan at 10:46.32. If these ladies duke (see what I did there...) it out then the record will fall!
The boys race is much closer with seven guys within 10 second of each other. The group is led by Titus Winders (TN) and Alex Mortimer (KY - Tates Creek) who placed 4th and 5th respectively at Vanderbilt two weeks ago. Mortimer is looking to return to the venue that he will compete in as a collegiate athlete and stake his claim on the two mile. They will not be alone as the challengers are not far off. Chase Buckelew (AL), Logan Greco (KY - Meade County), and Patrick Schaefer (KY - St. Xavier) will all look to put themselves into the lead pack. This race looks to have a steady pack that will have to figure out who will take control of the last couple laps of the 291 meter track.