Cooper Teare comes through with a U.S. title in the men's 1,500

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Cooper Teare moved from fifth place into the lead with 100 meters remaining in the men’s 1,500-meter final Saturday afternoon and the Oregon senior held off a hard charge from numerous competitors to win a national title on day three of the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.

In a crowded field that included three other current or former Ducks, Teare surged to the front of the pack coming out of the final turn. He won with a time of 3 minutes, 45.86 seconds, narrowly holding off Jonathan Davis (3:46.01) and Josh Thompson (3:46.07).

“Oh my god, it feels amazing,” Teare said. “It set in there for a second right after I finished. I think I’m going to get another wave of joy coming in pretty soon.”

Cooper Teare crosses the finish line to win the men’s 1,500 meters at the USA Track and Field Championships Saturday, June 25, 2022, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Cooper Teare crosses the finish line to win the men’s 1,500 meters at the USA Track and Field Championships Saturday, June 25, 2022, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

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Oregon teammate Reed Brown took the initiative early and moved to the front of the pack in an effort to speed up the race, while former Ducks Johnny Gregorek and Sam Prakel also stayed near the front. Eventually, the pace was too much, with Brown finishing fifth (3:46.28), Gregorek in sixth (3:46.36) and Prakel in eighth (3:46.49).

“That was kind of our plan going into it, which was trying to keep it from going too slow, but it wound up being pretty slow anyway,” Brown said. “I think I got my goal. That’s where I thought I could have been at the beginning of the year, and with all the setbacks I’ve had it’s just great to actually get that goal I set.

“I’m pretty happy overall. I came really close to getting a little bit higher up there, but everyone had a great finish and it made it tough.”

Among the top 10 finishers, only Teare and Gregorek have achieved the World Championship Standard time of 3:35.00, so it remains to be seen if Gregorek will also qualify for the upcoming World Athletics Championships Oregon22.

“Those guys came on really strong, so I just leaned and dove at the line and gave it everything,” Gregorek said. “I’m not sure what the world qualifying situation is right now, to be honest, I just know I gave it my best.

“I knew I wanted to be in good position, top four or five coming into the bell. I’ve been training with Sam Prakel the last couple months and he came around my outside and I looked at his neck and it was just like practice. I was like, ‘Here we go. This is the final rep, give it everything we’ve got.’”

For Brown, it was a fitting conclusion to an Oregon career that has unfolded alongside Teare, his good friend and training partner.

“It was awesome. A great way to finish the season,” Brown said. “I’m happy to be here. For me and Cooper to have our first USAs together, it was an awesome experience.

“Just watching Cooper’s process, coming in freshman year and him getting to the level he’s at now is just something special to watch. I’m just glad I got to be along for the ride. He’s helped me a tremendous amount just by training with him and it’s just been a great experience to be with these guys.”

Next up for Teare will be the 5,000 final on Sunday, then the world championships back at Hayward Field next month.

“I’m not here to just be happy making a world team,” he said. “I want to win a medal.”

Follow Zack Palmer on Twitter @zpalmer_11 or email at zpalmer@registerguard.com.

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Cooper Teare kicks way to USA Track and Field Championship win