Hobbs Kessler, Michigan teen star, falls short in 1,500 at U.S. …

Hobbs Kessler, Michigan teen star, falls short in 1,500 at U.S. …

Hobbs Kessler’s Olympic dream is over, at least for this year.

The former Ann Arbor Skyline runner, who qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 1,500 meters last month with a record time for a high schooler, finished eighth in his semifinal heat on Friday evening in Eugene, Oregon. The top five in each heat, plus the next two fastest runners overall, advanced to the final on Sunday night

Kessler ran the 1,500 in 3:45.50, well off the 3:34.36 result that qualified him for the trials. His heat was won by Matthew Centrowitz with a 3:42.96 time. The first heat was won by Craig Engels, the top semifinalist, in 3:38.56. Kessler’s time ranked 19th among Friday’s 24 runners.

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Kessler opened his race on Friday with a 1:01.41 split in his first 400 meters, the slowest pace in the field. A second 400 in 1:04.73 left him a lot of ground to make up. He sped up slightly in the third 400, clocking in at 59.98 seconds. But he found another gear in the final 300, completing it in 39.39 seconds, the sixth-fastest time in the final stretch.

Still, that’s not bad for a runner who turned pro on Thursday by signing with Adidas, much less one who was a virtual unknown in the running world prior to May. That’s when Kessler shattered the national high school indoor record for the mile, covering that distance in 3:57.66 at a meet in Arkansas.

Earlier this month, he won two individual titles at the Michigan state track finals, running the 1,600 in 4:16.68 despite a stiff wind, and the 800 in 1:54.13.

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The men’s 1,500 final will be run on Sunday evening in Eugene, as the next-to-last event in this year’s trials. The Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.

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