UC Riverside’s Brenda Martinez will run in the final of ther 800 meters at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Champions after all.
The Rancho Cucamonga native used a last minute surge to overtake another runner and finish fourth in one of two semifinal heats on Friday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. She and coach Irv Ray thought that was good enough to get her in the final.
But the two were later told it was the top three runners in each heat, then the next two fastest times which would have left Martinez ninth, one spot away from advancing.
Ray filed a protest, saying that the runners were told in the staging area before the race that the top four in each heat would advance. The protest was upheld and Martinez added to the field for the final which will be contested on Sunday.
The top three will represent the USA in the World Championships.
Martinez will probably be hard-pressed to advance but this will be great experience for her. She is running against a field of runners, most of whom have been running professionally for several years. She has a bright future.
Several local athletes were in action in the first day of action at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Thursday at Eugene, Ore.
Corey White of USC, who competed in track and football at the University of Redlands his freshman and sophomore years, finished seventh in the javelin with a throw of 238 feet, 11 inches. He went into the event with the second best mark in the country.
Junior Brenda Martinez of UC Riverside placed 12th in a field of 26 runners in the first round of the 800 meters which was good enough to earn her a spot in the today’s semifinal. The Rancho Cucamonga native ran a 2:05.78.
Pomona-Pitzer graduate Will Leer, now running professionally for the Oregon Track Club, was third in the 1,500 meter prelim with a time of 3:42.18 which easily qualified him for Sunday’s final.
Big Bear’s Chad Hall, Martinez’ teammate at UC Riverside, wasn’t as fortunate. He was 41st of 48 runners in 3:50.80.
Cal State San Bernardino graduate Micah Burke turned in a valient effort but was eliminated in the Round of 16 match play at the California State Amateur Tournament at Lake Merced Golf Club.
Burke, who helped the Coyotes to a Division II national runner-up showing last month, fell to defending tournament champion Nick Delio 4 and 3. It probably didn’t help that Delio, a sophomore at Cal State Northridge, played the same course earlier this month when he competed in the NCAA Division I West Regional.
The field started with 156 golfers and was whittled down to 32 for match play after 36 holes. Burke was tied for 12th after the 36 holes.