MINNEAPOLIS, JULY 12 -- Olympian Schowonda Williams stepped off a plane and dashed to the U.S. Olympic Festival track and field competition this afternoon and then won the women's 400-meter hurdles in a festival record 55.57 seconds.

"I got here at noon today after leaving Baton Rouge {La.} at 7 this morning," said Williams, who has been ranked in the nation's top five since 1985 and made the U.S. Olympic team in 1988. "I tried to sleep on the plane but I couldn't get comfortable."

Williams easily defeated Countess Comadore (56.55 seconds) of Baton Rouge and Kim Batten (56.81) of Rochester, N.Y., in the first day of track and field at the University of Minnesota's Bierman Field.

The field was missing U.S. record holder Sandra Farmer-Patrick, who is competing in Europe.

Lance Deal of Casper, Wyo., threw the hammer farther than any American this year -- 254 feet 9 inches, bettering the festival record of 242-5 by Jud Logan of North Canton, Ohio, in 1985.

In men's gymnastics, UCLA junior Chainey Umphrey scored a 9.85 on the horizontal bar -- his final event of the night -- to edge Bill Roth of Temple for the all-around gold medal. Umphrey won the gold with 57.50 points, beating Roth's 57.45. Mark Warburton of Nebraska finished third with 56.80. . . .

Gary Butterworth, who graduated from West Springfield High School, was one of 23 members named to the Junior Olympic baseball team after his performance as catcher for the East squad. The team will play a series of exhibitions before representing the United States in international competition in Cuba in August. Butterworth will attend Mississippi State this fall.

Plans for Moses

Hurdler Edwin Moses, the U.S. Olympic Committee's substance abuse committee chairman, stopped by the festival before going to practice his new sport, bobsledding, in Lake Placid.

Moses, nearly 35, said he will not compete in the 400 hurdles this year, but plans to set his sights on next year and the Pan American Games and world track and field championships.

"I trained this year until May but I've been too busy and I just couldn't do it," he said today. "I'm really looking forward to getting back to it. I've been doing things for other people. Now I want to do stuff for myself."

A Boxer's Rebellion

You might think that athletes who train in barns, run dirt roads and do farm chores no longer exist in this world.

One does. Martin Foster, a 22-year-old boxer from Belle Plains, Kan., won the gold medal in the super heavyweight division here.

Foster, a storekeeper who is 6 feet 2 and a bulky 235 pounds, has no major aspirations. The Olympics are only a faraway dream. He simply likes to hit people.

"I don't have a coach," he said. "I'm self-trained. I just train in my barn and run on dirt roads every night."

Obviously he likes being in Kansas.

"Toto runs with me," he said.