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Birmingham native reaches finals of U.S. Olympic 1,500-meter trials

University of North Carolina runner Ethan Strand, an Alabama native and 2021 graduate of Birmingham’s Vestavia Hills High School, advanced to the finals of the U.S. Olympic 1,500-meter trials last week.

However, in Monday’s finals, Strand fell behind the pack during the final lap and wasn’t able to secure a spot on the Olympic team.

Competing in his first-ever trials, Strand’s semifinal time of 3:38.08 put him ahead of several professional runners, including former NCAA national champion Cooper Teare. One of only five collegiate athletes to reach the finals, Strand celebrated with Villanova’s Liam Murphy as the two crossed the finish line.

“Me and Liam have been in a lot of races together,” said Strand. “We’ve competed all the time. To be out in this field – two collegians competing against the pros – it means a lot to us.”

The two-time Alabama Gatorade Cross-Country Player of the Year, Strand has deep familial ties to the Birmingham running community.

His father, Scott, is a graduate of Auburn University and the former head coach of the UAB men’s track team, and his mother, Lori, is a former cross-country coach at Samford.

“[I want my Birmingham fans to] scream at the TV louder. I can definitely hear you. That’s what I want,” Strand told WTVM last week.

Charles Vaughan is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. 

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