Martinez makes final in 800 meters after protest

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.