Preview of Men’s 1500 at 2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

  • submit to reddit

Centrowitz, Lomong, Manzano, and Wheating – At Least One Of Them Is Going Home Very Unhappy

June 18, 2013

2012 Olympic silver medallist Leo Manzano.

2011 World Championships bronze medallist Matt Centrowitz

2010 3:30.90 performer Andrew Wheating.

It should be easy to figure out which three US men will represent the US in the men’s 1500 at the 2013 IAAF Outdoor World Track and Field Championships in Moscow in August, right? Just pick those three studs – the three men who represented the US in the Olympics last year – all three are still in their twenties and we are good to go.

Not so fast. Two of those three have some serious question marks surrounding them.

Questions Concerning Two of the “Big Three”

This seems like a really long time ago

Manzano came up big last year
*More London Photos

Where to begin?

Let’s start at the top. Last year, Manzano did what two generations worth of American male 1500 runners had dreamed of doing, win an Olympic medal, as his silver was the US’s first since Jim Ryun‘s silver in 1968.

Less than a year later, Manzano finds himself sponsor-less and heading into USAs after finishing dead last in 4:00.02 in the Bowerman Mile in Eugene. And that wasn’t the only bad race Manzano’s had this year – it was just the latest of a string of clunkers. He also ran a 14:57 5k at Carlsbad and a 4:04 road mile.

It’s amazing how quickly things have changed for the worse.

However, Manzano can’t be discounted. At the USATF High Performance meet prior to the Prefontaine Classic, Leo ran an acceptable 3:37.04 1500m, nothing great, but right in line with the best anyone in the US has done outdoors this year as shown below:

Top 10 1500 Times Achieved By 2013 USA 1500 Entrants So Far in 2013

1    3:36.51+               Matthew Centrowitz                
2    3:36.67                Will Leer                   
3    3:36.74+               Lopez Lomong           
4    3:36.79                Russell Brown          
5    3:37.03                Andrew Wheating           
6    3:37.04                Leo Manzano         
7    3:37.47                Garrett Heath       
8    3:37.54                Jeff See        
9    3:38.25                David Torrence
10   3:38.26                Liam Boylan-Pett
+ split taken in middle of a full mile race

In running that 3:37.04, Manzano also beat Centrowitz as well as Lopez Lomong, both of whom went on to run a 3:51 mile at the Prefontaine Classic, while Manzano ran 4:00 for dead last.

Manzano’s certainly been known to have clunkers before. But surely he’s never finished dead last in a mile in 4:00 and had a good race soon after, right?  Think again. Just last year, in his final race before the Olympics Leo also ran 4:00 for the full mile and finished dead last. We called the race a “total disaster”.  Then Leo went out and proceeded to win the silver medal at the Olympics. Go figure.

Most people would mentally be out of it after finishing last at Prefontaine this year and London last year. Not Manzano. He’s often lethal in races in the 3:35-3:40 range as he closes well. Discount him at your own peril.

However, we think his lack of sponsorship has to be weighing on him. It’s one thing to not run well but still get paid well. It’s another thing to not run well and not get paid at all.

Wheating is the other guy with some serious question marks surrounding him. After running 3:37.03 at Oxy, ahead of both Centrowitz and Manzano,  he only ran 3:57.02 in the ‘B’ mile at Prefontaine and afterwards ripped himself for running ‘scared.’ He then followed that up with a 1:46.85 800 in a race where Tyler Mulder ran 1:44.85.

The more we think about it, the less we are overly worried about Wheating. Last year, his 800 seasonal best before the Trials was very similar to what he ran in Portland (1:46.83) and he made the team. As for Prefontaine, yes it was bad but it’s probably hard for the Olympian to get excited about having been relegated to the ‘B’ mile at Prefontaine, when you are an Oregon legend.

Of the “Big 3”, the one we have the most confidence in is Matt Centrowitz. He’s by far the most consistent of the three and seemingly isn’t ever a mental head case. This kid has ice in his veins and is always a savvy racer.

Third at Worlds in 2011, fourth at the Olympics in 2012 and he comes into USAs after a 3:51 mile. Tell us how he’s not going to make the team? Yes he could fall.

Lopez Surprisingly Enters The 1,500

Lopez Lomong has had plenty of past 1500 success. Here he is winning 2009 USA champs.

The big development this week in the entry/declaration process on the men’s side was that 2012 Olympic 5000 finalist, Lopez Lomong, a man who set the American records indoors in the 5000 at 13:07.00, declared for the 1500. His declaration likely resulted in a lot of 1,500 hopefuls going, “Oh ****,” when they saw the entries as Lomong is also very accomplished in the 1500/mile and they likely were hoping he’s permanently moved to the 5000 (Lomong also is entered in the 5000 which takes place after the 1500).

Lopez made the Olympics in the 1500 in 2008 and was a 2009 World Championship 1500 finalist. At Prefontaine, Lomong ran 3:51 in the full mile – something only the “Big 3” are capable of.

If he comes up with a similar type effort in Iowa, it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t punch his ticket to Moscow. With Lomong in the field, there is now a “Big 4” who, if they are on their game, aren’t losing to anyone else in the field.

Who Has A Shot If The “Big 4” Falter?

There are two entrants that have gone under 3:37 so far this year. Will Leer and Russell Brown.

Last year, Russell Brown went into the Olympic Trials with the #1 US 1,500 time on the year at 3:34.11 and went home before the finals thanks to an Achilles injury. This year, he was running well early season once again as his 3:36.79 came at Oxy on May 17th, but he hasn’t raced since.

We had heard his plan was to keep things low keys before US champs but no races at all?We’re worried that means his Achilles or some other injury is bothering him.

It’s possible it’s a brilliant strategy to stay healthy.

We’ll have to wait to find out after the first round on Thursday unless you know what’s up and email us or post the info on the messageboard: MB: Working on men’s 1500 preview. Russell Brown hasn’t raced since May 17 – what gives?

Never mind, over night, as we were working on this story, a story on Russell Brown came out in the Register-Guard by Curtis Anderson. Everything is fine with Brown. A minor quad injury kept him out of Prefontaine but he said it was healed by the time the meet came around.

“I’m going into USAs feeling pretty good and pretty confident,” said Brown to Anderson.

Will Leer has been enjoying the best year of his career. He won US indoor titles in the mile and 3000 and then won his heat at Oxy, beating nearly all of the major US 1,500 contenders –  Lomong, Wheating, Manzano, Centrowitz- as well as Galen Rupp.

Yet despite that win, he found himself in the ‘B’ heat at Prefontaine and didn’t get a real chance to run fast. There he was fourth in 3:56.39 ahead of Wheating.

Is Leer just cursed – a really good US runner who hardly ever has gotten the opportunity to put up a fast time in a big international race? Or is he a guy that is tapped out at 3:36 (he’s run 3:36 each of the last three years) who is very good at consistently producing at that level and beating others when they come up short of that type of effort (but loses to them when they are on their ‘A’ game)?

We may find out in Des Moines.

Anyone else?

There are a lot of other guys hoping to squeak into the top 4 and then go chase the standard in Europe if any of the ‘Big 4’ falter.

Jeff See, David Torrence, and Garrett Heath are all 27-years old guys who have been pretty good for a while now but never had that breakthrough to be consistent international level performers.

2012 NCAA champ Andy Bayer hasn’t shown the same form this year as last year when he won NCAAs and was 4th at the Olympic Trials as he was just eighth at NCAAs in Eugene a few weeks ago.

The NCAA champ is Oregon’s Mac Fleet who is good in tactical races but might have a tough time emotionally coming back from the huge high he had in Eugene.

Quick Takes, Entrants and Heat Sheets Below.

Quick Take (QT) #1: This race may be a hard one for some fans to figure out who they want to cheer for. Many fans want to see the underdog breakthrough and realize his dreams as that’s what they dream about in their own running – a big breakthrough. But the problem is, for that to happen, you have by definition have to have a total stud struggle.

For example, let’s say Leer gets that much deserved first World Championship spot, then who doesn’t go?

Manzano? Wheating?

It’s painful to think that the Olympic silver medallist Manzano might soon be leaving Iowa with no Moscow spot and no shoe contract. That’s almost criminal. We guess we shouldn’t feel too bad for him, he’s always going to have an Olympic medal he can pull out of a drawer to cheer himself up.

QT #2: Lomong is also entered in the 5000 which takes place after the 1500. So it’s possible that he could make the team in both events. However, he almost certainly won’t run both events in Moscow as the 1500 and 5000 overlap in Moscow.

QT #3: In the Curtis Anderson article on Russell Brown, Brown sums up this year’s 1500 field perfectly and much more succinctly than we have by saying:

“It’s been a funny year. The (1,500) field is as strong as it’s ever been in my last couple of years, but not too many guys have been racing really well. Nobody has made it a priority. … Whoever is top three will likely have access to the big Diamond League meets.”

Update: QT #4: USATF has for some reason let in 47 people to the men’s 1500 and yet there are only two rounds. They are going to go from 47 to 12 in one race. Ridiculous. Either let in less people or have more rounds.

There are three heats and it’s top 3 and next three. Well the 1500 often isn’t an event run for time. So if you are a guy who likes to sit back and kick and are in heat 3, which has Russell Brown, Andrew Wheating and Matt Centrowitz all in it, three of the five fastest people in 2013, then you are in a lot of trouble.

More: Heat sheets below.
Vote in our poll: Which guy is most likely NOT going to Moscow in the 1500? Centrowitz Lomong, Manzano, Wheating.
*Discuss on MBoard: 2013 USA Men’s 1500: Who goes home devastated? Centrowitz, Lomong, Manzano or Wheating
*USA Men’s 1500m heat sheets are out – who you got???
*Manzano vs Wheating

Event 9  Men 1500 Meter Run Senior
12 Advance:  Top 3 Each Heat plus Next 3 Best Times
       World:  3:26.00  7/7/1998    Hicham El Guerrouj, MAR                    
    American:  3:29.30  8/28/2005   Bernard Lagat, Nike                        
     Name                        Year Team                                  
Heat 1  Prelims
  1  Jordan McNamara                  Nike / Oregon TC            
  2  Miles Batty                      Asics                       
  3  David Torrence                   Nike                        
  4  Riley Masters                    Oklahoma                    
  5  Andrew Bayer                     Indiana Univ                
  6  Matthew Elliott                  Brooks                      
  7  Michael Atchoo                   Stanford Uni                
  8  Chris Fallon                     Ohio State                  
  9  Lopez Lomong                     Nike                        
 10  Kirubel Erassa                   Oklahoma Sta                
 11  Patrick Casey                    Oklahoma                    
 12  Alex Hatz                        Unattached                  
 13  Graham Morris                    Illinois                    
 14  Patrick Todd                     Oregon                      
 15  William Leer                     Nike                        
 16  Leonel Manzano                   Unattached                  
Heat 2  Prelims
  1  Joseph Stilin                    Unattached                  
  2  Brett Johnson                    Oregon                      
  3  Tommy Schmitz                    Unattached                  
  4  Jack Bolas                       New Balance                 
  5  Andrew Springer                  Georgetown U                
  6  Garrett Heath                    Saucony                     
  7  Christian Gonzalez               NJNYTC                      
  8  Ryan Hill                        N C State                   
  9  Isaac Presson                    North Carolina              
 10  Mac Fleet                        Oregon                      
 11  Craig Miller                     New Balance                 
 12  Mack McLain                      Boulder Runn                
 13  Tony Jordanek                    Unattached                  
 14  Robby Creese                     Penn State                  
 15  Jeff See                         Saucony                     
 16  Richard Harasyn                  Unattached                  
Heat 3  Prelims
  1  Daniel Stockberger               Unattached                  
  2  Russell Brown                    Unattached                  
  3  Michael Rutt                     NJNYTC                      
  4  Frezer Legesse                   Oklahoma                    
  5  Macklin Chaffee                  Unattached                  
  6  Duncan Phillips                  Unattached                  
  7  Rob Finnerty                     Wisconsin                   
  8  Stephen Pifer                    Speed Factor                
  9  Benjamin Blankenship             Nike                        
 10  Liam Boylan-Pett                 Unattached                  
 11  Daniel Clark                     Unattached                  
 12  Zachary Perkins                  Unattached                  
 13  Andrew Wheating                  Nike / Oregon TC            
 14  Austin Mudd                      Wisconsin                   
 15  Matthew Centrowitz               Nike
Men 1,500m – Men
Matthew CentrowitzNike3:31.96qualifieddeclared
Leonel Manzano3:34.08qualifieddeclared
Jack BolasNew Balance3:36.35qualifieddeclared
Garrett HeathSaucony3:36.65qualifieddeclared
William LeerNike3:36.67qualifieddeclared
Andrew WheatingNike / Oregon TC Elite3:36.68qualifieddeclared
Russell Brown3:36.79qualifieddeclared
Andrew BayerIndiana University3:37.24qualifieddeclared
Jeff SeeSaucony3:37.54qualifieddeclared
Craig MillerNew Balance3:37.81qualifieddeclared
David TorrenceNike3:38.25qualifieddeclared
Liam Boylan-Pett3:38.26qualifieddeclared
Rob FinnertyUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison3:38.34qualifieddeclared
Riley MastersUniversity of Oklahoma3:38.79qualifieddeclared
Tony Jordanek3:38.85qualifieddeclared
Brett JohnsonUniversity of Oregon3:38.91qualifieddeclared
Jordan McNamaraNike / Oregon TC Elite3:38.95qualifieddeclared
Duncan Phillips3:39.24qualifieddeclared
Benjamin BlankenshipNike3:39.39qualifieddeclared
Michael AtchooStanford University3:39.57qualifieddeclared
Richard Harasyn3:39.77qualifieddeclared
Mack McLainBoulder Running Company/adidas3:39.81qualifieddeclared
Daniel Clark3:39.87qualifieddeclared
Alex Hatz3:39.87qualifieddeclared
Macklin Chaffee3:39.91qualifieddeclared
Patrick CaseyUniversity of Oklahoma3:40.04qualifieddeclared
Mac FleetUniversity of Oregon3:40.21qualifieddeclared
Christian GonzalezNew Jersey New York Track Club3:40.30qualifieddeclared
Graham MorrisUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign3:40.41qualifieddeclared
Daniel Stockberger3:40.61qualifieddeclared
Stephen PiferSpeed Factory Athletics3:40.95qualifieddeclared
Patrick ToddUniversity of Oregon3:41.09qualifieddeclared
Tommy Schmitz3:41.10qualifieddeclared
Chris FallonThe Ohio State University3:41.13qualifieddeclared
Andrew SpringerGeorgetown University3:41.13qualifieddeclared
Frezer LegesseUniversity of Oklahoma3:41.14qualifieddeclared
Lopez LomongNike3:51.21qualifieddeclared
Ryan HillNorth Carolina State University3:54.89qualifieddeclared
Robby CreeseThe Pennsylvania State University3:57.11qualifieddeclared
Matthew ElliottBrooks3:57.16qualifieddeclared
Michael RuttNew Jersey New York Track Club3:57.18qualifieddeclared
Austin MuddUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison3:57.93qualifieddeclared
Kirubel ErassaOklahoma State University3:58.24qualifieddeclared
Joseph Stilin3:58.66qualifieddeclared
Isaac PressonUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill3:58.67qualifieddeclared
Miles BattyAsics3:58.96qualifieddeclared
Zachary Perkins3:41.46accepteddeclared
Matthew HillenbrandUniversity of Kentucky3:41.48provisionalnot accepted
Trevor DunbarUniversity of Oregon3:41.80provisionalnot accepted
Josh McAlaryMichigan State University3:42.25provisionalnot accepted
Travis Fitzke3:42.32provisionalnot accepted
Alan WebbNike3:42.88provisionalnot accepted
Luis Gutierrez3:43.47provisionalnot accepted
Jesse GarnState University of New York at Binghamton3:43.98provisionalnot accepted
Tony Filipek3:44.31provisionalnot accepted
Ryan McNiff3:59.11provisionalnot accepted
Jeramy ElkaimUniversity of Oregon3:59.18provisionalnot accepted
Tyler StutzmanStanford University3:40.43qualifiedscratched
James ShirvellYale University3:41.09qualifiedscratched
Josh Munsch3:41.58provisionalscratched
Brannon KidderThe Pennsylvania State University3:42.07provisionalscratched
Mark Husted3:44.82provisionalscratched
Dey Dey3:59.96provisionalscratched
Jonathan PetersonTeam USA Minnesota3:42.78not qualified


Posted in: Professional