World Indoors Day 1: Ryan Crouser is Golden As All 4 Americans Cruise Into 1500 Finals

The first day of competition at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships have concluded

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GLASGOW, Scotland – The second session of the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships featured the men’s 60m final and shot put finals as well as the women’s high jump and pentathlon.

But from a perspective, all eyes were focused on the 1500 prelims for the men and women which we recap for you below after we quickly tell you what happened in the finals.

With his first world indoor title, Ryan Crouser has now done just about everything possible in the sport

In the finals, in the men’s 60, world record holder Christian Coleman got the best of 100/200 champ Noah Lyles in a speedy 6.41 to Lyles’6.44 (LRC Recap analysis here). In the men’s hot, American Ryan Crouser filled the one hole on his CV – no world indoor title – by winning his first world indoor title with a 22.77 championship record throw in round 5.  Our post-race interview with Crouser is here.

In the women’s high jump, Australia’s Nicola Olyslagers had a third-attempt clearance at 1.99 to take the gold from defending champ Yaroslava Mahuchikh while Belgium’s Noor Vidts retained her title in the pentathlon after Italy’s Maria Vicente pulled out early with an injury. For more info on those events, read the WA recap.

*60 Results *Shot Results *Pentathlon Results *WHJ Results

Women’s 1500 prelims: Americans, Ethiopians advance as Ramsden sets NZ record

The women’s 1500 got underway on Friday and the three top seeds, Ethiopians Freweyni Hailu, Diribe Welteji, and Birke Haylom all advanced to Sunday’s final. Both Americans also made it through stress-free with Nikki Hiltz kicking at the line to win heat 2 in 4:04.34 (the fastest time of the night) and Emily Mackay nabbing the third and final auto qualifier in heat 3 in 4:08.04.

New Zealand’s Maia Ramsden also looked impressive. Just five days after anchoring Harvard to a DMR victory at the Ivy League championships, Ramsden ran a New Zealand record of 4:06.51 to finish 3rd in heat 2. She’ll run the world final on Sunday, then fly home to Boston where she’ll compete in the first round of the mile at NCAAs a week from tonight.

There were a couple of notable athletes who failed to advance. Linden Hall, who set an Australian record of 3:56.92 to finish 5th in last year’s Diamond League final, was only 4th in heat 3 in 4:09.83. And Ireland’s Sarah Healy, who was leading heat 4 in the home straight, tied up badly and wound up falling just before the line, ultimately crossing the finish line in 6th place in 4:18.86.

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*W 1500 Results

Quick Take: One medal might be there for the taking in the finalsadsd

Coming into Worlds, everyone thought the Ethiopians would be hard to stop in the women’s 1500. Ethiopians occupy the top six spots in the world indoors in the 1500 and so their three entrants here are clearly the three favorites for the medals. Hailu and Welteji, who have both run 3:55 in 2024, ran great today and look like strong bets for 1-2 in some order. But Haylom, who has a 3:58 sb, had to work much harder to make the final. She does not appear to be a lock for bronze.

That leaves one medal up for grabs, and the American Nikki Hiltz believes they (Hiltz, a biological female, identifies as non-binary) have a shot at it. With Hailu and Welteji in the final, Hiltz expects a fast race.

“If I’m a betting person, I would guess so, yeah,” Hiltz said.

Would Hiltz be happy with that sort of race?

“No, but it’s fine,” Hiltz said. “…I think I could break 4:00, but that’s probably it. That’s probably my ceiling, is 3:59…You never know what can happen in these things, so just put yourself in a position to be there. I have a great last 200, so I’m not going to count myself fully out.”

Mackay is dreaming of the American record in the final

American Emily Mackay wasn’t afraid to talk about time after the race. She thinks she’s in fantastic shape and said in an ideal world she sets the American record in the final (Doper Regina Jacobs has held the AR for 21 years at 3:59.98).

“I definitely think I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. This is my first time like, making it to a big championship meet like feeling actually, like ready to go. Fitness wise, I’ve ever been not feeling burnt out or anything. So I’m just really excited to see what I can do in like the most competitive race I’ve ever been in on Sunday,” said the 25-year-old Mackay who ran 3:59.99 outdoors last year.

“I want to run fast. I want to see if I can PR. Like I said, I think I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. So sub-4.I want to PR, maybe looking at the American record, that’d be really, really cool.”

Quick Take: Maia Ramsden has been a busy woman this winter, but she is loving every minute of it

It’s rare for collegians to compete at World Indoors and NCAA Indoors in the same season, but Ramsden, the fastest miler in the NCAA this season (4:24.83) was invited to run at World Indoors by the New Zealand federation and jumped at the chance to compete at her first global champs. That has made for a busy winter for the 21-year-old. Check out her recent schedule:

February 10, Boston: Anchors Harvard to 10:52.07 DMR school record in Boston with 4:29 split.
February 11, New York: Runs 4:24.83 mile (#2 all-time NCAA) at Millrose Games.
February 17-18: No races
February 24, Boston: Wins 3000 at Ivy League champs in 9:19.76.
February 25, Boston: Anchors Harvard to 10:56.77 DMR win at Ivy League champs with 4:26 split.
March 1, Glasgow: Runs New Zealand record of 4:06.51 in World Indoor semifinals
March 3, Glasgow: World Indoor 1500 final
March 8, Boston: NCAA mile prelim
March 9, Boston: NCAA mile and 3000m finals

And if all of that was not enough, Ramsden submitted her senior thesis at Harvard just before her race on Friday afternoon. The topic? How Pacific poets are writing about climate change migration.

“I was working on it at the hotel today,” Ramsden said. “It was kind of good. I wasn’t thinking about the race. I wasn’t worried about that. I was trying to do my citations. I really enjoy school, so it was a very fulfilling thing.”

Typically there is a celebration in Cambridge for those who have submitted their theses, but Ramsden is glad to be in Glasgow.

“There was champagne back at school for everyone that finished theirs today,” Ramsden said. “So I’m missing that, but this is better.”

Men’s 1500: Americans Cole Hocker and Hobbs Kessler move on to what should be a terrific final

All the major players advanced to Sunday’s men’s 1500 final, including Americans Cole Hocker (winner of heat 1 in 3:39.32) and Hobbs Kessler (2nd in heat 4 in 3:39.07). Two-time defending champion Samuel Tefera, On Athletic Club teammates Geordie Beamish and Mario Garcia Romo, and outdoor Worlds bronze medalist Narve Nordas also all made it through safely to the final.

It was a struggle for the home nation, however, as both British runners met with disaster. In heat 1, Adam Fogg fell within seconds of the start but the race was not called back; Fogg wound up 6th in 3:48.47, nine seconds back of the final auto spot, but was advanced to the final. His teammate Callum Elson was not as fortunate, pulling up with an injury midway through heat 4 and dropping out.

*M1500 Results

Quick Take: The final on Sunday should be tremendous

Some of the major players in the 1500 meters are not running the event in Glasgow, but Sunday’s race still promises to deliver thrills. Tefera will be going for a third consecutive World Indoor title – something only one male runner has ever accomplished before (well done if you knew it was Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak in the 400 meters). Hocker and Kessler are both in great form. Beamish is running well and cannot be discounted. Portugal’s Isaac Nader, who has won all five of his races this year (including heat 3 today) is the medal contender no one is talking about.

And most interestingly, Norway’s Narve Nordas looked strong in winning heat 2 with a 26.17 final 200. Nordas enjoyed a breakout 2023 season that saw him run 3:29 and medal at Worlds, but in his 2024 opener in Lievin on February 10, he ran just 3:37 and finished 5th. But Nordas feels that he is ahead of last year aerobically and said today that he feels his speed is coming around after some race-specific sessions over the last month.

“I’m a bit surprised that the speed is as good as it is given the previous races this indoor season,” Nordas said. It’s really gotten better and better.”

Nordas said he is hoping for someone to push the pace in the final but knows either way it will take a big close to earn a medal.

Gjert Ingebrigtsen: “If you can’t be a front runner, you can’t win anything”

We also bumped into Nordas’ coach Gjert Ingebrigtsen before the race. Ingebrigtsen was denied a coaching credential in Glasgow by the Norwegian federation and had to watch Friday’s race from the stands. He feels good about where Nordas is at but admitted they would have to see if Nordas’ kick is good enough right now to earn a medal.

Gjert said he thinks its very important for Nordas to get used to racing at this level as last year was his first at the top level of the circuit. “My own boys, they are born with self confidence like this. Not all people are that confident in racing. So he needs to have more races to be more confident,” said Gjert, who was sporting a black New York Yankees cap.

While we talked to Gjert before the first round, we asked him how he thought the final would play out tactically. If Jakob was in the race, everyone knows it would be fast but might it be a classic tactical 1500?

Gjert responded by saying, “I  normally advise my athletes to be confident enough to run races – to be a front runner. If you can’t be a front runner, you can’t win anything. So you need to have the confidence to be to go to the front and to do races from the front and to be strong enough and confident enough to do that. You can always succeed in being in front but you have to be confident enough to do it. So I hope that will now those will go in that direction and be confident enough to go to the front.

Cole Hocker has a legit shot of winning the gold medal

Cole Hocker made it look easy in winning heat 1 to advance to the final of World Indoors in the 1500.  Hocker’s heat featured two-time world indoor champion Samuel Tefera.

After an opening 800 of 2:00.37, Tefera went to the front and began to push a little. With 400 to go, 4 men were clear of everyone else and chasing the 3 qualifying spots for the final. Hocker was in 4th heading into the final 400, but went wide to move up into 2nd at the bell as Sweden’s Samuel Pihlström led and Tefera fell back into third. Hocker went around Pihlström with 100 to go to get the win, closing in 26.33 to win in 3:39.32 as Pihlström was second, and Tefera held off  Kristian Hansen of Denmark for 3rd.

He said afterwards he’d give himself a B in terms of tactics (USAs was an A+) but the goal was to play it safe and stay out of trouble. He’s hoping for a fast final.

Samuel Pihlström has gone from an orienteer to a world champion finalist in exactly 4 years

4 years ago to the day (March 1 2020), Sweden’s Samuel Pihlström was an orienteer who ran the Swedish junior 1500 champs for fun and he did quite well, breaking 4:00 and finishing third in 3:57.22i. Coach Ulf Friberg liked what he saw and approached him and now exactly four years later he’s the Swedish indoor record holder (3:35.47) and World Championship finalist, as he ran 3:39.63 for second in heat 1 behind Hocker, one spot ahead of two time-defending champ champ Samuel Tefera. And Pihlström, 22,  isn’t even a full-time runner as he’s also a computer scientist student. Hear his story below.

Hobbs Kessler is getting some very valuable experience from racing a ton this winter

Kessler said he’s not been doing a whole lot on the workout front of late as he’s been racing just about every weekend. He thinks he’s learning a ton in the process.

Mario Garcia Romo was upbeat after making the final

 “I feel like I’m coming here in better shape than a couple of weeks ago,” said Mario Garcia Romo, who was 4th and 6th at the last two World Championships, but only 10th at Millrose and 3rd at the Spanish Champs prior to coming to Glasgow.

Garcia Romo said he felt a “little flat” in those races as he’s been doing a ton of volume work and training more like a 1500/5000 guy even though he views himself as more an 800/1500 guy.

South Africa’s Ryan Mphahlele:  “At the moment, I’m good. I’m just wanna be great.”

South Africa’s Ryan Mphahlele was all smiles wearing his sunglasses in the mixed zone after making the final by running 3:42.97 for 3rd in Nordas’ heat.

Still Mphahlele knows he’s got to keep improving. “At the moment, I’m good. I’m just wanna be great,” said Mphahlele who ran 3:32.90 outdoors last year and a then-South African indoor record of 3:36.57 on February 2nd of this year (broken 4 days later by Tshepo Tshite who didn’t make the final tonight).

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