By Lincoln Shryack
Not to be outdone by Mo's return at the Portland Track Festival, the Men's 1500-meters will feature the likes of Ryan Hill, Andrew Wheating, and Riley Masters. With the U.S. Championships a mere two weeks away, each have separate agendas within this weekend's race. Before we get into the predictions, let's talk about what each runner wants to accomplish with this meet.
Ryan Hill: It's Year 2 with the Bowerman TC for the NC State grad. Hill has been solid this season dating back to indoors, most notably in the 3,000-meters at U.S. Indoors where he very nearly outkicked Galen Rupp. He wants to prove that 2013 was not a fluke, and that he will be making teams regularly. At the PTF, Hill is dropping down in distance to focus on speed and practice his tactics.
Andrew Wheating: It's another year, and yet another return from injury for Wheating. No one would be surprised if he won this race given his talent, but for our purposes I'm going to say that a pain-free opener would be mission accomplished in Portland. When healthy, Wheating has one of best kicks in the world and the fans would love nothing more than to see a glimpse of his old self.
Riley Masters: With NCAAs going on right now, I couldn't help but think back to
Masters' infamous fall last year. Even with Patrick McGregor still in witness protection, Masters has enjoyed a solid 2014 to date. After a decent 5,000-meters at Mt. SAC, Masters won the 1,500-meters at Payton Jordan in 3:38. Riley would have the most to gain with a victory on Sunday but he would do well just to contend with Hill and Wheating.
So who's going to win? Any of these three would be a fair guess, but I'll say Ryan Hill in 3:37. See you Sunday.
Ed. Note: After running 13:57.12 at the Prefontaine Classic 5K, we'll be happily surprised if Hill takes this one. Because we're unsure of what kind of shape Wheating is in, we'll take Masters in 3:38.high, but it's anyone's game.
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