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Bayer crosses the finish line in fourth place Sunday during the men’s 1,500-meter final.

Bayer’s 4th in 1,500

Ex-Leo star’s season won’t include London

Photos by Tim Creason | Special to The Journal Gaz
As other competitors collapse, Leo graduate and Indiana University track star Andy Bayer checks his time on the scoreboard after finishing fourth in the men’s 1,500-meter run at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore.

– Just so everyone understands, even if Andy Bayer had finished among the top three in the men’s 1,500-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Trials, he wouldn’t have qualified for the Olympics.

Athletes are required to meet a tough qualifying standard in order to compete, and the former Leo High School star didn’t run fast enough this season to make it.

But that being said … man, was he close.

“I was telling my coach last night … if I was third, it would be really frustrating to think that I still needed the ‘A’ (standard),” said Bayer, who ended up fourth when the final race was run Sunday in Eugene, Ore.

His final time – 3:37.24 – was his best but still left him short of the 3:35.50 necessary to go to London.

That’s fine, the Indiana University star said. What he learned this week will serve him well in the future.

Like, maybe, four years from now.

“I definitely think I’m capable of running (3:35.5),” said Bayer, who was this year’s NCAA champ. “I felt awesome today and ran a 3:37. It wasn’t the most perfect race, we got out hard and then slowed down in the middle, so I think if I can get in a race where guys go hard all the way and run 3:32 or 3:33, I can get it.”

Before a worldwide television audience, Bayer got off the starting line well, faded back to the rear, moved in along the rail, then moved steadily toward the front over the final 400 meters.

He was in full sprint on the homestretch, and just a couple steps from catching third-place finisher Andrew Wheating (3:36.68). Leo Manzano won the race in 3:35.75.

“If I hadn’t been caught along the rail, I think I could have been third,” said Bayer. “I was moving well. If I had sat on (second-place finisher Matt) Centrowitz, and moved when he did, I might have done it. I got on the rail because I was trying to take the shortest route possible.”

Bayer noted that he came to the trials with no expectations.

“At the NCAA, I felt pressure to win,” he said. “Here, I didn’t feel any pressure. I just relaxed and wanted to compete well.”

After a long collegiate season, followed by the trials, Bayer said he will take some time off … and then get ready for the collegiate cross country season.

“Can’t stay down too long,” he said.

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