Symmonds Wins Fourth National 800m Title

Alysia Montano dominated the women's 800-meter final, winning in 1:58.33. Photo:

Montano Dominates Women’s 800 Meters

Alysia Montano, the former Alysia Johnson, dominated the women’s two-lap event, notching her third USA outdoor title in five years. A white flower affixed to her black headband, Montano motored through the first half in 56.07 seconds and already had a several meter lead on Alice Schmidt. Montano said that a back problem had forced her to only run uphill in training which made her a lot stronger. That strength, she said, was critical today to holding her speed to the finish.

“We’ve had really good workouts these last couple of weeks,” she told the assembled media. “I spent a few weeks back before Pre only running uphill because I had a little back issue.  So, I knew I had that strength.”

Down the homestretch, Montano couldn’t be touched. Her winning time of 1:58.33 was the fastest at these championships in 15 years.

“My feelings about making the team?” Montano said, gently mocking reporters. “Yeah, that’s awesome!”

Maggie Vessey was also having a great race. Her final 100-meter push to the line got her past both Phoebe Wright and Schmidt to take second in 1:58.86. Schmidt was trying to hang on for just a few more meters because Wright was catching her on the inside. Schmidt finished third in 1:59.21, just 4/100ths ahead of Wright.

“Even before I looked at the scoreboard I just thought, honestly, I was dying so hard in that final straightaway, I know I did everything I could,” said Schmidt, a 2008 Olympian. “So I was, like, really hoping I made the team. Then, when I found out third it was the best gift all day.”

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