Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday: Davis misses Olympics by 0.04

She came close, so very close to making the Olympic team. Candice Davis, an alum of Ann Arbor Pioneer and USC, finished 5th in the 100 hurdles today, clocking a wind-aided 12.66. That missed the third place time of 12.62 by just 0.02. Up ahead, Lolo Jones won the race in a scintillating 12.29w.

Davis had made the final by the skin of her teeth, finishing 4th in her semi at 12.76 (w1.7). Tiffany Ofili had worse luck. She ran in the previous semi, ran the exact same time, with the exact same wind reading. She finished 5th, and only the top four qualify. Kellie Wells took 2nd at 12.58, but collapsed injured after the finish line. Under current rules, that left an empty lane in the final, which is a crying shame, since Ofili would probably would have been thrilled to fill that lane.

In the 1500, we saw a typical championship race, in that the place was slow and no one was ready to take the burden of leading on a very windy day. Saline's Steve Sherer ran smart, and stayed near the front of the pack. Finally Gabe Jennings, who lacked the A qualifier for the Games, was forced to take the lead and try to speed the race up. The wind chewed him up and spit him out (he ended up dead last).

When the sprinting started, Sherer had some problems with being boxed in. He also said afterward that breathing/allergies was an issue. In any case, Sherer was left behind in the kicker's race. His 57.9 last lap put him into 11th place at 3:43.41.

When the dust settled on the meet, we realized we had seen some incredible performances. And we do have an Olympian to watch in Beijing, Dathan Ritzenhein in the marathon. I'll probably cheer for Anna Willard as well, even though she made the mistake of growing up in Maine. Four years from now, though, I bet that some of our stars who got valuable experience in Eugene will be back to make the team.

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