Sports Briefs

Posted: Sunday, April 07, 2002

Riverskate continues today at sports center

The Riverskate International Skating Institute Team Competition will continue today at the Soldotna Sports Center. Competition will be from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The competition includes 120 competitors, including about 60 from the Kenai Peninsula. Ages of the competitors range from 2 to 59. There is no admission charge for the event.

Came Home punches ticket to Kentucky Derby

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Came Home, the horse nobody wanted to buy on three different occasions, stamped himself as the early Kentucky Derby favorite with a 2 1/4-length victory in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on Saturday.

Ridden by Chris McCarron, Came Home covered 1 1-8 miles in 1:50 and paid $4.20, $3.40 and $2.80 as the wagering favorite.

Easy Grades returned $5.40 and $4, while Lusty Latin was another three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $5.60 to show.

Mayakovsky finished fourth, U S S Tinosa was fifth, Jack's Silver sixth, Proud Citizen seventh and Danthebluegrassman was last. Each carried 122 pounds.

Part owners Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan, who also bred Came Home, put the horse up for sale three times with no takers -- thus giving the colt his name.

''What's so special about this horse is that somehow we weren't meant to sell this horse. He was meant to come home. There's some meaning in that,'' McCaffery said.

Came Home first entered the sale ring at Keeneland in 1999, and was bought back for $650,000. He went unsold at two later auctions. Now the duo, whose other partners are Will Farish and John Goodman, is thankful.

Greene caught at finish line in relay

AUSTIN, Texas -- Maurice Greene pulled another surprise at the Texas Relays. In 1995, he was an unknown who upset Carl Lewis. On Saturday, Greene was the star who lost.

Running his first outdoor race of 2002, the world record-holder and Olympic champion at 100 meters was overtaken by J.J. Johnson at the finish in a 400-meter relay.

Greene appeared to lose time by raising his hands in celebration too soon.

''You're supposed to run all the way through and not fool around,'' he told the crowd of 20,000 at the University of Texas.

''I took a look, threw my hand up and he came by.''

Greene anchored a relay team of Jon Drummond, Terrence Trammell and Ken Brokenburr. Greene appeared to have a step on Johnson when he took the baton in the final turn.

Competing for a team that included Mickey Grimes, Gerald Williams and Darvis Patton, Johnson kept pace and just squeezed past Greene at the line.

Johnson's quartet finished in 38.34 seconds, 0.01 faster than Greene's group. It's the fastest time in the world this year.

''I was just running,'' Johnson said. ''They brought it around and I needed to do my part.''

Greene's teammates teased him about the loss. Heading back to the interview tent, Greene's coach, John Smith, asked Drummond, ''Where's Mo?''

''I don't know,'' Drummond said. ''Under a rock?''

With no world championships or Olympics this year, the 27-year-old Greene said his goal is to break his world record of 9.79 in the 100. He skipped the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships.

''I took a very long break and had a whole lot of fun'' traveling, Greene said. He said he doesn't know when he'll compete in the 100 this year.

''I've just got to look forward to the rest of the season,'' he said. ''I don't like losing.''

The 25-year-old Johnson appears to be a star in the making.

He ran a leg in the first round for the U.S. gold-medal winning 400 relay at the 2001 World Championships. He ran the fastest 200 in the world last year, 19.88.

Strother again wins twice; Stanford has two winners

NORMAN, Okla. -- Clay Strother of Minnesota repeated as champion on the pommel horse and floor exercise, and Stanford had two winners as the NCAA men's gymnastics championships wrapped up Saturday night.

Marshall Erwin of Stanford won on rings and teammate Dan Gill won the vault. The other winners were Cody Moore of California on parallel bars and Daniel Diaz-Luong of Michigan on the high bar.

Strother, a junior, came in ranked sixth in the floor exercise but scored a 9.612 to beat Kerry Adderly of Ohio State, who had 9.312. Minnesota's Guillermo Alvarez finished third with 9.287.

''I wish I could have done that Thursday during the team competition, because that floor score would have put us over and got us in,'' Strother said. ''It's discouraging to look back on that.''

The Gophers finished fourth in team qualifying Thursday, one spot too low to advance to the final, which Oklahoma won Friday night.

On the pommel horse, where Strother is ranked No. 1, he scored 9.775 to win handily over Moore (9.512) and Don Jackson of Iowa (9.500).

''I felt more pressure today,'' Strother said. ''It's just so much harder out there without the team pushing you. And me being the defending champion on those two events, I had a lot to live up to there, but I thought I handled it well.''

Stanford only finished sixth in the team race, but Erwin and Gill eased that sting a bit with their performances.

Erwin's routine had a higher degree of difficulty than anyone in the field, and he performed it well enough to score 9.825. Kevin Tan of Penn State finished second, three-tenths of a point behind, and Shannon Carrion of Oklahoma was third.

''I felt good,'' Erwin said. ''It's really how strong I feel. I can tell on the first cross how strong I am, and I felt pretty strong.''

His teammate, Gill, said he had a poor warmup that left him uneasy heading into the competition. He went fifth in the rotation and posted a 9.487. That was enough to edge Oklahoma's Jock Stevens, whose strong vault helped lead the Sooners to the team title. Stevens had a 9.437 on Saturday; teammate Daniel Furney finished third with 9.425.

''Three days of competition is a lot,'' Gill said. ''I was a little nervous, but I pulled through and was really happy with how it turned out.''

Moore, going last on the parallel bars, scored 9.125 to bump Oklahoma's Everett Bierker out of first place. Bierker had 9.0, followed by Diaz-Luong with 8.875.

Diaz-Luong scored 9.612 on the high bar, which was enough to beat Oklahoma's Quinn Rowell, who had 9.337. Bierker was third with 9.287.

''I wanted to finish my career with a great ending,'' Diaz-Luong said. ''This entire experience has been incredible and I couldn't be happier.''

All-around winner Raj Bhavsar of Ohio State had a tough night, finishing fifth on the pommel horse and vault, and last on rings after coming off during his routine.

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