Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Toomey feeling good about win in 1,500

When Jen Toomey of Salem decided to race in the 1,500 meters at yesterday's USA National Indoor Track and Field Championships, she viewed it mostly as a way to get back to competition. Toomey had a rough 2004, suffering torn cartilage in her left knee prior to the Olympic trials and then incurring a groin injury trying to overcompensate.

Yesterday was her first test, and she aced it on the way to victory in 4 minutes 13.25 seconds. For much of the race, Toomey led -- including at the start -- which surprised her.

"I really thought someone else would take it out," she said. "So I was really surprised to be in front, but it was good practice for me. You have to expect the unexpected when you race."

Her finish was also unexpected. She tried not to get her hopes too high, despite successful rehabilitation, knowing she had been away for a while. The adversity made it more satisfying.

"It's really great," she said. "I didn't have any expectations. To come out after everything that I've been through, being hurt and to come and win on my home turf, it bodes well for me so I'm really happy about that. As of two weeks ago, we weren't going to race at all.

"It's just the beginning but it's a great first race for me."

Culpepper kicks in
Former Vermont star Shayne Culpepper, 31, made a strong push at the end of the women's 3,000 meters, edging Amy Rudolph of Providence. Culpepper finished in 8:55.57 to Rudolph's 8:57.42.

"I felt really good, my training has been going better than ever," said Culpepper, who won the 5,000 meters at the Olympic trials. "I ran the cross-country championships two weeks ago and felt really poor there so I was a little nervous coming into this even though my training had been going well. So it's very reassuring for me to get out there and feel so well.

"It was a small field but that's how I like it, a strong but small field. It started kind of slow and then there were some moves in there but usually my race tactic is to wait until the last possible minute to kick so I tried to go a little bit sooner this time." It was actually a lot sooner. Her kick came with about 300 meters to go.

"For me, that's starting my kick really early," said Culpepper, who opened up her lead during the final lap.

Culpepper is looking forward to more Boston cheer; her husband, Alan, is running the Boston Marathon.

No hurdles
The first two rounds of the 60-meter hurdles were canceled because of a lack of competitors, so Danielle Carruthers will vie for the top prize today in the finals. Carruthers, who hopes to compete in the 2008 Beijing Games, would like to see more positive media coverage of track and field. Because of the doping scandal in track and the steroid allegations that are rocking baseball, Carruthers said there has been too much negativity. "When I was growing up, before I really knew a lot about track and field, there were the Carl Lewis images and the Flo-Jo images," she said, referring to the late Florence Griffith-Joyner. "There was a time when I started running where you didn't hear much about anybody for a while and now what you hear is the drugs, we're all on drugs. There's a small percentage of people who are actually dirty. I think there just needs to be more positive coverage and involve the youth, let them know about track and field because it's a very exciting sport. It's getting better. I've only been professional for about two years and that's what I've seen the most." She said track and field deserves credit for trying to rid the sport of cheaters. "They're not afraid to tell people, `Yeah, we have some people who are dirty,' and here they are and we're trying to clean it up," she said. "You can be a good athlete and you can be clean."

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives