DES MOINES, Iowa — If there was any doubt Patrick Casey was back to being a national contender, that was set aside on Saturday.
Casey, the former cross country and track and field state champion from Laurel, placed fourth in the men’s 1,500-meter run at the USA Track and Field Championships on Saturday afternoon at Drake Stadium. Casey crossed the finish line in 3 minutes, 43.84 seconds, just off the winning pace of Matthew Centrowitz, who won the race in 3:43.37.
After opening the first lap, 300 meters, in fifth place, Casey fell back to eighth after the second trip around the oval. He was in 10th place with 400 meters to go, but ran a 53.61 in his final lap, second to only Centrowitz, to end the race with the fourth-place finish.
Casey was clearly pleased with the finish, taking to Twitter after the race and stating, “#4 1500m runner in the USA. What a race. Not to get super genuine here but god damn it’s good to be back. Okay, gonna go pour one out for myself now.”
Casey, who is sponsored by Under Armour, earned a runner-up finish in the 2014 championships in the 1,500, but a foot injury dashed his dreams of competing in the 2016 Olympic Trials. Saturday’s fourth-place effort showed impressive improvement two years after undergoing surgery for the injured foot.
Casey won five Class A track and field individual titles at Laurel, while winning the state cross country race twice. He was a three time all-American at Montana State, setting program records in the indoor 800-meter run and mile. He finished his collegiate career at the University of Oklahoma.
Fellow former Montana State athlete Cristian Soratos placed eighth in the race.