Cole Hocker could be heading back to the University of Oregon with a gold medal around his neck.
In the thrilling first 1500m semifinal Thursday, the 20-year-old American kept pace with frontrunner Jake Wightman of Great Britain to finish second with a time of 3:33.87 to advance to the gold medal race, ranking 11th overall in the field of 26.
Defending 1500m gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz, finished with a slightly better time in his race, crossing the line at 3:33.69, but finished ninth in Semifinal 2. Because he did not finish in the top 5 of his race or qualify on time, he did not qualify for the gold medal race.
Leading on time overall heading into the 1500m final are Abel Kipsang of Kenya (3:31.65), Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway (3:32.13) and Josh Kerr of Great Britain (3:32.18).