A. Wheating 1500/800 double

Men's 1,500m: Event Of The Day, As Wheating Tops Himself And Leads Oregon To 1, 2, 3, Sweep

Andrew Wheating became the first male in over 25 years to win the 1500/800 double.

The men's 1,500m went out in 2:12 through 800, setting up a wild finish made even crazier when Oregon's AJ Acosta sprinted forward to join tiring Andrew Wheating and Matt Centrowitz for a raucous 1, 2, 3 UO sweep in the anticipated final (finish photo, right).

The 1,500 may have even eclipsed the 800 final in terms of crowd response. Running 8-wide from Centrowitz in lane 1 to Jeff See in lane 5, the men's field powered home in a scene reminiscent of the 2008 Olympic Trials 800m, where Nick Symmonds, Wheating and Christian Smith made it an Oregon sweep for the Olympic spots.

With the metric mile win combined with his emotional 800m title run Friday night, Wheating became the first runner since Brazilian-born Oregon Duck Joaquim Cruz in 1984 to win the 1,500/800 double at NCAAs.

Wheating would say after the race that the tactics were perfect for him. Nobody took the pace until New Mexico's Lee Emanuel made his patented charge to the front with 600m to go. We timed the next 400m split (900-1,300m) at a sick 53.1 for Emanuel. Wheating would say after, "If he made that move earlier I would have been toast. But when he made it was perfect because it just felt like my 800 pace."

Centrowitz had the speed to cover Emanuel's move and power to the front with 200 to go. Acosta looked to be fading back in the final lap but found an extra gear in the last 150. In fact, if the race was a few meters longer, Acosta would have been the NCAA champion, as Centrowitz and Wheating were struggling more than he. "This race could have been a little better for me," Acosta would say. "At some point no one was leading, so the three of us decided to move up to the front. With 150 meters to go I heard the crowd cheering us and I thought I could still win this. I was close on winning in heart, but Andrew (Wheating) just had some extra strength."

Because the race essentially came down to a 600m sprint, the field was actually struggling to hang on coming down the homestretch. Even Wheating was feeling the surge by the end of the race, saying "If it was 3 to 4 meters longer, I probably would have gone from 1st to 5th." Fanned across the track, responding to deafening roars, the Oregon mid-distance trio did what coach Vin Lananna told them was possible before the race - go 1-3 at NCAAs. "The coaches were telling us before that we had a chance," said Centrowitz, "We all knew it was realistic to finish 1-2-3. We all had different strategies but it all worked out down the stretch."

Oregon = "Miler U."
Oregon's 1,500 sweep performance is even more amazing when you consider the Ducks who weren't running. Mac Fleet, an Oregon freshman, finished 2nd at the indoor NCAA mile (he did not qualify for the outdoor nationals) and senior Jordan McNamara made the NCAA 1,500 final last year (he ran the 5,000 this year and placed 8th).

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