Zmeskal takes floor title in world gymnasticsKim Zmeskal...

SPORTS BRIEFLY

April 19, 1992

Zmeskal takes floor title in world gymnastics

Kim Zmeskal bopped her way to the floor exercise title yesterday at the World Gymnastics Championships in Paris.

Zmeskal, 16, performed to a medley of '50s rock 'n' roll music, including "Rock Around the Clock." She won the world all-around title last year, and she will be on center stage at the U.S. Olympic Gymnastic Trials, June 6-13 at the Baltimore Arena.

In the men's competition, ex-Soviet Vitali Scherbo won the rings, tied for first in the pommel horse and came in second in the floor exercise.

A new formula this year gives only individual titles in the men's and women's events. Past championships had team and all-around competition, in addition to individual apparatus finals.

"It's a different format that all of us are not used to," said Zmeskal, of Houston. "It's a nice change to start new each time you go up."

Said her coach, Bela Karolyi: "It was a very difficult competition. To compete three days in a row, to start from zero each time. You can't build your score. It's a new system that puts the most-balanced gymnast at the top, and I think it's fair."

Today's program includes finals in the men's high bar, parallel bars and vault. The women have finals in the balance beam and uneven parallel bars.

Track and field

Mike Marsh, best known as the leadoff runner on the American 400-meter relay team, blazed to a 9.93-second clocking in the 100 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., beating a field that included Carl Lewis.

Lewis finished third in 10.12, and Nigerian sensation Davidson Ezinwa was second in 9.96.

While much attention was focused on the matchup between Lewis, the world record-holder at 9.86, and Ezinwa, who ran 9.91 in a college meet last week, Marsh closed strongly to win.

* Butch Reynolds failed to get the 45.49 time for 400 meters that would have automatically qualified him for the Olympic trials. But his 45.92 on a track in Stanford, Calif., with tight turns and heavy wind gave Reynolds good reason to be encouraged as he heads to the Drake Relays next weekend at Des Moines, Iowa.

Reynolds, 27, has been suspended for two years for steroid use. Although his suspension wasn't supposed to be up until Aug. 13, Reynolds was cleared last week by The Athletic Congress and the International Amateur Athletic Federation to run domestically pending an arbitration hearing in London in early May.

* North Carolina narrowly swept the men's and women's titles at the Atlantic Coast Conference track and field championships at Florida State. Last year, both titles went to Clemson, which finished second in both classes this time around.

North Carolina edged the Tigers 178.5 points to 178 in the men's competition and 171-164 in the women's.

Auto racing

Tommy Houston, racing a Buick from the rear of a 32-car field, broke a 50-race Grand National losing streak by winning the Mountain Dew 500, a race marred by a NASCAR-record 26 caution flags and driver complaints about the slick track.

The conditions and the resulting caution flags made racing almost impossible at Hickory (N.C.) Speedway.

Houston, 47, began his driving career at the .363-mile speedway in his hometown and won several track championships before moving up to a touring division.

Bobby Labonte was second in a Chevrolet; followed by Chuck Bown, Joe Nemechek and Darrell Waltrip.

Golf

The Country Club of Maryland swept nine points at home from Chantilly Manor and earned a 13-5 victory in the Baltimore area championship of the annual Maryland State team matches. Congressional Country Club defeated Lakewood for the Washington area title, 14-4, and will meet CC Maryland Saturday for the overall championship.

CC Maryland, in the title pairing for the first time since 1988, got help on the road from Jerry Phipps and Ken Trail, who took 2 1/2 points from Denny Myers-Mark Moore. At home, pairings of Jackie Rites-Charlie Harris and Scott Hargest-Al Mank closed out their opponents at No. 17, and the No. 1 team of Chris Rouse-Larry Storck protected a 1-up win on the back after Rouse had made a six-foot putt for a halving bogey at the 17th.

Tennis

Michael Chang outlasted Australian Todd Woodbridge, 6-3, 6-7 (7-6), 6-1, and will play the winner of the other semifinal between Jim Courier and Brad Gilbert for the Hong Kong Salem Open title.

Courier was leading Gilbert 2-1 in the first set before rain interrupted the match. It will be resumed today before the final. Chang had to wait out two long rain delays to beat Woodbridge and reach his fourth final of the year.

* Gabriel Markus of Argentina beat top-seeded Pete Sampras in a third-set tie-breaker and won their semifinal match at the Nice (France) Open, 6-1, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5).

The unseeded Markus will be playing his first title match, taking on No. 7-seed Javier Sanchez. The Spaniard beat France's Fabrice Santoro, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

* MaliVai Washington of the United States and Jaime Yzaga of Peru advanced to the final of the $235,000 USTA Men's Clay Courts tennis tournament in Tampa, Fla.

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