Paris 1500m Cements U.S. World Championship Squad

Matt Centrowitz earned a spot on the men's 1500m team at next month's World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Photo:

Matt Centrowitz earned a spot on the U.S. 1,500m team at next month's World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Photo:

Shalane Flanagan nearly breaks U.S. 5,000m record.

Written by: David Monti

(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

The outcome of the men’s 1500m at the Meeting Areva in Paris Friday night, part of the Samsung Diamond League Series, cemented the United States’ middle distance squad for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, in August.

After a very tactical 1,500m final at the USA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon on June 25, none of the top-four finishers –Matt Centrowitz, Bernard Lagat, Leonel Manzano, or Andrew Wheating– had achieved the IAAF “A” standard of 3:35.00 this season. All four men ran in tonight’s Paris race, and each got under the “A” standard, led by Lagat who finished third in 3:33.11. Manzano was sixth in 3:33.66, Wheating ninth in 3:34.39, and Centrowitz 11th in 3:34.69.

“Great race tonight!” Manzano posted on his Twitter feed. “3:33.6 my legs are finally coming back after a rough year. Converts to about a 3:51 mile.”

Lagat, who won the USA 5,000m title, had already said that he would only contest that event in Daegu, leaving Centrowitz, Manzano and Wheating to represent the USA in the 1,500 in Daegu.

The USA women’s team for 1,500m had already been decided. American champion Morgan Uceny ran a swift 4:03.91 in her final in Eugene, well under the 4:05.90 “A” standard for women. Runner-up Jenny Simpson clocked 4:05.66 to lock-up her spot, and third-place finisher Shannon Rowbury –the 2009 World Championships bronze medalist– got under the “B” standard of 4:08.90 when she ran 4:06.20. Since full teams can have two “A” standard athletes and one “B,” Rowbury is also guaranteed a team spot because she finished in the top-3.

Also in Paris, the outcome of the women’s 5,000m left the status of the USA team for Daegu in that event still up in the air. USA champion Molly Huddle (who did not run in Paris), already has the “A” standard of 15:14.00, but Eugene runner-up Hastings ran 15:14.31, just missing the mark. On Friday night in Paris, Hastings ran slightly slower: 15:15.30. That means that while she definitely has a team spot (an “A” plus a “B” athlete is fine), the third place finisher in Eugene, Angela Bizzarri, does not.  For Bizzarri to get on the team, she’ll need Hastings to run the “A” standard (forming an A-A-B team), or Bizzarri can run the “A” standard herself (forming an A-B-A team). Both Hastings and Bizzarri are coached by Terrence Mahon of the Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth Lakes, California.

Shalane Flanagan, who won the USA title at 10,000m in Eugene and will compete in that event in Daegu, also ran the 5,000m in Paris last night. Finishing fourth in 14:45.20, she came achingly close to taking back her national record from Molly Huddle. Huddle, who ran 14:44.76 at the Van Damme Meeting in Brussels last summer, had broken Flanagan’s record of 14:44.80 in that race.

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