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  August 26, 2011
  A Surprising Welcome in Daegu
  August 27, 2011
  Eaton and Hardee Going Toe to Toe in the Decathlon at World Championships
  August 28, 2011
  Justin Gatlin Overcomes Frostbitten Feet at World Championships
  Symmonds Qualifies for 800 Final at World Championships
  Eaton Takes Second Place In World Championship Decathlon
  August 29, 2011
  Ashton Eaton Gains a Measure of Mental Ttoughness through the Difficult Competition at the World Championship
  August 30, 2011
  Brief Update: Centrowitz and Wheating
  Symmonds Takes Fifth in 800 Final at World Championships
  September 1, 2011
  Vessey Breezes through First Round of 800 at World Chanmpionships
  Galen Rupp Makes 5000 Final at the World Championships
  Jesse Williams Strikes Gold at Worlds
  September 2, 2011
  Rachel Yurkovich Looks Ahead to the 2012 London Olympics
  Vessey Finds Another Gear to Mark 800 Meter Final at Worlds
  Lauren Fleshman Finishes 7th in the 5000 Meters at World Championships
  September 3, 2011
  World Championships Bronze for UO’s Matthew Centrowitz
  September 4, 2011
  Galen Rupp Places Ninth in World Championship 5000 Meters
  Vessey’s Quest for 800 Meter Medal Ends with Bittersweet Final
Vessey Finds Another Gear to Mark 800 Meter Final at Worlds

By Steve Ritchie / Special to the Santa Cruz Sentinel
September 2, 2011

Maggie Vessey

DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA – Coming down the homestretch in the women’s 800 meter semifinal, Maggie Vessey found another gear and it carried her past Great Britain’s Jennifer Meadows and into the 800 final on Sunday evening at the World Track Championships.

Vessey’s strong finish enabled the Soquel High School graduate to place second in the race in a time of 1:58.98, and capture one of the two automatic qualifying spots for the final. The race was won by Yuliya Rusanova of Russia in 1:58.73.

Vessey ran in the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, and made it to the semifinals of the 800 meters there, but did not advance to the finals. She said that failure motivated her in this race.

“Making it to the semifinals in 2009 was good, but (not advancing) was disappointing and I didn’t want to be there again.”

At the end of the first lap, it looked like being eliminated again in the semifinals was a distinct possibility. Vessey was running in eighth – and last – place with 400 meters to.

“I wasn’t in panic mode, although eighth place wasn’t where I wanted to be. But that first 200 (meters) went out really, really fast,” said Vessey.

“I made some gutsy moves pulling wide on turns and wide with 300 to go, because I knew it was going to take getting up there with the leaders. It took some mad composure to get it done.”

With that strong move on the backstretch, Vessey moved to second place, but Meadows, a savvy runner who was the 800 silver medalist in 2009, managed to squeeze past her and build a slight lead. Then it was a sprint to the finish line, with Vessey closing the gap inch by inch.

With 10 meters to go, Vessey finally edged by Meadows, and got to the line with a slim .09 second margin.

“I just felt like I needed to get my chest across that line before she did . . . It’s just I wanted it, I wanted it so bad.”

Vessey said that although she had some nerves, mentally she feels much stronger this year.

“I’m racing a little more intelligently now, and I have a higher level of confidence. You just can’t put a price tag on those things and they come out without you knowing it.”

The 800 finals will take place on Sunday, the last day of the championships, at 8:15 pm (4:15 am PDT). Among the other seven finalists is Vessey’s U.S. teammate, Alyssa Montano of Canyon Country, California.


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