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Richmond Coach Athens Bound

Take women's triple jumper Tiombe Hurd, for instance. The West Potomac High School grad set a new American record last month in Sacramento at the Olympic trials. LaTasha Colander of Portsmouth, Holdren notes, could easily take the gold in the 100-meter dash; her winning time at the trials was a record-breaking 9.97. Sheena Johnson of Woodbridge is the undisputed favorite to win the 100-meter hurdles. And Tisha Waller, a 1988 graduate of Halifax County High School, is "our number-one high jumper on the team," he says.

Two men from the Old Dominion are U.S. standouts, too. A 1989 graduate of Lake Braddock High School, Allen Johnson is the defending world champion in the 100-meter hurdles. And Alan Webb of Fairfax broke Jim Ryun's national record in 2001 to become the first high-school student to run a mile in under 4 minutes indoors, Holdren says.

Holdren is optimistic about his picks: "It shows you what kinds of track-and-field programs there are in Virginia." When he returns, he'll share his Olympic experience with high-school hopefuls here. "It's exciting," he says. "It's a whole different atmosphere being there in the stadium." — Brandon Walters

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