Matt Centrowitz Wins His First Indoor Title In Impressive Fashion At 2015 USA Champs
February 28, 2015
BOSTON – Matt Centrowitz has been America’s dominant indoor miler this season and he capped it off by winning his first indoor national championship in impressive fashion in 4:01.40.
The time was not impressive, but Centro’s tactical skills and final kick certainly were. Centro led early, but then with 3 laps to go it looked like Centro might get boxed in. Instead, he went wide, and was on the lead with 400m to go. Centro had the lead over Ben Blankenship at the bell and he would only extend it the last lap. Centro’s final 100m was impressive and he had time to look around and celebrate his first indoor title.
Shortly after the race, Centro was asked by Ato Boldon about trying to get gold at Worlds. Centro responded, “I’ve been healthy and had a great indoor season. I’m definitely looking forward to upgrading to a gold medal.”
Ben Blankenship, second last night in the two-mile, was second here as well in 4:02.14, as his breakout 2015 continued.
Results and quick takes/post race analysis appear below.
|1||Matthew Centrowitz||Nike / Nike Or P||4:01.40|
|2||Ben Blankenship||Nike / OTC Elite||4:02.14|
|3||Pat Casey||Nike / OTC Elite||4:02.85|
|6||Leonel Manzano||Hoka One One||4:04.25|
|7||Andrew Bayer||Nike/Bowerman TC||4:04.35|
|8||Lopez Lomong||Nike/Bowerman TC||4:04.51|
|9||Ford Palmer||Hoka N J N Y||4:05.15|
|10||Michael Atchoo||Strava Track||4:05.88|
|11||Jack Bolas||N J N Y TC||4:06.56|
|12||Dan Lowry||Boston A A||4:06.69|
|13||Steven Mangan||Boston A A||4:07.05|
|Michael Rutt||Hoka N J N Y||DNS|
Quick Take #1: Everyone we spoke to noted how physical the race was and how much they all battled for position.
This was an odd one to watch as no one seemed to hold their position for long; everyone was trying to get in the top three spots before the kicking started, but no one was able to make a convincing move early in the race to string out the field. Eventually Centrowitz took off with 600 to go, but prior to that each athlete noted that it was a constant battle to maintain his position, with Pat Casey saying that he seemed to spend more energy fighting off challengers to the side with his arms than actually focusing on moving forward.
Quick Take #2: Matthew Centrowitz is excited to take some time off before getting after it again outdoors.
Centrowitz’ father, 1976 U.S. Olympian Matt Centrowitz, was in the building for this one and his son, whose chest is adorned with a tattoo bearing the words, “Like father like son,” said that the two will be spending some time together over the coming weeks as he takes a break before gearing up for the outdoor season. Centrowitz noted that there was some bumping but he didn’t worry about getting into position until about 600 to go, when he was able to get to the front and take control of the race.
Quick Take #3: Ben Blankenship was again disappointed to get second, but knew there is no shame in losing to someone as good as Centrowitz.
The pool of guys contending for the three U.S. 1,500 spots in Beijing seems to grow every week (Robby Andrews, who won the 1,000 today, said he is focusing on the 1,500 outdoors) and Blankenship knows that there is a lot of talent in the event right now. But he made a point to note that Centrowitz and Ryan Hill are the only two Americans to have beaten him this season and that if he can compete this well on the U.S. circuit, it bodes well for his chances on the world stage. He attributed his breakout season to his ability to train full-time with Irishman Ciaran O’Lionaird. Previously, the two hadn’t been able to log a long training stretch together, but they’ve been working out with each other a lot recently and that consistency is paying dividends in 2015.
Blankenship added that he was disheartened to lose the 2-mile yesterday, but the physical effects of his hard race yesterday didn’t affect him much in today’s mile.
Quick Take #4: What would Pat Casey change? “Be better at running.”
Casey always seems to be near the front in 1,500s but he hasn’t won a lot recently, which is starting to gnaw at him. He knew there wasn’t much he could have done today though, as he was asked what, if anything he would change, and he responded simply, “If I could change anything, I would just be better at running.”
He also shone a light on what it was like to be in a race with so much jockeying for positioning (“chaos”) and said he was happy with the tremendous progress he’s made since this time last year. Still, Casey knows the time will soon come where he can no longer be satisfied with incremental progress if he’s not winning races.
Casey fans, you are in luck, we have two interviews with him below.
Quick Take #5: Matthew Elliott thinks that taking a 2-year sabbatical from his teaching job is paying off as now he has more time to surf the LetsRun.com message boards to train.
We caught up with Elliott after this one was over and he was proud of the fact that he beat two Olympians (Lomong and Manzano) and said there was no shame in losing to the three guys he lost to as all three have been running very well. He thinks the fact that he’s now a full-time runner is paying dividends.
Off camera, Elliott said he’s the answer to the recent message board thread on which elites post on LetsRun.com. Elliott said he’s a big fan and on the site daily.
Quick Take #6: Who the heck is making the U.S. team at 1,500 this summer?
Centrowitz, given his track record at USAs (he’s made all three teams since graduating from Oregon in 2011) and age (in his prime at 25) seems like a lock after his dominant indoor season. After that, the picture becomes fuzzier. Leo Manzano, only sixth here today, has never finished outside the top three at USA outdoors and at 30 years old still has plenty of run in him. He didn’t run terrifically indoors but at this stage in his training, that’s to be expected as he and coach John Hayes don’t prioritize indoors. Then there’s Blankenship, Casey, Jordan McNamara, Will Leer, all of whom have looked great at times over the past two years. Plus Lopez Lomong was third at USAs the past two years – he could decide to run the 1,500 too. And the talented enigma Andrew Wheating has a better PR than all of them, and after today a rejuvenated Robby Andrews, The 1,500 at USAs is going to be insane.