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IAAFWC UPDATES
  August 26, 2011
  A Surprising Welcome in Daegu
  August 27, 2011
  Eaton and Hardee Going Toe to Toe in the Decathlon at World Championships
  August 28, 2011
  Justin Gatlin Overcomes Frostbitten Feet at World Championships
  Symmonds Qualifies for 800 Final at World Championships
  Eaton Takes Second Place In World Championship Decathlon
  August 29, 2011
  Ashton Eaton Gains a Measure of Mental Ttoughness through the Difficult Competition at the World Championship
  August 30, 2011
  Brief Update: Centrowitz and Wheating
  Symmonds Takes Fifth in 800 Final at World Championships
  September 1, 2011
  Vessey Breezes through First Round of 800 at World Chanmpionships
  Galen Rupp Makes 5000 Final at the World Championships
  Jesse Williams Strikes Gold at Worlds
  September 2, 2011
  Rachel Yurkovich Looks Ahead to the 2012 London Olympics
  Vessey Finds Another Gear to Mark 800 Meter Final at Worlds
  Lauren Fleshman Finishes 7th in the 5000 Meters at World Championships
  September 3, 2011
  World Championships Bronze for UO’s Matthew Centrowitz
  September 4, 2011
  Galen Rupp Places Ninth in World Championship 5000 Meters
  Vessey’s Quest for 800 Meter Medal Ends with Bittersweet Final
World Championships Bronze for UO’s Matthew Centrowitz

By Steve Ritchie / Special to the Statesman Journal
September 3, 2011


Matthew Centrowitz

DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA – Matthew Centrowitz added another chapter to his magical 2011 track season on Saturday evening at the IAAF World Championships. Coming from way back in the pack on the last lap of the 1500 meter final, Centrowitz used an impressive kick to capture a bronze medal and finish just behind the race favorites, Kenyans Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat.

Kiprop won the race in 3:35.69, while Kiplagat finished in 3:35.92 and Centrowitz was third in 3:36.08. Centrowitz is the first University of Oregon runner ever to medal in a World or Olympic 1500 meters.

Centrowitz ran the first two laps of the race in second place behind early leader Nick Willis of New Zealand. He fell back into the pack on the third lap, as the two Kenyan runners surged into the lead and pace became furious.

Asbel Kiprop Silas Kiplagat

At the bell, Centrowitz was stuck in eighth and it looked like the leaders would pull away from him. But he was able to move to the outside and start picking runners off on the backstretch.

As the pack of runners came off the final curve, Centrowitz was fifth and in a full sprint. His kick carried him past Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco and Mekonnen Gebremedhin of Ethiopia down the stretch, and gave him a startling 51.6 time for the final 400.

Afterwards, Centrowitz said he was still trying to figure out exactly what happened.

Matthew Centrowitz

“It was tough racing. It was similar to the semis with some tactics involved. It just came down to not giving up that last 200 meters.

“They went so hard with 350 (meters) to go . . . and I was just thinking to myself, just stay relaxed, they’ll come back. Sure enough, it was just one more guy, then one more guy and I was almost in medal position.

Told that his last lap was timed in 51.6, Centrowitz was surprised.

“It was? It’s ridiculous.”

Centrowitz credited women’s 1500 meter gold medalist Jenny Simpson with helping him believe a medal was possible.

“(Simpson) winning a couple of days ago was definitely inspiring and made me think it was possible I could come close to something like that. That’s when I really started believing, so she set the tone.”

Matthew Centrowitz

Before this year, the biggest title the 21-year-old University of Oregon senior had won was the Pac-10 title. In June he won the NCAA and the U.S. 1500 meter championships.

Still, he was coming off a very long collegiate outdoor season and had very limited experience racing internationally. As a novice on the world stage, Centrowitz was a decided underdog.

He managed to advance through two rounds of qualifying here, while his two more experienced U.S. teammates, Andrew Wheating and Leonel Manzano, fell by the wayside.

Centrowitz seemed to gain confidence with those races, and started making some observers into believers with his instinctive feel for racing and excellent closing speed.

“As we’ve seen, anything can happen,” Centrowitz said. “If you put the training in and you’re consistent, good things happen.”

Centrowitz will return to UO later this month for his final year. He has no cross country eligibility remaining, but will compete in indoor and outdoor track and field for Oregon.

“I told my coach right after this race that I don’t want anything to change. This has just been a dream season. I have a great support system and I’m hoping that not much will change.”

 
 

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