PHILADELPHIA - With the #1 athletes in the world from the 100m through the 400m - including 2010’s dominant stars Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter - Team USA is ready to set the track ablaze at the 12th edition of USA vs. the World at the 117th Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., at Franklin Field this Saturday.
USA vs. the World serves as the first event of the 2011 Outdoor Visa Championship Series, and will be televised on Saturday, April 30, from 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2. Tickets are still available for this year’s event at www.ThePennRelays.com
Settling the score in the Women’s Sprint Medley Relay
The first event of Saturday’s USA vs. the World line-up will bring out the best of the women’s USA/Jamaica rivalry. Team USA claimed victories the first three years of the sprint medley; however, Team Jamaica has answered with three wins in-a-row. Both teams are bringing their bests to break the series tie.
Team USA newest 2-lap star is likely to anchor, as Phoebe Wright return to Franklin Field for the first time as a professional. The Tennessee native recently won her first USA Indoor Championship and ran on six winning Penn Relays teams during her college career at the University of Tennessee. Team Jamaica is bringing its best anchor as well, with Kenia Sinclair in the relay pool, it is likely she will run the 800m leg for the 4th year in a row. Her past two year’s splits have been 1:57.4 and 1:57.5.
With the depth of talent on the women’s side for both Team USA and Jamaica, there are many options for the 200/400m legs. Teams from the relay line-ups will not be finalized until Friday night’s technical meeting. Teams from Russian, Canada and Nigeria will also bring their best to the track.
World’s best in Visa Women’s 4x100
Team USA looks to extend it’s six-year winning streak in the Visa Women’s 4x100m, bringing squads with years of experience both in the collegiate portion of the Penn Relays and the USA vs. the World competition. Allyson Felix has run on the last four winning USA vs. The World 4x100 relay teams, and her teammate of the past two years, Carmelita Jeter returns as well. Jeter has been ranked t#1 in the 100m by Track & Field News for the past two years, and is the current world leader (10.99) as the only female athlete to run under 11-seconds this year. While Felix is better known for her talent in the 200/400m, and ended the 2010 season ranked #1 in the world in both events, she also won the USA Outdoor Championships for 100m, and ended the year as the #6 short sprinter in the U.S.
Lauryn Williams, Bianca Knight and Marshavet Meyers are also in the pool, and the trio has already joined together this year running a world leader in the 4x100m at the Texas Relays in 42.45. Potential relay members also include 2008 USA 100m Champion Muna Lee and 2011 USA Indoor 60m Champion Alexandria Anderson.
Team Jamaica’s roster may include the reigning Olympic and World Champion,Shelly-Ann Fraser and Olympic medalists Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson. Teams from Germany, Brazil, the Bahamas and a Caribbean All-Stars quartet will also be on hand to attempt their first win of the series.
Team USA seeks gold in Nike Women’s 4x400m
The Nike Women’s 4x400m is Team USA’s most dominant event of the series. The Americans have won all but one of the 11 contests, and looks to extend the streak. Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross have both run on the winning team four times. Felix has four world or Olympic relay titles to her name, and Richards-Ross boasts five, as well as the 2009 world 400m title.. Felix opened her 2011 season with winning relays at the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational and the Mt. SAC Relays, while Richards-Ross returned to the track after her injury-plagued 2010 season with marks of 52.00 for 400m and 23.06 for 200m.
2011 USA Indoor Champion Natasha Hastings has an impressive relay resume of gold-medal wins of the Olympic, World Indoor, World Outdoor and World Junior 4x400m teams. In 2009 she proved that barefoot or not, she could deliver a winning performance after she lost a spike in the exchange zone.
Other available relay members include the current world leader for 400m, Francena McCorory, who set an early-season PR at the Florida Relays in 50.50, and Debbie Dunn, the 2010 World Indoor and USA Outdoor champion.
Team Jamaica is bringing a stellar line-up to Franklin Field. The reigning Olympic and World-Champion 400m hurdler Melaine Walker will be joined by fellow hurdler Kaliese Spencer who ended 2010 ranked #2 in the world.
Relay line-ups will be decided at Friday night’s technical meeting and posted on www.VisaChampionshipSeries.com