NCAA Men’s 1500 — Why We Have Photofinish Cameras

Yared Nuguse’s margin over Justine Kiprotich was a mere 0.003. (MIKE SCOTT)

LOOKING AT THE yearly list before the meet or remembering the Indoor mile won with a 4:07 time, you might have guessed this would be a survival-of-the-kickingest year in the men’s 1500. If you did, you were right. Indoor winner Geordie Beamish wasn’t in the race—he opted for the 5000—but Yared Nuguse was, and the Notre Dame soph had left quite an impression fast-finishing his Irish squad to the Indoor distance medley title. Nuguse, however, placed 3rd (3:38.32) in the fastest collegiate race of the season, at April’s Clay Invitational. Defending NCAA champ Oliver Hoare of Wisconsin won that clash from Arizona’s Carlos Villareal in 3:37.20. Villareal placed 11th in his semi here and failed to advance.

The semis were all tactical, Hoare winning the fastest in 3:44.25 from Nuguse’s 3:44.33. In the final the pair did the early leading, absent urgency: 58.1 at 400, 2:01.4 with Nuguse a step in front at 800, 3:01.5 with Hoare inches ahead at 1200. At that point 5 contenders were bunched at the front and just a second separated the full 12-man field. Just behind the lead duo were Casey Comber (Villanova), William Paulson (Arizona State) and Justine Kiprotich (Michigan State). The race was on. For a moment, the Aussie Hoare went to the front; could he really win this race from the front? In the middle of the backstretch, Kiprotich made what appeared to be the decisive move of the race, passing the others on the outside, surging ahead around the final turn. Down the straightaway, he had put 5m on the field.

At the last possible moment, a final challenger emerged. As the others swung to the outside, a lane opened on the rail, and flying down the inside was the same young man whose dramatic finish had won the indoor DMR—Nuguse, the 20-year-old from Louisville. The question was, would he get there in time? “I was definitely a little worried heading into that last 100,” he said. “But I really dug down and thought about why I’m doing this… that’s always been my teammates watching me. I know they’re cheering me on, and I didn’t want to let them down. It was definitely exciting, but I knew in the end if I just gave it all I was going to be comfortable, and I did, and I’m happy with the result.”

Drawing abreast only with his last two steps, Nuguse beat Kiprotich by 0.003, both running 3:41.39s. It was the first NCAA outdoor championship in the event for Notre Dame in 93 years, since Charles Judge won in ’26. Next across the line was not Hoare but Cameron Griffith; the Arkansas senior was in 10th at 1200m but hauled to 3rd with a 26.4 final 200, fastest in the field.

“It was pretty intense,” Nuguse allowed. “I definitely knew that going in. You’re here and you’ve never done any individual feat like this. It was definitely exciting, but I knew in the end, if I just gave it my all I was going to be comfortable, and I did, and I’m happy with the result.”


NCAA MEN’S 1500 RESULTS

FINAL

(June 07)

1. **Yared Nuguse (NDm) 3:41.39 (3:41.381)

(pace—58.1, 63.3 [2:01.4], 60.2 [3:01.6], 39.8) (finish—26.9, 54.22, 1:55.65, 2:58.41);

2. Justine Kiprotich (MiSt) 3:41.39 PR (3:41.384) (26.7, 54.06, 1:55.46, 2:57.93);

3. Cameron Griffith’ (Ar) 3:42.14 (26.4, 54.42, 1:55.27, 2:58.22);

4. *Oliver Hoare’ (Wi) 3:42.29 (58.1, 63.4 [2:01.5], 60.0 [3:01.5], 40.8) (27.5, 55.08, 1:56.44, 2:59.37);

5. William Paulson’ (AzSt) 3:42.32 (27.4, 55.02, 1:56.35, 2:59.22);

6. *Kasey Knevelbaard (SnUt) 3:42.43 (27.1, 54.56, 1:55.66, 2:58.41);

7. *Jack Anstey’ (IlSt) 3:42.73 (27.2, 55.17, 1:56.31, 2:59.20);

8. *Casey Comber (Vill) 3:42.77 (27.9, 55.51, 1:56.14, 2:59.03);

9. **Sam Worley (Tx) 3:42.81 (27.3, 55.23, 1:56.68, 2:59.65);

10. *Mick Stanovsek’ (Wa) 3:45.64 (30.0, 58.20, 1:59.41, 3:02.42);

11. *Talem Franco (BYU) 3:46.20 (30.7, 8.72, 2:00.12, 3:02.86);

12. **Eduardo Herrera (Co) 3:46.27 (30.3, 58.64, 1:59.96, 3:03.00).

SEMIS

(June 05)

I–1. Paulson’ 3:45.82; 2. Worley 3:46.43; 3. Knevelbaard 3:46.47; 4. Kiprotich 3:46.59; 5. Anstey’ 3:46.73; 6. **George Kusche’ (Nb) 3:46.87; 7. *Ryan Adams (Furm) 3:47.21; 8. Kenneth Hagen (In) 3:47.40; 9. **Waleed Suliman (Ms) 3:48.02; 10. *Logan Wetzel (Vill) 3:48.41; 11. *Carlos Villarreal’ (Az) 3:48.54; 12. ***Dalton Hengst (Ms) 3:48.83.

II–1. Hoare’ 3:44.25; 2. Nuguse 3:44.33; 3. Franco 3:44.46; 4. Stanovsek’ 3:44.50; 5. Comber 3:44.53; 6. Griffith’ 3:44.62; 7. Herrera 3:44.78; 8. Joseph Murphy (In) 3:45.26; 9. *Christopher Torpy (M/O) 3:45.77; 10. Ryan McGorty (WM) 3:49.43; 11. **Teddy Browning (In) 3:50.01; 12. **Reed Brown (Or) 3:53.53. ◻︎