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Andrews & Hayes stun, Kendricks clears 6 meters on Day 3 of USATF Outdoors

6/24/2017
 

SACRAMENTO, California -- The third day of the USATF Outdoor Championships did not disappoint, as two world-leading performances by Olympian Sam Kendricks and World Indoor bronze medalist Quanera Hayes, and a stunning upset from Olympian Robby Andrews highlighted the action at Hornet Stadium Saturday.

 

Men’s 1500m brings dramatic finish

Andrews (Manalapan, New Jersey) easily had the most jaw-dropping performance of the day, staying shoulder-to-shoulder with Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz (Arnold, Maryland) and fellow Olympian Ben Blankenship through the first three laps. On the final lap, Andrews utilized his signature kick and stormed down the home straight with 100m to go, edging Centrowitz in a near-similar fashion to the 2016 USATF Indoor Championships. Andrews was the victor this time around, crossing in 3:43.29. Centrowitz, who finished in 3:43.41, and surprise third-place finisher Johnny Gregorek (Seekonk, Massachusetts) rounded out the podium.

 

Kendricks vaults into record books

Kendricks (Oxford, Mississippi) joined the six-meter club Saturday, executing a nearly flawless performance in the men’s pole vault. Kendricks turned in a clean series of jumps, making every bar on his first jump until he attempted 6.00m/19-8.25. Kendricks nicked the bar with his legs on the first try, but made a clean clearance on his second attempt to become tied as the fourth-best performer in USATF history.

 

Hayes runs world lead and personal best for first outdoor crown

Quanera Hayes, IAAF World Indoor Championships 400m bronze medalist and World Relays 4x400m gold medalist, reigned supreme in the Xfinity women’s 400 meters. Hayes was the U.S. leader in the event in 2017 and owned the one-lap race from start to finish. A new personal best and world lead of 49.72 was more than enough for Hayes to secure her first USATF Outdoor title, adding to her indoor hardware from last year. Olympic 4x400m gold medalist Phyllis Francis (Queens, New York) and Southern Cal’s Kendall Ellis (Pembroke Pines, Florida), the top two qualifiers from Friday’s semifinals, finished second and third in 49.96 and 50.00 to earn podium spots with Hayes.

 

Kerley delivers in first USATF Outdoors appearance

Texas A&M’s Fred Kerley (Taylor, Texas) repeated his stunning performance from NCAA Outdoors just a few weeks ago, taking home his first USATF title in 44.03. Seven men ran 44.80 or faster in the Nike men’s 400 meters, a feat that has only happened twice previously: the 2007 IAAF World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games. Joining Kerley on Team USATF are Olympic 4x400m gold medalist Gil Roberts and Wil London III of Baylor, finishing in 44.22 and 44.47, respectively.

 

Simpson takes home seventh overall USATF title

Olympic bronze medalist Jenny Simpson (Oviedo, Florida) kept her streak alive Saturday, securing her fourth consecutive USATF Outdoor Championships 1500m title with a killer kick over the final 100 meters. Simpson, who ran aggressively from the start, held off a charging Kate Grace over the race’s final lap to win in 4:06.33 to Grace’s 4:06.95. Sara Vaughn ran a 61-second final lap to surpass Lauren Johnson and Alexa Efraimson for the final podium spot, finishing in 4:07.85 to claim the third spot on Team USATF. As the realization hit that she made her first World Championships team, Vaughn became emotional, clutching her chest and the American flag for her victory lap.

 

Saunders wins on final attempt of women’s shot put

Olympian Raven Saunders found redemption after a disappointing finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships a few weeks ago. Saunders, who found herself sitting in third behind Dani Bunch (Mahomet, Illinois) and Olympic champion Michelle Carter (Ovilla, Texas) with one throw remaining. Saunders unleashed a personal best on her final shot, throwing 19.76m/64-10 to launch herself to the top of the standings. The top three remained intact with Bunch’s fifth-round toss of 19.64m/64-5.25 solidifying her second-place finish and Carter’s sixth-round best of 19.34m/63-5.50 qualifying her for yet another USATF national team.

 

World record holder and Olympic champion each claim championship titles

Keni Harrison (Clayton, North Carolina) cruised to the top of the podium in the women’s 100m hurdles, winning easily in 12.60. Team USATF receives four spots for the World Championships by virtue of Harrison’s wild card, and Harrison, Olympic silver medalist Nia Ali, Ohio State Hall of Famer Christina Manning and 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson all embarked on the victory lap for London.

 

In the women’s long jump, another battle between defending Olympic and World champion Tianna Bartoletta (Elyria, Ohio) and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese (Inglewood, California) took centerstage on the infield of Hornet Stadium. Bartoletta’s opening jump of 7.01m/23-0 (+3.0) kept her outfront from the outset, improving upon that mark on her final jump of the day with a leap of 7.05m/23-1.75. Reese’s best came from the fifth round, recording a best jump of 6.98m/22-10.75. Joining the duo on Team USATF will be former Kentucky phenom Sha’Keela Saunders (Chesapeake, Virginia), who snapped a string of fourth-place finishes in previous USATF Championship meets to seal her first spot on a World Championships team. Saunders utilized a fifth-round best of 6.92m/22-8.50 to claim the final place on the podium.

 

Other USATF champions included Riley Dolezal in the men’s javelin (81.77m/268-3) and Mason Finley (63.03m/206-9) in the men’s discus throw.

 

Day 3 of the USATF Outdoor Championships concludes tomorrow at 6:45 a.m. PT with the men’s and women’s 20 km race walks. Watch live without commercials on NBC Sports Gold beginning at 6:45 a.m. PT. Click here for live results.

 

Fans can follow along with #USATFoutdoors on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

 

 

Amanda Brooks
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USA Track & Field
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