Cole Hocker, Sha’Carri Richardson fail to advance out of heats at USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships

Cole Hocker, Sha’Carri Richardson fail to advance out of heats at USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.

Cole Hocker, Sha’Carri Richardson, heats

Cole Hocker (right) falls behind in the final stretch of his men’s 1,500-meter heat during Day 1 of the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at Hayward Field in Eugene. Yared Nuguse (second from left) won the heat, followed by Eric Holt (center), Reed Brown (second from right) and Brett Meyer (left).Howard Lao for The Oregonian/OregonLive

EUGENE — Olympic finalist Cole Hocker and star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson came up empty on the first day of the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.

Hocker led most of the first preliminary heat of the men’s 1,500 meters, but faded on the home straight to finish a non-qualifying sixth. The University of Oregon record-holder finished in 3 minutes, 39.57 seconds.

Hayward Field hasn’t been the best venue for Richardson, who won the 100 in a swift 10.86 at last year’s U.S. Olympic trials, only to be disqualified later for a positive cannabis test.

Sha’Carri Richardson reacts after running her heat of the women’s 100 meters during Day 1 of the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at Hayward Field in Eugene.Howard Lao for The Oregonian/OregonLive

In Thursday’s field event finals, Brooke Andersen claimed the women’s hammer with a toss of 255 feet, 9 inches. Andrew Evans threw 207-8 to win the men’s discus. Quanesha Burks bounded a wind-aided 23-2 to take the long jump.

Hocker must be second-guessing his decision to try to control the race from the front. He left the door open for Yared Nuguse, Eric Holt and former UO teammate Reed Brown, who all swept by him in the final 50 to qualify automatically for Saturday’s final.

The top three finishers in the heat advanced automatically. In addition, Brett Meyer, the 2019 NCAA Division II champ, qualified out of the heat on time.

Former UO runners Sam Prakel and Cooper Teare went 1-2 in the second heat of the 1,500 to qualify automatically. Prakel looked good throughout while finishing first in a comparatively slow 3:40.91.

“The plan was to be in qualifying position with 400 left, run a hard last 400 and make sure I qualify,” Prakel said. “I think I’m strong enough that I’ll recover in time for Saturday.”

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