Posted on Sun, Mar. 30,
Wariner, Richards tune up in sprint wins
By ERIC RANSOMSpecial to the Star-Telegram
Special to the S-T/Richard W. Rodriguez
ARLINGTON – Jeremy Wariner crossed the finish line at the UTA Bobby Lane Invitational wearing the usual sunglasses and diamond earrings. Though Wariner looked the same, he came with a new coach in tow.
The 24-year-old won the 200 meters in 20.37 seconds, beating a field that included Olympians Darold Williamson and Darvis Patton, a TCU ex. Wariner, who won gold in the 400 meters and 4x400 relay at the 2004 Olympics, was using the 200 Saturday to improve his speed in the 400.
Wariner, a graduate of Arlington Lamar High School, ran a personal best of 43.45 seconds in the 400 at the 2007 World Championships, and has Michael Johnson’s world record of 43.18 in his sights.
“Every race I go into, my goal is to break the world record, whether it’s the Michael Johnson Invitational three weeks from now or at the Olympics,” Wariner said.
Wariner parted ways with longtime coach Clyde Hart in January in a contract dispute, replacing him with Michael Ford. Hart continues to coach Sanya Richards, the top women’s 400 runner in the world.
“It’s no adjustment really,” Wariner said. “[Ford] recruited me out of high school. While I was at Baylor, he was coaching me. The only thing we’ve done different is incorporate more speed work than in the past. Coach Hart got me to where I was, and I respect everything he’s done for me.”
Ford is in his eighth season as an assistant coach at Baylor, where Hart is director of track and field.
“A lot of people may say it’s a bad decision to change coaches this close to the Olympics,” Ford said. “But it’s comfortable for both Jeremy and me. Coach Hart taught me everything I know, and it’s a much easier transition than most would think.”
Richards also came to the UTA meet to improve her speed in the 400. Richards won the 100 in 11.28 seconds, beating TCU’s Virgil Hodge (11.73), and won the 200 in 20.56.???kk
“Sanya is a 400 runner, and to do well in the 100 and 200 is good,” Hart said.
Richards saw the day’s events as speed work, and the opening of her competition schedule. By the Olympic Trials, she hopes to have her 100 time in the 10.9 range. She wants to compete in the 400, 4x400 and 4x100 in Beijing.
“I really want to be on the 4x100 relay team in Beijing, so today was kind of a rehearsal for that,” Richards said. “In a perfect world, I’ll get three gold medals – one individual and two in relays.”