|Will the 14 year-old American Record Fall tonight?|
By Harry Cummins
Shortly after 9:00 pm Pacific time tonight, reigning 1500 meter Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz will step onto a local high school track in Portland, Oregon in search of the one thing that has alluded him over the course of an illustrious career.
The 31 year old Centrowitz, just days before he is set to defend his 1500 meter title in Tokyo, will attempt to break Alan Webb's 3:46.91 American mile record set in 2007 in a small meet in Brasschaat, Belgium.
Centrowitz will have help in his pursuit from fellow Bowerman Track Club members Amos Bartelsmeyer and Josh Thompson, who will serve as rabbits in the record attempt. Centrowitz's fastest mile ever came over 7 years ago when he clocked a 3:50.53 in the 2014 Prefontaine Classic, a race in which Ayanleh Souleiman ran the fastest mile ever on U.S. soil. (3:47.32)
As improbable as tonight's attempt may seem, one must assume the fitness level is there for Centrowitz. One of the designated rabbits, Thompson, is coming off a troubled trip in the 1500 meter race at the recent U.S. Olympic Trials. Despite tripping over the rail and being boxed in for much of the race, Thompson was in contention to make the U.S. team entering the final straight. He finished 6th in a race decided by a final sprint by Cole Hocker and Centrowitz.
If Centrowitz can add an American record to his glittering resume, he should be considered the greatest miler in U.S. history. If not, the hastily-assembled crowd gathered at Jesuit High School in near 90 degree temperatures, should still experience a sizzling way to spend a Saturday night.