July 2, 2012
USA Olympic Trials Results
EUGENE, Ore. -- Craig Miller's time is coming. The proof is in his times.
An eight-time All-American at the University of Wisconsin, all Miller has done since graduating in 2010 is maintain his position as one of the nation's top middle-distance runners.
He further supported that position Sunday by securing an eighth-place finish in the final of the 1500 meters at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials. Miller clocked in at 3 minutes, 37.81 seconds to finish off a successful Trials debut in which he successfully navigated three rounds of racing.
Each round was unique, with Sunday's fast final standing in stark contrast to the plodding pace in Friday's semifinal.
"It definitely felt faster, but not any faster than I've run earlier this season or over the past couple of years," Miller said. "I put myself in good position, but on the last lap, those guys had more left than I did.
"The last 300 meters they really picked it up and I couldn't go with it."
Miller, making his fourth-consecutive appearance at the U.S. championship meet, returned to the final for the first time since he scored a sixth-place finish in 2009 on the same Hayward Field track.
He ran on the rail for the race's first two laps and hovered around sixth place as the field charged along at an honest pace. Miller found himself in fourth when the field took the bell after clocking a split of 59.45 for the penultimate lap.
He covered the final 400 meters in 54.96, clinging to the back of the front group after the leaders turned on the speed as they hit the backstretch for the final time. Miller held his own once the field jumbled heading down the homestretch, but he had already slipped back to eighth.
Leo Manzano claimed the win in 3:35.75, with Matthew Centrowitz following in second in 3:35.84 and Andrew Wheating rounding out the U.S. contingent for the London Olympics by taking third in 3:36.68.
As someone who has cracked the 3:38 barrier four times this season -- including his lifetime-best run of 3:36.35 in mid-June -- Miller isn't far off the standard set by the U.S.'s newest Olympians.
"I'm definitely in the best shape I've ever been in, I just need to do something to get me to that next level," said Miller, who still trains in Madison. "I'm not far off."
Miller's season is roughly at its midway point, as his attention now turns to the summer circuits in Europe. He heads to London this week to begin a series of foreign events before a planned return to the U.S. in August to wrap up the season.
"I would have liked to place a little higher, but overall this season definitely has been the best season I've ever had," he said. "Not only in terms of running a PR, but just running fast consistently.
"I'm really happy with how my season is going."
DeShasier a top-five fixture
Former Badgers volunteer assistant coach Alicia DeShasier fell short of her goal of making the U.S. team for the London Olympics, but she did manage to extend an impressive streak.
DeShasier, who picked up the javelin just five years ago after a collegiate softball career at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, continues to train in Madison with Badgers assistant coach Dave Astrauskas, the former SIU-E head coach.
She threw 185 feet, 9 inches on her second attempt and stood fourth after the first three rounds of throws, earning her an additional three attempts. DeShasier threw 185-5 on her fifth attempt but was unable to improve on her initial mark.
That left her shy of the top-three finish and Olympic qualifying standard she needed to advance to London, but it did secure a fifth-consecutive top-five finish for DeShasier at a U.S. championship event.
DeShasier won gold for Team USA at the 2011 Pan Am Championships after a third-place finish at last year's USA championships, her second-consecutive bronze.