Jul 01, 2016
EUGENE, Ore. – Matt Centrowitz is enjoying quite the Homecoming this weekend.
The American University head track and cross country coach will be honored at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials Friday in the same stadium where he starred as a student at the University of Oregon – venerable Hayward Field.
Centrowitz will be one of a number of athletes who had exceptional performances at previous U.S. Olympic Trials. The ceremony opens 10 days of competition that will determine the members of Team USA at the Olympic Games in Brazil during August.
The list of 23 athletes to be honored included famous names like Bob Seagren, Dave Wottle, Frank Shorter, Francie Larrieu Smith, Mac Wilkins, Chandra Chesseborough and many others.
Centrowitz competed at the Trials in 1976 and in 1980, successfully earning spots on Team USA in each case. He won national championships in the 5,000 from 1979 through 1982. His qualifying spot for the 1980 Olympics occurred the same year as the U.S. boycott of those Olympic Games.
The AU head coach has been inducted into the Oregon Hall of Fame. He and his U.S. team members from 1980 were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Achievement at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Centrowitz will stay in Eugene for the duration of this year's Trials, doing some coaching with two of his athletes with Olympic aspirations who get their chance to compete.
His son, Matthew, has the top time in the U.S. this season in the men's 1,500-meter run. Matthew won the World Indoor Championship in the 1,500 in Portland this spring.
Also competing this week in Eugene is AU assistant coach Kerri Gallagher, who last year enjoyed a breakout season that saw her finish a surprising third in the women's 1,500 at the U.S. Outdoor Nationals and earn a spot on Team USA for the World Outdoor Championships in Beijing.
The three rounds of the 1,500 for men and women will be contested on the same days. The first round will be on Thursday, July 7 with the semifinals the next day. Finals in the men's and women's 1,500 will be on the final day of competition – Sunday, July 10.
The top three finishers will earn spots on Team USA, as long as each competitor has hit the time standard for the Olympic Games.