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Ducks Dominate 1,500s at USA Championships
Courtesy: GoDucks.com
Release Date: 06/23/2011
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EUGENE, Ore. - The men's 1,500 meters turned into an Oregon show once again Thursday at the USA Track and Field Championships before 9,949 at Historic Hayward Field.

Harkening back to the Ducks' 1-2-3 sweep of the event at the 2010 NCAA Championships, Oregon alum Andrew Wheating won his semifinal heat in 3:39.88, with Duck senior A.J. Acosta second in a season-best 3:40.28. Oregon junior Matthew Centrowitz then won his heat in a season-best 3:40.00.

Those three Ducks, who finished 1-2-3 on this track at the NCAA Championships a little over a year ago, all advanced to Saturday's final.

"I was focused, but in a good way," said Wheating, who now runs for OTC Elite. "I felt really comfortable down the stretch, I have lots more left in me.

"I was so excited that it was A.J. there with me. I was cheering him on down the stretch."

Centrowitz led a large pack into the final turn in his race before breaking away with 175 meters left to win.

"I felt strong and smooth during the race. It was great running front of everyone," said Centrowitz.

Duck alum Jordan McNamara, who also runs for OTC Elite, advanced on time after finishing fourth in heat one in 3:40.43.

Sophomore Jordan Hasay extended her season by finishing sixth in her 1,500 heat in 4:14.85. She was the final runner to advance on time to Saturday's final.

"I'm tired after the long season; I did the best I could," said Hasay. "The crowd really helped, it was a good race. I'm happy I'm through to the final, but I don't know how much more my legs can handle."

A pair of Oregon sophomores breezed through the first round of the 800 meters.

Elijah Greer was the runner-up in his heat in 1:46.86. He led for the first lap before settling in behind Mark Wieczorek to finishing safely among top three spots to automatically qualify for Friday's semifinal. Wieczorek won the heat in 1:46.82.

"I notoriously start out fast, but it was nice to start out in the lead," said the Lake Oswego, Ore., native. "This was one of the fastest races that I have ever been a part of, it helped me keep my intensity up."

Laura Roesler was fourth in her women's 800 heat in 2:04.54 and advanced to Friday's semifinals.

"I followed my race plan exactly," said the Fargo, N.D., native. "Coach will be happy about that.

"I wanted to come out and get experience today. It's not about making Team USA today."

Freshman Mike Berry took second in his opening round heat of the men's 400 meters to advance to Friday's semifinals. The Seattle, Wash., native timed 45.72.

In the men's 3,000 meter steeplechase, senior Steve Finley placed sixth in his heat and advanced on time to Saturday's final. The transfer from Virginia ran 8:42.28.

Senior Mandy White ran a legal personal-best 11.53 in finishing fifth in her heat. The Lake Oswego, Ore., native did not advance, but ran the third-fastest time in school history.

In the men's 10,000 meters, former Duck Galen Rupp won his third USA title by finishing in 28:38.17. Oregon junior Luke Puskedra was 16th in 29:02.12.

Former Duck Ashton Eaton set a decathlon first day personal best with 4,604 points to grab the day one lead.

Another former Duck, Keshia Baker, took third in her first round heat of the 400 meters in 52.71 to advance.

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