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

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.

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.

"I don't think [my margin of victory] kicked in yet. I just know I'm on the team."

Muscle Strain for Gay

An MRI exam on sprinter Tyson Gay late Saturday afternoon showed a mild strain of the semitendinosus muscle, according to a statement released by his manager, Mark Wetmore.

Gay tumbled early in a semifinal heat of the 200 meters Saturday, costing him a chance at qualifying for the Olympic team in that event. He had qualified in the 100 meters earlier in the week.

According to the statement, Gay will rest for about two weeks with light activity, before returning to training. Gay still plans to run the 100 meters at the Aviva London Grand Prix on July 25, Wetmore said.

Hasay Impresses

Nobody will accuse Jordan Hasay of being presumptuous for looking ahead to the 2012 trials. Besides, that's when she was supposed to make her trials debut.

But the 16-year-old Hasay ended up being the most charming story at this week's trials. After finding out one day before last Thursday's preliminary round that she had earned a spot, Hasay wowed the Hayward Field crowd with an American high school-record time in the 1,500 meters (4:14.50) to advance to Sunday's final. She placed 10th out of 12 (4:17.36), but that didn't wipe the broad smile off her face.

"I didn't think I'd be in this race, so to come this far is just amazing," said the rising senior at Mission College Prep (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) High. "I really look up to all those girls . . . I can't wait" for the 2012 trials.

Hasay plans to fly out of Portland on Monday for Poland, where she will participate in the world junior championships.

"It's going to be totally different racing over there against my age level," she said. "I'll be going over there with a lot of confidence.

"I'm really happy with the way I performed these three days. I learned I could come out and compete without being intimidated, but I also learned I have a lot of work to do."

Bowman Finishes 8th

Eight-time All-Met Sarah Bowman, a 2005 Fauquier graduate, placed eighth in the 1,500 meters (4:16.54). This was her first Olympic trials. She will be a senior at Tennessee in the fall. . . .

Allen Simms (Eleanor Roosevelt, 2000) finished sixth in the triple jump by going 55 feet 11 1/4 inches.

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