PHILADELPHIA - Team USA is bringing together an all-star lineup with the likes of Bernard Lagat
, Nick Symmonds
and Leo Manzano
to lead the hunt for a win in the Nike men’s Distance Medley Relay in what is shaping up to be on of the most competitive events of the 12th edition of USA vs. the World at the 117th Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., at Franklin Field this Saturday.
USA vs. the World serves as the first event of the 2011 Outdoor Visa Championship Series, and will be televised on Saturday, April 30, from 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2. Tickets are still available for this year’s event at www.ThePennRelays.com
USA seeks gold in Nike Men’s DMR
Since the DMR was first added to the relays line-up in 2006, Kenya and the World All-Stars have claimed the top spot every year, making this the only event of the series that the U.S. has yet to win. Last year’s race saw all four teams finish within half a second of each other. With the race decided in a sprint to the finish, Kenya took the top-spot in 9:24.97 with USA Blue and Red in second and third.
Team USA’s potential athlete pool for the DMR includes nine-time world and Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat. Lagat has not run at USA vs. the World since the first running of the DMR in 2006 where he joined forces with Chris Lukezic, James Carter and Khadevis Robinson to set the American Record of 9:15.63.
The #1 ranked American for the past three years in the 800m, Nick Symmonds also is in the pool, after he opened last year’s 1,200m leg in 2:53.0. Also returning from last year’s line up is Leo Manzano who anchored the USA White Team. Manzano has found much success at Franklin field, while in college he anchored five of the University of Texas’ relay teams to victory in the 4 x mile and DMR.
Newcomer, Russell Brown
, who turned heads earlier this year at the New Balance Grand Prix when he won the mile over Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis, will look to show he belongs with the World’s best, and is the current world leader in the 1,500m. Also in the pool are David Torrence
who anchored last year’s 2nd place team, and Duane Solomon
who ran 1:44.3 for 800m on last year’s USA White Team.
While Team USA is assembling a top-notch quartet, they will face stiff competition from Kenya, Canada, Austrailia, Morroco and first-time USA vs. the World competitor, Ethiopia.
USA vs. Jamaica in the BMW Men’s 4x100m
The USA/Jamaica rivalry will be at its most intense during the BMW Men’s 4x100m. Team USA has the winning record with 9 wins in the 11 years of the event; however, Team Jamaica set the Penn Relays record last year with Usain Bolt turning in a blazing 8.79 anchor leg.
Team USA’s relay pool includes five out of the top ten sprinters as ranked at the end of 2010 by Track & Field News. Ivory Williams
and Mike Rodgers
lead the pool with top times of 10.05 and 9.96 turned in over the past two weeks. Both Rodgers and Williams were on last year’s runner-up USA Blue team. The 2010 USA Outdoor Champions over 100m and 200m, Walter Dix
and Wallace Spearmon
are both in the pool, as well as veterans Darvis “Doc” Patton
and Shawn Crawford.
Team Jamaica will bring their best to Philadelphia. Steve Mullings
is the current world leader in 9.90, and one of only three athletes who have run under 10--seconds this year. Jamaica’s roster also includes Nesta Carter
, Michael Frater
and Asafa Powe
ll who won gold at the 2008 Olympics.
USA hurdlers fill the pool for Visa Men’s 4x400m
In the USA’s most dominate event of the series, Team USA has won 10 out of 11 times. Hurdlers Bershawn “Batman” Jackson
and Angelo Taylor
return from the winning 2010 USA Blue team. The duo ended the 2010 season with #1 and #5 world rankings respectively. Jackson most recently set the U.S. leader in his win at the Kansas Relays (48.98), and is the defending Outdoor Visa Series Champion. Other hurdlers in the line-up include two-time World Champion and Olympic silver medalist Kerron Clement
, Johnny Dutch
who was the runner-up at the 2009 and 2010 USA Outdoor Championships, and Michael Tinsley
, the 2006 NCAA champion.
The most decorated 400m specialist of the pool is David Neville
who won bronze in the 400m at the 2008 Olympics, and claimed gold and the Olympic Record in the 4x400m relay. Other possible relay members include: 6-time NCAA Champion Xavier Carter
, Jamaal Torrance
, Lionel Larry
, Joshua Scott
and Quentin Summers
Drummond named Team USA Relay Coach
Overseeing Team USA relays at Penn will be Philadelphia native Jon Drummond
, who this spring was named Team USA relay coach for the 2011 World Championship and 2012 Olympic Games. Drummond was selected by the USATF Relay Coach Selection Committee and approved by the Board of Directors from a pool of 20 applicants. An Olympic and World Championships relay gold medalist as an athlete, Drummond has served as either head or assistant U.S. relay coach at the 2006 World Junior Championships, where Team USA won three gold and one silver in the relays, including a world junior record; and at the 2007 IAAF World Outdoor Championships, where the U.S. swept all four relays.
More information on relay fields and line-ups will be released throughout the week. For more information on USA vs. the World, visit www.VisaChampionshipSeries.com