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Felix doesn't quite get into a full sprint

She is fourth in the 100 meters and sits out the 200, her best event, at the Adidas Track Classic.

May 19, 2008|Diane Pucin | Times Staff Writer

The last 10 days have been emotional and exhausting for Allyson Felix.

The 22-year-old from Los Angeles, who ran a personal-best 100-meter time of 10.93 seconds May 8 in Qatar, has since attended the funeral for the father of her boyfriend, Ken Ferguson, in Detroit and then attended her graduation from USC.

Sunday at the Adidas Track Classic at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Felix pulled out of her signature event, the 200 meters, on the advice of her coach, Bob Kersee, and finished a sluggish fourth in the star-studded 100-meter race won by 2007 world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica.

"It was a rough week," Felix said. "Bobby didn't want me to push it emotionally and that's why he decided to pull me. I'm a little disappointed because I haven't run a 200 yet this year, but I have to trust Bobby."

Tyson Gay was the sprint star of the afternoon, where the temperature hit 110 degrees on the track and where the sizzling metal bleachers remained mostly empty, with only 3,508 in attendance. Gay, 25, who won gold medals at last year's world championships in the men's 100-meter and 200-meter races, finished first in both races Sunday.

Gay edged out training partner Darvis Patton, 31, in the 100 with a time of 10.05 and easily won the 200 in 20.08 while slowing down noticeably in the final 20 meters.

"The most important things to me were the wins," Gay said.

Pole vaulter Jenn Stuczynski set an American record and then said she was hoping for snow back home in Churchville, N.Y.

Stuczynski cleared 16 feet 0 3/4 on her second try to break her own American record of 16-0. Then she made three good efforts at setting a world record of 16-5 1/2 .

Only Russian jumper Yelena Isinbayeva, who holds the world record, has ever jumped higher than Stuczynski, and Stuczynski, 25, said the Russian's record feels reachable.

"She's in my sights," Stuczynski said. She said in particular that her third, and final, attempt at the world record felt good. "Right when I left the ground I knew it was going to be a good one. It was just a matter of finishing, and I didn't quite do it."

While Felix disappointed some of the crowd by not running the 200 (won by Muna Lee in 22.30), the 100-meter women's race had the tightest finish of the day. Defending world champion Campbell-Brown won in 11.14, with Lauryn Williams of Miami, who won the silver last year, in second at 11.15 and another Jamaican, Kerron Stewart, third in 11.16. Felix finished in 11.21.

After waiting until finishing his warmups before deciding to race, defending Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner won the 400 in 44.42, easily beating runner-up Tyler Christopher (44.71) of Canada.

Wariner hurt his left hamstring last week. "When I first arrived here I was trying to go day by day," Wariner said. "On Thursday there was a 60% chance I would not run at all. I felt better on Friday." Wariner called his start "timid" because he was testing the hamstring.

World champion Bernard Lagat, a native of Kenya who became a U.S. citizen in 2004, nimbly sidestepped an early crash that made the 1500-meter start seem more like a sprint cycling finish, and won his first metric mile race of the outdoor season in 3 minutes 35:14 seconds.

Within the first 100 meters Lopez Lomong of the U.S. felt himself accidentally pushed from behind and fell. Lomong took down Canadian Nate Brannen, and Nick Symmonds of the U.S. slashed his knee on Lomong's spikes as he tried to hurdle over the sprawled Lomong. Because the crash happened in the first 100 meters the race was restarted.

Lomong and Brannen, sporting plenty of road rash, finished fourth and sixth respectively, but Symmonds pulled off the track with about 350 meters left. "I need stitches," he said afterward.

"When something like that happens you have to recoup quickly," said Lagat, who won the Olympic silver in Athens and had hoped to run 3:33 on Sunday. "It was hot; I didn't know if I might get fatigued at the end, so I was careful."

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diane.pucin@latimes.com

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