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Team USATF leaders advance through first rounds of Day 3 morning session


LONDON -- Some of Team USATF’s most seasoned medalists, including Allyson Felix, Aries Merritt, Evan Jager, Kerron Clement and Sam Kendricks, moved through qualifying rounds Sunday morning at the IAAF World Championships at Queen Elizabeth Stadium.

In the lone final event of the morning, Elkanah Kibet (Fayetteville, North Carolina) was Team USATF’s top finisher in the marathon, placing 16th in 2:15:14. Bobby Curtis (Louisville, Kentucky) was 42nd in 2:21:22, and Augustus Maiyo (Fort Carson, Colorado) did not finish, dropping out around the 31 km mark. Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya won in a time of 2:08:27.

Jager, Kebenei move to steeplechase final

Team USATF advanced two men to Tuesday night’s final. Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager (Algonquin, Illinois) won heat 2 in 8:20.36, and Stanley Kebenei (Colorado Springs, Colorado) was second in heat 3 in 8:24.19 as both men were in control of their races and easily qualified. Hillary Bor (Colorado Springs, Colorado) was fifth in heat 3 in 8:27.53 and did not advance.

Kendricks to compete in MPV final

Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks (Oxford, Mississippi) needed three attempts to clear 5.60m/18-4.5 but then made it over 5.70m/18-8.25 on his first try to qualify as one of eight men over the height. Christopher Nilsen (Kansas City, Missouri) and Andrew Irwin (Mt. Ida, Arkansas) were two of nine men who cleared 5.60/18-4.5, but they finished 13th and 15th, respectively, based on misses, and ended just outside of the 12-man field that will compete in Tuesday night’s final.

Three get through men’s 400mH first round

Three American men moved on to the semifinal round of the 400m hurdles. Olympic gold medalist Kerron Clement (LaPorte, Texas) and training partner TJ Holmes (St. Petersburg, Florida) won their heats in 49.46 and 49.35, respectively. Eric Futch (Darby, Pennsylvania) was fifth in heat 7 in 49.57 and qualified on time. Michael Stigler (Canyon, Texas) was disqualified out of heat 4 for a trail-leg violation on the seventh hurdle.

Strong trio make women’s 400m second round

Three of four Team USATF athletes will move on to the semifinals of the 400. Defending world champion Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, California) went out strong in the first heat and cruised in a very comfortable performance, nearly jogging in the homestretch and winning in 52.44. Phyllis Francis (Queens, New York) was second in heat 4 in 50.94 and Quanera Hayes (Hope Mills, North Carolina) won heat 5 in 51.43 to advance. Kendall Ellis (Pembroke Pines, Florida) was sixth in 52.18 in heat 6 and did not advance.

Merritt leads the way in 110mH

World record holder and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Aries Merritt (Marietta, Georgia) showed great form, winning heat 3 in 13.16, the fastest time of the day. Despite crashing the final hurdle as his velocity increased, Devon Allen (Phoenix, Arizona) was not knocked off stride and won heat 2 in 13.26, and Aleec Harris (Atlanta, Georgia) was fourth in heat 1 in 13.50 to automatically qualify.

Americans push through Day 2 morning of Heptathlon

With only the 800m remaining, Kendell Williams (Kennesaw, Georgia) sits in ninth place of the heptathlon with 5385 points. Sharon Day-Monroe (Costa Mesa, California) is 21st with 5080, and Erica Bougard (Byhalia, Mississippi) is 22nd with 5053.

Sunday morning, Williams was ninth in the long jump (6.19m/20-7.75) and 10th in the javelin (46.43m/152-4); Day-Monroe was 27th in the LJ (5.61m/18-5) and 21st in the javelin (40.74m/133-8); and Bougard was 13th in the long jump (6.09m/19-11.75) and 28th in the javelin (33.76m/110-9).

Competition continues Sunday with the women’s marathon in the afternoon, followed by the evening track session.

Team USATF Quotes

Men’s Marathon final

Elkanah Kibet: “I’m so tired and a bit exhausted from the sun and heat. It’s okay, it’s good. I had to stop to use the restroom once; my stomach was upset a little bit. It’s my first World Championships, so I’m grateful for the experience. Next time, I’ll be ready. It felt great to wear Team USA. Everyone was yelling, ‘USA! USA!’ and that gave me great motivation to keep going, so I’m really excited to put on a Team USA jersey for the first time. When the second time [comes], I’ll be ready. I appreciate what being here has done for me and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Bobby Curtis: “I had an abbreviated training segment, so I was worried that I wouldn’t have the fitness to make it through. I was good through halfway and then around 20 miles into the race, I really started hurting. Given the training I did, I knew it was a risk that I might blow up at the end. All in all, it was a great experience. I’ve done some World Cross [Country] events but those are not on this scale. But it was great to represent the U.S. in my first World Championships. This is most likely going to be my last marathon. I finished my MBA at the University of Michigan and started working full-time six weeks ago. So I wanted to give this one more go and then do a hard stop.”

Augustus Maiyo: “I’m so disappointed. I had to drop out around 25 or 30 km. I couldn’t lift my legs. It’s such an honor to represent my country as an athlete and a soldier, and I’m just so disappointed about today. I wanted to continue and I just couldn’t.”

Men’s 3000m Steeplechase Heats

Evan Jager: “It was good. I just wanted to get through as easy as possible. We ended up running faster than I was expecting - three pretty quick prelims. I just wanted to stay out of trouble, stay focused, make sure I got over the barriers clean and finish in the top three, no matter what the time was.”

Stanley Kebenei: “The difference is preparation. I’ve been preparing for this. I came to this championship more prepared and positive that I can deliver for my country. This is a world championship, and I’m not very nervous. It’s more preparation that has made me feel the way I am right now. I think I’m ready.”

Hillary Bor: “I messed up. I didn’t run hard the last 400. I’m feeling good, it’s not like I’m not feeling good. I just think I gave up today. I’m (angry) at myself. I think I gave up the last 600. I’m better than what I ran today. I’m (angry) at myself. I didn’t run hard. I don’t know why.”

Men’s Pole Vault Qualifying

Sam Kendricks: “Everybody’s supposed to be on their game. When it comes down to so many third attempts, great jumpers make great jumps, and we all had to pull it out of the bag early. We were hoping to save great attempts for Tuesday. Hopefully we still have some left. I didn’t expect to be this fast.”

Chris Nilsen: “It’s just a really complicated situation. It’s my first time on the world stage. I tried doing what I know how to do best, and it didn’t end up working out but I’m still happy for my performance. The thing that made it intense was the struggle of having to make those bars. When that happened, that made it more intense. I like being surrounded by professionals in the sport. I’m very grateful to be around the USA team.”

Andrew Irwin: “I had a few bumps and bruises getting out there for the first few bars, but I thought we got it all bad ones out of the way. It’s not my first time to have a third attempt for a first bar, so it’s not that big of a deal. It’s obviously not ideal. I got settled in, run felt good, I thought I would be alright. I had a couple of shaky bars. I thought we were gonna be good there for a while. I got to 5.70, I was kind of lazy on my left side and came up short.”

Men’s 400m Hurdles Heats

Kerron Clement: “The challenge coming here was running very easy the first round. The semifinals will be a little harder, and in the finals you’ve got to go all-out. I’m excited to be back here at my sixth world championship. It makes me seem really old, but these young guys really motivate me to keep running fast and get on my game. For the semifinals I’ll do the same thing, just faster. I want to get to the finals and go to the top of the podium. For me, winning the Olympics was motivation to come to the World Championships and do the same thing. I have the confidence, plus I’m peaking at the right time.”

TJ Holmes: “I just wanted to get out fast, and once I got out I maintained. I didn’t want to keep pushing too hard, but it worked. I know definitely for the next round, I have to run a lot faster.”

Eric Futch: “It was kind of windy. I think I got out pretty good. I didn’t stick to the race pattern my coach gave me. Tomorrow … hopefully it will be better.”

Michael Stigler: “I feel pretty good. It was just more getting the first race out of the way, getting through, executing and saving energy for the next round. It was a little choppy first half of the race for me. My finish was pretty good.” (Stigler was later disqualified for a trail-leg violation on the seventh hurdle.)

Women’s 400m Heats

Allyson Felix: “It felt good. I just wanted to come and try to control the race and do it as easily as possible. I feel like I have a lot left to give. I just wanted to do as much as I needed to win.”

Phyllis Francis: “I feel really good, actually. It’s my first time running in lane 9, which was really interesting. It was a great experience with the crowd, the vibes, everything. I just wanted to make sure I qualified and got a feel for the track. I accomplished those goals.”

Quanera Hayes: “I knew that they would pick it up (in the final stretch), then I glanced at the screen and saw I had some space left, so I slowed down a little bit. I knew I was going to secure my spot for tomorrow. The atmosphere is just crazy. I’m feeling good. I have a lot left in the tank.”

Kendall Ellis: “It’s really disappointing to not make it out of the first round, but I am grateful for the experience. It was an awesome opportunity to make my first World Championship team and represent the U.S., but it’s not the way I wanted to go out. At first it was pretty nerve-wracking, never being in front of a crowd this big or a stadium this big.”

Men’s 110m Hurdles Heats:

Aries Merritt: “I’m ready to compete. My fitness is very good right now. I just want to execute my race and focus on me. Today, my focus was to go out there and to get out front and to try to execute and build my race the way I do it. I didn’t want there to be any complications with people near me. I just want to go out and make sure there were no mess-ups, and that’s what I did. I controlled the race.” On returning to Olympic Stadium: “It’s definitely special to be back here. This is where I won Olympic gold. I’ve run 12.92 on this track, I’ve run 12.94 on this track. I’ve run so many great times on this track, just to be back here and soak up this crowd’s energy is just a great feeling.”

Devon Allen: “It felt good. I’m really excited just coming in here and feeling good. I kind of backed off on training with some little nagging injuries, so I haven’t really been doing much other than just feeling good. Hurdling, I’m not super sharp, but that was a pretty good race, so I’m super excited to compete. I want to go out there, compete and win. As a competitor and as an athlete, I always want to win, and I think I’m good enough to do it. I just need to make it through the rounds. In the final, if you have a lane, you have a chance.”

Aleec Harris: “I qualified. I’ve just got to be a lot more aggressive and I should be fine. I was a little too relaxed. I couldn’t really feel the field… I was out there in lane 9. I had the guy inside me beat and I couldn’t feel the other guys.”

Amanda Brooks
Marketing and Communications Manager
USA Track & Field

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