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Americans sweep through qualifying in MSP, M800, M400 and W100


LONDON -- With occasional rain doing little to dampen the enthusiasm of nearly 55,000 fans on hand, American athletes enjoyed a successful morning of qualifying Saturday at the IAAF World Championships at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Four Americans move to MSP final

Four Americans - all training partners - will compete in Sunday’s final in the men’s shot put. Throwing in Group A of qualifying Saturday morning, Darrell Hill (Darby, Pennsylvania) overcame two fouls to record a third-attempt throw of 21.11m/69-3.25, easily advancing to the final with the best mark among the U.S. contingent. Defending world champion Joe Kovacs (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) had a top throw of 20.67m/67-9.75 to qualify for Sunday’s final. Throwing in Group B, Olympic champion Ryan Crouser (Gresham, Oregon) and Ryan Whiting (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) both advanced to the final on their first throws. Crouser posted a mark of 20.90m/68-7, while Whiting threw 20.84m/68-4.50.

Four advance through men’s 400 heats

A win and three second-place finishes in the first round ensured four Americans will compete in the semifinals of the men’s 400. The NCAA record holder from Texas A&M, Fred Kerley (Taylor, Texas) easily won heat 1 in 44.92, setting the tone for the U.S. 2016 World Junior silver medalist, 19-year-old Wil London III (Waco, Texas) cruised through heat 4, finishing strongly in second in 45.10 to advance. Two-time world champion LaShawn Merritt (Portsmouth, Virginia) went out quickly in heat 5, eased through the curve and finished second in 45.00, and Gil Roberts (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) likewise went out quickly in heat 6 and finished second in 44.92.

Three women qualify in 100 meters

Americans went 1, 2 and 3 in three different heats to move on to the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters. Olympic silver medalist Tori Bowie (Sand Hill, Mississippi) looked very strong in heat 3, getting out very quickly from the blocks and cruising to a win in 11.05.  Deajah Stevens (Bayside, New York) was second in heat 2 in 11.17, and Ariana Washington (Long Beach, California) placed third in heat 2 in 11.28 to automatically advance as well.

All men move to 800m semis

Though he said he felt flat heading into the race, Drew Windle (New Albany, Ohio) used crafty running to move from sixth to third in the final straight, sneaking through on the inside rail to automatically qualify in 1:46.08. Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine) was a strong second in heat 3, finishing in 1:45.82, while Donavan Brazier (Grand Rapids, Michigan) led wire to wire in heat 6, winning in 1:45.65.

Price makes women’s hammer final

After fouling on her first attempt, DeAnna Price (Old Monroe, Missouri) threw 72.78m/238-9 on her second try to automatically qualify for the final. Gwen Berry (St. Louis, Missouri) had a best mark of 69.12m/226-9 in Group A fo finish 14th overall, and Maggie Ewen (St. Francis, Minnesota) had a best of 66.24m/217-4 to finish 21st overall. Neither woman advanced to the 12-athlete final.

Heptathlon completes two events

After two events in the heptathlon, Kendell Williams (Kennesaw, Georgia) is in 7th place with 2024 points; Erica Bougard (Byhalia, Mississippi) is 11th with 1992 points; and Sharon Day-Monroe (Costa Mesa, California) is 21st with 1907 points. Williams ran 13.02 in the 100m hurdles, with Bougard at 13.24 and Day-Monroe getting out of the blocks slowly to finish in 13.82. All three women cleared 1.74m/5-8.5 in the high jump.

In additional qualifying action Saturday, Tori Franklin (Westmont, Illinois) had a PR 14.03m/46-0.50 in round two of the women’s triple jump, but just missed out on qualifying for the 12-woman final, finishing 13th.

Team USATF continues competition later on August 5 under the lights at Olympic Stadium in London. Fans can follow along with #TeamUSATF at #IAAFWorlds on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Full TV and webcast viewing times can be found here.


Note: for additional video quotes, see USATF’s Instagram feed.

Men’s Shot Put Qualifying

Darrell Hill: “I felt really good today. I woke up this morning at 5:30 a. m. I’m not a morning person at all, but I jumped up out of bed. I felt really good warming up, I felt really good at breakfast, and I felt really good on the first two throws. They were really far, but it’s been awhile since we competed, so those fine-tune details are what came into play on the first two throws. I’m happy I was able to get it done on the third.”

Joe Kovacs: “There’s no style points for these qualifiers; it’s all about getting through. I wish I did it on my first throw and made it look easy. I was right off of the qualifier on that first throw, and I think I tightened up because of it, but I’m glad to get that all out of the way because tomorrow is a different story. I probably made my coach more on edge than I wish I did, but I’m ready for tomorrow. It’s special to have all four of us (Americans in the final). We all know each other well. We feed off each other. Darrell, Ryan Whiting and I all trained together at Penn State, and then we all train with Ryan Crouser at the (Chula Vista) Training Center. It’s nice to have a familiar group, and I think we’re all going to do well in the final.”

Ryan Crouser: “It wasn’t my best or prettiest throw, but I can’t complain. First-round qualifying is what I came out here to do, so I got the job done and am excited for tomorrow night. If the rain holds off I think we’ll see some really long throws.”

Ryan Whiting: “One throw and done is what we want. It was easy. Your goal in these championships is just to get seven throws - one in the prelims and six in the finals. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night to be back on the stage.”

Women’s Hammer Throw Qualifying

DeAnna Price - “I feel great. It was a little hard because the rain started coming. Whenever the rain hits you, there’s that mental game that you have to play. Honestly, during practice back home, it was 102 degrees. Coach was just standing there with the hose, hitting me with the water. He was like hey, London, you never know what’s going to happen. It’s a little colder and you have to get used to it. So we practiced really early in the morning or late at night to get out of the heat. It’s all about being prepared for the meet and being ready for it. That’s what I love. I got in this sport because I want to represent the United States, and I’m really excited. The first throw I got a little nervous. I torqued the end. The second one … I just went nice and easy and let it go. I’m super excited, I have a lot of energy. I want to thank everyone at USATF and the IAAF. I can’t wait to come back and show everyone what I can do on Monday. … The people in the States are so supportive, and they want to see you succeed. If I can influence a younger generation and influence a little girl - it’s OK if you want to be strong, it’s OK if you want to throw things. You can be the smallest distance runner or you can be a big girl and do distance running if that’s your thing. It’s your body, it’s your life, it’s how you want to live it. And it’s what you’re going to do and how you’re going to produce to represent the United States.”

Gwen Berry: “I’m a little bit disappointed because I let my nerves get the best of me. I was thinking too much, trying to do too much instead of making it easy.”

Maggie Ewen: “It didn’t quite go the way I wanted it to, but I’m really happy. This is my first thing ever even kind of like this, so I’m happy to be competing against these women. It’s just awesome.”

Men’s 400m Heats

LaShawn Merritt: “I made it back to tomorrow. Tomorrow I know it’s going to be a little bit faster. I’ll rest, hydrate, eat and get ready for tomorrow. Especially in the earlier rounds, in the prelim, you try to conserve as much energy as possible. I feel I did well. 45.00, I can deal with that.”

Fred Kerley: “The first round was cool. I just have to get ready for tomorrow and get back on track. It is a blessing when you get to represent your country. This is my first time waking up early in the morning to do a 400, so I was blessed with the performance. I shut down a little bit earlier than normal, with 250 to go, 150 to go.”

Gil Roberts: "It was good. Typical first race, knocking off the cobwebs and trying to get through as easy as possible. 44 is not too bad, I can live with it. We're all in the same elements, so you can't make an excuse, but it's a bit different than [the] typical, since we usually run at night. The crowd was amazing. To have this many people at a morning session is ridiculous. I loved every minute of it; it's probably why the times were what they were this morning. I just need to get out a little harder but I fed off everyone else and did what I had to do to get in.”

Wil London III: “It wasn’t a properly executed race, but I survived and advanced, and that’s all I can ask for. The crowd was great. There’s not a better crowd that you can. (On having a last name of “London”) The people here are nice and they treat me right.”

Women’s Triple Jump Qualifying

Tori Franklin: “I'm so happy with my performance today; I feel nothing but blessed right now. I didn't think I would even be on this stage, getting invited so last minute. I just went out there with a positive mindset to have fun and came out with a personal best. Couldn't ask for more.”

Women’s 100m Heats

Tori Bowie: “The crowd was amazing. Today, for me, it was all about coming out here and shaking the rust off. I haven’t raced since nationals, so that’s what today was about for me. I’m getting ready for tomorrow.”

Deajah Stevens: “It was good. It felt really comfortable. I felt really relaxed, and I was just trying to make it through to semis. I feel like I transitioned well, so that’s good.”

Ariana Washington: “It was OK. I made some mistakes, but I got through, and that was the goal. I can’t say it was a bad day. Everything’s good.”

Men’s 800m Heats

Drew Windle: “I felt awful going into it, but these preliminary heats usually come down to fitness, and I know my fitness is there, so I really relied on that to get to one of those top three spots. The important part is I survived to tomorrow, so now I’ve got an opportunity to feel better tomorrow and try to make that final. It was nerve-wracking. The entire last 150 I knew it was going to end up like that (a sprint). I just kept battling back and forth in my own head - do I go wide, do I stay tucked? Luckily the Swedish guy pulled forward enough to give me a little spot to slip in. Hopefully that sparks the legs up for tomorrow and I’ll be ready to go.”

Donavan Brazier: “The main reason behind that (taking the lead) was because you saw in earlier races that people were falling. My coach is really adamant about staying out of trouble and away from the garbage … that’s why I did it. On 2017 vs. 2016: I think I’m more fresh this year. I don’t have a whole collegiate season behind me. I just felt tired and fatigued (at the 2016 Olympic Trials). I’m more experienced than I was last year.”

Isaiah Harris: “Rule #1 is never save anything for the next round. You’ve got to just go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose. I’d rather make it to the next day and feel a little tired than just be upset with myself tomorrow, watching it from the stands. I just wanted to put myself in a good position and then make sure I hang on to the end and have a good kick. With this crowd, it’s hard not to run fast. It feels pretty effortless. It’s a dream come true. Everyone wants to wear the USA. We’re the #1 track team for a reason and I’m honored to represent the country. There’s so much support staff and everyone is so great to you. My goal is the make the finals.”

Amanda Brooks
Marketing and Communications Manager
USA Track & Field

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