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Americans, TCU-ex Virgil Hodge advance in first round of the women’s 200

BEIJING -- Marshevet Hooker just had to tell herself not to look at the upper level, so she wouldn’t get overwhelmed.

Running before 90,000 at the Bird’s Nest, the Texas-ex, who trains in Arlington under Jon Drummond, ran a 23.07 in winning her qualifying heat of the 200-meter dash. American’s Allyson Felix (23.02) and Muna Lee (22.71) also won their heats to advance to Tuesday night’s second round.

Lee is a volunteer assistant at A&M who trains in College Station.

TCU-ex Virgil Hodge, who trains in Fort Worth, also advanced by finishing third in Felix’s heat with a 23.14. Hodge runs for St. Kitts and Nevis, which chose her as its flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony.

Hooker and Felix, unlike Hodge and Lee who also ran the 100, were running their first races of this Olympics. For Hooker, it was her first Olympic race ever.

“I’m glad I finally got that first race out of the way,” Hooker said. “It wasn’t as bad as maybe I dreamed it would be. The crowd was great, track’s nice. I love it.”

Asked why she was having bad dreams about her first race in the Olympics, Hooker said, “I guess I was worried about not knowing what to expect. But I got out there, and it was just like any other meet, just more people. Just don’t look at the upper level.”