EUGENE, Ore. - UC Santa Barbara's two-time All-American Ryan Martin, one of the youngest runners in the 800 meter finals at the United States Olympic Trials, came from the outside in the final lap and finished fourth, narrowly missing a berth to the London Olympic Games, but putting himself in prime position for future opportunities.
After making it through a 32-runner quarterfinal round and a 16-runner semifinal round, Martin finished fourth out of eight competitors in the final at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
In the race, rival Charles Jock of UC Irvine bolted out to a lead that he held for more than a lap. Martin settled back in third-place. Ultimately, he slipped to seventh, but in the final stretch, the Lake Forest, Calif., native swung out to the right of the pack and sprinted past two other runners. He narrowly missed catching Duane Somomon, Jr. (Saucony) for the third spot on the national team.
Martin finished the 800 meters in a time of 1:44.90, his fastest of the competition. He was one of just four runners to finish under 1:45.00. Nicholas Symmonds (Nike/Oregon TC Elite) won the event in 1:43.92 while Khadevis Robinson (Nike) finished second at 1:44.64.
As a Gaucho, Martin won the Big West championship in the 800 meters in 2011, edging Jock by less than 1/1000th of a second. In 2012, Jock nipped his UCSB opponent at the end, winning the title. The two squared off again at the NCAA Championships with Jock winning and Martin finishing fourth. On Monday, on the biggest stage, Martin was fourth and Jock, who jumped out to the huge early lead, was eighth in a time of 1:49.02, more than four seconds behind Martin.
UCSB will continue to be a presence at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. On Friday, June 29, Barbara Nwaba will compete for one of three spots as a heptathlete. The seven-event competition will take place on Friday, with four events, and Saturday, with three events.