A Great Way To End A Great 2012 US Olympic Track & Field Trials - The Men's 1,500 Final
A Wide Open Affair Will Conclude The Mid-D/Distance Action At The 2012 US Trials
July 1, 2012
The last mid-d or distance event of the Trials is the men's 1,500 final which takes place at 4:37 pm locally on Sunday.
The week-long wait for this final may prove to have been worth it as this event is bound to be full of drama. One thing is certain - one big 'name' is bound to go home - either 2011 bronze medallist, Matt Centrowitz, 2009 world championship finalist Leo Manzano, 3:30 man and Oregon favorite Andrew Wheating or Mr. Kick himself, Robby Andrews.
It's a wide-open affair with plenty of credentialed runners but zero clear favorites. Any of the guys likely to win it also almost as likely could end up out of the top three.
The race features six runners with the 'A' standard of 3:35.50 and six without it. Let's take a quick look at those with the 'A', and give you their pros and cons.
1. Matt Centrowitz - The 2011 US champ and world bronze medallist would be a near lock in our minds if he'd been healthy all year as he crushed Lagat in this race last year. After last year's historic season, he ran 3:53 indoors but struggled with a knee problem early in the outdoor season. One June 1st, he only ran 3:57.44 in the mile at Pre. But he improved to 3:37.22 in the 1,500 9 days later and has looked good here so far at the Trials. In the 3:37.22 race, he lost to three
Americans Wheating, McNamara and Garrett Heath and you can't lose to three Americans here.
Verdict: Super talent is on the upswing and seems to have ice in his veins when it comes to pressure filled situations. If the fitness is there, we expect him to make it.
2. Andrew Wheating - The 2nd fastest American born 1,500 performer in history at 3:30.90 made the Olympic team in the 800 in 2008 as a collegian. Given he's 24, he like Centro would seemingly be a lock for the team if everything had been going smoothly. But a hamstring problem delayed the start of his season and at Pre on June 2nd, he was dead last in the mile in 3:56.77. However, he rebounded with a win in Canada on June 10th over fellow finalists McNamara, Centrowitz and Craig
Miller in 3:35.89.
Verdict: His tactics have been poor so far during this Trials and while he's closed pretty well, he hasn't overwhelmed us so far during the Trials. There's been some talk of a plantar issue as well.
3. Leo Manzano - The 2008 Olympian and 2009 world championship finalist hasn't raced all that much this year. He ran 3:36 for 1,500 at Occidental where he lost to fellow finalist Robby Andrews by 1.30 seconds and 3:53.07 for the mile at Pre. Here's a stat for you. He's been to three at USAs every year since 2006 but never won.
Verdict: We don't expect him to win but he's hard to bet against at a USA meet.
4. Robby Andrews - At the direction of coach Jason Vigilante, the 2011 NCAA champ at 800 has moved to the 1,500 for these Trials. He's totally inexperienced at 1,500 as he's only run one all year - when he ran 3:34.78 at Occidental on May 18th and nearly beat Galen Rupp in the process. That makes him the fastest 1,500 runner for 2012 in the final.
Verdict: There is little chance that Andrews gave up a likely spot on the 800 team for a roll of the dice here unless his coach Jason Vigilante, who guided Manzano to the 2008 team, was very confident. He didn't look particularly impressive in the semis, but Andrews is known to shine when the pressure is on. If he doesn't put himself too far back like he did in the ACC 1,500 last year (Race video here), we think he'll somehow get onto the team. We also kind of think that for some reason this thread makes sense: Robby Andrews will either win the 1500 or not make the top 3. We see him either bombing, winning at the line or nipping someone for third at the line. A second place finish? Not so much.
5. David Torrence - Torrence was the top American at Pre in 3:52.01 in the mile and has been running well all year. He had 'A' qualifiers in the 800, 1500 and 5k.
Verdict: This guy is overlooked seemingly by everyone including us. His 13:16 5000 means he has a lot of strength and should be feeling good in his third race in 4 days.
6. Jeff See -The 26 year-old got a PB and the 'A' in his last race before the Trials. He was 4th in both rounds here.
Verdict: It's hard to see him getting top three just two years removed from a 5th place NCAA finish.
Of the six guys with the A, we guess we'd have go with Centro, Leo and Andrews as our top three. Those guys went 1-2-3 in their heat - will they do that again in the final? We certainly wouldn't be shocked if Wheating made it as the Hayward magic carried him four years ago, it but we just think he's been dealing with too many injuries.
But what about the guys without the 'A'?
There are six of them in the race - William Leer, Miles Batty, Jordan McNamara, Andrew Bayer, John Mickowski, and Craig Miller.
And two of them have been running really well:
1. Jordan McNamara - Except for the semi where he scraped into the final, he has looked great all year and is just off the 'A' at 3:35.63.
2. Will Leer - He has looked amazing in the Trials so far and he always seemingly runs well at the US Champs (4th at the 2008 Trials, 5th last year). He came into the Trials after equalling his pb in Inday at 3:36.33.
Coming into the Trials, we had this weird thought someone without the 'A' was going to finish third but not qualify. But we really don't think that's going to happen anymore.
If they already had the 'A', then McNamara or Leer might get top 3 but as it stands now, we think the pursuit of the 3:35.50 'A' standard will kill off the chances of anyone without it - unless they are a total leach.
After the semis, a bunch of the guys without the 'A' including McNamara, Leer and Mickowski said they were going to go for the 'A'. The problem is the 'A' is really fast.
Talk is cheap. Who is going to really push the pace when you are hurting on that third lap and get the field through 1200 in 2:55?
We definitely see the pace going out fast for 400. But unless these guys without the 'A' have gotten together and formulated a plan, it's going to hard to do it after that as it'll be your classic case of prisoner's dilemma as to who leads.
To us, the easiest way to get the 'A' is to go out fast - in about 1:55, then slow down and run a 60 and then kick in 40.
LRC Prediction: The fact that so many guys need the 'A' is going to make this a great race as it should be honest enough. We'd love to see a guy with pure guts do the work and make the team like Kim Conley did in the women's 5k, but that's not likely to happen.
1) Centro 2) Manzano 3) Andrews
Parting Thought #1: Here's a weird stat for you. The three fastest 1,500 runner's on the year for the US aren't in this final.
5 Fastest US 1,500 Men For 2012
3:34.11 Russell Brown
3:34.63 Bernard Lagat
3:34.75 Galen Rupp
3:34.78 Robby Andrews
3:35.21 Jeff See
Parting Thought #2: If you are a guy in the 1,500 final and reading this on Sunday before the race, please see the video below for inspiration (and check out this thread: Dear Olympic Trials "Non-A" Standard Men & Women 1500M Finalists).
|Who will win the
|3||Jordan McNamara||Nike / Oregon TC Elite|
|6||Andrew Bayer||Indiana University|
|8||Craig Miller||New Balance|
|9||Andrew Wheating||Nike / Oregon TC Elite|