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Oh, what a night: 10 medals, 2 CRs, 1 AR Saturday at World Indoors

3/3/2018
 

BIRMINGHAM, England -  Five gold medals, two championship records, an American record, and a pair of 1-2 performances were just part of a thrilling ten-medal night for Team USATF Saturday at the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships at Arena Birmingham.


Keni Harrison, Sandi Morris and Christian Coleman led the record-breaking charge as Will Claye and Courtney Okolo joined them as gold medal-winners; Christina Manning, Shakima Wimbley, Michael Cherry and Drew Windle took silver; and Ronnie Baker stepped up for bronze.


AR, CR for Harrison in 1-2 hurdles performance

In a race laden with talent, Keni Harrison (Clayton, North Carolina)  led a 1-2-4 performance in the women’s 60 hurdles while tying the American record and breaking the championship record.


Running in lane 5, the world record holder outdoors was first to hurdle 1, and she never gave up that lead, crossing the line in 7.70 to tie Sharika Nelvis’ (Memphis, Tennessee) American record time from the 2018 USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque and breaking the World Indoor Championships record. Running off Harrison’s right shoulder in lane 6, Christina Manning (Waldorf, Maryland) was second at hurdle 1 and crossed the finish line with silver in 7.79. Nadine Visser of the Netherlands was third in 7.84 and Nelvis (Memphis, TN) was fourth in 7.86.


Coleman keeps cruising

The men’s 60m was the grand finale of the evening, with all eyes on Christian Coleman (Atlanta, Georgia). The newly minted world record holder ran an exceptional race in lane 4. Coleman and teammate Ronnie Baker (Louisville, Kentucky) were first out of the blocks, but Bingtian Su of China in lane 3 tried to challenge Coleman mid-race. Keeping his composure and form, Coleman grabbed the win in a championship record time of 6.37, breaking former world record holder Maurice Greene’s previous mark of 6.42 from 1999. Su finished second in an Asian record 6.42, with Baker third in 6.44.


Morris grabs gold in PV

As expected, the women’s pole vault was a chess match. Coming off of three consecutive global silver medals at the 2016 World Indoors, 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships, Sandi Morris (Greenville, South Carolina) was ready for gold. And she delivered with a gold medal, championship record and indoor personal best at 4.95m/16-2.75.


World and Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece waited until 4.70m/15-5 to enter the competition, which she made on her first attempt to take over first as Morris had one miss at the height.


Things got interesting when Authorized Neutral Athlete Anzhelika Sidorova, who had passed at 4.75, sailed over 4.80m/15-9 on her first attempt to take the lead. Morris cleared on her third attempt, as did Stefanidi, making it a three-woman battle to decide the medals.


Sidorova cleared 4.85m/15-11 on her first try, forcing Morris and Stefanidi to pass to 4.90m/16-0.75 after each missed on their first try at 4.85. Morris made 4.90 on her second and final try at the height, putting her in gold-medal position. Sidorova cleared on her third attempt to sit in second and Stefanidi went out at the height, leaving Morris and Sidorova the only two women at 4.95m/16-2.75.


As Selena Gomez sang from the arena’s PA system and the crowd clapped in unison, Morris gave the bar a hard brush on her third attempt, but it stayed up, giving Team USATF’s silver queen her first international gold.


USATF indoor champion Katie Nageotte (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) cleared 4.70m/15-5 on her second attempt to be in the hunt. Sitting out of the medals and with one miss at 4.75, Nageotte passed her remaining attempts to 4.80m and was unable to clear, finishing fifth in her World Championship debut.


Okolo leads 1-2 in women’s 400

Olympic relay gold medalist Courtney Okolo (Carrollton, Texas) ran a masterful race in the women’s 400, propelling the U.S. to its first-ever 1-2 finish in the event as teammate Shakima Wimbley (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) took silver.


With Okolo in lane 6 and Wimbley starting in 5, the Americans used their ideal lane draws to their advantage. At the 200m break, Okolo went to the lead and only stretched it out from there, finishing in a personal-best time of 50.55. Running in third until the final stretch, Wimbley opened it up in the final 50m to take silver in 51.47.


Claye gets another gold

One of Team USATF’s most experienced and successful athletes, 2012 World Indoor gold medalist and three-time Olympic medalist Will Claye (Phoenix, Arizona) entered the 2018 USATF Indoor Championships almost on a whim, where he placed second in the triple jump to punch his ticket to Birmingham. Once on the world stage in Birmingham, he made the most of his opportunity.


After a middling 16.89m/55-5 opening jump, Claye went 17.43m/57-1.15 on his fourth attempt to launch himself into first place - a position he never relinquished. Chris Carter (Austin, Texas) jumped 17.04m/15-11 on his fourth attempt to move to fifth place and improved 17.15m/56-3.25 on his fifth, but did not move up in place and ended fifth.


Silver for Windle in dramatic 800

Silver delayed was not silver denied for Drew Windle (New Albany, Ohio), who finished second, was disqualified, and then at last was reinstated on appeal in the men’s 800.


The DII Ashland University grad and the pride of New Albany, Ohio, Windle came into the final as an underdog. An almost bizarrely slow and tactical race played into his hands, and he took advantage.


Windle ran in third place as the pack passed through 400 meters in a casual 55.77, when the race began. Saul Ordonez of Spain sprinted to the lead, followed by Adam Kszczot of Poland. As the pace instantly shifted, Windle dropped to last place and waited to make his move in the final 150 meters. On the backstretch, he risked trying pass on the inside, eventually making it to fourth before being cut off. He backed off, regrouped, and then swung to the outside down the stretch, sprinting to the silver medal in 1:47.99, behind Kszczot’s 1:47.47 and just ahead of Ordonez’s 1:48.01.


A protest by Great Britain resulted in Windle being disqualified for obstruction. Later in the evening, the Jury of Appeal accepted Team USATF’s appeal and reinstated him.


And the DQ’s kept coming - giving Cherry silver in 400

While the U.S. women had the most advantageous starting lanes in the 400, the men suffered from less than ideal lanes. Aldrich Bailey (Arlington, Texas) started in lane 2 and Michael Cherry (Chesapeake, Virginia) was in 3. Neither man was able to get into the top three at the 200m break. With one lap to go, Cherry was in fourth and Bailey in fifth, and neither could move up as Cherry was fourth in 45.84 and Bailey sixth in 46.44. Oscar Husillos of Spain won in a championship record 44.92 … until he, too, was disqualified for a lane violation, as was Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic. The DQ’s moved Cherry up to second behind Pavel Maslak in first at 45.47.


Houlihan fourth in 1,500

The women’s 1500m final went out very slowly, but very quickly turned into a three-woman race between Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Laura Muir of Team GB. Training partners Colleen Quigley (St. Louis, Missouri) and Shelby Houlihan (Sioux City, Iowa) ran at the back of the pack, with a gap of more than 8 meters to the lead pack. However, by the finish, Houlihan staged a major comeback to finish fourth in 4:11.93 as Dibaba won in 4:05.27, Muir was second in 4:06.23 and Hassan third in 4:07.26. Quigley was ninth in 4:15.97.


Zach Ziemek (Itasca, Illinois) finished the heptathlon in sixth place with 5,941 points after running 2:51.73 in the 1000 for 748 points.


The night’s lone qualifying round was held in the first round men’s 60m hurdles. Two-time USATF Indoor champion Jarrett Eaton (Abington, Pennsylvania) won heat 2 comfortably in 7.56, and Aries Merritt (Marietta, Georgia) was second in heat 4 in 7.61 in to head into Sunday’s semifinals and final.


To watch post-event interviews with Team USATF athletes, follow @usatf on Instagram.


NBCSN television coverage continues Saturday and Sunday, and live coverage throughout the competition is featured on NBC Sports Gold.


Click here for complete results from the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

 

NBCSN TV Schedule (All Times ET)

Sunday, March 4: 4:00-6:00 p.m.

 

Join the conversation with USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #IAAFworlds and #TeamUSATF.


Team USATF Medal Table

Gold (5)

Christian Coleman, 60m, 6.37 CR, 3/3

Kendra Harrison, 60H, 7.70 CR, =AR  3/3

Sandi Morris, PV, 4.95m/16-2.75 CR, 3/3

Will Claye, TJ, 17.43m/57-2.25, 3/3

Courtney Okolo, 400m, 50.55, 3/3


Silver (5)

Christina Manning, 60H, 7.79, 3/3

Michael Cherry, 400m, 45.84, 3/3

Shakima Wimbley, 400m, 51.47, 3/3

Drew Windle, 800m, 1:47.99, 3/3

Vashti Cunningham, HJ (1.93m/6-4), 3/1


Bronze (2)

Ronnie Baker, 60m, 6.44, 3/3

Marquis Dendy, LJ (8.42m/27-7.5), 3/2



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