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TRACK AND FIELD NOTEBOOK

Webb Falters in 1,500, Fails to Qualify for Team

South Lakes graduate Alan Webb, far left, places fifth in the 1,500 final. He finished .62 of a second slower than Lopez Lomong, who was in third.
South Lakes graduate Alan Webb, far left, places fifth in the 1,500 final. He finished .62 of a second slower than Lopez Lomong, who was in third. (By Eric Gay -- Associated Press)

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By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 7, 2008

EUGENE, Ore., July 6 -- Alan Webb declined to talk to reporters after finishing fifth in the 1,500 meters at the U.S. Olympic trials at Hayward Field and failing to qualify for the team. In 2004, Webb took first at the trials, before placing 25th in the opening round at the Olympics.

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He decided to withdraw from the 800 just before the trials, he said, in order to focus on the 1,500. Earlier in the trials, it appeared to be a smart decision. Webb posted the top time in the quarterfinals (3 minutes 41.27 seconds).

While his semifinal time earned him a spot in the finals, he slipped to 10th overall (3:44.23). His time of 3:41.62 in the final was .62 of a second behind Lopez Lomong, who took third place, behind Bernard Lagat and Leonel Manzano. Webb's time was more than 11 seconds off his personal best set a year ago to the day in Paris. That time (3:30:54) was the world's fastest in 2007.

"Going from world leader to not making the team, that's sad," said Steve Sherer, who placed 11th in the 1,500.

Falling Upwards

For a few minutes, it appeared Marshevet Hooker faced catastrophe for the second time this week.

During the preliminary round and quarterfinals of qualifying for the 100 meters, Hooker ran the fastest time in each round. She was second in the semifinals. When the finals came, Hooker slipped to fourth and missed out on the Olympic team.

When qualifying came for the 200 meters, Hooker made it back to the finals, and as she bore down the stretch, she could see third place -- the last of the qualifying spots -- firmly in her grasp. Just to be sure, she leaned forward as she came within two meters of the finish line.

And then she began to stumble. She simultaneously struggled to cross the line, keep her balance and hold off Lauryn Williams.

"I was just blank," Hooker said of the moments after the race. "I knew it was going to be close. I just waited patiently" for the times to post.

Hooker's 22.20 seconds were one one-hundredth ahead of Williams, who had edged Hooker out for the final 100 spot.

When asked if her near-calamity was a trip or a lean, Hooker said: "I believe it was a fall. I had no control. I just had to push forward.


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