Unlike outdoors, indoors distance runners have a say in the relays. The men’s DMR that will be held at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boise, Idaho should be a major factor in who walks away with a team title.
Despite its spread of seasonal bests and qualifying times that is only two seconds apart from first seed BYU and last qualifier Ohio State, the favored squad has to be the surprise cross country podium team BYU’s mid-distance pack. Despite one team being a favorite, there is always room for mistakes and mishaps in the topsy-turvy world of relays, especially on a banked track and so many bodies crashing for placement.
BYU holds the fastest time and the pleasure of two All-Americans at the lead and anchor in Rex Shields and Miles Batty. The take-no-prisoners year that Batty is having and his showing last year at indoor NCAA’s is exhibit A of why the Cougars should take the title in the DMR. They have no glaring weakness and should continue to prove why they are the team to dethrone.
The squads which have an opportunity to take the seat at the top are the second and third seeds due to their excellent anchor legs at Indiana and Texas A&M. The anchors in distance stars Andy Bayer and Henry Lelei should keep this a close finish in breathing distance of BYU.
Extreme outside shots are the old Razorbacks at Arkansas who though not the dominant force of years past under John McDonnell, at the very least their surprise 4X4 team could give this relay a little magic confidence. Sneaking around is Stanford with senior Chris Derrick who is going to have a busy schedule but would like to make a swing at the top space to add to his portfolio.
As we know anything is possible when a baton is in the hands of runners but the reality of BYU’s power is hard to deny. This should be fun for those distance runners who are forced to be spectators as their sprinting brothers trade the aluminum cylinder during the open air of the spring session.
The men’s DMR is set to kick off at 9:05 PM Mountain Time. Tune in on ESPN3.com.