By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
EUGENE (July 6) — Matthew Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic 1500m champion, was able to advance to Saturday’s 1500m final at the USA Track and Field Championships 2023 on Thursday’s Day 1, but only just. Sinclaire Johnson, meanwhile, is the top qualifier on the women’s side.
Running in the first of three heats, Matthew Centrowitz ran with the leading group for the entire race, keeping up with North American record holder Yared Nuguse who set the pace at the front. Nuguse ran a hot 3:35.37 to win the heat, and Centrowitz faded to sixth in the homestretch. However, the 33-year-old time of 3:37.36 was the third and final time qualifier.
“Something I’ve lacked all year is a little bit of a pop,” said Centrowitz. “I felt pretty good kind of throughout, and then I’ve just really been kind of flat the last hundred in a lot of races. I don’t know. I’ve been kind of searching for answers the last few weeks.”
All the favorites advanced –Nuguse, Joe Waskom, Johnny Gregorek, Hobbs Kessler, Sam Prakel, and Cole Hocker– except for Cooper Teare, who finished fourth in the third and final heat and was eliminated. Teare is on the start list for Sunday’s 5000m, however.
Sinclaire Johnson Leads Women’s 1500m Qualifiers
In the women’s 1500m qualifying round, defending champion Sinclaire Johnson of the Nike Union Athletics Club was the fastest qualifier, winning the second of three heats in 4:07.84. She just edged Olympian Heather MacLean in a spirited sprint.
“I felt Heather coming up on me the last hundred and I’m not here to lose,” said Johnson. “So, I don’t care what it takes to cross the line first.”
Also advancing was Huntington University star Addy Wiley who won the first heat over Olympian Cory McGee, 4:09.53 to 4:09.62. Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu finished third and also advanced.
“I felt really relaxed, really controlled,” said Wiley, who is only 19. She continued: “I got the top three and that’s what really matters.”
Nikki Hiltz, Emily McKay and Dani Jones went 1-2-3 in the third heat and all advanced. Hiltz mounted a powerful sprint in the final 100 meters to take the win.
“I know it’s a prelim, but a race is a race and I’m trying to win as many as possible,” said Hiltz, who ran a personal best 4:18.38 for the mile in Oslo on June 15.
The USATF Track and Field Championships 2023 will continue with another packed schedule on Friday here at Hayward Field. For live results, click here