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Felix Leans Toward Pro Status Over USC Career

August 14, 2003|Gary Klein, Peter Yoon

The USC track and field career of Allyson Felix might be over before it begins.

Ron Allice, USC's director of track and field, said Wednesday that Felix, one of the top female sprinters in the nation who accepted a scholarship to attend USC this fall, will probably turn professional.

"I haven't spoken to the girl, I've just spoken to the dad.... He said they were leaning in that direction," Allice said.

Felix, 17, is on the U.S. team that will compete in the world championships next month at Paris. She will run the 200 meters.

Felix, who graduated from North Hills L.A. Baptist High, said she is close to a decision about her future.

"I haven't made any final decisions yet," Felix said. "I hope to have one made before I leave for Paris."

She leaves Wednesday.

If Felix turns pro, it is believed she would be the first U.S. track athlete to do so out of high school.

"This is a first that's pretty significant, that could have some ripple effects," Allice said.

Last spring, Felix broke an 11-year-old junior national record by running the 200 in 22.51 seconds. A week later, she broke a 23-year-old junior world record in the same event by running it in 22.11.

In high school, she won three consecutive state titles in the 100 and two consecutive 200 titles. Her accomplishments have drawn comparisons to Marion Jones, a five-time gold medalist in the 2000 Olympic Games.

Allice said Felix planned to attend USC even if she turns pro.

-- Gary Klein

and Peter Yoon

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