Minnetonka High School graduate Will Leer used a wicked homestretch kick to take 4th place in the U.S. Olympic Trails 1500 meter final yesterday. Leer clocked 3:41.54 to finish behind Olympic Games qualifiers Bernard Lagat, the winner with 3:40.37, Leonel Manzano, 2nd in 3:40.90, and Lopez Lomong, third in 3:41.00.
Leer (pictured) nabbed 4th place by passing Alan Webb, the American Record-holder in the mile, on his closing strides.
Leer was content to run from behind in the race's early-going. On the backstretch of the final lap, he moved into striking distance of the leaders and, after rounding the turn, stormed home.
"The whole way, all three races, I stayed on the rail," the former NCAA Division III star for Pomona-Pitzer Colleges told USA Track and Field. "I made a hard move with 250m to go. I wanted to close that last 200. I was out in lane three coming down the backstretch for the final time. I moved out way far, outside in lane three and just lifted as I hard as I could, not letting up at all."
The men's 1500m culminated eight days of Trials racing in Eugene. Minnesotans Kara Goucher and Shani Marks earned Olympic team spots at the meet. Goucher finished second in the 10,000m on the meet's opening night and then won the 5000m on July 4. Marks won the triple jump on June 29.
Carleton College alum Philip Dunn won the right to compete in the Olympic 50K racewalk earlier.
Deatherage 11th ... Jenelle Deatherage finished 11th in the women's 1500 meters earlier in yesterday's competition. The former Team USA Minnesota runner clocked 4:22.45 in a no doubt disappointing end to what started out as a promising season for the University of Wisconsin graduate.
Complete results are available HERE.
Photo by Sean Hartnett.