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Mike Malloy / Special to The Forum, Published June 28 2010

Januszewski’s year-best time places her 7th

DES MOINES, Iowa – There was good news and bad news for North Dakota State graduate Laura Januszewski on Sunday at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

She turned in her best 800-meter performance of the year, lowering her time to 2:01.76 – .37 seconds faster than her qualifying run Friday – but that was only good enough for seventh in the elite eight-woman field.

Januszewski said she felt strong after the first lap, but struggled in the second.

“It was not my finest performance,” Januszewski said. “I felt good until 650 (meters) then I started getting passed. I think I exerted too much energy from 500 to 600.”

Winner Alysia Johnson led from the beginning and had enough of a kick to hold off the field to win in 1:59.87.

“It was great practice for the world stage,” Johnson said.

Unlike Friday, weather was not an issue. Cloud cover kept the temperature in the upper 70s – a significant improvement from Friday’s heat and humidity. Despite the difference in climate from Fargo, Januszewski, who won a Drake Relays championship on the same track in 2009, said she always enjoys running at Drake Stadium.

“It’s always good to come here. I have family here, so I had lots of cheers,” Januszewski said.

Januszewski, who set six North Dakota State records, including the outdoor 800 and 1,500, said she would compete in both events when she heads overseas.

“I’m going home, do some laundry, and head to Europe (today) and race over there for a couple weeks,” Januszewski said.

Beyond that she vows to keep working toward a spot on the 2012 Olympic team. Doing so will require her to, at a minimum, break the 2-minute barrier.

“I ran 2:01.28 last year, so we’ll just keep working toward that goal,” she said.