Aug. 9, 2005
UCLA greats Michelle Perry and Joanna Hayes on Tuesday in rainy weather both won their preliminary heats in the 100m hurdles and will advance to Wednesday's semi-finals at the 2005 World Track & Field Championships at Helsinki, Finland.
Running in heat one, Perry won with a wind-aided mark of 12.64 (-2.1w). After Perry's heat, the meet was delayed for two hours because of a torrential downpour. Hayes, running in heat five, won her race in 12.79 (0.3w). USA's third runner, Virginia Powell (USC) also advanced, placing fourth in heat two (12.91, 1.2w). Perry and Hayes entered the World Championships ranked Nos. 1-2 (Perry 12.44/Hayes 12.47). Perry is the 2005 U. S. Champion and has four of the world's current top times. Hayes won the Gold Medal in the 100m hurdles at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. The 100m hurdle final is Thursday.
"At first I was a bit concerned, because it was slippery," said Perry, who competed in the 2004 Olympics as a U. S. heptathlete. "Coming into the race I had some groin problems, so I was running cautious. (The groin) didn't bother me at all, so that was a good thing."
According to Hayes, talking about the bad weather - "It got frustrating at times. We all decided to preserve and be mentally tough and move on. It got frustrating but these things happen, and you have to survive. Perdita (Felicien of Canada) and I thought we could use our strong championship voices, but they weren't listening to us. It really didn't matter. We tried to get the girls to take a vote. But it was kind of hard when everyone speaks different languages. They made us run and we ran. I'm glad that we got it in. I would be upset if I was home right now. But it's over and tomorrow morning, I'll wake up and get treatment. Once I came through eight, nine and 10 (hurdles), I relaxed."
O'Hara, the 2005 U. S. runnerup in the pole vault, is currently rated No. 4 in the world, and set her personal-best this season with a vault of 15-1. She is competing in her first World Championships.
Henderson, who last June set the in-season collegiate women's 400m record (50.10) by winning the event at the NCAA Outdoor in Sacramento, will join fellow Americans - favorite Sanya Richards and Dee Dee Trotter, in the 400m final. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Henderson, Richards and Trotter (along with Monique Hennagan) teamed up to win the Gold Medal for the U. S. in the 4 X 400m relay. At the 2005 U. S. Championships in the women's 400m, Richards placed first (49.28), Trotter was second (49.88) and Henderson was third (49.96).