Hicham El Guerrouj's 29-race unbeaten streak in the 1,500 meters ended yesterday at the Golden Gala meet in Rome when the Moroccan finished eighth.

Rashid Ramzi, 23, of Bahrain won in 3 minutes 30.25 seconds, the fastest time this year. El Guerrouj, 29, lost on the same track where he set the world record of 3:26.00 in 1998, a mark that still stands. He had been undefeated since finishing second at the 2000 Sydney Games.

In one of the evening's most exciting races, veteran U.S. hurdler Allen Johnson held off a strong challenge from China's Xiang Liu.

Both finished in 13.11 seconds, and officials had to resort to a photo finish to determine the winner.

* ROWING: Five American crews reached the semifinals of the Henley Royal Regatta in England.

The U.S. Naval Academy won by two-thirds of a length over the National University of Ireland in the Temple Cup for student eights; St. Paul's School from Concord, N.H., held off St. Andrew's School from Middletown, Del., to win by a length in the Princess Elizabeth Cup for schoolboy eights; Thomas Graves and Peter Graves from Hartford's Bantam Boat Club won by two feet over an Australian duo in the Double Sculls Cup; the eight from Princeton beat an Oxford University boat by four lengths in the Remenham Cup; and Cindy Bishop from the Riverside Club of Cambridge, Mass., beat Kerry Knowler of Australia in the Princess Royal Cup for international women single scullers.

* BASKETBALL: Mwadi Mabika scored 12 of her 23 points in overtime, and Lisa Leslie added 23 points to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to an 87-80 WNBA victory last night over the visiting San Antonio Silver Stars.

* AUTO RACING: Paul Tracy captured the pole for today's Cleveland Grand Prix, blasting around the bumpy 2.106-mile runway course at Burke Lakefront Airport in 57.546 seconds (131.749 mph) to win his first pole this season. . . .

Jeff Simmons, a two-time champion in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, will replace the retired Al Unser Jr. for Sunday's Indy Racing League Argent Mortgage 300 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.

* LOCALLY: Oakland Mills hired Dick Hendershott as its new athletic director and head football coach, according to Howard County Coordinator of Athletics Don Disney. Hendershott replaces Ken Hovet, who has been on unpaid leave since Jan. 12 by then-superintendent John O'Rourke after he determined Hovet had played a role in an improper grade change to a football player's transcript last fall.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports