Hocker not done yet after another Olympic Trials 1500m Title

At just 23 years old, Indianapolis native Cole Hocker (Cathedral 2019) has won the United States Olympic Trials 1500m for the second time in his career. In doing so, he broke the U.S. Trials 1500m record, setting a new personal best with a time of 3:30.59. His time at the trials are not over however as he is set to compete in the first round of the 5K on Thursday.

In Monday night's race Hocker positioned himself strategically behind the leaders, patiently waiting until the final lap to make his move. Known for his iconic finishing kick, many expected him to surge in the final 100 meters. Instead, he began his push earlier on the backstretch, overtaking Yared Nuguse, who had led the race up to that point. Despite a strong challenge from Nuguse in the final moments, Hocker held him off to secure his second Olympic Trials title in three years.

Throughout this year's trials, Hocker ensured he was always in a position to win, thanks to three additional years of training and experience in championship-style racing. It will be fascinating to see how Hocker chooses to race in Paris, given his growth and development since his last Olympic appearance.

In his Olympic debut at the 2020 Games held in Tokyo in 2021, Hocker advanced through each preliminary round to reach the finals. In that race, he started conservatively while Timothy Cheruiyot from Kenya and Jacob Ingebrigtsen from Norway led the pack. Hocker worked his way through the field to finish sixth. Considering his recent form, it wouldn't be surprising to see him position himself further up and contend for a medal at this year's Olympics. 

Overall, Hocker's season has been exceptional. His indoor campaign featured an impressive 8:05.70 performance in the 2-mile race at the Milrose Games, earning him the tenth fastest time ever recorded for the distance. He finished third behind Josh Kerr and Grant Fisher. The following weekend, he became the USA Indoor Champion in the event before heading to Glasgow for the World Athletics Indoor Championships, where George Beamish outkicked him to win the 1500m title. Another highlight of Hocker's season was breaking the 13-minute mark in the 5K in May, clocking in at 12:58.82. This time is already below the Olympic Standard which means a top 3 finish would guarantee him a spot to represent Team USA in both the 1500m and 5K.

With the Olympics just about five weeks away, Hocker likely has even bigger goals for his second appearance, backed by increased confidence and fitness he has accrued these past few years.