DONETSK, UKRAINE - Raevyn Rogers pulled off a difficult double as she took bronze in the women’s 800m and came back only 30 minutes later to run on the gold medal winning medley relay team to help Team USA to win a record of 17 medals at the IAAF World Youth Championships.
In the best showing at any edition of the World Youth Championships, Team USA won 17 medals over the four days of competition - two gold, seven silver, eight bronze. Team USA won the most of any country, with Kenya and China both winning 11. In the overall points table, the U.S. amassed 152 points to far out-distance second place Germany with 104, and third place China with 100.
The medley relay team of Dior Hall (Denver, Colo.), Ky Westbrook (Chandler, Ariz.), Raevyn Rogers (Houston, Texas), Olivia Baker (South Orange, N.J.) came together to win gold in dominating fashion. With Hall getting the team out to a good start on the 100m leg, Westbrook pulled ahead of the field on the curve of the 200m leg to give Rogers a large lead. Rogers held off a quickly charging pack on the 300m leg to give Baker the baton with a two-second margin over the field. Olivia Baker maintained the lead and brought the U.S. to gold in 2:05.15, more than two-seconds over second place Virgin Islands.
Only 30 minutes before running the 300m leg of the relay, Rogers had the race of her life in the 800m final. Rogers moved into the lead at 200m and crossed the bell lap in second. Rogers came down the homestretch in a fierce battle with Dueti Edao of Ethiopia for the silver medal. Rogers ended up crossing the line in third in a personal best of 2:03.32, only one tenth of a second behind Edao. Her Teammate Ersula Farrow finished 8th in 2:13.56.
In the women’s long jump Keturah Orji (Budd Lake, N.J.) won her second medal of the championships. Orji held the early lead with her second jump of 6.20m/20-4.25 until Florentina Marincu of Roumania landed a mark of 6.42m/21-0.75. Orji briefly fell to fourth in the standings as two other athletes landed personal bests exceeding 6.20m, but on her last attempt, Orji soared 6.39m/20-11.75 to set a personal best and win silver. Courtney Corrin (Playa Vista, Calif.) both had their best jumps of the day on her second attempt in 6.19m/20-3.25 to take fifth. Orji won bronze in the triple jump on Friday.
In the men’s medley relay, the U.S. team of Jaalen Jones (Maylene, Ala.), Noah Lyles (Charlotte, N.C.), Taylor McLaughlin (Dunellen, N.J.), Ryan Clark (College Park, Ga.) won silver in 1:50.14. The Americans faced a world record effort from the Jamaicans who ran to the win in 1:49.23.
In the women’s 200m final, Ariana Washington (Signal Hill, Calif.) won her second medal of the championships as she added bronze to her 100m silver. Washington crossed the line in 23.20. Hannah Cunliffe (Federal Way, Wash.) was not far behind as she crossed the line next in a personal best of 23.44 to take fourth.
Blake Haney (Bakersville, Calif.) ran a smart race in the final of the men’s 1500m. With Robert Biwott taking the race out at a championship record pace, Haney ran at the back of the pack until the bell lap. Haney quickly moved from ninth to third, but he was unable to hold off his challengers on the homestretch and finished fifth in an impressive time of 3:44.69. Grant Fisher (Grand Blanc, Mich.) finished 9th in 3:52.00.
In the men’s pole vault Paulo Benavides (El Paso, Texas) cleared a personal best height of 5.00m/16-4.75 on his first attempt to finish fourth. His teammate Devin King (Kentwood, La.) had a best clearance of 4.90m/16-0.75 to finish tied for sixth.
Competing in the IAAF’s youngest age group, the 16- and 17-year-old athletes were selected to represent Team USA after competing in the World Youth Track & Field Trials in Edwardsville, Ill., on June 25-26.
For complete results of the 2013 IAAF World Championships, visit www.IAAF.org.
Women’s Medley Relay, final
Dior Hall, women’s medley relay, 100m leg
“It was a blessing. I was kind of scared, because I wanted to do a good job for my team. I’m just thankful I was able to get my country into a good lead so we could try to win gold.”
Ky Westbrook, women’s medley relay, 200m leg
“It was really good. It was an improvement from yesterday, so I’m glad. I knew coming in that Raevyn had just run the 800, so we wanted to give her as big a lead as possible. It is amazing. It is such an honor to come out here and win two gold medals, but none of that was possible without my teammates and my coaching staff. I’m just really honored to be a part of the team.”
Raevyn Rogers, women’s medley relay, 300m leg and women’s 800m final
“It was so fun. I’m use to doing back-to-back stuff at practice, and to be on the relay team was so much fun. I love doing stuff like that. I like to challenge myself. It was a good battle at the end of the 800. You know I like having the competition to pressure me and challenge me mentally and physically. The challenge helps me to get to another level. The relay was a lot of fun. I knew people would be like, ‘Why is she running, didn’t she just finish the 800?’ But I wanted to prove them wrong. I had so much fun with my teammates.”
Olivia Baker, women’s medley relay, 400m leg
“I just wanted to get out and run hard. I got out there and did my best. I made sure this time that I ran my own race. This is great. I’m so happy, to God be the glory. I’d just like to thank my team, the coaching staff, my parents and all of the people who were here supporting us for our wonderful run.”
Men’s Medley Relay, final
Jaalen Jones, men’s medley relay, 100m leg
“It was a great experience, but I felt like I didn’t get out enough. We made second today, so I’m proud of us.”
Noah Lyles, men’s medley relay, 200m leg
“I almost missed him in the zone, but I was able to get out as hard as I could. I was able to grab that baton and give it as much as I could.”
Taylor McLaughlin, men’s medley relay, 300m leg
“It’s just an amazing feeling. I know we wanted to get first, but I just came into this thinking that I wanted to stand on that podium with these four guys in our medal jackets. And now we get to do that, so I’m happy. I have nothing to complain about.”
Ryan Clark, men’s medley relay, 400m leg
“It was great. I almost caught the Jamaican, but he ran a heck of a leg. I’m proud that we came away with a medal. Hopefully we’ll get better and better every day. Some people didn’t get to compete here, and I never thought I would make it to this level, so it is a great feeling.”
Ariana Washington, women’s 200m, final
“It means a lot to me to win two medals. I’ll always remember meeting people from all over the world and wearing USA on my chest for the first time.”
Hannah Cunliffe, women’s 200m, final
“it means a lot just to be here and represent Team USA. I’m thankful for the opportunity, and I did the best I could.”
Keturah Orji, women’s long jump, final
“I’m really happy. I was leading at the beginning of the competition with not my personal best, so I was kind of surprised. Then the Romanian girl jumped 6.42, so I was chasing that the whole time. I always wait until the last jump, I don’t know why, by I got it in there. I was expecting myself to medal in both, so I’m very happy.”
Courtney Corrin, women’s long jump, final
“Just being out here and competing as a freshman is amazing. Being out here with one of my really good friends, Keturah is amazing and I’m really proud of her. I’ll be out here next year.”
Devin King, men’s pole vault, final
“It went pretty good. I jumped well, but five meters got me. When I went to five meters, I just couldn’t make it. It was a great experience to be here, and hopefully I can go to juniors and make a team again.”
Paulo Benavides, men’s pole vault, final
“I think it went really well. I only jumped two centimeters off my PR, so I can’t be upset with how I performed. I had a great season, and I’m ready for a break now so I can come back and put it all together. I’ll just take away the experience of being in a big championship like this, and that will come in handy down the road.”
Ersula Farrow, women’s 800m, final
“I did try my best. I don’t know what happened, but I’m just happy to be here. It means a lot to me to wear the USA. I love running for my country and I hope I continue to do better and run at my best.”
Blake Haney, men’s 1500m, final
“It felt alright. I knew we were going pretty fast, so I went toward the back a little bit and tried to recover and regather myself. With one lap to go I was feeling good, so I went for it and I had it until the last 100m. The Kenyans are incredible runners, and just to race them is an incredible honor. It has been a really good experience. Regardless of if I ran well or not, I knew I was going to have fun, and that’s what I did.”
Grant Fisher, men’s 1500m, final
“The race didn’t go perfectly in my favor. I had hoped for a slower tactical race with a kick at the end, but I knew from the first 100m that it wasn’t the case. Obviously I would have hoped for a better time and place, but just being here is incredible. I was a long shot to even make this team at the trials. I felt good in the prelims, and making it to the finals speaks for itself. Competing with the best guys is a different experience, and it is very humbling.”