June 12, 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. — NCAA champion Clayton Murphy dominated the men’s 1,500 at Sunday’s Portland Track Festival over the final lap, winning in 3:36.23 and missing the Olympic qualifying standard by an agonizing .03.
Murphy announced after the race he turned professional earlier in the day and had signed with the Doyle Agency. He raced tonight in a Nike singlet but has not signed with a sponsor.
The goal for Murphy was to run in the 3:35s and have the Olympic standard out of the way and then decide whether he should run the 800 or the 1,500 at the Olympic Trials.
Now he has to decide to between the 800 and 1,500 and whether he should chase the 3:36.20 standard at another meet before the Trials.
As for the race today, Murphy followed rabbit Will Leer through 1,200 (58.4, 1:56 and 2:40 at the bell were the splits for the leaders). He had opened up a gap of 5 meters on Ben Saarel, who was the closest chaser.
Murphy powered around the final lap chasing the clock and crossed the line with the manual scoreboard showing an agonizing 3:36.2. Eventually the official time was announced as 3:36.23 and Murphy had to settle for his first professional win and a check for $1,000 but the Olympic standard will have to come another day. Jordan McNamara moved up to second on the final lap, Dorian Ulrey was third, and Ben Saarel 4th in a PR. Matthew Maton, who went sub-4 for the mile last year in high school, also PRed in 7th in 3:38.62. World Championships silver medallist Matt Centrowitz was well back and never a factor. He finished in 9th in 3:41.39 after finishing 5th in the “B” 800 in 1:47.69 roughly 2.5 hours earlier. Centrowitz declined to speak to the media.
Murphy did talk to the media and talked about his historic week, turning pro, and just missing the standard tonight. He’s undecided as to what to run at the Trials, but we doubt he’d run the 1,500 at the Trials without having the Olympic standard out of the way.
Results (they will eventually be posted here)