Alysia Johnson Runs in 800 Final at Pan Am Games Today

July 24, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - California junior Alysia Johnson, the current U.S. and NCAA champion in the women's 800-meter run, advanced to today's final of the 800 in the Pan Am Games at Joao Havelange Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Johnson, the youngest competitor in the 800 field, will vie for her latest title at 4:15 p.m. PT.

In yesterday's semifinal round, Johnson ran the second-fastest time - a 2:01.48 - to take second in the second semifinal group and automatically qualify for the final. The top three finishers from each of the two semifinal groups plus the next two fastest athletes advanced.

Brazil's Josiane Tito clocked a 2:01.28 to edge Johnson yesterday, while Canada's Diane Cummins won the first semifinal group with a time of 2:02.80.

Of the other six finalists, only Cummins, at 1:58.39, and Cuba's Zulia Calatayud, at 1:56.09, have faster personal-best times than Johnson, who ran a Cal-record 1:59.29 to win the NCAA outdoor crown on June 9.

Johnson, a product of Canyon Country, Calif., is coming off an outstanding 2007 season in which she also won the NCAA indoor 800 in a Cal indoor record 2:03.47 and won the U.S. outdoor 800 on a wet track in 1:59.47.

At 21, Johnson is the youngest runner in the entire 800 field. U.S. teammate Morgan Uceny, at 22, is the next youngest athlete, though Uceny did not reach the final.

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