Recap of 1,500 Prelims At 2012 US Olympic Track & Field Trails

Hardly Anyone is Eliminated As The Big Names - Minus Dorian Ulrey - Advance

June 28, 2012

(Editor's Note: For more on the 1,500 prelims,  please check out the youtube channel which is full of post-race interviews: *LRC Women's 1500m Round 1 Interviews *LRC Men's 1500m Round 1 Post Race Interviews *MB: 1500, 5000 & steeple play by plays - women and men).

The men’s and women’s 1,500 prelims got underway Thursday evening and before we get to the race recaps, let us get across one key point. The fact that the men’s and women’s races featured three heats of 10 - so just 30 competitors - and the semis will include two heats of 12 - so 24 competitors - shows us that some at USATF either don’t care about the fans and athletes or are incompetent.

USATF should have run 3 heats of 12 at a minimum. Add at least six more people in each gender would get to realize a dream of competing in the Olympic Trials and the fans would get to see some real racing with consequences.

Instead, after scratches, the fans saw just four women get eliminated and six men.

Men’s 1st Round - Top 6 + 6.
All of the major players advanced and looked pretty good in doing so.

One interesting tidbit, all three heats were amazingly similar in terms of splits. The leader at the bell in heat one was 2:45.52, in heat two he was 2:45.15, and in heat three he was 2:45.31. As the heats progresed,, the closing laps got faster and faster.

Riley Masters took the field through the 400 in 60.3.  NCAA Champion Andy Bayer was right behind as Masters brought them through in 60.0 and a 2:00.3 at 800.  By 1000, World Championships bronze medalist Matt Centrowitz had positioned himself well in third and then took the lead with 400 to go.  

They hit 1200 at 2:59.9 with Centro looking smooth and sitting on David Torrence.  A 42.2 final 300 brought them home as Craig Miller came by Torrence on the inside for the heat win in 3:41.89.  Torrence in 3:41.99 and Centro in 3:42.02 were the top three.  After all the early work, Riley Masters was eighth and NCAA champ Bayer was seventh in 3:42.14, a mere three one-thounsandths behind sixth place Jack Bolas, also 3:42.14.

In the end, Bayer would get in on time, Masters would not.

Quick Take #1: Centrowitz looks so smooth.

1 Craig Miller New Balance 3:41.89 Q
2 David Torrence Nike 3:41.99 Q
3 Matthew Centrowitz Nike 3:42.02 Q
4 Jeff See Saucony 3:42.03 Q
5 Daniel Clark Unattached 3:42.05 Q
6 Jack Bolas New Balance 3:42.14 Q
7 Andrew Bayer Indiana University 3:42.14 q
8 Riley Masters Oklahoma 3:42.71
9 Duncan Phillips Arkansas 3:42.75
10 Erik Van Ingen S U N Y Binghamton 3:43.52

Stephen Pifer took the lead and brought the field through in the most aggressive first lap of the day, men or women.  They hit 400 58.9 as the pack was still together.  Hanging comfortably in the back in lane one was Robby Andrews.  Garrett Heath and German Fernandez lurked as Will Leer took the lead as 800 was passed in 2:00.1

Leer continued to keep things honest and with a lap to go, AJ Acosta and Fernandes were right on this shoulder as Andrews began his ascent through the field.  A 59.3 third lap brought the field through in 2:59.4 at 1200.

With 200 to go, Andrews was still moving up but Leer had the most clear and straight run to the finish.  Leer closed in 41.1 for the final 300 to take the win in 3:40.79, .21 ahead of Acosta, with Andrews coming in fourth with a 55.41 final 400 to pass most of the field before finishing fourth.

Quick Take #1: This heat certainly was superior to heat 1 in terms of last lap and overall finishing time. Virtually everyone up front in this race ran a 55 last lap whereas in heat 1 only Daniel Clark (55.65) and Jeff See (55.95) broke 56.

Quick Take #2: Will Leer always seem to come into form at USAs. We can see why he equalled his 3:36.33 pb in his last race before the Trails as he looked great. It's a shame he doesn't have the 'A' or that the US can't send people with the B. 

1 William Leer Nike 3:40.79 Q
2 AJ Acosta Oregon 3:40.98 Q
3 Garrett Heath Saucony 3:41.02 Q
4 Robby Andrews adidas 3:41.11 Q
5 Miles Batty B Y U 3:41.21 Q
6 German Fernandez Unattached 3:41.33 Q
7 Brian Gagnon New Jersey New York Track Club 3:41.38 q
8 Stephen Pifer Nike / Oregon TC Elite 3:41.47 q
9 John Jefferson Brooks 3:41.64 q
10 Kyle Miller Nike 3:48.81

If all ran under 3:41.50, all 10 would have advanced.

Rob Finnerty and Russell Brown towed the field through the first 400 in 59.1.    The field came through the fastest 800 split of the day as Finnerty ran a 60.1 for 1:59.1.  As the field approached 1000, crowd favorite Andrew Wheating began moving up from the back of the pack and with 500 to go, Dorian Ulrey took the lead with Brown and Leo Manzano lurking.  

A 60.4 split brought the field through in 2:59.4 as Jordan McNamara took the lead with 250 to go as McNamara and John Mickowski fought for the lead as the hit 200 to go.  McNamara closed in 41.4 for the final 300 and the lead pack of six seemed to separate.  As they hit the final 15 meters, however, Mickowski seemed to trip and fell across the line but still managed the sixth and final auto qualifier.

Quick Take #1: Jordan McNamara had the best las lap of anyone on the night at 54.95. And he seemingly stepped on the gas two or three different times in the last lap. He has been running great of late - it’s a real shame he doesn’t have the ‘A’ of 3:35.50 - as he’s got a great shot at top 3. Maybe he and Will Leer will try to work together to make the pace fast enough to get it?

Quick Take #2: After not making the NCAA final, it wasn’t a real surprise that the NCAA leader in terms of time this year, Kyle Merber, didn’t advance. His 3:35.89 was 6 weeks ago.

Quick Take #3: Men's running is so deep it's incredible. 26 of the 30 competitor's ran within 2-seconds of the top time of the night 3:40.78.

Place Athlete Name Affiliation Time Qual
1 Jordan McNamara Nike / Oregon TC Elite 3:40.78 Q
2 Leonel Manzano Nike 3:40.91 Q
3 Russell Brown Nike / Oregon TC Elite 3:41.13 Q
4 Andrew Wheating Nike / Oregon TC Elite 3:41.14 Q
5 Liam Boylan-Pett New Jersey New York Track Club 3:41.17 Q
6 John Mickowski Unattached 3:41.18 Q
7 Matthew Maldonado Long Beach State 3:41.93 q
8 Dorian Ulrey Nike 3:42.55 q
9 Rob Finnerty Wisconsin 3:43.89
10 Kyle Merber Columbia 3:45.87


Women’s 1st Round - Top 6 + 6.

With Lea Wallace and Lauren Centrowitz DNSs, there would only be four people to eliminate in the first round of the women’s 1500.

Thank you USATF for being so stupid. How about including at least 36 people - if not 48 - in the first round of the 1,500?

As a result, no one should be surprised when we tell you that all of the big names would move on.

Sara Vaughan brought the pack through in 71.0, then Kate Grace took the lead heading into 600 bringing the pack through in 2:22.8.  World Champion Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury took over with a lap to go and brought the pack through 1200 in 3:31.3.

Rowbury looked sharp, closing in 44.6 to take the win with Simpson coming home in second with Nicole Shappert third.

Quick Take #1: We know you don’t need to win the heat but Rowbury looked way better than Simpson.

1 Shannon Rowbury Nike 4:16.17 Q
2 Jenny Simpson New Balance 4:16.70 Q
3 Sarah Bowman New Balance 4:16.86 Q
4 Nicole Schappert N Y A C 4:16.89 Q
5 Sara Vaughn Bowerman Athletic Club 4:17.08 Q
6 Heather Kampf Asics / Team USA Minnesota 4:17.29 Q
7 Kate Grace Oiselle / New Jersey New York 4:17.65 q
8 Cory McGee Florida 4:17.76
9 Stephanie Charnigo New Jersey New York Track Club 4:19.09
DNS Lea Wallace Nike

At 400, Katie Mackey and world #1 Morgan Uceny, on the outside, had the lead at 69.1.  Things were unchanged as Mackey and Uceny ran a 71.3 for 2:20.4 at 800.

The pace picked up considerably with a lap to go.  Mackey and Uceny (with Flood pushing up on the outside) went through 1200 in 3:27.9 (67.6) and with 200 to go, Uceny had the clear lead, striding smoothly to the finish.  Uceny ran the last 400 in 61.8 and 45.9 for the final 300 to win easily.  

Quick Take #1: Uceny looked good. We’d say she and then Rowbury are by far the biggest two favorites to make the team.
1 Morgan Uceny adidas 4:14.07 Q
2 Gabriele Anderson Brooks / Team USA Minnesota 4:14.23 Q
3 Katherine Mackey Brooks 4:14.28 Q
4 Margaret Infeld N Y A C 4:14.60 Q
5 Treniere Moser Nike 4:14.79 Q
6 Greta Feldman Princeton 4:14.89 Q
7 Karly Hamric RIADHA 4:15.33 q
8 Ashley Miller Nebraska 4:15.34 q
9 Katie Flood Washington 4:15.45 q
10 Lauren Bonds adidas Raleigh Track Club 4:20.75

With only nine entered, if all nine ran under 4:17.65, everyone in this final heat would advance.

Phoebe Wright brought the field through in 68.4.  Wright continued to lead with a 71.2 and 2:19.4 at 800.  With a lap to go, only Heidi Dahl had been dropped as Amy Mortimer took the lead as they hit 1200 in 3:27.6 and a 68.3.  The crowd roared as Jordan Hasay moved up to third behind Mortimer and Melissa Salerno as a big crowd of eight came in together.  Olympians Alice Schmidt and Anna Pierce asserted themselves in the final straightaway as the first eight in this heat crossed together between 4:15.70 and 4:16.50 and all advanced.

Quick Take #1: Jordan Hasay got the biggest cheers of anyone so far at the Trials.

1 Alice Schmidt Nike 4:15.70 Q
2 Anna Pierce Nike 4:15.86 Q
3 Amy Mortimer Saucony 4:16.02 Q
4 Jordan Hasay Oregon 4:16.06 Q
5 Brenda Martinez New Balance 4:16.11 Q
6 Phoebe Wright Nike 4:16.29 Q
7 Renee Tomlin Nike 4:16.36 q
8 Melissa Salerno Unattached 4:16.50 q
9 Heidi Dahl New Balance 4:27.68
DNS Lauren Centrowitz New Balance

More: *LRC Women's 1500m Round 1 Interviews *LRC Men's 1500m Round 1 Post Race Interviews *MB: 1500, 5000 & steeple play by plays - women and men

Comments, questions, suggestions, story you'd like to submit? Email us


Tell a friend about this article
(Dont worry we won't email your friend(s) again. We send them a 1 time email)
Enter their email address(es), separated by a comma.
Enter your name:

Don't Worry: We
Back to Main Front Page
Questions, comments or suggestions?Please email the staff at

Back To Top