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Spasm stops Slaney

Mary Slaney's comeback from a drug suspension is on hold again, this time by a hamstring injury.

Slaney withdrew from this weekend's Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, after her left hamstring went into spasm at the end of a workout Wednesday. Oregon coach Bill Dellinger, Slaney's personal coach since 1991, said he thought it best the 39-year-old distance star stay home.

Dellinger said Friday he hopes Slaney can run at a meet in Oregon in two weeks.

She was to have run the 1,500 meters today, which would have been her first serious race since she was cleared to run after her suspension for excessive levels of testosterone, detected in tests at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1996.

"I think it was nothing more than a cramp," Dellinger said. "We wanted to see how it would be and she was sore Thursday morning, so I didn't want to gamble on having her come here and run."

Cross-country All-American Abdi Abdirahman outran Oregon's Greg James in the final 600 meters to give Arizona its second straight victory in the 6,400-meter relay.

Freshman sensation Brandon Couts of Baylor flashed his speed in the shortest relays, anchoring the Bears to victory in the 800 relay and the fastest qualifying time for today's final in the 400 relay.

Jeff Hartwig soared to a meet record of 19-\ in winning the invitational pole vault for the fourth straight year.

TRACK: Michigan's Kevin Sullivan, one of the world's top milers, anchored the Wolverines to victory in the men's distance medley relay, their first triumph in the event in the Penn Relays since 1960. In the women's 400, Louisiana State's Peta-Gaye Dowdie ran down Texas' Lekeisha Backus on the anchor leg, giving the Tigers their fourth straight victory and sixth in eight years in the event at the Philadelphia meet. Meanwhile, Michael Johnson announced his 4x200 relay team is going for a world record today, and two-time gold medalist Allen Johnson said he'll again try for a world record in the 110-meter hurdles.

FIGURE SKATING: Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski took to the ice at the North Charleston Coliseum in her first non-sanctioned event, the made-for-TV Skate, Rattle & Roll Championships, and came away with the top prize. The program will air May 7 on ABC.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: In a ceremony with fireworks, tears and the playing of Taps, Nebraska athletic officials dedicated Memorial Stadium's field in honor of retired coach Tom Osborne. "The relationships are the things that count," Osborne said. "The rings have been fine, the championship all are great. But the things I always carry with me is the memories of the players, the coaches and the people I've come to know." USC officially fired director of tutoring services Christopher Cairney for helping a player write a paper and making racial slurs.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Matt Purdy, allegedly implicated by a former teammate in the Northwestern point-shaving scheme, has resigned as assistant coach at Cal Poly Pomona. Emmett Davis, an assistant at Navy, was hired as coach at Colgate to replace Jack Bruen, who died in December of pancreatic cancer.

COLLEGES: The Florida softball team hosts South Florida in a doubleheader at 4 p.m. today. Steve Hatchell's departure as Big 12 commissioner is fueled by allegations of workplace harassment, Knight Ridder reported. Last month a Kansas City law firm that represents the conference interviewed Big 12 office staff members after complaints from Dallas office workers. Campbell in Buies Creek, N.C., is trying to overturn the NCAA's recent decision to eliminate a rule requiring special accommodation for schools opposed to Sunday competition.

SOCCER: Iran coach Tomislav Ivic said recent weak play by his team, which is grouped with the United States in first-round World Cup play this summer, could be a blessing in disguise. "I think our results could be to our advantage. They (opponents) might think they will have an easy game against Iran," Ivic said in an interview with Iranian television. Belgium's World Cup date with Holland was the first opening-round match to sell out when the remaining 110,000 tickets went on sale to Europeans on Wednesday.

BASKETBALL: Lisa Leslie had 31 points and led the U.S. national team to a 93-85 victory over Japan in a four-team international women's tournament in Japan. Australia beat China 97-61 in the opener.

SKIING: Olympic medal winner Liz McIntyre, hoping to repair a problem that has plagued her for three years, had surgery on her left knee. Doctors said she could be skiing again in nine months.

_ Compiled from Times wires.