DeDee Nathan, the world heptathlon leader, didn't think the same fate that befell Dan O'Brien in the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials would happen to her after failing to clear a height in the high jump in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships today.
"I'm not worried," Nathan said after three misses at 5 feet 7 1/4 inches. "I'll finish [the two-day, seven-event competition] and be in the top three."
That's far from where O'Brien finished seven years ago, when he went in as the favorite in the decathlon, failed to clear a height in the pole vault, wound up 11th and did not make the American team.
The national championships are the qualifier for the world championships in Seville, Spain, with the top three finishers in each event making the team -- provided they have met the qualifying standard, as has Nathan.
In today's finals, LaMark Carter won his second consecutive men's triple jump title, soaring a wind-aided 56-3 1/4 inches; Alan Culpepper, runner-up in the 5,000 meters the past two years, won the 10,000 in 28 minutes 22.46 seconds; Dawn Ellerbe took her fourth women's hammer throw title in five years, setting a meet record of 212-5 on the final attempt of the competition; UCLA's Seilalu Sua, three-time NCAA champion in the women's discus, won her second straight national title at 203-8; and Elizabeth Jackson took the women's 3,000 steeplechase at 10:07.23.
Results of Area Athletes
Women's 400 Preliminaries -- Heat 1: 2, Suziann Reid, Eleanor Roosevelt/Texas, 52.16*. Women's 800 Preliminaries -- Heat 1: 1, Meredith Rainey-Valmon, Silver Spring, 2:03.93*. Women's Hammer Throw -- Flight 2: Tamika Powell, Reebok Enclave, 210-10.* Men's 1,500 Semifinals -- Heat 1: 1, Matt Holthaus, James Madison, 3:41.38*; 8, Scott Anderson, Washington, 3:42.69*; 9, John Honerkamp, Reebok Enclave, 3:45.51. Heat 2: 1, Steve Holman, Georgetown, 3:44.60*; 11, Sam Gabremariam, Georgetown, 3:47.73. Men's 800 Preliminaries -- Heat 1: 1, Brian Woodward, Arlington, 1:49.46*; 3, Rich Kenah, Reston, 1:49.63*; 5, Ted Towle, Reebok Enclave, 1:50.66. Heat 2: 4, Mike Schroer, Reebok Enclave, 1:49.28*. Heat 3: 2, Elliot Gaskins, Reebok Enclave, 1:48.51*; 5, Matthew Kalwinsky, Georgetown, 1:49.42*.
* Qualified for next round.
Note: Reebok Enclave trains in Washington.