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Team USATF hungry for a comeback against Team Europe after Day 1 of The Match


MINSK, Belarus -- Team USATF swept the relays and had big wins in two throws Monday on day one of The Match at Minsk’s Dinamo Stadium, while Team Europe established a 328-312 edge in the team scoring on the strength of field event depth.

Fans can watch on demand coverage on NBC Sports Gold. 

W Javelin

Kara Winger (Colorado Springs, Colorado) used a sixth-round 64.63m/211-2 to win the women’s javelin, overtaking Team Europe’s Tatsiana Khaladovich by eight inches for the gold. Winger, the American record-holder, had five throws of 60m or better and her winning effort is the No. 9 performance in U.S. history. Behind Winger, Ariana Ince was fifth, with Maggie Malone seventh and Avionne Allgood eighth.

M Shot Put

Dominating the men’s shot put, Darrell Hill (Chula Vista, California) opened with a season-best 22.13m/72-7.25 and then tacked on more distance in round two with a 22.35m/73-4 bomb that sealed the win and nine points. It was the third-best throw of Hill’s career. The young trio of Payton Otterdahl, Josh Awotunde and Jon Jones placed 5-6-7.

W Pole Vault

USATF Outdoors silver medalist Katie Nageotte (Powder Springs, Georgia) entered the competition at 4.50m/14-9 and had to try twice to clear. She also required two attempts at her next height of 4.70m/15-5, and that extra attempt put her third in the final standings as Diamond League champion Ekaterina Stefanidi went over on her first try. Russia’s Anzhelika Sidorova won with a best of 4.85m/15-11. Emily Grove went over 4.40m/14-5.25 on her final attempt and was sixth, while Daylis Caballero Vega (Dallas, Texas), representing Team USATF for the first time, was unable to clear her opening height.

M Hammer Throw

One of Team Europe’s strongest squads presented a monumental challenge for U.S. men in the hammer throw. Toyota USATF Outdoors runner-up Rudy Winkler (Averill Park, New York) threw his best of 75.12m/246-5 in the second round to clinch fourth, and NCAA champion Daniel Haugh (Marietta, Georgia) of Kennesaw State took fifth at 74.14m/243-3. Sean Donnelly (Minneapolis, Minnesota) (72.82m/238-11) and Payton Otterdahl (Fargo, North Dakota) (58.66m/192-5) came in seventh and eighth.

W Triple Jump

Maximum points came from American record-holder Tori Franklin (Oak Park, Illinois), who bounded 14.36m/47-1.5 in round four to take the lead from Portugal’s Patricia Mamona. Franklin’s fifth-round 14.25m/46-9 would also have been good enough for the win. Imani Oliver (Conyers, Georgia) was fifth with a best of 13.75m/45-1.5, one spot ahead of Lynnika Pitts (Prairieville, Louisiana), who had a season-best 13.71m/44-11.75. Tiffany Flynn’s (Ellenwood, Georgia) 13.21m/43-4.25 placed eighth.

W 100m 

A patented rocket start by Toyota USATF Outdoors 200m champion Dezerea Bryant (Clermont, Florida) gave her a solid lead at 60m, but Team Europe’s Daryll Neita edged past her in the final 10m to win by .01 in 11.29. Morolake Akinosun (Austin, Texas) also closed rapidly to claim the bronze in 11.39. Ashley Henderson (San Diego, California) and Caitland Smith (Pelham, Alabama) went 5-6 for valuable team points.

M 100m

After a false start charged to Isiah Young (Clermont, Florida), Mike Rodgers (Round Rock, Texas) led from start to finish to win in 10.20 and lead a 1-2-3 Team USATF sweep. Chris Belcher (Greensboro, North Carolina) was second in 10.25 with Demek Kemp (Monroe, Georgia) third in 10.28.

W 800m

Alexandra Bell from Great Britain led from start to finish in quite a slow race, crossing the line in 2:04.81. Olha Lyakhova was second for Team Europe in 2:04.90. Ce’Aira Brown (Hampton, Virginia) was Team USATF’s highest finisher, clocking 2:05.38 for third. 

M 1500m

On the bell lap of the men’s 1500m, Team Europe moved in unison to the front, but the final 100 meters saw Team USATF’s Josh Thompson (Logandale, Nevada) push ahead to cross first in 3:38.88. Ben Blankenship (Eugene, Oregon) came from the middle of the pack to finish third in 3:39.63. 

M High Jump

Toyota USATF Outdoors champion Jeron Robinson (Humble, Texas) was clear through the first two bars he attempted in the men’s high jump, missing the first time at 2.26m/7-5 before going over 2.29m/7-6 first time. Unable to scale 2.31m/7-7 on his first try, Robinson passed to 2.33m/7-7.75 for his final two attempts, but he was not able to go over what would have been a season’s best. Jonathan Wells (Fort Lake, Illinois) recorded an equal personal best in fifth with a clearance at 2.26m/7-5, and Shelby McEwen (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) was sixth at 2.23m/7-3.75. 

W Discus Throw

Facing the best women’s discus thrower in recent history, Iowa’s NCAA champion Laulauga Tausaga (Spring Valley, California) uncorked a big personal best 63.71m/209-0 in round five to solidify her second-place finish behind Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic. Tausaga led after a 63.03m/206-9 in the second round and that held up until Perkovic went 63.96m/209-10 in round five. The reigning World and Olympic champion closed the competition with a 67.65m/221-11. Toyota USATF Outdoors champion Valarie Allman (Stanford, California) had a best of 62.44m/204-10 to take third.

W 3000m

In a fantastic race, Elise Cranny (Niwot, Colorado) won in 9:00.70, followed by Rachel Schneider (Flagstaff, Arizona) in second in 9:00.77. Shannon Rowbury (Beaverton, Oregon) ran fourth in a season’s best 9:01.12, and Vanessa Fraser (Scotts Valley, California) finished fifth in 9:02.34. 

M Long Jump

The top three men in the long jump all ended up with a best mark of 8.17m/26-9.75, but it was Team USATF’s Damarcus Simpson (Eugene, Oregon) who came away with the gold as he backed up his winning effort, a lifetime best, with another 8.17 in round six and an 8.13m/26-8.25 leap in the second round. Steffin McCarter (Copperas Cove, Texas) had one legal jump, a 7.87m/25-10 in the third round, and it was good for fourth. 

W 400m

Through the first 200m Courtney Okolo (Austin, Texas) led, but coming off the final turn, NCAA champion Wadeline Jonathas (Moreno Valley, California) moved to the front and went on to win easily in 51.01. Making up a lot of ground in the final half of the race, Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, California) claimed second in a season’s best 51.36, with Okolo fifth in 52.20. Athing Mu (Trenton, New Jersey), who ran the 800m one hour earlier, crossed the line in eighth 54.34.

M 400m

Blazing down the back straight to establish a commanding lead by the 250m mark, Michael Cherry (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) ran away with the men’s 400m in 45.13, well clear of teammate Wil London (Waco, Texas), who took second in 45.39. Tyrell Richard (Georgetown, South Carolina) added fourth-place points with a 46.38, and Nathan Strother (Knoxville, Tennessee) finished eighth.

M 3000m Steeplechase

Following a DQ that was later overturned, Team USATF earned 1-2 in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase. Hillary Bor (Colorado Springs, Colorado) won in 8:32.64, and Stanley Kebenei (Colorado Springs, Colorado) moved to first at 8:33.65. 

M 4x100m Relay

Given a 1-2-3 finish earlier in the 100m, Team USATF’s leading foursome started as favorites in the men’s 4x100m and finished as gold medalists, stopping the clock at 38.26 after a masterful trio of baton passes. Demek Kemp, third in the dash, handed off to reliable Mike Rodgers, the 100m champ, and from there it was a foregone conclusion. Isiah Young handled the second bend well and Christopher Belcher streaked away on the anchor, raising his arms in victory 15m from the line. 

W 4x100m Relay

Repeating her superb start from the 100m, Dezerea Bryant gave Team USATF’s A squad a sizable lead in the women’s 4x100m relay and relatively safe passes plus good speed added up to gold with Caitland Smith, Morolake Akinosun and Ashley Henderson cruising to a 43.36 victory. Not far behind, the quartet of Courtné Davis, Kortnei Johnson, Kiara Parker and Kyra Jefferson made it a 1-2 night for the U.S. with a 43.66 for silver.

Click here for full results of Day 1 competition. 

The two day meeting with 37 track and field events will be broadcast live, September 9-10, on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 12:00 pm ET to 3:00 pm ET. Fans can follow along with #TeamUSATF on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

More information about The Match can be found here.

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