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”
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
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.
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?
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|
|Jack Bolas||New Balance||3:36.35||qualified||declared|
|Andrew Wheating||Nike / Oregon TC Elite||3:36.68||qualified||declared|
|Andrew Bayer||Indiana University||3:37.24||qualified||declared|
|Craig Miller||New Balance||3:37.81||qualified||declared|
|Rob Finnerty||University of Wisconsin-Madison||3:38.34||qualified||declared|
|Riley Masters||University of Oklahoma||3:38.79||qualified||declared|
|Brett Johnson||University of Oregon||3:38.91||qualified||declared|
|Jordan McNamara||Nike / Oregon TC Elite||3:38.95||qualified||declared|
|Michael Atchoo||Stanford University||3:39.57||qualified||declared|
|Mack McLain||Boulder Running Company/adidas||3:39.81||qualified||declared|
|Patrick Casey||University of Oklahoma||3:40.04||qualified||declared|
|Mac Fleet||University of Oregon||3:40.21||qualified||declared|
|Christian Gonzalez||New Jersey New York Track Club||3:40.30||qualified||declared|
|Graham Morris||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||3:40.41||qualified||declared|
|Stephen Pifer||Speed Factory Athletics||3:40.95||qualified||declared|
|Patrick Todd||University of Oregon||3:41.09||qualified||declared|
|Chris Fallon||The Ohio State University||3:41.13||qualified||declared|
|Andrew Springer||Georgetown University||3:41.13||qualified||declared|
|Frezer Legesse||University of Oklahoma||3:41.14||qualified||declared|
|Ryan Hill||North Carolina State University||3:54.89||qualified||declared|
|Robby Creese||The Pennsylvania State University||3:57.11||qualified||declared|
|Michael Rutt||New Jersey New York Track Club||3:57.18||qualified||declared|
|Austin Mudd||University of Wisconsin-Madison||3:57.93||qualified||declared|
|Kirubel Erassa||Oklahoma State University||3:58.24||qualified||declared|
|Isaac Presson||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||3:58.67||qualified||declared|
|Matthew Hillenbrand||University of Kentucky||3:41.48||provisional||not accepted|
|Trevor Dunbar||University of Oregon||3:41.80||provisional||not accepted|
|Josh McAlary||Michigan State University||3:42.25||provisional||not accepted|
|Travis Fitzke||3:42.32||provisional||not accepted|
|Alan Webb||Nike||3:42.88||provisional||not accepted|
|Luis Gutierrez||3:43.47||provisional||not accepted|
|Jesse Garn||State University of New York at Binghamton||3:43.98||provisional||not accepted|
|Tony Filipek||3:44.31||provisional||not accepted|
|Ryan McNiff||3:59.11||provisional||not accepted|
|Jeramy Elkaim||University of Oregon||3:59.18||provisional||not accepted|
|Tyler Stutzman||Stanford University||3:40.43||qualified||scratched|
|James Shirvell||Yale University||3:41.09||qualified||scratched|
|Brannon Kidder||The Pennsylvania State University||3:42.07||provisional||scratched|
|Jonathan Peterson||Team USA Minnesota||3:42.78||not qualified|