June 8, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. - Sophomore Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) finished his outdoor season on a strong note and placed seventh in the finals of the 1500 meters at the NCAA Championships on Saturday afternoon at Hayward Field. McEntee qualified for the finals for the second straight year and improved his national finish by two spots from last season.
The field of 12 runners in Saturday afternoon's final went out slow and had a split of 1:07.1 for the first 400 meters. McEntee was in seventh place after one lap and was in the middle of a tight pack of runners. There was little change anywhere in the field during the second lap and McEntee remained in seventh place with 800 meters remaining. The split through 800 meters was 2:13.3, including a second lap of 1:06.1 as the pace started to pick up.
McEntee made a move towards the outside with 600 meters left to try and move up in the field and then looked to slide back towards the inside rail. By the start of the bell lap however, McEntee was in 11th place and had too much ground to make up in the final 400 meters. He ran an excellent final lap nonetheless and moved up four spots to secure his seventh place finish and a spot on the awards podium.
Just before the end of the final curve in the race a collision led to a fall with less than 150 meters to go. McEntee was initially caught up in the contact that led to the collision but escaped the jam and continued to pick up ground as he raced down the final straightaway.
McEntee wraps up an outdoor season in which he ran legs on both the distance medley relay and the 4xMile relay at the Penn Relays. He came in fifth in the 5000 meters at the BIG EAST Championships and saved his best efforts for the NCAA East Regional two weeks ago and the NCAA Championships this week on the University of Oregon campus.
At the East Regional meet two weeks ago McEntee was ranked second after the national first round of the 1500 meters and was also an automatic qualifier to advance to the national meet after a fourth place finish in his quarterfinal heat.
Mac Fleet from host Oregon won the individual title in the 1500 meters with a time of 3:50.25, while Zach Perkins of Air Force (3:50.39) and Patrick Casey of Oklahoma (3:50.60) came in second and third, respectively. Austin Mudd of Wisconsin (3:50.84), Jeremy Rae of Notre Dame (3:51.07) and Robby Creese of Penn State (3:51.21) also finished ahead of McEntee, while Andrew Bayer of Indiana (3:51.39) rounded out the list of scorers in the event.