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Prefontaine Classic

Sanya Richards 51.16!

PORTLAND OR 5/26/02 -- Prep 400-meter star Sanya Richards joined Olympic company and showed she belonged as she ran second in the Prefontaine Classic in 51.16. It made Sanya the fifth fastest US high school girl ever at 400 meters (Monique Henderson 50.74, Denean Howard 50.87, Sheila Ingram 50.90, Sherri Howard 51.09).

photos by Erik Palmer, trackwire.com
Richards and LaTasha Colander-Richardson

1 Michelle Collins USA 50.87
2 Sanya Richards USA 51.16
3 Jearl Miles-Clark USA 51.22
4 Nadjina Kaltouma Chad 51.48
5 Latasha Colander-Richardson USA 51.77
6 Karen Shinkins Ireland 51.90
7 Suziann Reid USA 52.67
8 Monique Hannagan USA 53.81

Sanya was disappointed she didn't break 51 seconds, but she was ecstatic over joining the elite environment.

"It's unbelievable," she told Sharon Robb, of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. "Olympians surrounding us, talking with them, shaking hands with them, people clapping for me. I saw Marion. I saw Gail Devers."

Richards said she was not nervous at the start. "I was talking to myself, 'This is it.' I went hard through the first 100 and stayed with the leaders on the back stretch. Collins made her move on the second turn and I went with her. I couldn't catch her, but I felt real strong. This is just the beginning."

Sanya's next crack at Monique Henderson's US record will be the adidas Outdoor Championships at Raleigh June 14-15, followed by the USA Junior Nationals at Palo Alto CA June 21-22. As a freshly minted US citizen, Richards hopes to be 1-2 at Palo Alto to make the USA team at the World Junior Championships in her native Jamaica in July. After that, she heads to Austin TX to enroll in the University of Texas.

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