June 30, 2012
USA Olympic Trials Results
EUGENE, Ore. -- Craig Miller has put the same finishing touch on two very different races over the past two days.
Both efforts allowed Miller to advance at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials, including Friday's run that made the former University of Wisconsin All-American a finalist in the 1500 meters.
Much like he did a day earlier with a surge up the rail to win his preliminary-round heat, Miller used a strong kick over the race's final 100 meters to secure his spot in the Sunday's final at Hayward Field.
This time around, Miller's kick came at the end of an exceptionally slow and tactical affair. His charge helped him clock in at 3 minutes, 51.56 seconds to finish fourth in the opening heat and secure an automatic berth in the final.
"I did close pretty well," Miller said. "I've been working on my speed the last 100 meters, 200 meters a lot since last fall.
"I'm happy it's paying off."
Fellow Badgers alum and New Balance teammate Jack Bolas failed to advance after finishing ninth the same heat in 3:52.47. Miller, making his fourth-consecutive appearance at the U.S. championships, returns to the final for the first time since 2009, when he finished sixth in Eugene.
"You just have to stay relaxed," Miller said. "A lot of it is not being tired, not wasting a lot of energy running in that pack.
"At the end, I was just feeling pretty good and I went for it."
Miller ran in the middle of the pack early as the field went through the first lap in a plodding 1:05.9 and then came to the 800-meter split in 2:14.3. He had slipped back to ninth when the leaders took the bell, but Miller positioned himself well when the pace picked up with 200 meters to go.
Instead of running up the inside as he did in the prelims, Miller stayed in the middle of the track and charged past three competitors down homestretch to cross the line fourth.
"Yesterday, I wouldn't call it fast, but it was at least a steady, decent pace," Miller said of Thursday's qualifying round. "Today, it was just really slow."
Will Leer won the heat in 3:51.27, which clocked in much slower than the second section. Matthew Centrowitz won that heat -- and posted the fastest overall time -- at 3:41.90.
While he's certainly a contender for a top-three finish Sunday, Miller lacks the Olympic "A" qualifying standard of 3:35.50 necessary to make the U.S. team for London. However, he ran a personal-best time of 3:36.35 two weeks ago in Indianapolis and feels as ready as ever to run at that level -- if the pace of the final dictates.
"I think I can run well in just about any race right now, fast or slow," Miller said. "I just want to go out there and place as high as I can.
"We'll see how it ends up."