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Team USATF Preview: The Match, Europe vs. USA, Minsk 2019


Reviving the team rivalries that saw the United States take on nations from around the world in dual meets in the 1960s and 70s, Team USATF will face off against Team Europe at Minsk's Dinamo National Olympic Stadium in Belarus for the inaugural edition of The Match on Sept. 9-10.


Up to four athletes from each team will contest track events up to 3,000m and eight field events to gain valuable team points and earn individual and relay prize money. Event scoring is on a 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, and prize money for each individual event goes eight-deep, topped by a 7,000-Euro first prize (approximately $7,700). Winning relay teams will split 6,000 Euros ($6,600), with lesser amounts for teams placing second and third.


Winner of multiple Olympic and World Championships medals in the sprints and relays, Allyson Felix will lead Team USATF on the track, where she will be backed up by a large and talented group of Americans with national and international championship experience.


Here's a look at the top U.S. entrants:


Men's events:


Sprints and Hurdles

A veteran of the 2016 Olympics along with four outdoor World Championships and three World Indoor Championships, Michael Rodgers (Round Rock, Texas) has a 100m best of 9.97 this season and will run the dash and the 4x100m relay. Joining him in the 100m will be USATF bronze medalist Christopher Belcher (Greensboro, North Carolina). Des Moines bronze medalist Nathan Strother (Knoxville, Tennessee) is the leading 400m entrant, setting a 44.29 PR at that meet, and his three Team USATF teammates all have sub-45 second credentials.


Houston's USATF and NCAA bronze medalist Amere Lattin (Missouri City, Texas) is the top American in the 400m hurdles, while 2018 World Indoor 60m hurdles silver medalist Jarret Eaton (Columbia, South Carolina) and this year's Pan Am Games 110m hurdles silver medalist, Freddie Crittenden (Utica, Michigan), have run sub-13.30 in their careers and will challenge for gold in the sprint hurdles.


Middle Distances

USATF 3,000m steeplechase champion Hillary Bor (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and runner-up Stanley Kebenei (Colorado Springs, Colorado) comprise perhaps the strongest U.S. duo in the distances, as Kebenei is the No. 2 American on the all-time list, one spot ahead of Bor, who clocked 8:08.41 at the Doha Diamond League meet in May. 


Fresh off a 3:35.01 PR to win at Berlin, Josh Thompson (Logandale, Nevada) and 2016 Olympic eighth-placer Ben Blankenship (Eugene, Oregon) give Team USATF a potent 1-2 punch in the 1,500m, and Rio 5,000m finalist Hassan Mead (Eugene, Oregon), a two-time World Championships competitor at 10,000m, tops U.S. 3,000m entries. Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine), a 1:44.42 performer last year, is the fastest of the American men in the 800m.



Jeron Robinson (Humble, Texas) and Donald Scott (Ypsilanti, Michigan) won USATF titles in the high jump and triple jump, respectively, to earn berths on the World Championships squad, and both men will contend for top honors in Minsk. Scott had a massive wind-aided leap of 17.74m/58-2.5 to win his national title, and Robinson has cleared 2.30m/7-6.5 this year. 


Des Moines pole vault silver medalist Cole Walsh (Glendale, Arizona) and long jump bronze medalist Jarvis Gotch (Stafford, Texas) are the highest placers from the nationals in their events, and 2017 World triple jump sixth-place finisher Chris Benard (Chula Vista, California) adds quality to the Team USATF jumps corps.



Last year's Diamond league shot put winner, Darrell Hill (Chula Vista, California), has a best of 22.11m/72-6.5 in 2019 and will need all of that against some of Europe's best. The three men who finished behind Hill in Des Moines are also entered, and all three have been out past 21.00m/68-10.75 in 2019.


Sam Mattis (Leesport, Pennsylvania) won U.S. discus gold in July with a season-best 66.69m/218-9. He will be teamed up with the next three finishers from Des Moines, who set two personal bests and a season best at that meet. Two-time U.S. champion Rudy Winkler (Averill Park, New York) and Sean Donnelly (Minneapolis, Minnesota) lead a resurgent U.S. hammer group along with NCAA champion Daniel Haugh (Marietta, Georgia), as all three men have surpassed 250-feet in 2019.


In the javelin, the top four placers from Des Moines will be in Minsk. Michael Shuey (University Park, Pennsylvania) had a PR 82.85m/271-10 to beat Riley Dolezal (Fargo, North Dakota) by one centimeter at the nationals, while Tim Glover (Normal, Illinois) and Curtis Thompson (Florence, New Jersey) have 82m+ throws on their career resum├ęs.

Women's events:


Sprints and Hurdles

It is hard to ever top the women's hurdles as storylines in American track and field, but the comeback tale of Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, California) is as close as it gets. After giving birth to her first daughter last November, Felix returned to the track in Des Moines and ran to a sixth-place finish in the 400m after setting a season best of 51.45 in the semis. Compatriots Wadeline Jonathas (Moreno Valley, California), the NCAA champ for South Carolina and third in Des Moines, and 2018 World Indoor gold medalist Courtney Okolo (Austin, Texas) make the one-lapper a must-see event for Team USATF fans.


World and Olympic 4x100m relay gold medalist Morolake Akinosun (Austin, Texas) and USATF 200m winner Dezerea Bryant (Clermont, Florida) will be in the 100m, and 200m silver medalist Brittany Brown (Ontario, California) tops the U.S. half-lap contestants.


Speaking of hurdles 400m hurdles Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer (Austin, Texas) leads a contingent of Americans. Lining up in the 100m hurdles 2015 Pan Am games winner Queen Claye (Phoenix, Arizona) and '15 Worlds eighth-placer Sharika Nelvis (Georgetown, Texas).


Middle Distances

American 1,500m record-holder Shannon Rowbury (Beaverton, Oregon) won World Indoor bronze in the 3,000m in 2016, and she will race at that distance in Minsk. Rachel Schneider (Flagstaff, Arizona) has the fastest mile time by an American this year at 4:20.91 and was fourth at 5,000m in Des Moines.

Kate Grace (Portland, Oregon), the 2016 Olympic 800m eighth place finisher is the top American in the 1,500 at 4:02.99 and won at Zagreb last week. She will be teaming up with Katie Mackey (Seattle, Washington) and Shannon Osika (Ann Arbor, Michigan), who both have sub-4:05 clockings in their careers.

Des Moines fourth-placer Olivia Baker (South Orange, New Jersey) will lead an 800m contingent that features USATF Indoors 600m winner and American record-holder Athing Mu (Trenton, New Jersey), a high schooler from New Jersey. Ce'Aira Brown (Hampton, Virginia) has the fastest PR of the four Americans in the event at 1:58.01. In the 3,000m steeplechase, national fifth-place finisher Marisa Howard (Boise, Idaho) is the top American.


Four World outdoor golds... three World Indoor golds... an Olympic gold and silver... 12 national titles... few athletes can match the credentials of U.S. long jumper Brittney Reese (Chula Vista, California), and she will again top the bill in Minsk. A clutch jumper who sports a top-10 career marks average of 23-7, Reese has Des Moines runner-up Jasmine Todd and bronze medalist Sha'Keela Saunders at her side for The Match.

Toyota USATF Indoors champion and Pan Am Games silver medalist Katie Nageotte (Powder Springs, Georgia) has a pole vault best of 4.86m/15-11.25 indoors this year and is sixth on the world outdoor list. Former Cuban Olympian Daylis Caballero Vega (Dallas, Texas) enjoyed her brand-new U.S. citizenship with a PR in Des Moines and is on her first American international team.

Triple jump indoor and outdoor American record-holder Tori Franklin (Oak Park, Illinois) was the runner-up at Toyota USATF Indoors and Outdoors this year, setting the indoor AR at Madrid with a 14.57m/47-9.75 leap. She is joined in Minsk by the 3-4-5 finishers from Des Moines. 2016 Olympic finalist Inika McPherson (Beaumont, Texas) is the best of the U.S. high jump crew with a PR of 1.96m/6-5, and she took silver at USATF outdoors.


Three of the four throwing event winners from Des Moines lead the way at The Match. Chase Ealey (Chacon, New Mexico) has had a breakout season in the shot put, ranking No. 2 in the world with a PR of 19.68m/64-6.75. The silver medalist behind her? None other than reigning Olympic champion Michelle Carter (Ovilla, Texas). Carter brings a best of 18.69m/61-4 from this year to Minsk, but she is, after all, the American indoor and outdoor record-holder with a lifetime best of 20.63m/67-8.25 from Rio.

Discus champ Valarie Allman (Stanford, California) moved to fifth on the U.S. all-time list with a 67.15m/220-3 and is ranked fourth in the world in 2019. Kelsey Card (Madison, Wisconsin), Whitney Ashley (Chula Vista, California) and Iowa's NCAA champ Laulauga Tausaga (Spring Valley, California) give Team USATF four women with PRs beyond 205-0. The Des Moines javelin had an upset of sorts, with Ariana Ince (Houston, Texas) capturing her first U.S. gold over eight-time winner Kara Winger. Winger came back to beat Ince at the Pan Am Games, taking gold with a season-best 64.92m/213-0 ahead of Ince's bronze.

Moving to third on the all-time U.S. list with her 76.75m/251-9 in the hammer in June, Brooke Andersen (Manhattan, Kansas) is a threat for gold in Minsk. 

Opponent Men Women Combined Site Date

Sweden 184-128 --- --- Paris 28-29Aug20

France 184-78 --- --- Paris 28-29Aug20

Japan 75.5-77.5 Osaka 15Sep34

Japan 131.5-82.5 Paris 23Aug36

France 131.5-82 Paris 23Aug36

Japan 98-79 Osaka 11-12Sep37

Germany 122-92 Berlin 13-14Aug38

Canada 121-20 Montreal 03Aug46

France 117-54 Paris 15-16Aug48

Scandinavia 233.5-224.5 Oslo 27-29Jul49 

USSR 126-109 44-63 170-172 Moscow 27-28Jul58

Poland 115-107 52-54 167-161 Warsaw 01-02Aug58

USSR 127-108 40-67 167-175 Phila. 18-19Jul59

USSR 124-111 39-68 163-179 Moscow 15-16Jul61

West Germany 120-91 Stuttgart 18-19Jul61

West Germany 38-66 Karlsruhe 17Jul61

Great Britain 122-88 50-56 172-144 London 21-22Jul61

Poland 121-91 49-57 170-148 Warsaw 29-30Jul61

Poland 131-81 45-61 176-142 Chicago 01-02Jul62

USSR 128-107 41-66 169-173 Stanford 21-22Jul62

USSR 119-114 28-75 147-189 Moscow 20-21Jul63

Poland 125-85 47-58 172-143 Warsaw 26-27Jul63

West Germany 141-82 45-71 186-153 Hannover 31Jul-01Aug63

Great Britain 120-91 51.5-65.5 171.5-156.5 London 03&05Aug63

USSR 139-97 48-59 187-156 Los Angeles 25-26Jul64

USSR 112-118 43.5-63.6 155.5-181.5 Kiev 31Jul-01Aug65 

Poland 118-93 59-57 177-150 Warsaw 07-08Aug65

West Germany 142-91 Augsburg 11-12Aug65

West Germany 62-55 Munich 13Aug65

Brit. Commonwealth 152-45 102-125 257-170 Los Angeles 08-09Jul67

Great Britain 130-84 London 12Aug67

West Germany 132-100 Dusseldorf 16-17Aug67

Italy 133-90 Viareggio 19-20Aug67

Spain 136-76 Viareggio 19-20Aug67

USSR 125-111 70-67 195-178 Los Angeles 18-19Jul69

Brit. Commonwealth 137-96 81-56 218-152 Los Angeles 18-19Jul69

West Germany 127-96 66-68 193-164 Augsburg 05-06Aug69

Great Britain 131-90 66-67 197-157 London 12-13Aug69

France 117-94 Colombes 08-09Jul70

West Germany 122-100 53-82 175-182 Stuttgart 15-16Jul70

USSR 114-122 59-78 173-200 Leningrad 23-24Jul70

Romania 68-65 Bucharest 06Aug70

USSR 126-110 60-76 186-186 Berkeley 02-03Jul71

World All-Stars 138-91 80-55 218-146 Berkeley 03-03Jul71

Africa 111-78 77-57 188-135 Durham 16-17Jul71

Canada 96-50 Champaign 12Aug72

West Germany 122-101 55-84 177-185 Munich 11-12Jul73

Switzerland 90-49 Munich 11-12Jul73

Italy 143-78 84-49 227-127 Turin 17-18Jul73

USSR 112-121 51-95 163-216 Minsk 24-25Jul73

Africa 111-101 90-45 201-146 Dakar 21-25Aug73

USSR 115-102 67-90 182-192 Durham 05-06Jul74

USSR 89-129 49-96 138-225 Kiev 04-05Jul75

Bulgaria 74-70 Kiev 04-05Jul75

Czechoslovakia 127-88 86-70 213-158 Prague 07-08Jul75

Poland 113-102 76-70 189-172 Prague 07-08Jul75

West Germany 115-90 61-80 176-170 Durham 18-19Jul75

Africa 121.5-81.5 93-36 214.5-117.5 Durham 18-19Jul75

USSR 115-107 42-104 157-211 College Pk 06-07Aug76

Italy 127-94 85-61 212-155 Turin 20-21Jun77

Great Britain 135-85 —— ——— Turin 20-21Jun77

West Germany 116-104 61-84 177-188 Gelsenkirchen 25-26Jun77

USSR 115-118 66-89 181-207 Sochi 01-02Jul77

USSR 119-102 71-75 190-177 Berkeley 07-08Jul78

USSR 118-105 60-99 178-204 Leningrad 10-11Jul81

West Germany 123-99 90-56 213-155 Durham 26-27Jun82

Africa 136-67 —— ——— Durham 26-27Jun82

USSR 100-118 67-89 167-207 Indianapolis 02-03Jul82

East Germany 120.5-102.5 52-105 172.5-207.5 K-M-Stadt 09-10Jul82

East Germany 125-97 56-100 181-197 Los Angeles 25-26Jun83

Scandinavia (Norden) 232-186 95-61 327-247 Stockholm 26-27Jul83

West Germany 170.5-189 —— ——— Monaco 11-12May85

France 170.5-174 —— ——— Monaco 11-12May85

Italy 170.5-168.5 —— ——— Monaco 11-12May85

West Germany 126-95 96-72 222-167 Bremen 29-30Jun85

USSR 114-104 50-117 164-221 Tokyo 21-22Sep85

Japan 141-81 107-60 248-141 Tokyo 21-22Sep85

England 122-111 —— ——— Gateshead 27Jun86

England 84-126 —— ——— Birmingham 17Jul87

England 91-140 —— ——— Birmingham 24Jun88

USSR 216-172 160-169 376-342 Birmingham 23-24Jun89

Great Britain 216-192 160-119 376-310 Birmingham 23-24Jun89

West Germany 216-152 160-99 376-251 Birmingham 23-24Jun89 

USSR 108-112 76-108 184-220 Milan 05-06Jun90

France 108-110.5 76-68 184-178.5 Milan 05-06Jun90

Italy 108-98.5 76-71 184-169.5 Milan 05-06Jun90

Cuba 108-73 76-60 184-133 Milan 05-06Jun90

Czechoslovakia 108-73 76-54 184-127 Milan 05-06Jun90

Spain 108-71 76-48 184-119 Milan 05-06Jun90

Kenya 108-56 Milan 05-06Jun90

Bulgaria 76-48 Milan 05-06Jun90

Great Britain 93-86 63-47 156-133 Portsmouth 22Jun90

Kenya 93-63 Portsmouth 22Jun90

Great Britain 190-199 181-143 371-342 Edinburgh 02Jul93

Great Britain 206-180 168-152 Gateshead 20Jul94

Africa 79-69 68-46 147-115 Durham 12-13Aug94

Great Britain 182-203 210.5-156.5 Gateshead 21Aug95



Africa 5-0 4-0 4-0

British Commonwealth 2-0 1-1 2-0

Bulgaria 2-0

Canada 1-0 1-0

Cuba 1-0 1-0 1-0

Czechoslovakia 2-0 2-0 2-0

East Germany 2-0 0-2 0-2

England 1-2 1-1 

France 4-2 1-0 1-0

Germany 1-0

Great Britain 8-2 5-3 6-0

Italy 5-0 3-0 3-0

Japan 3-1 1-0 1-0

Kenya 2-0

Poland 6-0 2-4 6-0

Romania 1-0

Scandinavia (Norden) 2-0 1-0 1-0

Spain 1-0 1-0 1-0

Sweden 1-0 --- ---

Switzerland 1-0

Spain 1-0

USSR 14-7 1-20 4-16-1

West Germany 12-1 4-7 6-3

World All-Stars 1-0 1-0 1-0

TOTALS 75-15 33-37 40-22-1

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