Olivia Miller is Fortius Media Group’s intern at the 2024 Olympic Trials. A junior at Emerson College, Olivia writes a column for RunBlogRun daily, edited by Yours Truly, and provides RBR with some social media while seeing the world of sports media in all of its complexity, excitement, and frustrations. Here is Olivia’s fourth column for RunBlogRun.

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Cole Hocker Wins the Men’s 1500m in Triumphant Fashion, by Olivia Miller. 

 

The men’s 1500m final at the U.S. Olympic Trials did not disappoint. Yared Nuguse took an early lead after initially being swallowed up by the pack, making his way around the outside to claim the lead. Hobbs Kessler ran a tactical race, sitting on Nuguse’s shoulder for the first 2 laps. Everyone was waiting to see when Cole Hocker would make his move.

The Men’s 1,500m early on, notice how physical the race is, at a 56-second pace! photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun
Yared Nuguse lead, 56 at 400m, 1:55 at 800, and 2:51 at 1200m, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun

Then it happened.

In the last 250m, Hocker kicked up his speed to surpass Vince Ciatti, Kessler, and Nuguse and take the lead. Nuguse followed closely behind, but Hocker could not be beaten. As he ran through the tape, he raised his arms in celebration.

With a time of 3:30.59, he set the U.S. trials meet record, obliterating former Oregon Duck Matthew Centrowitz’s time of 3:34.09 (equaled by Yared Nuguse in the semi-finals). He also achieved a personal best. It’s no big deal.

Cole Hocker wins his second OT title at 1,500 meters, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun

Nuguse came in second at 3:30.86, with Kessler finishing at 3:31.53—also a personal record—to complete the team of three heading to Paris. Nuguse and Kessler are set to make their Olympic debuts. Nuguse placed third at the trials three years ago but was forced to pull out of the games due to a quad injury.

Nuguse made it clear in the mixed zone that he was not shaken by his second-place finish.

“I’m still in an excellent position in my fitness, and I’m not going to doubt that just because I got second today.

Hocker is no stranger to Eugene or Hayward Field. He competed collegiately at the University of Oregon, winning four NCAA championship titles. Three years ago, he finished first in the men’s 1500m at the U.S. Olympic trials, running 3:35.28, which was also a personal best.

The stressful time is over. Yared takes silver, Hobbs takes bronze behind Cole Hocker’s gold, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun

In the mixed zone, Hocker talked about the pressure he felt this year compared to the previous trials.

“The nerves are all there. 2021 was a cherry on top of a perfect NCAA season. I had nothing to lose…, but I felt like I had more to lose in this one.”

The 23-year-old gained confidence from the finals.

“Today was the first day I could shift gears at such a fast pace, and that gives me so much confidence. The goal is definitely a medal. I’m not going to limit myself to the top three; I’m going for gold.”

 Hocker isn’t done with the trials just yet. He plans to race in the men’s 5000m event, which begins June 27.

The Thrill of Victory, Cole Hocker takes his second Oly Trials 1,500m title, June 24, 2024, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun

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