With lead on anchor leg, Farmer pulls hamstring

Oakland Mills 2nd at Penn

B. Williams has big day

Track And Field

April 29, 2001|By Elliott Denman | Elliott Denman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

PHILADELPHIA - Ten meters from the finish line, Oakland Mills High School senior Kyle Farmer held a half-step lead on the anchor leg in the interscholastic 400-meter relay final at the 107th annual Penn Relays.

He could nearly taste the Championship of America that awaited him just a few strides ahead.

But then - quick as the right-hamstring pull that slowed him to a painful limp - that vision shattered yesterday.

As Farmer struggled just to finish, Darrel Brown of El Dorado High School of Trinidad rocketed past him and to victory in 40.99 seconds before a record crowd of 48,922 at Franklin Field.

Oakland Mills, the Maryland state record-holder in the event with Chris Barksdale, Stefan Pastor and Nehemiah Spence running the first three legs, was fortunate to hold on to second place in 41.42, just ahead of two Jamaican teams - Jamaica College (41.60) and Calabar (41.62) - and Camden (N.J.) (41.65.).

"It was like a bullet hit me," said the University of Florida-bound Farmer after he'd been rushed to the first aid room. "We had it won, but when it pulled, there wasn't a thing I could do about it. As soon as I felt it, he [El Dorado's Brown] was by me."

"Whatever happened at the finish, I know we ran great," said Pastor. "We did everything that we could, but there are some things you can't control."

Farmer seemed destined for a great windup after he'd clocked a 47.5 400-meter split in the morning series of 1,600 relay sections.

Staying on course for another big year was Olympic sprint relay gold medalist Bernard Williams, the 23-year-old flash out of Baltimore's Carver Vo-Tech and Barton County College of Kansas.

Teaming with Olympians Jon Drummond, Curtis Johnson and Maurice Greene, Williams turned in a sizzling second leg on the "USA Blue" foursome that took the "USA vs. The World" 400-meter title in a relays-record 38.03.

Eighty minutes later, Williams teamed with Drummond, Shawn Crawford and Greene to claim the 800-meter relay in 1:19.39, not far off the relays record of 1:19.11 set by the Carl Lewis-anchored Santa Monica Track Club in 1992.

The "USA Red" - or B teams - were second each time.

The Maryland Elite team was fifth in the 800 (1:23.25) as the fastest of all non-national team entries.

"These meets are just warm-ups. They're great to see where you stand, and right now I'm doing OK," said Williams, who trains in Los Angeles with the high-powered HSI club team while working toward his sociology degree at UCLA.

"Of course, the big thing is to be ready when it really counts and that's still off a while," said Williams, who is pointing to the USATF nationals, June 21-24 in Eugene, Ore., the official qualifier for August's world track and field championships in Edmonton, Alberta.

Upper Marlboro resident Tiombe Hurd won the women's Olympic Development triple jump at 46-2. Coppin State, an emerging track force, took its men's 3,200 relay section in 7:30.95 over William and Mary, with Navy third (7:32.30).

UMBC assistant coach Shannon Flowers ran second to Gabriel Burnett, 14.09 to 14.23, in the Olympic Development 110 high hurdles (14.23), with Maryland Elite's Tyrone Watkins (14.41) third.

U.S. Army private Al Heppner of Columbia recorded a 41:36.35 second place in the 10K race-walk.

Gwynn Park (3:30.08), Mount St. Joseph (3:31.47), River Hill (3:32.18) and Friendly (3:36.01) were Maryland winners in the series of boys scholastic 1,600 relays.

The Maryland team of Larry Mills, Jeremy Reithmayer, Wesley Thompson and David Scriber claimed Penn's Special Olympics 400 relay title in 51.71.

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