June 29, 2012
STILLWATER, Okla. - Oklahoma State's German Fernandez fell short of qualifying for the men's 1,500 meter final at the U.S. Olympic Trials today. His 3:43.78 placed him 11th in his semifinal heat. To advance, he needed to place seventh or higher in his heat.
Starting in the far outside lane and dressed in Oklahoma State's familiar bright Orange jersey, Fernandez immediately shot to the front of the pack on the start and led the field for the first two laps.
Running among the nation's top professionals, Fernandez remained in striking distance of leaders Matthew Centrowitz and Leonel Manzano until the last 200 meters, where the rest of the field caught up with Fernandez and left him to an 11th-place finish in a 12-man race.
The 2009 NCAA 1,500 meter champion, Fernandez wrapped up a college career that ranks among one of the all-time best at Oklahoma State. He helped lead the Cowboys to back-to-back NCAA cross country national championships in 2009 and 2010 and was a four-time All-American. He won seven Big 12 individual titles during his time in Stillwater, highlighted by the 2008 and 2011 individual cross country crowns.
He was one of five Oklahoma State athletes at the U.S. Olympic Trials, as teammate Toni Young competed in the women's high jump Thursday, but did not advance to the finals. Ryan Vail, Girma Mecheso and David Jankowski all competed in the men's 10,000 meter race, with Vail taking sixth, Mecheso 18th and Jankowski 20th. Mecheso also competed in the 5,000 meters, placing 22nd overall.
Also in action Friday for Oklahoma State was Natalja Piliusina, who ran for an Olympic berth in the women's 800 meter final at the European Championships in Helsinki, Finland. She fell short after placing eighth in 2:06.59. She needed to run 2:01.30 or faster to represent her native Lithuania at the Olympics.
Still alive for the Olympics from OSU is Raul Botezan, who will compete for his native Romania in the men's 1,500 meter semifinals at the European Championships Saturday at 5 :55 a.m. CT.