Yared Nuguse wins men's 1500m title at 2023 USATF Outdoor Championships
Yared Nuguse wins the men's 1500m title at the 2023 USATF Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

EUGENE (July 8) — Just like Nikki Hiltz, Yared Nuguse used a fast finish to win the men’s 1500m on day three of the 2023 USATF Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon on Saturday night. Nuguse, who trains with the On Athletics Club in Boulder, Colo., had to come from behind in the homestretch to win his first national title in 3:34.90, earning a spot on Team USATF for the World Athletics Championships in Budapest next month.

Yared Nuguse, the North American record holder for 1500m, entered the race as the favorite to win, and he didn’t disappoint, leading home a strong group of athletes that also included Cole Hocker, who also has the World Athletics Championships qualifying standard.

Yared Nuguse Led The Pack Early

We were bracing for lots of excitement in the men’s race, and it went to script – almost. Nuguse, who feels comfortable leading the pack, went to the front almost from the start and split a reasonable 58.8 seconds for 400 meters.

Like soldiers in a convoy, the rest of the field lined up behind him, including Hobbs Kessler, Cole Hocker, and Eric Holt. Joe Waskom of the University of Washington, the 2022 NCAA 1500m champion, was back in ninth place.

“I just kind of kept it out, not going too hard but like keeping it relatively honest so it doesn’t bunch up,” Nuguse said when asked about his strategy today.

Read More: Women’s 1500m report: Excited Nikki Hiltz shocks favorites at USA Championships

Nuguse still led through 1200 meters, but at the end of the backstretch Waskom attacked and passed Nuguse.

Yared Nuguse wins the 1500 meter at the USATF Championships
Yared Nuguse wins the 1500 meter at the USATF Championships. Photo by Pat Holleran

“Joe kind of popped out of nowhere and I was like, man, that was a good move right there,” Nuguse said.  He added: “It was cool to see a college kid going for the moment.”

Joe Waskom Caught By Nuguse

But Waskom’s lead was short-lived. Nuguse came back on him, took the lead in the homestretch and won in 3:34.90. Waskom got second in a personal best 3:35.32.

Third place went to Olympian Cole Hocker, who held off the close of Sam Prakel, 3:35.46 to 3:35.83. Kessler, who had realistic hopes of making the team, only finished sixth.

“I’m super-pumped about it,” Nuguse said of his win.

Joe Waskom was equally delighted. Although he does not have the World Athletics Championships entry standard of 3:34.20, he is likely either to rise enough in the World Athletics points ranking to claim a team spot, or make the standard by July 30, as the rules permit.

“Pretty stoked,” said Waskom when asked about representing the USA at the World Athletics Championships.  “I can’t really believe it myself.”

These championships close Sunday, with four more distance races remaining: the 800m and 5000m for both men and women. Tonight’s crowd was the largest of these championships so far with 8,965 ticketed spectators, according to USA Track & Field.

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