Injury contributes to Cole Hocker's stunning elimination from 1,500 at nationals
A previously undisclosed injury has likely knocked Cole Hocker out of a World Championships on his home Hayward Field track.
Hocker, a Cathedral High School graduate who was sixth in the 1,500 meters at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, was shockingly eliminated in the heats Thursday night in the USA Championships at Eugene, Ore.
Hocker, 21, is in his first pro season after winning three NCAA titles for Oregon.
He was sixth in his heat in 3:39.57. Top three per heat, plus three times, qualified for Saturday’s final. Third time qualifier was 3:39.25.
Hocker’s agent, Ray Flynn, said the runner had been training on a bicycle for the previous 12 days. The injury was not specified.
“I think he thought he could get through it,” Flynn said in a text message.
More: Cole Hocker runs from obscurity to breakout career; now he'll be tested on ultimate stage
No decision has been made on whether Hocker will run Sunday’s 5,000 meters, in which he is entered.
Top three in most events qualify for the first World Championships ever held on U.S. soil, set for July 15-24 at Eugene.
Hocker was sharp in his most recent race, finishing fifth (0.32 behind second) in the mile May 28 in 3:50.97 at the Prefontaine Classic.
Hocker led the first heat Thursday from the beginning but lacked his customary speed at the end. Through 1,200 meters, he was first in 2:58.52 before being overtaken by five others.
Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse won the heat in 3:38.99. Nuguse, beaten by Hocker at the 2021 NCAAs and Olympic Trials, missed this year's NCAAs because of a hamstring injury.
More: How Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse, son of Ethiopian refugee, went from 'clueless' to Olympics
Drake’s Isaac Basten was top qualifier, winning heat 3 in 3:38.92. Another Hoosier, Mt. Vernon graduate Christian Noble, was sixth in 3:39.37 and closer to advancing than Hocker was.
In recent weeks, Noble, of Lee (Tenn.) University, and Nuguse both signed pro contracts.
>> Another 2021 Olympian, Pike’s Lynna Irby, qualified for semifinals of the women’s 400 meters. Irby was second in her heat in 51.42 and fifth overall. Allyson Felix, 36, an 11-time Olympic medalist who announced this season would be her last, won heat 1 in 52.30. All eight finalists could be selected to the world team for relays.
>> Ashley Spencer was second to Sydney McLaughlin, the world record-holder and Olympic champion, in a heat of the women’s 400 hurdles. Spencer, a 2016 bronze medalist from Lawrence North, qualified fourth for semifinals in 55.79. Notre Dame grad Kaila Barber was seventh in 56.00.
>> Former Indiana University runner Daniel Michalski won the first semifinal of the steeplechase in 8:23.39, the top time and less than three seconds off his best. He was fourth at last year’s Olympic Trials, one spot from Tokyo.
>> Fred Kerley, silver medalist at Tokyo, led qualifiers in the men’s 100 with a world-leading time of 9.83.
>> Sha’Carri Richardson was eliminated in the first round of the 100 meters. Richardson, 22, who won last year’s Olympic Trials before being suspended for a positive marijuana test, was fifth in her heat in 11.33.
>> In other women's events, Indiana State grad Erin Reese was 14th in the hammer (216-5) and Lauren Johnson of Huntington was 25th in heats of the 1,500 in 4:20.04.
Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Cole Hocker: Injury contributes to stunning elimination from 1,500