2013 NCAA 1,500 Meter Semifinal Recaps: Undefeated Pat Casey Squeaks Into Final

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by LetsRun.com
June 6, 2013

Eugene, OR – 24 people advanced to the finals of the 2013 NCAA outdoor track and field championships in the men’s and women’s 1500. We recap the 1500 semis for you below.

Men’s 1500 – Favorite Patrick Casey Squeaks In

Six guys came into the semifinals of the NCAA with a seasonal best time under 3:41:00 and three of them were sent home as Wisconsin’s Alex Hatz (#2 at 3:39.87), Boston University’s Rich Peters (#4 at 3:40.05), Tyler Stutzman (#6 at 3:40.43) all failed to move on.

But to be honest, given the parity in the men’s 1500, that could have been expected as so many guys came in with seasonal bests within a few seconds of each other (26 guys in the NCAA this year have run between 3:39.50 and 3:42.50). The biggest surprise was that the NCAA favorite in our estimation, Oklahoma Pat Casey, who hasn’t lost a 1,500 or mile all year including indoors barely scraped into the final as the last of the two time qualifiers.

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Heat #1

This was a high quality affair where it was very hard to separate the top 7 as they all ran between 3:41.21 and 3:41.93. All seven would advance on time.

Quick Take (QT) #1: After the race, we caught up with NC State’s Ryan Hill who only started racing in May after suffering a stress reaction indoors. Hill said he was surprised he was the final auto qualifier but refused to use the injury as an excuse. He said he’s been running for 2.5 months now and has no excuses. He also commented that in men’s 1500 racing, where it’s often tactical, everyone has similar PBs and everyone can kick, it’s hard to say there is a favorite. We certainly think that was a very wise statement which is often true no matter what the level is. Anyone remember last year’s Olympic 1500?

QT #2: Oregon’s Mac Fleet got the win in this heat to the delight of the hometown crowd. Fleet said he tried to go back to what he used to be known for – sitting in the pack and kicking. When asked if he was nervous, Fleet said that the bigger the meet, the less nervous he is. He said he was a nervous wreck at the Arkansas-Oregon dual meet but loves running at NCAAs or Penn Relays.

QT #3: Casey thought tactical errors cost him and said he’d try to put it behind him and get ready for the final. When we pointed that he was undefeated for the year and asked if he was confident as a result, he didn’t sound like he was very confident. Let’s see if he can rebound in 48 hours as he’s a bit beaten down right now.

Post-race interviews with Casey, Hill, and Fleet are embedded below the results.

Heat  1 Preliminaries                                                           
  1 Mac Fleet                 JR Oregon                 3:41.21Q                
  2 Sam McEntee               SO Villanova              3:41.32Q                
  3 Zach Perkins              SO Air Force              3:41.46Q                
  4 Austin Mudd               SO Wisconsin              3:41.47Q                
  5 Ryan Hill                 SR NC State               3:41.53Q                
  6 John Simons               JR Minnesota              3:41.73q                
  7 Patrick Casey             SR Oklahoma               3:41.93q                
  8 Chad Noelle               SO Oregon                 3:42.80                 
  9 Matt Hillenbrand          JR Kentucky               3:44.48  3:44.475       
 10 Christopher Fallon        SR Ohio State             3:44.62                 
 11 Rich Peters               SR Boston U.              3:44.85                 
 12 Isaac Wendland            SR Liberty                4:00.78

Heat 2

After watching his teammate almost go out in heat one, Riley Masters of Oklahoma got the win in heat two as last year’s NCAA champ Andrew Bayer of Indiana was second. Wisconsin sophomore Alex Hatz, who technically was the #2 seed overall, didn’t advance.

Post-race interviews with Masters and Robby Creese below.

Quick Take #1: With Casey looking poor tonight, good luck picking a favorite for the final. Ryan Hill was right. You might as well flip a coin.

Heat  2 Preliminaries                                                           
  1 Riley Masters             SR Oklahoma               3:42.84Q                
  2 Andrew Bayer              SR Indiana                3:43.00Q                
  3 Jeremy Rae                SR Notre Dame             3:43.19Q                
  4 Robby Creese              SO Penn State             3:43.55Q                
  5 Patrick McGregor          SR Texas                  3:44.15Q                
  6 Alex Hatz                 SO Wisconsin              3:44.48  3:44.476       
  7 Nathan Weitz              FR Northern Arizona       3:44.56                 
  8 Robert Denault            FR Villanova              3:44.65                 
  9 Grant Pollock             JR Virginia Tech          3:45.34                 
 10 Tyler Stutzman            JR Stanford               3:45.48                 
 11 Patrick Todd              SR Oregon                 3:46.95                 
 12 James Shirvell            JR Yale                   3:50.91                 

Women’s 1500: Piliusina Emerges as Favorite

Coming in, there were just four other women within four seconds of NCAA leader Natalja Piliusina (4:09.57 this year). Two of them didn’t advance to the final (Missouri’s Laura Roxberg and Florida’s Agata Strausa). The other two did advance in Florida State’s Amanda Winslow and Florida’s Cory McGee.

Post-race interviews with Piliusina, Oregon’s Anne Kesselring appear, Arizona State’s Shelby Houlihan, and Oregon’s Becca Friday appear below the results.

Quick Take #1: We said coming in this was the one women’s mid-d or distance event where it was hard to predict the winner. After seeing Oklahoma State’s Piliusina win her heat, we are picking her. Last year, she came in with the season’s best time 4:09.54 (versus 4:09.57 this year) and faltered as the favorite. She talks about learning from that experience in her interview below.

We’re not going to be scared off by last year’s failure, because as a freshman, Piliusina stepped up big time and nearly won the NCAA 800 title – just .01 off Oregon’s Anne Kesselring.

QT #2: Strausa not advancing wasn’t a big shock despite her seed time as she was only seventh at the SEC meet in the 1500.

Heat  1 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Natalja Piliusina         JR Oklahoma State         4:14.39Q             
  2 Shelby Houlihan           SO Arizona State          4:14.61Q             
  3 Anne Kesselring           SR Oregon                 4:14.74Q             
  4 Cory McGee                JR Florida                4:14.87Q             
  5 Amanda Mergaert           SR Utah                   4:14.89Q             
  6 Linden Hall               SO Florida State          4:15.51q             
  7 Amanda Eccleston          SR Michigan               4:16.29q             
  8 Charlotte Arter           JR New Mexico             4:19.27              
  9 Chloe Anderson            JR New Mexico             4:19.82              
 10 Josephine Adams           JR North Texas            4:20.52              
 11 Laura Roxberg             SR Missouri               4:21.52              
 12 Lianne Farber             JR North Carolina         4:23.18              
Heat  2 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Stephanie Brown           JR Arkansas               4:16.41Q             
  2 Amanda Winslow            SR Florida State          4:16.59Q             
  3 Emily Lipari              JR Villanova              4:16.96Q             
  4 Becca Friday              SR Oregon                 4:17.46Q             
  5 Rebecca Tracy             SR Notre Dame             4:17.70Q             
  6 Greta Feldman             SR Princeton              4:18.25              
  7 Julia Zrinyi              FR Connecticut            4:21.17              
  8 Damajeria Dubose          SR UC Riverside           4:24.30              
  9 Agata Strausa             JR Florida                4:24.90              
 10 Kelly Curran              JR Notre Dame             4:28.20              
 11 Rebecca Addison           SR Michigan               4:28.89              
 12 Josephine Moultrie        SR New Mexico             4:31.86




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