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EUGENE, Ore. -- Matthew and Lauren Centrowitz, brother and sister, begin their Olympic Trials competition here on Thursday evening in the first round of the 1,500 meters.
Matthew, 22, a senior at the University of Oregon, was the surprise bronze medalist at last year’s World Championships. He was a strong favorite to make this year’s U.S. Olympic team until sustaining a knee injury in the spring. He ran 3:37 in his last outing, showing he may be returning to form.
Lauren, 25, a Stanford University graduate, qualified for the Trials by virtue of her en-route time of 4:11.97 for 1,500 in the Millrose Games mile in February at the Armory. She was Pac-10 champion in the 5,000 three years ago.
They are the children of Matt Centrowitz, a member of the 1976 Olympic team, the current coach of American University in Washington, and a native New Yorker.
A number of other events begin on Thursday, after a two-day rest period here at the University of Oregon campus, including the qualifying rounds of the women’s high jump and shot put.
The high jump field includes the native New Yorker Brigetta Barrett, who won the NCAA championship this year for the University of Arizona, and Priscilla Frederick, recent St. John’s graduate. The favorite in the shot put is Jillian Camarena-Williams, who represents the New York Athletic Club.
Several finals will also be contested, including the men’s pole vault, men’s steeplechase, and the men’s and women’s 5,000s. Qualifying for all of those events was held on Monday, in cool, rainy conditions. Temperatures were in the 50s. Warmer, drier weather is forecast for later in the week.
In the men’s steeple, Donn Cabral, who won the NCAA for Princeton earlier this month, and Craig Forys, runnerup in that race for Michigan, finished second and third in Heat 1 to qualify. Forys, from Colts Neck, N.J., ran 8:30.85, just off his lifetime best. Cabral, who has a best of 8:19, has secured the Olympic “A” standard, while Forys has not.
Among the qualifiers for the women’s 5k final are Julie Culley, the Rutgers graduate who now runs for the NYAC; Abby D’Agostino, the NCAA champion this spring for Dartmouth; Liz Maloy, the native New Yorker (Holy Names, Albany) and Georgetown graduate, and Emily Infeld, a current Hoya and the reigning NCAA indoor 3k champion.
D’Agostino and Maloy were the heat winners. Culley and Maloy both have the “A” standard of 15:20; D’Agostino and Infeld do not. Among those who did not advance were the Villanova graduate Frances Koons, and the veteran Jen Rhines, who entered but did not take the line. Rhines has been on three U.S. Olympic teams, in three different events — the 5,000, the 10,000 and the marathon.
To make the U.S. team, those runners who do not yet have the 15:20 standard must do so in the race itself, but one member of that field, Lauren Fleshman, said she did not expect anyone to do so. “It won’t be a fast pace,” she said. “No one will take it out.” Fleshman herself, now 30 and struggling with injury, was a surprise qualifier on Tuesday. “I have no idea how I did it,” she said. “I’m training 10 miles a week.”
In the men’s 5k qualifying, one noteworthy loss was Alan Webb, the veteran miler, who was admitted to the 5,000 on special appeal but finished far back in Heat I, running 14:01.25 for 11th place.
In Thursday’s 1,500 heats, among the other competitors in the men’s division are Erik Van Ingen, from SUNY Binghamton; the Columbia senior Kyle Merber; the former Virginia runner Robby Andrews, who opted out of the 800 in favor of the 15, and two members of the NJ/NYTC, Liam Boylan-Pett and Brian Gagnon.
The women’s field includes Nicole Schappert and Maggie Infeld of the NYAC; Kate Grace and Stephanie Charnigo of the NJ/NYTC; Princeton’s Greta Feldman, and the New Yorker Melissa Salerno. The Bronxville high school girl, Mary Cain, who ran the 800 here last week, did not qualify for the 1,500 field.
The men’s pole vault field will include Binghamton’s Rory Quiller, one of 11 competitors who cleared 17-4 1/2 or higher in Monday’s rainy qualifying round.
Of the finals contested on Monday, Eastern athletes made the Olympic team in several events. In the men’s javelin, two Ivy League athletes made the team, Craig Kinsley of Brown and Sean Furey of Dartmouth. The winner of the men’s high jump was the NYAC’s Jamie Nieto. Princeton graduate Justin Frick, competing for the Shore AC, cleared a lifetime best, 7-4 1/2, and tied for fifth. Two other Ivy League athletes, Tora Harris (Princeton) and Montez Blair (Cornell), were also in that field.
Two Ivy League coaches watched the proceedings. “No, this is not the Heps,” they said, “but look at all these Ivy kids!”
That included the women’s steeplechase heats, where Ashley Higginson (Princeton) ran 9:45.21 in Heat 2 and Delilah Dicrescenzo (Columbia) ran 9:49.15 in Heat 1. That final is scheduled for Friday.