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Everything was looking up for distance runner Sean MacMillan in his final season on the Penn men's track team, he'd won the Heptagonal Championships, qualified for the Olympic Trials on Franklin Field at the Penn Relays, and was one of the favorites to win the steeplechase at the NCAA Championships.

But after graduation, MacMillan's very successful senior season took some unfortunate turns.

MacMillan was the final finisher in the championship steeplechase at the NCAAs in Durham, N.C.

At the time, Penn head coach Charlie Powell said that he hoped the disappointing finish would steel MacMillan's resolve for last weekend's Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif., but due to injury and personal tragedy, MacMillan was unable to even run in Sacramento.

"It was a combination of things," MacMillan, who was suffering from a stress fracture in his shin, in addition to a condition called planter fascitus in his heel, said. "It was still up in the air even the week before [the Trials]."

But then, MacMillan's grandmother passed away, and the sprinter understandably decided that it was too much to handle.

"It was very disappointing, I thought I had a chance to do something [at the Trials]," MacMillan said. "I thought that all this might be a sign that maybe I shouldn't be competing this year."

MacMillan will now focus his attention on the 2004 Olympics. He will move to Washington, D.C. in the fall where he has a job with the Federal Reserve and a professional contract with the Reebok Enclave team.

MacMillan took the job at the Fed specifically because the hours allowed him to maintain his practice schedule.

"I'll be working from seven to three, which will open up my practice time in the afternoon," said MacMillan. "[The Federal Reserve knows] what I'm trying to do, and they're helping me out."

MacMillan will maintain a full-time job because, he said, "you can't compete as a full-time runner."

"Maybe, you can make 15 grand a year if you're winning races," he said. "But only a small handful of runners race full-time, most professional runners have regular jobs."

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