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Former Raider Eric Avila prepares for men's 1500-meter Olympic Trials finals

On Sunday, the former Southern Oregon University stand-out Eric Avila will race in his second Olympic Trials finals in the 1500-meter. Five years have passed since his first finals race and he feels confident.

Posted: Jun 26, 2021 7:58 PM

EUGENE, Ore. — Eric Avila is no stranger to the men's 1500-meter Olympic Trials finals. He raced in them five years ago before the Rio Olympics. With even more experience under his feet, the former Southern Oregon University runner is more confident than ever.

He's learned plenty of lessons along the way as the 31-year-old prepares for another shot at the Olympics. In 2021, he's five years the wiser.

"Be patient," Avila said in reference to what he learned from racing in the 2016 trials. "I think in 2016, I actually went to the front and I pushed the pace and I kinda tried to force the race. I think I was really nervous, I was excited, all these things."

Avila just clinched a spot in the finals after finishing in seventh in his semifinal heat. A stumble by a competitor almost cost Avila a shot at redemption. But his 3:39.07 finish time in the semis was enough to earn the final spot in the finals. And he's ready to seize the opportunity.

"Coming into this one, I feel much more confident in my ability," Avila told NewsWatch 12 Sports.

He races on Sunday at Hayward Stadium in Eugene at 4:40 pm. The race will only last just over three and a half minutes, covering a distance of just under a mile. But that one mile is all that separates Avila from Tokyo, Japan.

Avila is ready for the finals.

"It's arguably the biggest race of my career," Avila said. "I'll assess the field when the race goes off and see what people are doing and then make some decisions. It's going to be fun."

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