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Women’s 4x800m make it three in a row at IAAF World Relays; U.S. runs away with men’s 4x100m gold


NASSAU, Bahamas -- Team USATF kept its unbeaten streak alive in the women’s 4x800m relay, easily winning the race for the third time in as many tries Saturday evening and the American men stood alone atop the 4x100m podium at the 2017 IAAF World Relays. Competing at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, Team USATF also took home bronze in the women’s 4x200m.


Women’s 4x800m hat trick

The United States entered the women’s 4x800m as heavy favorites, and delivered on the hype. 2014 World Indoor Champion and two-time defending World Relays 4x800m champion Chanelle Price (Phoenix, Arizona) led off in first with a split of 2:01.73, and newly minted 2016 Olympian Chrishuna Williams (Fayetteville, Arkansas) handed off in second after a split of 2:03.00. 2014 Bowerman Award Winner Laura Roesler (Boerne, Texas) regained the lead after the first lap of the third leg, racing home with a lead of more than 10 meters (2:03.77). 2017 USATF Indoor 1,000m champion Charlene Lipsey (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) brought it home running easily, crossing the line in 8:16.36. Belarus was second in 8:20.07 and Australia third in 8:21.08.


U.S. men’s 4x100m wins as JAM, CAN and GBR falter

In a race of attrition, the United States emerged as the fastest and most successful of a harrowing men’s 4x100. In the final race of the night, Leshon Collins (Houston, Texas) got out well in lane 5 and Mike Rodgers (Round Rock, Texas) opened a bit of a lead. Ronnie Baker (Ft. Worth, Texas) cruised around the curve and gave Justin Gatlin (Clermont, Florida) the baton in the lead.


What transpired in other lanes was something to behold. Running in lane 4 to the inside of the U.S., crowd favorite Team Canada couldn’t complete their second pass. In lane 6, Great Britain never got their final handoff complete, leaving Gatlin alone, striding down the middle of the track to win in 38.43. Barbados was second in 39.18 and China third in 39.22.


In the second heat of the qualifying round earlier in the night, Marvin Bracy (Clermont, Florida) ran lead-off in place of Collins. Baker handed off to Gatlin with a slight lead, but Olympic bronze medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada snuck past Gatlin to win the heat in 38.21 to USA’s 38.22. Jamaica dropped the baton in heat 1 and did not advance to the final.


Women’s 4x200 bronze

The U.S. women’s 4x200m relay team of Dezerea Bryant (Lexington, Kentucky), Tiffany Townsend (Clermont, Florida), Felicia Brown (Knoxville, Tennessee) and Shalonda Solomon (Winter Garden, Florida) brought home bronze in a race dominated by Jamaica.


The Jamaicans led at the gun, and by the time Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson got the baton for the anchor leg, the race was over. The 100m and 200m champion from Rio surged home to a meet record time of 1:29.04. In lane 3, Gina Luckenkemper of Germany overtook Solomon in lane 4 on the final leg, finishing in 1:30.68 to Team USATF’s 1:30.87.


Running anchor in place of Solomon, Olympic 4x400m gold medalist Phyllis Francis (Bryan, Texas) in the qualifying round earlier in the night had to run down Lisa Mayer of Germany in the final meters. Bringing excitement to the very first heat of the night, Francis finished in 1:31.06 and Mayer crossed the line second in 1:31.16.


Team USATF races 4x400m prelims

As is traditional for the team, the American women’s 4x400m relay team easily won their qualifying heat to advance to Sunday’s final. Joanna Atkins (Clermont, Florida), Ashley Spencer (Austin, Texas), Quanera Hayes (Minneoloa, Florida) and Natasha Hastings (Round Rock, Texas) combined for a time of 3:29.27, the fastest time of the night. Hayes’ split of 50.73 was the team’s fastest and the second-quickest of the evening, after only the opening leg of Bahamaian Olympic 400m gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s 50.25 in heat 2.


The men’s 4x400 found a somewhat tougher row to hoe. In a see-saw race with Trinidad and Tobago, Tony McQuay (Clermont, Florida) on the third leg was the only U.S. leg to finish first. Along with teammates Kyle Clemons (Lawrence, Kansas), Najee Glass (Gainesville, Florida) and David Verburg (Gainesville, Florida), Team USATF was nipped at the finish line, running second in 3:02.62 to Trinidad & Tobago’s winning 3:02.51, which held up as the two fastest times of the day. Both teams move to Sunday’s final, where 2008 Olympic gold medalist and two-time relay gold medalist LaShawn Merritt will join the U.S. lineup.


Fans can follow along with #USATF at the #IAAFWorldRelays on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. The 2017 IAAF World Relays will stream live on NBC Sports Gold at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Highlights will be broadcast on Universal HD beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 23.


Interviews: Women’s 4x800m | Men’s 4x100m | Women’s 4x200m | Women’s 4x400m | Men’s 4x400m


Amanda Brooks
Marketing and Communications Manager
USA Track & Field

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