USATF News & Notes: 4/15/2005

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    Ryan
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    U.S. stars to compete at Mt. SAC Relays

    Allen Johnson, Joanna Hayes, Toby Stevenson, Breaux Greer, Allyson Felix, Marion Jones and Bryan Clay are just a few of the stars slated to compete this weekend at the 47th Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.

    In women’s action, look for 2004 Olympic 100m hurdles gold medalist Joanna Hayes in the 100-meter dash, where she’ll challenge 2005 Visa Indoor Championships winner Angela Daigle and Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell, who won the 2004 Olympic gold medal in the 200m and the bronze medal at 100m. Also look for Olympic Games fourth-place finisher Amy Acuff in the high jump and three-time Sydney Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones in the 400 meters.

    Men’s action will be headlined by 1996 Olympic gold medalist and four-time World Outdoor 110m hurdles champion Allen Johnson, who will compete in the 200 meters. In field events, 2004 Olympic Games pole vault silver medalist Toby Stevenson will compete against 2004 Olympic Trials eighth-place finisher Russ Buller. Also look for reigning Olympic Trials champion and 2004 World Athletics Final winner Breaux Greer to compete in the javelin after ending last season ranked #2 in the world by Track &Field News. Other stars competing at Mt. SAC include Olympic decathlon silver medalist Bryan Clay in the 110m hurdles, 2004 defending Mt. SAC champion and reigning World Indoor champion Savante Stringfellow in the long jump, and 2004 Olympic Games fourth-place finisher Jamie Nieto will compete in the high jump.

    As part of USA Track & Field’s National Relay Program – in which top athletes compete in relays around the country and around the world during the season, with the goal of reaping gold medals at World Championship and Olympic competition – many of America’s finest sprinters will compete in relay competitions at Mt. SAC. In addition to competing in the women’s 100 meters, Joanna Hayes will run in a relay race on Sunday, as will 2004 Olympic 200m silver medalist Allyson Felix and Olympic Games 400m hurdles finalist Brenda Taylor. Tyree Washington, who ended the 2003 season ranked #1 in the world at 400 meters, will headline the men’s relay participants, along with 2004 Olympic Trials 100m fourth-place finisher Coby Miller.

    In addition to the exciting invitational competition at this year’s Mt. SAC Relays, look for athletes from 125 different colleges to compete there this weekend. A total of 15,000 athletes are expected to compete.

    For more information on the 2005 Mt. SAC Relays, visit http://vm.mtsac.edu/relays/

    Defending champs return; Alan Culpepper top U.S. entrant at Boston Marathon

    Timothy Cherigat and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya will defend their respective men’s and women’s titles, and Olympian Alan Culpepper will lead U.S. entries Monday at the 109th running of the Boston Marathon.

    In the women’s field, three-time winner and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Catherine Ndereba returns to claim an unprecedented fourth title. She has run the course five times: winning in 2004, 2001, and 2000; finishing second in 2002, and sixth in her 1999 debut. The first Kenyan woman to win Boston and a World Championship Marathon, Ndereba is a former world-record holder, the second fastest marathoner in the world of all time, and has won or placed second in 12 of her 13 career marathons including Chicago, New York City, and London.

    Timothy Cherigat returns as the defending men’s champion at Boston. Last year, racing against past winners Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Rodgers Rop, he had something to prove coming off a fourth place finish in 2003. As his competitors were faltering in the high temperatures, Cherigat surged off the Newton hills and won uncontested, by nearly a minute. He has placed in the top three spots in four international marathons including New York City and Monaco, and his 2:09:34 win at the San Sebastian Marathon in 2002 remains the fastest time ever run in Spain.

    Alan Culpepper enters the Boston Marathon following his win at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Men’s Marathon Trials and a 12th-place finish at the Athens Olympic marathon. A six-time U.S. national champion in track and cross-country, the University of Colorado graduate has also competed on four World Outdoor Championship and two Olympic teams. He debuted at the 2002 Chicago Marathon and tied Alberto Salazar for the fastest American debut ever.

    For more information on the 2005 Boston Marathon, visit http://www.bostonmarathon.org/

    Olympian Charles Mays dies

    Charles Mays Sr., a former state assemblyman, track and field star and U.S. Olympian, died Monday at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, N.J., following a sudden illness. He was 64.

    Mays was a familiar figure in Jersey City thanks to his athletic accomplishments – first as a high school track star, then as a long jumper on the 1968 U.S. Olympic team. He nearly made the 1964 Olympic Team as well, placing fourth at the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles.

    “He was a key figure in this area,” said National Track & Field Hall of Famer Otis Davis of Union City, who won two gold medals in track and field in the 1960 Olympics. “It’s very sad. He will be missed.”

    In addition to his track and field career, Mays also served two terms, from 1978 to 1982, as the assemblyman for the 31st District. He worked as a personnel manager for RCA, New York City, and as a sponsor for Pony athletic shoes. He was actively involved in community service as a coach at the Grand Street Boys Club, New York City, which sponsored track and field teams for youths. He also worked briefly with Operation Step Up in planning sports activities, and was president of the Black Athletes Hall of Fame, now defunct.

    He is survived by by his wife, Sharen Mays; sons, Charles Jr. and Eric Amador; two daughters, Monica Cohn and Devon Thomas; four grandchildren, Gavin, Jordan and Trey Cohn and Eric Thomas Jr.; three brothers, Timothy Mays, Rafeek Ahmed and the Rev. Henry Mays; two sisters, Berwyn Mays and Gyrine Hallenbeck; and many nieces and nephews.

    Services will be Saturday at 9 a.m. at Mt. Sinai Full Gospel Church, 73 Prescott St., Jersey City.

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