Jones moves up in 100, declines to talk about it

Lips sealed until final

Carter, O'Connell gain


July 10, 2004|By Elliott Denman | Elliott Denman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Marion Jones isn't talking.

Mum's the word for the triple champion of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the mom of 14 months who has been struggling to clear her way through months of drug-related controversy.

She won't say another word to the media until the completion of today's 100-meter final at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.

Her feet did her talking yesterday.

Her performance -- a second-place finish in her first-round race -- was nothing spectacular, but it was good enough to move her into the 16-runner semifinals, which will send the top eight into the late-afternoon final that will determine Olympic team berths.

Greeted with restrained applause before the race at Sacramento State University's Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex, the 28-year-old Jones trailed LaTasha Colander over the line.

Colander was clocked in 11.35 seconds, Jones 11.38.

The 100 is just the start of Jones' busy week here. She'll come back for the 200 meters and long jump, likely paving the way to a shot at multiple medals in Athens.

Also qualifying for the 100 semifinals was Chryste Gaines, one of four sprinters who face a lifetime ban after being charged with steroid use. Her case is awaiting arbitration by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Maryland athletes had a big first day at the trials.

James Carter, the 1996 Mervo Tech graduate who placed third in the 2000 Olympic trials en route to his fourth-place finish in Sydney, breezed into the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles.

He made it look easy, blazing ahead over the first nine hurdles, then coasting over the 10th to a 49.74 finish, good for second place in a race that sent its top three into today's semifinals.

LaBronze Garrett of the Holyfield International Club came on strong over the final barrier to win in 49.44, but Carter was not concerned.

"I feel great, feel strong, no problems," said Carter, who trains in Hampton, Va., under coach Maurice Pierce. "The trials is where it all started for me four years ago. That was my big breakthrough. I just want it to continue.

"The semis will be harder. There are a lot of young guys doing well in the event. I'll be ready for whatever happens."

Jesse O'Connell, the long-striding recent Georgetown graduate from Westminster, closed in a big rush to take his quarterfinal section of the 800 in 1:47.93 over Kansas State's Christian Smith.

"The first round always scares you," said O'Connell, one of the nation's top young prospects over the two-lap distance. "I'd rather run finals any day of the week.

"This was an ugly race," said O'Connell. "I was in Lane 2, I was in Lane 3 [at stages of the second 400 meters], I was all over the track.

"But all's well that ends well, I guess, and I know I'm in the semis. The last nationals [2002 and 2003] weren't good meets for me. I didn't get out of the first round.

"So I'm making progress."

Tiombe Hurd, the '96 Howard University graduate, West Potomac resident and reigning U.S. women's indoor champion in the triple jump, claimed a spot in tomorrow's final in the event with an effort of 45 feet, 10 3/4 inches that ranked her second, just 3 1/4 inches back of leader Vanitta Kinard.

In the men's pole vault, Jeff Hartwig, the American record-holder in the event and a four-time national champion, failed to qualify for the Olympics for a second straight time. He passed on the opening height, then missed all three attempts when the bar was moved up to 18 feet, 1/2 inch.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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