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US Favorites Richards, Merrit Neville Earn Spots on Olympic Track and Field Team


At the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon Thursday night, Olympic and world 400-meters champion Jeremy Wariner had to settle for second place.

LaShawn Merritt posted his second upset of the year over Wariner, pulling away in the final 150 meters and winning in a time of 44 seconds flat. Wariner was two-10ths of a second behind. Earning the third spot for the Beijing Olympics was national indoor champion David Neville.

Favorite Sanya Richards won the women's 400 meters, sprinting away down the stretch to win by nearly one full second with a time of 49.89. Mary Wineberg was second (50.85). Finishing third despite a broken bone chip in her left leg was 2004 Olympic relay gold medalist Dee Dee Trotter (50.88).

In the women's steeplechase, which will make its Olympic debut in Beijing, Anna Willard set an American record, finishing the 3,000-meter race in 9:27.59 minutes. The other Olympic berth went to runner-up Lindsey Anderson.

For the first time since 1996, the top three finishers in the women's long jump all exceeded the Olympic standard, so the U.S. will have three representatives in Beijing. Britney Reese won the event with a personal best of 6.95 meters. 2004 Olympic finalist Grace Upshaw was second (6.88m), and Funmi Jimoh was third (6.72).

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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