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Team USA Sweeps World Junior 4x100 Golds, Medal Count Now to 16

BARCELONA, Spain – For the fifth time in the history of the IAAF World Junior Championships, the United States has swept gold in the 4x100 relay. All-in-all, the two golds were part of a three-medal day for Team USA at Montjüic Olympic Stadium in Barcelona. With one day remaining, this U.S. junior squad has already topped the total World Championships medals won in 2010 in Moncton (15) and are on top of the medal count with 16.
In addition, the U.S. has a sizeable 154-71 lead on Kenya for the top spot in the point total.
The relays  were  a large part of the U.S.’ day-five story as not only did the squad sweep golds in the 4x100, but the men’s relay was just a thousandth of a second off the world-junior record set by the U.S. team back in 2006. The women’s 4x100 had the best time in the world this year for a junior team, and the women’s 4x400 relay will need to qualify for the Sunday’s final of their event via a rerun of their semifinal tomorrow morning.
Men’s 4x100 Relay
The U.S. 4x100 relay team of Tyreek Hill, Aldrich Bailey, Arthur Delaney, and Aaron Ernest won the World Junior title with the second-fastest time in world-junior history, 38.67. America has now claimed five of the last six World Junior crowns in the event.
Hill (Decatur, Ga.) led off the U.S. charge with a flurry. After his exchange, Hill recognized that his part of the relay was complete by sticking his arms straight in the air in celebration.
Hill handed to Aldrich Bailey (Arlington, Texas), who won bronze in the 400 meters at this meet. Bailey ran a fast and controlled straight leg and handed the baton to Oregon’s Arthur Delaney (Gresham, Ore.) in a near perfect way.
Delaney had the final curve and exchange to manage. He did so with no problems as Jamaica and Japan were handing their sticks at the same time. It would be three-wide in three consecutive lanes to start the anchors.
Japan’s anchor Kazuki Kanamori initially challenged LSU’s Ernest (New Orleans, La.) but the three-time medalist would not be bullied. He found another burst of speed to take the tape three tenths of a second ahead of Jamaica’s Jazeel Murphy who charged ahead with ten meters remaining for silver.
“I felt good when I got the handoff,” said Ernest. “I didn’t have my legs yesterday (for the 200 meter semifinal and final), but today was a different story. I just tried to go out there and show everyone I can sprint.”
“To be a three-time medalist is unbelievable, but I’d like to bring another one back with me to America after the 4x400,” Ernest said. Ernest won silvers in the 100 and 200 meters earlier in the meet.
“I won my first gold medal,” said Hill. “I wanted to cry, but, I didn’t want to show the emotion right now. It feels good. Leading off was good because I knew I had the best block work. Coach just told me to catch the first man (on my outside), and I knew when I did – we had it.”
“I knew we just had to get the baton around and that we would have a fast time,” said third-leg Delaney. “I felt good on the curve, so good that I want to go back out there. This medal and experience has got to be one of the biggest of my life to this point.”
The race was so fast that the Jamaicans reset their national junior record with a readout of 38.97 seconds. The race had three of the all-time top ten world junior performances.
The anchor leg was also highly anticipated because it was slated to be a rematch between Ernest, the 100-meter silver medalist, and Great Britain’s Adam Gemili, the 100-meter gold medalist who won the sprint in a championships record time of 10.05. The rematch did not take shape because Great Britain’s lead-off man tripped while making the first exchange, resulting in a GB R DNF.
Women’s 4x100 Relay
And the beat goes on for the U.S. junior team in the women’s 4x100 relay. Another gold medal for the history books means Team USA has won five-straight World Junior titles and seven overall in the event.
Texas’ Morgan Snow (Decatur, Ga.), Clemson’s Dezerea Bryant (Milwaukee, Wis.), Jennifer Madu (Murphy, Texas), and Shayla Sanders (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) claimed the gold with a world-junior leading time of 43.89.
Snow, who qualified for the final of the 100 meter hurdles earlier in the session, lead off the race.
“The hurdles race was actually a good warmup for me,” said Snow. “My job was to blaze the opening leg and catch everyone ahead of me, and it was fun to do that. The start went awesome.”
Bryant, the second leg, won bronze in the 200 meters last night. “I’m so excited, this is so awesome!” said Bryant when asked about her second medal of the championships. Madu was the third leg and Sanders was the anchor.
“It feels so great to win the gold – I worked so hard to get here,” said Sanders, the anchor. “I was sad that I wasn’t part of the (100 or 200), but I was very happy to be on this relay and win. On the straight I felt good. Coach told me that even if someone tries to pass you that I should stay calm and everything would work out.”
Women’s 4x400 Relay (semifinals)
The U.S. women’s 4x400 relay team will participate in a runoff tomorrow in an attempt to gain a valid qualifying time for the finals of the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Initially running a world-junior leading time of 3:34.12 to win heat one of the semifinals, Team USA was later disqualified as a result of being outside the exchange zone on the race’s first exchange (IAAF rule 170.7). Romania, running in the same heat, was also disqualified for being outside of the zone. Both teams filed a protest because the track officials placed the second-leg runners in the wrong position, near the end of the exchange zone.
When the batons were passed, it was clear via video evidence that both teams had passed outside the zone, so the protest was denied. However, the U.S. appealed that decision and it went to the championship’s Jury of Appeals.
The jury upheld the stand of the U.S. and decided to offer the American and Romanian squads an opportunity for a rerun. Romania rejected the offer, but the U.S. will go ahead with the race that is slated for 11:00 a.m., local time.
According to the IAAF, the jury “(took into) consideration the special circumstances – young inexperienced athletes, different judges, different guidance, etc.” in their deliberations on whether the appeal on protocol was warranted.
The U.S. must run a time of 3:39.44 or faster to earn the final qualifying spot in the final. No other teams will be impacted. Should the U.S. run the time necessary, they will be added as the third time qualifier and ninth overall team. If not, Colombia will be added to the final as the jury also changed the advancement formula to top three from each heat, plus, the next three fastest times.
Team USA must also use the exact running order used this evening – Kendall Baisden, Robin Reynolds, Kiara Porter, and Olivia Ekponé. Baised and Porter participated in her first competition of these championships as they were on the squad list as members of the relay pool. Reynolds competed in the triple jump earlier in the championships while Ekpone claimed silver in the 200 meters on Friday.
Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles
Notre Dame’s Kalia Barber won the bronze in the women’s 400 meter hurdles in a time of 57.63. Shamier Little (Chicago, Ill.) was in medal position, but took a tough tumble after hitting the final hurdle and did not finish the race.
Barber’s performance equates to the first-ever U.S. bronze in the event. Americans have won at least one medal in the 400 hurdles in each of the last four World Junior Championships.
“I feel really good, but I feel really bad for Shamier because I think she would have gotten third,” said Barber. “It’s unfortunate, but things happen in this event. I’m so upset that she fell.”
“I went over the first two hurdles with the wrong leg and that freaked me out – that never happens,” Barber continued. “I tried to pick it up, but my leg did not feel like moving. It was difficult. It was hard to keep going. But, it was good that all my hard work finally paid off. It’s something that’s pretty big. Before this, I had never been out of the country before. I got to meet lots of people. It was great to see different places and hang out with good people.”
Jamaica’s Janieve Russell won the race in 56.62. France’s Aurelie Chaboudez claimed the silver in 57.14.
Men’s 4x400 Relay (semifinals)
The quartet of LSU’s Quincy Downing (Dayton, Ohio), Eric Futch (Lansdowne, Pa.), Hampton’s Chidi Okezie (Philadelpha, Pa.), and  Arman Hall (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) won their heat and was the fastest overall qualifying team in the men’s 4x400 relay with a semifinal run of 3:06.26. Australia was the closest behind the U.S. and finished over a second behind with a 3:07.49 qualifier.
“I haven’t run in a real meet for a while, so it was good to get it going,” said leadoff Downing who had the best split time of the group of 45.6. “It was just a warm-up for tomorrow. No nerves out there – I felt confident. Having run for LSU in the 4x4 all year, it built some confidence in me to come in to these international meets like this and win.”
“Our two other guys, (Bailey and Hall) had been running hard all week, so I felt good coming out and helping the relay along in the prelims,” said Futch, the newly-minted World Junior Champion in the 400 meter hurdles.
“Being able to run with the USA junior team is great feeling overall,” said Okezie. “It was great to run in the heats and get us ready for finals.” Okezie’s split time was clocked at 46.7 seconds.
“It felt great to come out here with my boys and run this prelim,” said Hall, the anchor and silver medalist in the 400 meters from earlier in the meet. “Very pumped for the finals.”
Women’s 100 Hurdles (semifinals)
Morgan Snow and Dior Hall (Denver, Colo.) advanced to the finals of the women’s 100 meter hurdles.
Snow finished second in her heat in a time of 13.31 seconds to world-junior leader Russia’s Bleskina.
“I felt kind of slow in this race,” said Snow. “I think I got out pretty good, but I was dragging over the hurdles. The middle part of my race is always something for me to work on, but, thankfully, I surge at the end. Before we started running, it started to get cool, that’s when I felt the wind. I’m happy with today – my main focus was to make it to the final.”
Hall was second in her heat with a time of 13.78, facing a 2.6 meter-per-second headwind. Hall was likely not going to qualify for the final, but she was the benefactor of a fall in the final meters by Barbados’ Sade Mariah Greenridge.
“That race (wasn’t what I wanted),” said Hall. “I’m just glad I made it to the finals. My rhythm was off, and I hit the hurdle pretty bad, so that knocked me to third. It wasn’t my best race, but one that got me to finals.”
Men’s 5000 Meters
Oklahoma State’s Kirubel Erassa (Grayson, Ga.) and Virginia’s Kyle King (Yorktown, Va.) placed 12th and 13th, respectively, in the men’s 5000. Erassa cloced a 14:19.28 to King’s 14:19.97.
Men’s Hammer Throw
Rudy Winkler (Averill Park, N.Y.) finished 11th in the men’s hammer throw with a best of 69.35/227-6. Qatar’s Ashraf Amgad Elseify won the title with a world-junior record performance of 85.57/280-9.
Women’s Pole Vault
Emily Grove (Pontiac, Ill./South Dakota) recorded the best-ever finish by an American at a World Junior Championships with a sixth-place showing in the women’s pole vault. The previous best showing was by Kelshia Ashe and Shade Weygandt who placed in a tie for seventh at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Moncton.
Grove cleared her best of the day 4.15/13-7¼ on her second attempt. Grove cleared four heights in the competition.
Women’s Hammer Throw
Shelby Ashe (Stone Mountain, Ga.) placed tenth in the hammer throw. With two fouls, her only fair throw, occurring in round two, will go down as her best, 58.62/192-4.
Men’s 800 Meters (semifinals)
Shaquille Walker finished 17th overall in the semifinals of the men’s 800 meters with a time of 1:51.43.
Saturday, July 14
(after 33 of 42 events)
1. UNITED STATES – 6 gold, 4 silver, 6 bronze (16 total)
2. Ethopia – 3 gold, 3 silver (6 total)
3. Kenya – 2 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze (8 total)
4. Russia – 2 gold, 2 silver (4 total)
5. Great Britain – 2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze (5 total)
(after 33 of 42 events)
2. Kenya – 71
3. Great Britain – 66
4. Germany – 62
=5. Ethopia – 60
=5. Russia – 60
1. Mektar Edris (ETH), 13:38.95
2. Abrar Osman Adem (ERI), 13:40.52
3. Wiliam Malel Sitonik (KEN), 13:40.52
12. Kirubel Erassa (USA), 14:19.28
13. Kyle King (USA), 14:19.97
1. UNITED STATES, 38.67 WJL (T. Hill, A. Bailey, A. Delaney, A. Ernest)
2. Jamaica, 38.97 (T. Tracey, O. Skeen, J. Minzie, J. Murphy)
3. Japan, 39.02 (K. Oseto, A. Hashimoto, A. Cambridge, K. Kanamori)
1. Ashraf Amgad Elseify (QAT), 85.57/280-9 WJR
2. Bence Pásztor (HUN), 76.74/251-9
3. Suhrob Khodjaev (UZB), 76.16/249-10
11. Rudy Winkler (USA), 69.35/227-6
1. Janieve Russell (JAM), 56.62 WJL
2. Aurelie Chaboudez (FRA), 57.14
3. Kaila Barber (USA), 57.63
--. Shamier Little (USA), DNF
1. UNITED STATES, 43.89 WJL (M. Snow, D. Bryant, J. Madu, S. Sanders)
2. Germany, 44.24 (A. Burghardt, I. Mayer, K. Grompe, J. Maduka)
3. Brazil, 44.29 (C. De Souza, T. De Liz, N. Da Rosa, J. Dos Reis)
1. Angelica Bengtsson (SWE), 4.50/14-9
2. Liz Parnov (AUS), 4.30/14-1¼
3. Roberta Bruni (ITA), 4.20/13-9¼
6. Emily Grove (USA), 4.15/13-7¼
1. Valeriy Pronkin (FRA), 70.62/231-8 CR
2. Alexia Sedykh (FRA), 67.34/220-11
3. Alena Navahrodskaya (BLR), 67.13/220-3
10. Shelby Ashe (USA), 58.62/192-4
Q1 (1h3). Edwin Kiplagat Melly (KEN), 1:47.08
17 (7h2). Shaquille Walker (USA), 1:51.43.
 [final Sunday]
4x400 RELAY
Q1 (1h2). United States, 3:06.26 (Q. Downing), E. Futch, C. Okezie, A. Hall)
[final Sunday]
Q1 (1h1). Ekaterina Bleskina (RUS), 13.24 (0.3 m/s)
Q2 (2h1). Morgan Snow (USA), 13.31 (+0.3 m/s)
Q8 (2h3). Dior Hall (USA), 13.78 (-2.6 m/s)
[final Sunday]
4x400 RELAY
Q1 (1h2). Jamaica, 3:34.96
-- (h2). United States, DQ**

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