June 14, 2014
EUGENE, Ore. - A second straight collegiate best time for sophomore Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) was good for a fifth place finish in the final of the 1500 meters at Hayward Field on Saturday afternoon. Williamsz wrapped up competition at the NCAA Championships with a time of 3:40.25 and registered the fourth top-eight finish in the 1500 meters by a Villanova runner in the last six years at the outdoor national championships. An announced crowd of 11,344 witnessed an exciting final day of the national meet.
Williamsz has a lifetime best of 3:36.74 in the 1500 meters but his last two races have been the fastest of his collegiate career. Williamsz crossed the finish line in 3:41.23 in his national semifinal heat two days ago and was an automatic qualifier for the final. He cut nearly another full second off that time to notch the fifth place finish.
"I am very happy with how the race went and with the 2013-14 season," Williamsz said. "It is my second year [at Villanova] and it was good so I am very happy with it. I am right where I want to be at this point. I'll come back next year and have another go at it."
Each of the races that Williamsz ran at Hayward Field this week produced times that are the metric equivalent of a sub-four minute mile. They are the third and fourth such races of his career and Williamsz becomes the 20th person from the group of 36 sub-four minute milers in Villanova history to have a combination of at least four career races under four minutes or the metric equivalent of 3:42.20.
The field of 12 runners in the final of the 1500 meters began to string out relatively quickly and Williamsz moved into third place within the first 150 meters of the race. He was just two strides off the lead at 300 meters and had an unofficial split of 58.4 for his first 400 meters. Williamsz remained in third place with 800 meters to go and was competing well to hold his position at that point. Lawi Lalang from Arizona and eventual winner Mac Fleet from Oregon were the top two runners from start to finish.
At the start of the bell lap John Simons from Minnesota was pushing hard to take over third place and Williamsz was part of a group running three across in fourth through sixth places. He wound up being boxed in and only wound up getting freed from that pack with 250 meters to go. Williamsz closed strong with an overall split of 55.52 for the final 400 meters.
"Jordy gave up his position at the start of the bell lap and that cost him a third place finish," Wildcats head coach Marcus O'Sullivan said. "This is still a big improvement from not making the [NCAA Championships] last year. This is a good finish and I am happy for him."
Once he regained some room to work with Williamsz made a big move over the final half-lap and moved up several spots to get back to fifth place by the finish line.
"I just tried to stay as composed as I could and make a big effort at the end, which is what I did," Williamsz said. "I picked off two or three people down the stretch. That is good but I would have liked to hang on to my spot because the last lap would have been very interesting. The most important thing is that I did get free and had a good run to the finish. I am really happy with how it went."
Fleet was narrowly the winner with a time of 3:39.09, while Lalang came in second (3:39.13). Sam Penzenstadler from Loyola (Ill.) was third (3:39.77) and Peter Callahan from New Mexico took fourth place (3:39.90) ahead of Williamsz (3:40.25).
During the 2014 outdoor season Williamsz was the BIG EAST champion in the 1500 meters and helped Villanova win the team title at the conference meet for the first time in 28 years. He also ran a leg on the Championship of America winning 4x800 meter relay for the Wildcats at the Penn Relays.
1500 Meters (National Championship)
Mac Fleet Oregon 3:39.09 Lawi Lalang Arizona 3:39.13 Sam Penzenstadler Loyola (Ill.) 3:39.77 Peter Callahan New Mexico 3:39.90 Jordy Williamsz Villanova 3:40.25 Grant Pollock Virginia Tech 3:40.41 John Simons Minnesota 3:40.57 Michael Atchoo Stanford 3:40.66 Rorey Hunter Indiana 3:40.75 Sam Prakel Oregon 3:41.04 Thomas Joyce California 3:41.08 Brannon Kidder Penn State 3:44.30