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TRACK AND FIELD NOTES

USC High Jumper Is Not Quite There

June 27, 2005|Lonnie White and Helene Elliott | Times Staff Writers

Four athletes cleared 7 feet 5 1/4 inches in the men's high jump at the U.S. track and field championships at the Home Depot Center on Sunday, with Matt Hemingway, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, winning the title because he made the height on his first jump.

Hemingway, who finished second in the three previous U.S. nationals, defeated USC's Jesse Williams, Morehouse's Keith Moffatt and Kansas State's Kyle Lancaster.

"My goal for the world championships is to win and to set an American record," he said. "That will be the place to do it."

For Williams, who finished second because he had fewer misses than Moffatt and Lancaster, it's good to make the national team, but he still has yet to clear the world championships' qualifying height of 7-6 1/2 .

Williams said he's confident that he'll reach the qualifying mark before the world championships.

"I felt that I should have gotten that last jump today, which would have gotten me the height I needed," Williams said.

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Officials of AEG, which owns and operates the Home Depot Center, will meet in the next week or two to determine whether they'll bid for the right to play host to the 2008 Olympic track and field trials.

Bill Peterson, managing director of the complex, said Sunday that all the necessary paperwork and budgetary projections have been done and are ready to submit in July, as required by USA Track and Field.

"We'll sit down with our executive staff next week and walk through how this event went and preview for them what we see with the trials," Peterson said on the final day of the U.S. track and field championships. "From there we will make a final decision whether we submit a bid or not."

Craig Masback, chief executive of USATF, said Saturday that he plans to meet this week with U.S. Olympic Committee executives to ascertain whether they have any new requirements for operating the trials. "The process will pick up considerably" after that, he said.

He said he'd received expressions of interest from Los Angeles; Eugene, Ore.; Sacramento; New York; New Orleans; and Columbus, Ohio.

Peterson also said he was satisfied with the four-day attendance of 30,943 at the U.S. championships. However, that included many free admissions for children Friday and other free tickets.

"We did some promotions to bring people in," he said. "That's where the sport is right now. We're in for the long term with track and field. We're trying to introduce people to it."

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Maurice Greene, who injured his left hamstring and couldn't finish the 100-meter final Saturday, will be included in the 400-meter relay pool at the world championships in Helsinki, Finland, Aug. 6-14.

Greene's agent, Emanuel Hudson, said Greene had been asked to be part of the pool. He also said that Greene expects to need three weeks to recover and that Greene hoped to return in London in late July.

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In the women's heptathlon, Hyleas Fountain, an NCAA champion in the event, held on to edge Virginia Miller by 16 points.

"I knew today I would have to have a big day to come in and win," said Fountain, who ended with 6,208 points to Miller's 6,192. "After the first day, I didn't feel like I was doing good, but I knew I was still in the competition."

Olympian heptathlete Michelle Perry pulled out of the event to concentrate on the 100-meter hurdles.

"It didn't make it any easier, because you can have a bad day and anyone can win the heptathlon," said Fountain, who had the best high jump and javelin throw of the contestants. "It would have been great to compete against her, because she's a great athlete."

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In the men's 800, Khadevis Robinson led nearly the entire race to win his first national title after finishing second last year. Robinson won in 1:45.27, ahead of David Krummenacker, who finished in 1:46.80. Hazel Clark won her second national title in the women's 800 with a time of 1:59.74. Kamiesha Bennett finished second at 2:00.59.

Shotputter Christian Cantwell, the 2004 indoor world champion, won his first national outdoor title with a toss of 71 feet. Adam Nelson finished second at 70-7, followed by John Godina, the three-time world outdoor champion, who finished third with a throw of 68-10 1/2 .

Erica McLain of Stanford won the women's triple jump with a leap of 45-11 3/4 , followed by UCLA's Candice Baucham at 45-11 1/4 .

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Times staff writer Jonathan Abrams contributed to this report.

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