PHILADELPHIA – The Team USA women’s 4x100m relay put on a dominant show in a competitive edition of USA vs. the World at the Penn Relays on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Franklin Field played host to 48,531 fans and the first event of USA Track & Field’s Outdoor Visa Championship Series as Team USA won three of six USA vs. The World races, Jamaica won two and Morocco won one.
The U.S. women made clear their intent to bring a world title back to America in the Visa Women’s 4x100m relay. Lauryn Williams, Allyson Felix, Marshevet Myers and Carmelita Jeter posted a dominant performance, winning in a Penn Relays record time of 42.28, a 2011 world leader as well. They broke the Penn Relays record held since 2000 by Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Inger Miller, and Marion Jones, set at the first edition of USA vs. The World. The USA Blue team of Gloria Asumnu, Miki Barber, Biana Knight and Alex Anderson moved from third to second on Knight’s third leg, finishing in 42.64. That left the Jamaican team of Kerron Stewart, Vanda Sherone Simpson, Aleen Bailey and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price third in 42.74.
Jamaica reigned in the BMW Men’s 4x100m yet again in what was a closely contested race through the first two legs. Jamaica, USA Red and USA Blue were even after lead-off legs by Asafa Powell, Walter Dix and Justin Gatlin, respectively. Second legs by Michael Frater, Wallace Spearmon and Doc Patton kept the field even, but Nesta Carter’s third leg put Jamaica in the lead. USA Blue had a rough handoff from Patton to Crawford, while Trell Kimmons handled third leg for USA Red. In the homestretch, Steve Mullins brought Jamaica home first in 38.33 with Mike Rodgers second for USA Red in 38.33 and Ivory Willams third for USA Blue in 38.66.
The Nike Men’s DMR looked to live up to its world-record potential through three legs. Bernard Lagat narrowly led Morocco’s Mohammed Moustaoui after the initial, 1200m leg in 2:48.30. Michael Tinsley opened up a big lead in the first half of the second, 400m leg, but Morocco’s Marouan Maadadi closed late, and Australia’s Sean Wroe surged to second, just a step behind Tinsley’s 46.13 split.
Duana Solomon ran the 800m third leg in 1:46.31, and Australia’s Lachlan Renshaw was nearly even with him going into the final leg. USA Red’s Russell Brown and Australia’s Jeff Riseley were alone in the lead for the final 1,600m leg, but a slowing pace enabled Morocco’s Amine Laalou and USA Blue’s Leo Manzano to close the gap 1,000m in. On the final lap, Manzano made a bid for the lead but fell back, leaving Brown, Laalou and Risely to battle it out. In the last 60 meters, Laalou prevailed, winning in 9:17.48, with Riseley finishing second for Australia in 9:17.56 and Brown third in 9:18.09. Laalou split 3:53.08, with Riseley posting 3:56.66 and Brown 3:57.36.
The USA women put on a show in the Nike Women’s 4x400m finishing 1-2 with Jamaica in third. Debbie Dunn and Dee Dee Trotter ran the lead legs to put USA Red and Blue in the lead, with Shericka Williams of Jamaica in third. Second legs Allyson Felix and Francena McCoroy pushed each other to extend the USA’s lead over Jamaica. McCorory turned in the fastest split of the field in 49.8 and gave USA Blue a slight lead over USA Red. McCorory gave the stick to Keisha Baker, while Felix passed to Natasha Hastings, and the two ran shoulder to shoulder. Sanya Richards-Ross anchored the red team, running just a stride ahead of Monica Hargrove of USA Blue. While anchor Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica was able to close the gap with 200m to go, Richards-Ross and Hastings found another gear for the final straight to maintain the U.S.’s 1-2 lead. USA Red won in 3:22.92, followed by USA Blue in 3:23.17.
Team USA won for the sixth consecutive year in the Visa Men’s 4x400m relay. In his Penn Relays debut, Quentin Summers led the first leg, followed closely by Ramon Miller of the Bahamas in second and David Neville of USA Blue in third. Jamal Torrence ran a quick second leg for USA Red in 44.9 to further extend the USA’s lead, Bershawn Jackson maintained it over the third leg, and Angelo Taylor sailed to the win for USA Red in 3:02.40. The Bahamas took the runner-up spot, while USA Blue faded to fourth after a shaky hand-off between Kerron Clement and Justin Gaymon.
Jamaica broke their 3-3 tie with the United States in the women’s sprint medley relay, the first USA vs. The World event to hit the track. Porscha Lucas put USA Red firmly in the lead after the first 200m leg, and La’Shauntea Moore held a roughly 3-meter lead for the Americans after the second 200. But on the third leg, Olympic and world champion 400m hurdler Melaine Walker immediately caught USA Red’s Olympic silver medalist hurdler Sheena Tosta, then proceeded to gap the field by at least three meters.
At the handoff to the 800m anchor leg, Kenia Sinclair of Jamaica led USA Blue’s Latavia Thomas, with USA Red’s Phoebe Wright in third, at least five meters back. But Sinclair, who has run splits of 1:57 and change the last two years, gave Jamaica its fourth win by running her fastest USA vs. The World split of 1:57.06 to bring Jamaica home in 3:34.64. Wright, a six-time Championship of America winner at Penn while at the University of Tennessee, split 1:59.25 to move USA Red up to second in 3:37.81, and USA Blue was third in 3:43.17.
For complete results from USA vs. The World at the Penn Relays, visit www.thepennrelays.com
ATHLETE QUOTES – USA vs. the World at the Penn Relays
Kenia Sinclair, JAM, women’s sprint medley anchor leg (800m): My teammates did well. They made it so much easier for me. The last 3 years I’ve been getting the baton in second place and third place. So this was much easier. I executed my race and hung on and decided we would get the victory. I knew I was in shape, so I was not surprised to run 1:57 today.
Melaine Walker, JAM, women’s sprint medley 3rd leg (400m): I believe this is a big race for me this year. I remember last year when I came here I wasn’t in tip-top shape and I ran an extremely bad race. This year I wanted to do a lot better than that. For some reason I believe I trained hard. All I needed to do is what. I ran the turn as hard as I can, I relaxed on the back straight away. I was able to come around strong, given my teammate a very good lead.
Lauryn Williams, USA women’s 4x100 lead-off: I’m just really excited to be out here again in my home state of Pensylvania. I think I handled it well. I THINK IS my 9th or 10th Penn relays. The crowd gets you revved up, but I got out of the blocks to get the crowd quieted down.
Marshevet Myers, USA women’s 4x100 third leg: I hadn’t competed at Penn in a few years, and it was just as I remembered it. Great meet, great crowd, great races. I brought it in and gave it to her (Carmelita Jeter), pretty much ran the last 100 with her. We were really focused on trusting one another. It was evident today as we came out today. I think the new relay project is working very well.
Carmelita Jeter, USA women’s 4x100 anchor: I’m always excited to be here. The crowd is so great. I was very excited to run. I’m definitely glad that we made it to the finish line first and broke the (Penn Relays) record. The most important thing is everybody came out of it healthy. It doesn’t matter how many fast people you have on a relay, if you can’t get that stick around, you’re not going to break any records. For running this race for the first time together (as a lineup), it shows what we can do. I knew if we could get the stick around, we’d do something special.
Asafa Powell, JAM men’s 4x100m first leg: It was a good race. I think what motivated me is because I heard BMW sponsored it, I hoped it was getting a car. But it was only a watch. I did my best. (On running lead-off) I’ve always been running the anchor leg and just wanted to try something new.
Michael Frater, JAM men’s 4x100m second leg: I think I ran pretty well. We were just out there having fun. The guys from all the different teams were out there talking. This is a world championship year, and the first big meet. We wanted to show we are ready to compete.
Nesta Carter, JAM men’s 4x100m third leg: I think I did pretty well and I was very confident with the lead after Asafa and Frater.
Ivory Williams, USA Blue 4x100m anchor: I think we did pretty good, but one day doesn’t prove anything. But I think we all need to stick together to work the relays.
Shawn Crawford, USA Blue 4x100m third leg: I was tired, but it was time to get ready and came out and I felt pretty good. But I felt the stick, then I didn’t feel the stick, then I felt it . My stick with Doc wasn’t clean. I don’t like losing, my handoff could have been smoother, and I kind of have to take the blame. If our handoffs had been smoother and cleaner, we would have been up there.
Every time I come here, the fans come and want to see a show. This is one of the most exciting places to run in the United States. They are going to be clapping and cheering to win, and they’ll be booing and whoop, whooping if you’re in last.
Mike Rodgers, USA Red, 4x100m,anchor: I felt like my leg was good, we didn’t have it in the passes and that was the race.
Russell Brown, USA Red DMR anchor leg: I got the baton in the lead. There are two options you have in that position. You can push the pace or you can stay in the race and keep feeling good. I chose the latter. I had been kicking well in my races. It didn’t quite work out. Laalou of Morocco came up on me. I came up on that short, short Penn Relays homestretch. I thought all you have to do is hold him off another 40 meters. I just didn’t have that last gear. I think I ran smart race and did the things I should have done. I just didn’t quite have it. I’m disappointed in my ability today a little bit. It’s a long season and will be fuel for the fire.
Bernard Lagat, USA Red DMR lead-off leg: My 1200 leg started really well. Before the line, the Kenyan guy told me I’m used to pacing the 1200m, so I said OK, I’m going to follow you. I followed him and I felt really good. Coming into the 800m, I was thinking to myself, 1 to go. I’m feeling so good. I wanted to run at least 2:50. I was thinking about the Kenyans all the time. We need to beat them.
Debbie Dunn, USA Red 4x400m 1st leg: It was a good day. I just wanted to give the team a good lead. It was my first race of the season. It was a rough start, but I held on.
Allyson Felix, USA Red 4x100m second leg and 4x400m I had the second leg: Rough also. But it’s fun to come and be part of this team. The 4x100 was a fun race. I love to sprint. When I get the chance, I go all for it. I wanted to be part of that team and you always want to have a performance that can put you in consideration for that final team (at the World Outdoor Championships).
Natasha Hastings, USA Red third leg: Everybody came out to run. I ran my entire leg in the second lane and was glad to bring it home for Sanya.
Sanya Richards-Ross, USA Red 4x400m anchor leg: The Penn Relays is a great place to open your season. It was exciting. The most exciting part is we had eight ladies who showed up on the track and ran really, really well.
Quentin Summers, USA Red men’s 4x400m first leg: This was my first Penn Relays, so I definitely loved it. I really enjoyed the fans. The international athletes here made it very exciting.
Jamaal Torrence, USA Red men’s 4x400 second leg: It’s always a pleasure to run at the Penn Relays. This is my third time here. My leg went pretty good. I didn’t run as fast as I thought I was running.
Bershawn Jackson, USA Red men’s 4x400 third leg: As we all know, Penn Relays is always a phenomenal meet. Coming into the race, I felt really prepared. On my leg I just wanted to give a great performance. I felt really great on my leg.
Angelo Taylor, USA Red men’s 4x400 anchor leg: Everybody ran a real strong leg. Batman ran a phenomenal leg and gave me a good lead. I knew the crowd would let me know when Chris Brown was coming up.