Men’s 1500: Green & Waskom Go 1-2 as Washington’s 1500 Domination Continues

For the third straight NCAA championship, a Washington Husky won the men’s 1500/mile. And, just like last year’s outdoor championship and this year’s indoor championship, Friday’s winner was a first-time champion as Nathan Green joined teammates Joe Waskom and Luke Houser as national champs. Green won in 3:42.78 with Waskom finishing close behind in 3:42.93 as UW became the first school to go 1-2 in the NCAA 1500 since Oregon went 1-2-3 with Andrew Wheating, AJ Acosta, and Matthew Centrowitz in 2010. Both groups were coached by Andy Powell (he was an assistant at Oregon in 2010 and is now the head coach at Washington).

The early pace was slow and the whole field was still in it at the bell, which Wisconsin’s Adam Spencer hit in the lead in 2:50.75. Defending champ Waskom seized the lead on the back straight, but unlike last year, he could not hold it and got swallowed up by Spencer and Houser, who battled to be in front by the final turn. Spencer got there, but neither of them were moving as fast as Green, who moved up to Spencer’s shoulder and was keeping up with him despite running most of the turn on the line between lanes 1 and 2. Waskom battled back well to take second but could not reel in his teammate Green, who closed in 51.88 for his last 400, the only man in the field to go sub-52.

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Results: Men 1500 M (Final)
Pl Pos Athlete Time 300m 700m 1100m 1500m
1 4 Nathan GREEN
Washington [SO]
3:42.78 46.23
2 7 Joe WASKOM
Washington [JR]
3:42.93 46.08
3 9 Adam SPENCER
Wisconsin [SO]
3:42.98 45.79
4 6 Anass ESSAYI
South Carolina [SO]
3:43.31 46.77
5 1 Isaac BASTEN
Drake [JR]
3:43.33 46.55
6 8 Jesse HUNT
North Carolina [SR]
3:43.40 45.96
7 10 Ezekiel ROP
Iowa State [JR]
3:43.59 46.75
Penn State [JR]
3:44.20 46.44
9 12 Fouad MESSAOUDI
Oklahoma State [SO]
3:44.41 46.52
10 11 Luke HOUSER
Washington [JR]
3:44.61 46.30
11 2 Liam MURPHY
Villanova [SO]
3:45.72 45.97
12 5 Ethan STRAND
North Carolina [FR]
3:47.01 45.67

Quick Take: Green was clearly the best guy tonight and a deserving champion

Last month at Pac-12s, Green won the 1500 in 3:42.22 with a 51.90 last lap, which led us to write the following in our NCAA preview: “If you can close in 51 seconds in a 3:42 race, not many runners are going to be able to beat you. If Green can replicate that sort of performance at NCAAs, I just don’t see how he loses.”

Well guess what happened at NCAAs? Green ran 3:42, he closed in 51.88, and nobody beat him. Sometimes it is just that simple. Wisconsin’s Adam Spencer put himself in good position on the last lap and ran a strong last lap (52.23). Tactically, he was better than Green tonight but there’s no defense in running. Green ran extra distance on the final turn and still closed sub-52. There’s just not much you can do there other than tip your hat to the champ.

Quick Take: Green is an NCAA 1500 champ despite only running four or five days per week and maxing out at 55 miles per week

We spoke to multiple people within the UW program this week prior to the final who told us Green, who just turned 20 in April, is the most talented of their very talented mile crew. Tonight you saw why. Green was a superstar in high school in Idaho (he ran 50.27 in the open 400 as well as 4:00 in the mile) and had a strong freshman year in 2021-22 at UW that included an 8th-place finish in the NCAA final and a 5th-place finish at the World U20 Championships in Colombia. He returned to Seattle in the fall ready to run cross country, but after a 70-mile week his body began breaking down, prompting a frank conversation with Andy Powell.

“My body just can’t handle that,” Green said. “I always have some sort of stress injury.”

The two agreed that Green would back off his training volume and run only four or five days a week, supplementing it with work on the elliptical or Boost Microgravity Treadmill as needed. He no longer runs more than 55 miles per week and the results when he has raced have been great – though Green got a late start on his outdoor season after dealing with a mysterious injury eventually revealed to be a nerve impingement.

Quick Take: What Washington has had this season is very special, and a special culture allowed it to happen

Obviously the on-track accomplishments by the 2023 UW mile crew have been very special with eight guys breaking 4:00 indoors and national champions indoors and out (plus the outdoor champ last year). Having two (now three) NCAA champs in the same training group is a great luxury, but it can also be an issue when everyone is fighting for the same title and only one can win. Green says that is not the case at Washington at all, however.

“There’s no rivalries,” Green said. “There’s no, I’m trying to be better than Joe. It’s not Joe’s trying to be better than me or better than Luke. We’re just trying to be better together…Joe and Luke both won, and it was like they hadn’t won. There was never a moment where you felt like they were looking down on you or they were part of some special club. They’re just still the same old Joe and Luke and there’s no separation in our pack.”

Quick Take by Robert Johnson: Adam Spencer ran a good race tactically and hopes to represent Australia in the 1500 this summer

Spencer had nothing to complain about after this one was over. He had the lead coming off the turn but Green was just better over the final 100. Spencer hopes to make it to Budapest this summer for team Australia but realizes it’s a long shot as one would think two of the three spots are already accounted for with Ollie Hoare and Stewart McSweyn being so good. Additionally, he doesn’t have the standard or the world ranking to get in right now.

Talk about day 3 of the 2023 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on our world-famous fan forum / messageboard.

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