ALLYSON FELIX celebrates before(!) the US titles -21Jun03

ATHS: Felix cruises into 200m semi-finals at USnationals Aths US
By Greg Heakes
PALO ALTO, California, June 21 AFP - The only sleepAllyson Felix has had in the past two days is a coupleof hours in the back seat of her parents’ car as theydrove through the night to the US athleticschampionships.
We had our grad night on Thursday and I was up allnight,'' said Felix, the 17-year-old who won her 200metres first-round heat here today in 23.19 seconds. I was more rested today because I got some sleep inthe car. I will definitely get some good sleeptonight.’’
That could be bad news for her competitors. Whileother 200m runners spent the past two days getting readyfor the race, Felix was attending two days of highschool graduation ceremonies.
She drove seven hours here from her Los Angeles home,arriving Saturday morning. Despite the hectic travelschedule, Felix managed the fastest time in the heatsahead of some impressive competition.
LaTasha Jenkins, the 2001 world indoor bronzemedallist, had the second-best time (23.35) in the heatswhile Friday’s 100m winner Kelli White (23.54) finishedsecond to Torri Edwards (23.49) in the first heat.
Felix needs to finish in the top three in Sunday’sfinal to qualify for the world championships August23-31 in Paris.
The worlds have been one of my goals all season. Butmy first goal is to make the US team,'' she said. Felix has the fastest time in the world this year inthe 200 metres. In Mexico City in May, she ran a 22.11,breaking the world junior record set in 1980. Asked if she looks forward to a showdown with tripleOlympic champion Marion Jones, Felix said, I wouldhave liked to have run against Marion. I want to runagainst the best.’’
Jones is taking time off because she is eight monthspregnant with her first child.
On the men’s side, former world record holder in the100m Maurice Greene finished second in his 200m heat in21.10 and qualified for the semis.
Defending US 200m champion Ramon Clay had the fastesttime in the heats with a 20.51.
Tyree Washington won the men’s 400 metres by clockingthe fastest time in the world so far this year at 44.33.
Calvin Harrison was second in 44.62 and Jerome Youngthird in 44.79.
The 26-year-old Washington, who took 18 months offbecause of injuries and personal problems, won thebronze medal at the worlds in 1997.
Last summer Washington’s sister was sentenced to 25-years-to-life for killing one of her daughters. Thecombination of injuries and his sister’s long drawn outcourt case really took a toll on Washington.
``Track is my focus now which was not the case in thepast,’’ said Washington.
Three time world champion Allen Johnson edged outSydney Olympic silver medallist Terrence Trammell to winthe 110m hurdles.
World record holder and Olympic gold medallist StacyDragila beat Jillian Schwartz to win the pole vault.
Regina Jacobs, who has won 24 US career titles, easilycaptured the women’s 1,500 metres, crossing the finishline in four minutes, 01.63 seconds. She finished over two seconds ahead ofrunner-up Suzy Favor Hamilton.
AFP nh