Robby Andrews confident, and working to staying closer to the front, by Sabrina Yohannes,


This is a fun piece on Robby Andrews, of whom I expect great things. Just as I am posting this, Robbie ran the easiest 52.88 last lap to move onto round 2 of the 1,500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Morris_150604_7038.jpgRobbie Andrews, photo by Kevin Morris

Robby Andrews Confident, and Working on Staying Closer to the Front

By Sabrina Yohannes

Robby Andrews' last 1500m race before the U.S. Olympic Trials wasn't ideal, but the indoor national silver medalist said he wasn't concerned about it. Andrews was seventh in 3:37.52 at the adidas BOOST Boston Games on June 17th, in a race won in 3:35.82 by Kenyan Collins Cheboi ahead of New Zealand's Olympic medalist Nick Willis and U.S. road 5K record-holder Ben True.

"Oh, man, got out really hard and then I was able to settle in, but I wasn't really able to change gears the last 300 or so," Andrews told RunBlogRun in Boston. "I was hoping to have a good one. Definitely been training hard but I would have liked to have put up a good one today. But that's OK, we've still got a lot of time. And it's not like I ran poorly, you now, 3:37.5, that's fine by me. I wouldn't have changed anything, I would've liked to have a little more at the end, but that's - You've got to practice getting out hard."

Andrews is known for unleashing a lethal kick while coming from the back at the end of races, but he ran in fourth and then fifth position in an 18-man field early in the Boston race.

"I was not at the back," Andrews said, confirming that that was part of the plan. "I would have liked to have held my position ..., but we have some time to work on that, continue to improve on that."

Andrews summed up his feelings ahead of the Trials in one word: "Confident."

He ran one more race before the Eugene, Oregon Trials, an 800m at the USATF national club championships at the University of Pennsylvania on June 25 -- that he was running "as speedwork," he said - winning in 1:46.06.

The 2010 world junior medalist made the world championships team for Beijing last year, where he was a finalist, and he is looking to book his ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympics on Sunday July 10.

"There may only be five guys with the standard," he said of the competition for those Rio slots, which will only be available to the top three at the Trials who have met the 3:36.20 Olympic entry standard by or before Sunday. "There's time for guys to get the standard but it's hard now."

Andrews, world indoor champion Matthew Centrowitz, Kyle Merber, Ben Blankenship and reigning Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano have clocked qualifying times.

Asked to name some chief contenders for the podium in Eugene, Andrews replied, "There's going to be 11 guys on the starting line and honestly, America's so deep right now, it could be any one of them, but Matthew's always been really good, Ben Blankenship's been really good, Leo's always a contender."

In making the Portland 2016 world indoor championships team four months ago, Andrews took silver in 3:44.40 to Centrowitz' 3:44.33 at the U.S. Indoor nationals on March 12 (where Blankenship was third in 3:45.40).

Andrews remained in touch with the leaders in that race, running in fifth then fourth place, including when Centrowitz took the lead and strung out the pack. Andrews moved into third after the bell, and chased Centrowitz about half a lap later, pulling briefly ahead on the homestretch.

"We've been trying to stay closer to the front," Andrews told RunBlogRun in Portland on March 18 at the world indoor championships -- where he ultimately took fourth behind Centrowitz in the March 20 final. "And Matthew's the kind of runner that at USAs, you can't leave it too late. You know, outdoors [in 2015], he beat me by almost two seconds. If I had left it for that last week [at USA Indoors], I would have been fighting Ben Blankenship for second instead of Matthew for first."

At the June 2015 USAs, Andrews had run in last position til about a lap and a half remained, and taken second in 3:38.75 to Centrowitz' 3:37.25 (and ahead of Manzano's 3:38.76 third place).

Andrews was elated by his 2016 US Indoors race.

"It was incredible," he said. "I got out well, I got out to the front in the front half of the race and I just followed Matthew all the way through, and I almost had him, you know! I don't get many chances to beat him, so I'd like a redo for sure. But he's an incredible athlete and a great competitor, so I'm just happy to be on the same track with him." (The USATF video of the race is here.)

As he was challenging Centrowitz, Andrews said he told himself, "Yeah, I can do it; yeah, I can do it."

He'll be looking to do something great in a final again -- with a Rio Olympic ticket this time being one of the prizes -- this week.

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