Tremendous college start for Oakcrest grad Muhammad!

Ishmael Muhammad ran the No. 7 time in the Big East in his first collegiate 800.
Ishmael Muhammad ran the No. 7 time in the Big East in his first collegiate 800.

His first couple races in college looked an awful lot like most of his races in high school.

Very fast.

Oakcrest High School graduate Ishmael Muhammad, now a freshman at Villanova, is off to a terrific start this winter, with a 600-meter win in his college debut and then an indoor PR and first in his section in his first collegiate 800.

Muhammad made his college debut at the Metro Team Challenge at the 168th Street Armory and won an invitational 600 in 1:18.34.

That’s the No. 5 time by an American this year and No. 2 time by a collegian. I’d love to tell you where it ranks on the all-time Villanova performance list, but the most recent one available on the Villanova web site is from 2006.

Here’s a look at the top five U.S. times so far, courtesy of Track and Field News:

  • 1:15.58 … Cas Loxsom, Lobo Open, Albuquerque, Jan. 24
  • 1:16.20 … Mark Wieczorek, Lobo Open, Albuquerque, Jan. 24
  • 1:18.08 … Curtis Beach, Lobo Open, Albuquerque, Jan. 24
  • 1:18.19 … Clay Lambourne, Bronco Invite, Nampa, Idaho, Jan. 24
  • 1:18.34 … Ishmael Muhammad, Metro Challenge, New York, Jan. 23

In his first collegiate 800, Muhammad ran 1:50.82 to win his section and place fifth overall at the Penn State National at State College this past weekend.

Muhammad has an 800 PR of 1:48.52 when he won the outdoor Meet of Champions, but his previous indoor PR was 1:53.68, from the indoor Meet of Champions his junior year, the winter of 2013, when he was fourth behind Isaac Clark (1:51.72), Derrell Manhertz (1:51.80) and Jacob Clark (1:52.15) in a crazy-fast 1-2-3-4 South Jersey sweep.

Muhammad’s time is No. 7 among Big East runners so far this winter:

  • 1:48.46 … Billy Ledder (Georgetown), Jan. 17, 2015, Nittany Lion Challenge
  • 1:48.63 … Ryan Manahan (Georgetown), Jan. 30, 2015, Penn State National
  • 1:48.71 … Joseph White (Georgetown), Jan. 17, 2015, Nittany Lion Challenge
  • 1:49.00 … Cole Williams (Georgetown), Jan. 17, 2015, Nittany Lion Challenge
  • 1:49.98 … Ahmed Bile (Georgetown), Jan. 10, 2015, Father Diamond Invitational
  • 1:50.37 … Amos Bartelsmeyer (Georgetown), Jan. 10, 2015, Father Diamond Invite
  • 1:50.82 … Ishmael Muhammad (VIllanova), Jan. 30, 2015, Penn State National
  • 1:50.92 … Alec Miller (Marquette), Jan. 30, 2015, Penn State National
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