First-year elite athlete Nick Symmonds of the Oregon Track Club became the 284th American sub-4 minute miler on Saturday, winning the Washington Preview Meet in Seattle, Washington, USA in 3 minutes 56,72 seconds.
Symmonds, whose previous personal best was a 4.03,85, won the race by nearly six seconds on the 307m unbanked, oversized track. Americans Courtney Jaworski (4.02,50) and Mike McGrath (4.04,08) finished second and third.
Symmonds, who graduated from Williamette University in the spring of 2006, was a seven-time NCAA DIII champion, winning both the 1.500m and 800m in 2003, 2005 and 2006, and winning the 800m in 2004.
Though he has shown promise as a 1.500m runner, Symmons' broke through last season in the 800m, winning his fourth-consecutive NCAA DIII 800m title, and finishing second at the USA Track and Field Championships, running 1.45,83 - a new personal record, school record and NCAA DIII record.
Khadevis Robinson won the race - his third national title - in 1.44,13, with Jebreh Harris finishing third (1.45,91). Symmonds sat comfortably behind the first half of the race, and moved from seventh to second as he picked runners off with a back-stretch move to the top of the home stretch curve.
Symmonds has done particularly well running in Oregon, as his outdoor personal mile best was set at the 2003 University of Oregon Twilight Meet.
Americans are now comparing Symmonds to David Krummenacker, the 800m/1.500m specialist who won the 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships (1.45,69).
Symmonds has the 400m speed a good miler needs, possessing 48,15 (2006) speed over the one lap distance - a keen turnover component for a miler in a kicking situation.
He showed excellent ability last season with a 3.40,91 at Stanford in June - a time which demonstrated he was capable of running a 3.58 outdoor mile should he have been able to manage the pace over the full 1609 metre distance which is the mile.
"Its a big relief to break four (minutes)," Symmonds said to the Statesman Journal (link).
"It's phenomenal," said Willamette track and field coach Matt McGuirk. "When he came in his freshman year at Willamette, he ran a 1,000 meters in 2:27, and I new he was a sub-four-minute-runner."
"A lot of people out there say, 'I could have been a sub-four-minute-miler,' but didn't.
"He did," concluded McGuirk.
A product of Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho, USA, Symmonds was named 2006 NCAA Division III Male Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year - an award selected by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Symmonds was also named to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Men’s All-Academic Team for NCAA Division III.
Symmonds graduated from Willamette with a 3,27 cumulative grade point average while majoring in chemistry. He was one of 79 student-athletes chosen for the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Men’s All-Academic Team.
Each All-Academic selection was honored for earning a cumulative GPA of 3,25 or higher, while achieving an NCAA qualifying standard in one or more events during the 2006 season.
After graduating from college in May, Symmonds began training in Eugene, Oregon under coach Frank Gagliano, the long-time Georgetown University coach (and one of America's premiere coaches) who then made a move to Palo Alto to coach the Nike Farm Team, and then headed to Oregon with Vin Lanana.
"It's been great training under Gagliano. I'll train under him as long as he'll let me."
"I have no excuses to run slow now," Symmonds said. "I just train and take care of my body."
Click here for a list of the Track & Field News chronological order USA sub-4 list (last updated 2005-February).
2006 University Season:
- 3.49,23 Willamette Opener (4-mar)
- 1.49,57 Oregon Preview (18-mar)
- 0.48,15 Charles Bowles Inv (24-mar)
- 3.45,75 Willamette Inv (7-apr)
- 0.49,1h NWC Champs (21-apr)
- 1.57,73 NWC Champs (21-apr)
- 4.04,75 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 0.49,56 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 1.55,39 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 1.47,34 TN Distance Classic (13-may)
- 3.50,57 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 1.51,42 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 3.49,24 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 1.49,59 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 3.52,77 Willamette Opener (5-mar)
- 1.54,62 Oregon Preview (19-mar)
- 3.47,04 Williamette Inv (2-apr)
- 0,49,0h Oregon Mini Meet (9-apr)
- 0,49,99 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 1.57,38 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 0.48,41 NWC Champs (23-apr)
- 1.52,60 NWC Champs (23-apr)
- 1.48,82 Ken Foreman Inv (14-may)
- 3.58,24 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 1.52,67 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 3.54,20 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 1.49,87 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 1.52,0h Oregon Mini (10-apr)
- 1.57,12 NWC Champs (24-apr)
- 1.55,51 NWC Champs (25-apr)
- 3.50,91 Ken Shanon Inv (8-may)
- 0.48,84 Willamette Last Chance (22-may)
- 1.51,29 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 1.50,87 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 4.02,47 NWC 4-Way (15-mar)
- 1.51,18 Oregon Preview (22-mar)
- 3.57,63 Willamette Inv (5-apr)
- 3.54,1h Oregon Mini (12-apr)
- 1.57,43 NWC Champs (25-apr)
- 1.55,03 NWC Champs (26-apr)
- 3.54,92 NWC Champs (26-apr)
- 4.03,85 U of O Twilight Mile (3-may)
- 1.51,29 Stanford Qualifier (9-may)
- 3.55,04 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 1.50,48 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 3.46,66 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 1.49,51 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 2006: 48,15 - 1.47,83 - 3.45,75
- 2005: 48,41 - 1.48,82 - 3.46,49
- 2004: 48,84 - 1.50,87 - 3.45,55
- 2003: 00,00 - 1.49,51 - 3.45,81 - 4.03,85y