Carter shakes off toe injury to take bronze in 400 hurdles


EUGENE, Ore. -- Tiombe Hurd got the gold medal in the women's triple jump and James Carter took the bronze in the men's 400-meter hurdles yesterday at the U.S. National Outdoor Track and Field Championships, bringing Maryland's delegation to the World Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, in August to three.

Baltimore's Bernard Williams qualified with his second-place finish in the men's 100-meter dash final Friday, and will be a 200-meter finalist today.

Hurd and Carter had their turns yesterday at the University of Oregon's historic Hayward Field.

Hurd, the James Madison University graduate out of West Potomac High School who won the bronze medal in the women's triple jump at the World Indoor Championships in Lisbon in March, took her first national outdoor gold medal with a fifth-round hop, step and jump of 46 feet, three-quarters of an inch.

Arizona's Yuliana Perez had surged past Hurd with a leap of 45-10 1/2 , only to see Hurd go right by her.

"For me, this is something really special," said Hurd, 27. "I may be the only winner in the meet holding down a full-time job."

She's a computer systems analyst at Washington's Park Hyatt Hotel, and finding training time isn't easy.

However, six years out of college, Hurd has found a way.

"I think I can get a lot better in the triple jump, too. It hasn't been an event American women have done well at, but now we're getting the hang of it ... finally."

Two weeks ago, the 23-year-old Carter, a fourth-place finisher in Sydney, had serious doubts he'd even run in the meet. He jammed his right big toe under a door after running in a meet in Poznan, Poland, and has been limping much of the time since.

But Carter, a 1996 graduate of Mervo Tech High School, put those troubles behind him once the starting gun was fired. Running from the difficult Lane 8 -- with no other runners in sight -- Carter stayed in the thick of the fight the whole way and held on for third in 48.79 seconds.

Only 2000 Olympic champion Angelo Taylor (48.53, best time by an American this year) and 1996 Olympian Calvin Davis (48.75) got over the line ahead of Carter.

Eric Thomas, another 2000 Olympian, was a tough-luck fourth (49.09.)

"Physically and mentally, I was beaten up coming into this meet," Carter said. "My toe still hurts, but I wasn't going to give into anything.

"I didn't let Lane 8 bother me, either. It's still 400 meters and 10 hurdles for everybody. Now, that I've made the team, I've just got to go home and let my body respond properly. I'll be OK, but it may take some time."

Williams clocked a 20.50-second 200-meter semifinal, running second to Shawn Crawford's 20.49, but he will have to run faster in today's final. Ramon Clay (20.20) and Kevin Little (20.21) went 1-2 in the other semifinal.

The men's 1,500-meter final created the most anticipation, including coverage on ESPN's SportsCenter. It evolved into a fierce battle, but a stopwatch letdown.

Colorado State's Bryan Berryhill led the field through the first 400 meters in 58.3, and 800 in 1:57.8, only to fade back to seventh at the wire in 3:38.66.

The six men who rushed by in the final lap were led by Georgetown graduate Andy Downin in 3:37.63 and Arkansas alumnus Seneca Lassiter in 3:37.66. But Alan Webb, the sensational 18-year-old from Reston, Va., who lowered the national high school mile mark to 3:53.43 here three weeks ago, could never make a charge at the leaders and wound up fifth in 3:38.50.

"Nobody really thought I had a chance except me, my coaches and my family," said Downin. But with the World Championships' 'A' standard set at 3:36.50, the outlook for Americans in the 1,500-meter at Edmonton is muddled.

Columbia's Al Heppner placed fourth (1:31.24) in the 20K racewalk.

Other notable women's champions were Regina Jacobs in the 1,500 meters (4:06.12), Deena Drossin in the 10,000 meters (32:05.14), and world-record holder Stacy Dragila in the pole vault (15-1 3/4 .)

Breaux Greer stretched the Hayward Field men's javelin record to 279-7; 33-year-old Antonio Pettigrew, the 1991 world champion, beat all the younger men in the 400, running 45.08.

Men 200 preliminaries (Top two from each heat plus next eight best times advanced to semifinals) Heat one--1, Bernard Williams, Nike, 20.25. 2, Shawn Crawford, Mizuno, 20.31. 3, Aaron Armstrong, Gainesville, Fla., 20.37. 4, Kevin Braunskill, Nike, 20.89. 5, Jake Jensen, Oklahoma City, Okla., 20.93. 6, Andre Totton, South Carolina, 21.0. 7, Rohshaan Griffin, Asics TC, 21.03. 200 semifinals (Top four from each heat advance to Sunday's final) Heat two--1, Crawford, 20.49. 2, Williams, 20.50. 3, Lewis, 20.63. 4, Carter 20.71. 5, Johnson, 20.78. 6, Perry, 20.85. 7, Grimes, 20.88. 8, Armstrong, 30.67. 400 hurdles final 1, Angelo Taylor, Nike, 48.53. 2, Calvin Davis, adidas, 48.75. 3, James Carter, Nike, 48.79. 4, Eric Thomas, Nike, 49.09. 5, Bayano Kamani, Baylor, 49.18. 6, Joey Woody, Team New Balance, 49.35. 7, William Porter, Nike, 50.30. 8, Regan Nichols, Austin, Texas, 50.44. 1,500 final 1, Andy Downin, Nike, 3:37.63. 2, Seneca Lassiter, Nike, 3:37.66. 3, Paul McMullen, Ypsilanti, Mont., 3:37.94. 4, Gabe Jennings, Stanford, 3:38.02. 5, Alan Webb, Reston, VA, 3:38.50. 6, Clay Schwabe, US Military Academy, 3:38.53. 7, Bryan Berryhill, adidas, 3:38.66. 8, Ibrahim Aden Gedi, Nike, 3:39.82. 9, Michael Stember, Stanford, 3:39.86. 10, Nick MacFalls, Nike Farm Team, 3:45.52. 11, Charlie Gruber, Kansas, 3:46.40. 12, Christian Hesch, Morro Bay, Calif., 3:46.73.

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