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Joey Woody Wins 600 Meters

February 28, 2000

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) _ As long as he went to all that work to put on the meet, Joey Woody figured the least he could do was win his race.

So he did.

Woody passed Marvin Watts with a strong kick coming out of the last turn and won the 600 meters Sunday at the International Superstars Track and Field Invitational at the UNI-Dome.

The former Northern Iowa standout, competing at his alma mater, finished in 1 minute, 17.06 seconds _ the fastest time in the world this year. Watts was right behind in 1:17.28.

``There was a little bit of pressure there,″ said Woody, the meet director. ``My wife said, `You’ve got to win this thing. This is your home town.‴

Woody, ranked sixth in the world in the 400 hurdles, has been running longer races indoors for training and earlier this year, ran on a 3,200 relay team that set an indoor world record.

Sunday, he settled in third place for most of the race, moved up to second on the last lap, then sped past Watts as they turned for the homestretch.

``I had so much confidence in my kick at the end,″ Woody said. ``When we still had 150 left, I just felt so strong. I just had to be patient. That’s what I’m trying to do more this year, just be patient, not go out too hard. Just run a smarter race.″

The meet, which Woody hopes to make an annual event, drew about 3,000 fans and featured Nick Hysong beating American record holder Jeff Hartwig in the pole vault and 1997 world champion Melissa Morrison winning the women’s 60-meter hurdles.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Tim Dwight, a former Iowa star, finished fifth in the 60 but clearly led the field in signing autographs. Dwight, a high school teammate of Woody’s in Iowa City, threw five footballs into the crowd and punted another to the fans after his race.

Hysong cleared 19 feet, 3/4 inches to win the pole vault, then missed three attempts at 19-6 3/4 _ a half-inch higher than Hartwig’s U.S. record. On his last attempt, Hysong got over the bar, but grazed it with his chest coming down and knocked it off.

Hartwig, whose poles were misplaced in Chicago after a 47-hour trip from the Ukraine, tied Roham Isim for second at 18-6 3/4. Though some new poles was hastily delivered, Hartwig said he would rather have had the old ones.

``It’s like telling a NASCAR driver right before a race he has to change cars,″ Hartwig said.

Morrison had to win the women’s hurdles twice to get the victory. The timing device failed the first time, so the race was rerun. Morrison finished first again in 8.06 seconds.

Tony McCall won the 60 in 6.67. Dwight, who returned to school last spring to help Iowa finish second in the Big Ten meet, is not running track this year and finished in 6.87. He had trained for the race only three times.

``People have a hard time understanding that track and football are completely different sports,″ Dwight said. ``Us football guys aren’t quite as fast when we go out on a track with these guys.″

Einars Tupuritis, who beat Woody in the 800 while competing for Wichita State, won the 1,000 in 2:23.27 and Terry Reese won the men’s 60 hurdles in 7.72.

Other women’s winners were Passion Richardson in the 60, 7.22; 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Falilat Ogunkoya in the 400, 53.09; Mardrea Hyman in the 1,000, 2:45.75, and Kellie Suttle in the pole vault, 14-6.

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