There should be a pair of interesting 5,000-meter finals at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials at Cal State Sacramento's Hornet Stadium tonight.
Regina Jacobs, the 1,500 winner at the trials, will be stepping up in the women's race. Deena Drossin, the 10,000 winner, will be stepping down. Jacobs is also one of the nation's top 800 runners, but she's passing on that event, and probably won't run the 5,000 in Sydney even if she qualifies.
Despite injuries that have slowed their training, the most dangerous customers in the men's 5,000 are Bob Kennedy and Adam Goucher. Kennedy is the American record-holder, and Goucher is the reigning national champion.
Kennedy was seventh in his tactical preliminary heat Monday night, and nearly didn't qualify for the final.
"As I went along, I'm thinking, 'What do I have left?' because I haven't really done any racing at all," Kennedy said. "Sixty [seconds] flat in the final lap, it wasn't a walk in the park. The first mile and a half, I knew I had to do something. I haven't done this in a while, and it showed a bit."
Goucher was just as rusty. "That was my first race in five months," he said. "It was a rustbuster, a good race for me. It's been so long since I raced, but this was a good effort. I had a lower back injury about three weeks ago. I was doing some yard work on top of a 110-mile week, and I felt something go in my lower back."
Tonight's other finals are in the men's hammer throw and women's shot put. World-record holder Lance Deal led last night's qualifying in the hammer, with an effort of 245 feet, 11 inches. There will also be qualifying in the women's pole vault, a new Olympic event that features world-record holder Stacy Dragila.
On the clock
Baltimoreans Torrance Zellner and James Carter competed in the first round of the 400 intermediate hurdles last night, an event that didn't start until after 11 Eastern time. The first day of the decathlon concluded with the 400, after 1 a.m. Eastern time.
Many finals have been conducted too late to be included in East Coast newspapers, and the chief executive of USA Track and Field said the schedule could have been better. "We 'blew it," Craig Masback said, about the women's 400 hur-dles being run at 11:35 p.m. Eastern time Monday.
Briefly Spotted speeding around town: 100 world-record holder Maurice Greene in a Mercedes convertible. ... Bob Mathias and Rafer Johnson, Californians and Olympic decathlon champions, took in last night's proceedings.