Step by step they walked, the Olympic gold medalist and the freshman, a pair of Oregon Ducks separated by the age of 11.
Both will try to run over 1,500 meters to the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday (7pm, NBC).
Olympic gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz won a semifinal against Cathedral High School graduate Cole Stool on Friday night in Eugene, Ore.
Top five from each semi-finals plus two times, advanced.
In semifinals 2, Craig Engels defeated Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame with 3: 38.56 to 3: 38.60. They were the best twice.
“A little quick, anyway,” said Nuguse. “There are a lot of great guys and we all have a lot of great kicks.”
Nuguse was the 2019 NCAA Champion and finished second behind Hocker two weeks ago at the NCAAs.
The second semi-final was slow and tactical and was won by Centrowitz with 3: 42.96. Stool finished second in 3: 43.00.
Lynna Irby:Pike alum almost certain relay place in the US Olympic track team
Centrowitz turned to the right and seemed to be saying something to Stool, who looked at him as the two raced down the home straight. Hocker ran the last 300 meters in 38.16, Centrowitz in 38.24.
Hobbs Kessler, the 18-year-old from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who turned pro after high school, finished eighth in 3: 45.50.
Neither Centrowitz nor Hocker stopped being interviewed afterwards. By not saying anything, they were saying something about the tension between the two.
The 20-year-old stool has been trying to represent the United States since Marty Liquori, then 19, in 1968, as the youngest representative of the 1,500 Olympics. Centrowitz was the first American to win the Olympic 1,500 since 1908.
One complication is that stool did not run the Olympic standard of 3:35. His world number 45 should bring him to Tokyo if he gets in the top three. However, to be on the safe side, he may need 3:40 plus top 3, and tactical championships are often slower.
Hocker has little social media exposure – aside from retweets, which he hasn’t posted on Twitter since Jan 19, 2019 when he announced a commitment to Oregon – so it was strange that he was recently caught up in a dust collection .
On February 14th, he posted a photo of himself on Instagram to celebrate his 3:50:50 indoor mile. Oregon teammate Carter Christman tagged Centrowitz in the comments with the line “Your move,” leading to a response from Centrowitz that sparked an internet spit.
Stool stayed out of there. Then as now, his statements are being tracked down.
Irby makes 200 finals
Former Pike High School sprinter Lynna Irby qualified for Saturday’s 200m final.
Irby, who was already on the Olympic team after finishing sixth in the 400, was the last of eight qualifiers and made it on time.
Irby, who let the unfavorable hole 2 run out, was fifth in the first semi-final at 10.45 p.m. Jenna Prandini won in 21.99, followed by five-time Olympian Allyson Felix, 22.00.
Gabby Thomas won the other semifinals in 21.94, reducing her own world top from 21.94 to 21.98 on Thursday.
Irby had a better draw, lane 3, for the final. That gives her a better chance at the top three.
The ailing Spencer makes headway on the hurdles
► Ashley Spencer, Lawrence North Olympic third, reached the semi-finals of the 400 hurdles on Saturday. She finished second in run 2 in 55.92, behind Shamier Little with 55.22 and fifth in the overall standings. Afterward, Spencer revealed that she had torn a thigh at a street meeting in Boston last month.
“I know I can be more aggressive,” she said. “Being on lane 8 was a disadvantage. It was difficult for me personally. I know that I can be more aggressive and get a good lane in the final.”
► Javelin thrower Kara Winger, a Purdue graduate, was getting closer to a fourth Olympiad. Winger, 35, came on after knee surgery and finished second in qualifying at 192 feet, 10 inches. The final is Saturday. In August 2020, she tore her cruciate ligament for the second time. She is an eight-time national champion who had her best year in 2019, winning gold at the Pan American Games and finishing fifth at the World Championships.
“It is absolutely stunning that the recovery is going as well as before,” said Winger.
Winger, a Vancouver, Washington native who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, plans to retire after the 2022 World Championships in Eugene.
“Last, best. Last tests, best tests, ”she said. “I really want to destroy it, especially if I go to Tokyo.”
► Lawrence Central’s Kamyren Garrett, state champion and national high school leader, missed three attempts in the high jump to the 7-2 ¼ qualifying level. He cleared 7-0 ¼ on the first try and finished in 13th place. His best was 7-3 on April 17th at Lawrence Central.
Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ DavidWoods007.