Centrowitz Turns Pro

Matthew Centrowitz, the 2011 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist at 1500m, has decided to end his NCAA career at the University of Oregon and turn professional. Centrowitz, the reigning NCAA and USA 1500m champion, has signed with PACE Sports Management, an athlete representation firm based in Teddington, England.

"I am very grateful to the University of Oregon and the coaching staff for all they have done for me," Centrowitz said in a statement. "This important decision has taken me a couple of months to decide on, but a decision I feel that is best for me in reaching my upcoming goals."

Centrowitz, 22, said he would remain in Eugene to complete his degree in sociology.

Pressure had been building on Centrowitz to turn professional after his breakout season last year, capped by his World Championships medal. Athletes generally realize their best value for a sponsor in the run-up to an Olympic Games, so it will now be up to PACE Management's Ricky Simms --the IAAF-registered agent who represents world champions Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, and Vivian Cheruiyot amongst others-- to land his new client a sponsorship contract.

"We are honored and delighted to work with Matthew and help continue his development as a professional athlete," Simms said through a media release. "Matthew was extremely impressive in 2011 and has the ability to be a major force in the event for years to come."

Centrowitz, whose father Matt is a two-time Olympian, has modest personal best times by global standards (3:34.46 for 1500m and 3:57.92 for the mile). However, he is a gifted tactical racer with a ferocious kick. In winning his medal in Daegu, he ran 51.6 seconds for the final 400m.

Today's announcement did not reference Centrowitz's future coaching situation. At the University of Oregon, he was coached by Andy Powell under associate athletic director, Vin Lananna.

"I am excited to be working with PACE Sports Management who will help me take the right steps in qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team and winning a medal in the Olympic Games in London," Centrowitz concluded.

By David Monti (c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved; Used with permission