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Team USA relays go four-for-four in rounds, Eaton on near-WR pace

8/29/2015
 

BEIJING -- All four American relay teams won their respective heats to qualify for Saturday’s and Sunday’s finals, and two-time defending decathlon champion Ashton Eaton was on near-world record pace and has a 254-point lead heading into the evening's final two events: javelin and 1500m.


American men’s 4x4 runs world lead

Team USA battled with Jamaica for much of the four-lap relay, with Kyle Clemons (Rowlett, Texas) handing the stick off to Tony McQuay (West Palm Beach, Florida) in second. McQuay took care of business on his leg but handed the baton to Bryshon Nellum (Los Angeles) in traffic, so the U.S. stayed behind Jamaica in the opening steps of the third leg. Nellum ran a smart 400m, biding his time until the backstretch to make his move. Nellum gave Team USA a 25-meter lead heading into the anchor leg, as NCAA 400m champion Vernon Norwood (New Orleans) was able to hold on to victory and the automatic qualifying spot in a world-leading 2:58.13.


Veterans Richards-Ross and McCorory lead Team USA 4x4 to final

Team USA led wire to wire in heat 2, with Phyllis Francis (Queens, New York) taking the first lap out hard to put the U.S. in front. Francis handed the stick off to Jessica Beard (Elyria, Ohio) with a 10-meter lead, and Beard maintained the lead to give a comfortable lead to Sanya Richards-Ross (Austin, Texas). Richards-Ross gave the Americans even more of an advantage with her third leg creating separation between the U.S. and Great Britain, allowing Francena McCorory (Hampton, Virginia) enough room to cruise on her bell lap and lead Team USA to an automatic qualifying victory in 3:23.05.


Team USA women’s 4x100m works steady handoffs to advance to Saturday’s final

A great start out of the blocks from English Gardner (Voorhees, New Jersey) was only aided by a smooth pass to recent World 400m champion Allyson Felix (Los Angeles), who obliterated the back straight to get a sizeable lead on Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands. Felix handed off to Jenna Prandini (Clovis, California) with a significant advantage, and a final exchange between Oregon teammates Prandini and Jasmine Todd (Chandler, Arizona) sealed the victory, with Team USA winning in a comfortable 42.00.


U.S. men’s 4x100m moves comfortably into tonight’s final

A quick start by World bronze medalist Trayvon Bromell (St. Petersburg, Florida) and textbook exchange between Bromell and two-time 2015 silver medalist Justin Gatlin (Pensacola, Florida) aided the U.S. in a comfortable lead over 200 meters. Gatlin and Tyson Gay (Lexington, Kentucky) executed a smooth handoff with Team USA still well in front. Gay passed off to Mike Rodgers (St. Louis, Missouri), who cruised down the straight to finish in 37.91.


Eaton finishes morning session 45 points off WR pace

Ashton Eaton (Bend, Oregon) and Zach Ziemek (Itasca, Illinois) emerged as the final two American decathletes to get through all three events Saturday morning, as Jeremy Taiwo (Renton, Washington) was forced to withdraw due to a left knee injury. Eaton leads the competition with 7,423 points, while Ziemek sits in 11th with 6,742 points.


110-Meter Hurdles

Eaton closed the gap on his world record pace, edging within 24 points of his 2012 six-event total with his 13.69 finish in the 110H. Eaton finished second in his heat and overall to Canada’s Damian Warner, who has been chasing Eaton from the get-go.


In the second heat, Taiwo was unable to overcome a slower start and couldn’t get into a rhythm. He crossed in 14.81 for 873 points. In the first heat, Ziemek turned in a top-10 career time of 15.29 to score 815 points.


Discus Throw

Ziemek turned in the best throw of the afternoon for the American contingent, tossing 44.19m/144-11 on his final attempt of the day. The discus gave the decathlon world record holder trouble in 2012 but he improved on his best toss from his WR run, launching 43.34m/142-2 on his second attempt. Taiwo’s best throw was his last attempt of any event in the decathlon, tossing 41.01m/134-6. Taiwo withdrew from the competition shortly after beginning pole vault warm-ups.


Pole Vault

With only Ziemek and Eaton remaining, both athletes finished with clearances of 5.20m/17-0.75. Ziemek looked confident on the runway, the Wisconsin All-American didn’t enter the competition until 5.00m, clearing easily. Ziemek took two tries at 5.10m, before clearing his final height on the first attempt. For Eaton, the defending champion needed two attempts for each of his clearances, passing every other bar. Eaton just nicked the bar at 5.30m on his first attempt but made full contact on his final two tries. Both Americans scored 972 points.


Nunn turns in top-40 finish

John Nunn (Evansville, Indiana) battled warmer conditions on Saturday morning in Beijing, coming through the line in 4:09:44 for the fourth-fastest performance of his career, finishing in 37th.


Action continues in Beijing with Saturday’s evening session and runs through Sunday, August 30.


Fans can join the conversation by following USATF on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #Beijing2015.


Full results from the IAAF World Championships can be found here.


Team USA Medals (14)

Gold (4)

Joe Kovacs - Shot Put (21.93m/71-11.5)

Christian Taylor - Triple Jump (18.21m/59-9)

Allyson Felix - 400 Meters (49.26)

Tianna Bartoletta - Long Jump (7.14m/23-5.25)


Silver (4)

Justin Gatlin - 100 Meters (9.80)

Shamier Little - 400m Hurdles (53.50)

LaShawn Merritt - 400 Meters (43.65)

Justin Gatlin - 200 Meters (19.74)


Bronze (6)

Michelle Carter - Shot Put (19.76m/64-10)

Trayvon Bromell - 100 Meters (9.92)

Emily Infeld - 10,000 Meters (31:43.49)

Tori Bowie - 100 Meters (10.86)

Cassandra Tate - 400m Hurdles (54.02)

Aries Merritt - 110m Hurdles (13.04)


Broadcast Schedule

Date

Time (ET)

Network

Session

Key Events

Saturday, Aug. 29

2:30 p.m.

NBC, Live Extra

Evening

Decathlon, 4x100m relays

Saturday, Aug. 29

5 p.m.

Universal Sports

Evening

Decathlon, 4x100m relays (re-air)

Saturday, Aug. 29

7:30 p.m.

Universal Sports

Morning

Women’s marathon

Sunday, Aug. 30

2 p.m.

NBC, Live Extra

Evening

4x400m relays

Sunday, Aug. 30

5 p.m.

Universal Sports

Evening

4x400m relays (re-air)




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