Double relay gold for Team USA on sixth day of IAAF World Junior Championships


Glen McMicken
USA Track & Field

MONCTON, CANADA -- Team USA romped to a pair of gold medals in the men's and women's 4x100-meter relays Saturday at the 13th IAAF World Junior Championships, turning in two of the fastest times in Junior history.

The women's quartet of 200-meter gold medalist Stormy Kendrick of Clemson, Takeia Pinckney of LSU, Wisconsin high schooler Dezerea Bryant and Texas prep Ashley Collier got out to an early lead and Bryant's carry blew open the race as Collier crossed the line at 43.44, the fifth-fastest time ever by a Junior squad. It was the perfect birthday present for Pinckney, who turned 19 today.

"We had great chemistry," Pinckney said. "The teamwork was great, we got the stick around, we won, and we got the leading time in the world this year." Bryant added, "All I was thinking when I got the stick was go, go, go, go. I was so happy to had it off in the lead."

Team USA's men zipped to the third fastest time ever by a Junior squad at 38.93, trailing only the U.S. teams from the 2004 and 2002 World Junior meets. Michael Granger of Mississippi, Charles Silmon of TCU, Eric Harris of Georgia and Kansas high schooler Oliver Bradwell won by more than half a second over Jamaica, which was anchored by 100 champ Dexter Lee.

Silmon, who yesterday predicted a sub-39 effort in the final, said, "We were all feeling really good out there. The track was hot." The team said that watching an inspirational television show and the women's relay win were motivational, and during the post-race interview on CBC they danced and sang to J. Flash's "Doing His Thang."

Penn State's Evonne Britton opened the day's medal haul with a bronze in the women's 400 hurdles, setting a lifetime best of 57.32 despite running in lane eight. "Running on the outside is pretty tough," Britton said. "I tried to get out and control the pace. It is hard to judge how other people are running when you can only see your own lane. I am very pleased with the PR, and knew that if I brought it in strong off the final curve I had a chance."

The day's other finals saw Texas Tech's Shade Weygandt and Indiana's Kelsie Ahbe tie for seventh in the women's pole vault with clearances at 3.95. Andrew Evans of Michigan was 10th in the discus at 56.91, and Portland's Trevor Dunbar took 11th in the men's 5000 at 14:16.08.

"I wasn't really prepared to run without a second pack," said Dunbar, who ran much of the race by himself. "I thought I would have some company out there, but maybe I should have gone out harder from the start. When I was running alone, I was just waiting to get picked off by someone fresh. I made up a bit of ground on the leaders, but really didn't know what to do in that situation."

Collegians Casimir Loxsom of Penn State and Robby Andrews of Virginia were impressive winners in the semifinals of the men's 800. Loxsom dominated the third heat in 1:46.91, while Andrews outkicked the field to finish in 1:48.76. Loxsom said, "I felt the first 600 was really strong so I kept a bit in reserve. I did move a bit quicker in the final 100 to just make sure. In the final, I expect the Kenyans to take it out very fast. The U.S. has never won a medal in this event, so it would be great to win two tomorrow."

Andrews said, "It was a rough race out there, much more physical than usual. I am well prepared and very excited for the final."

Both 4x400 teams advanced to the final, and the men turned in the fastest Junior time in the world this year with a 3:05.84. Ohio high schooler Blake Heriot ran the lead leg in 47.3, and handed off to George Mason's David Verburg, who split 46.2. The third carry by Florida high schooler Joshua Edmonds was 46.6, and Washington prep Michael Berry anchored in 45.8. Berry said, "We ran really well for the first time together. We just wanted to win and make the final, and I knew I had to hold the lead. They did all the dirty work, and I just brought it home."

The women's squad finished second in their heat at 3:35.26 with a team of North Carolina high schooler Sanura Eley-O'Reilly (54.9), Texas prep Diamond Dixon (53.3), North Dakota high schooler Laura Roesler (53.1) and South Carolina prep Briana Nelson (54.0).

Caleb Cross of Arkansas ran 13.72 to take second in his semifinal of the men's 110 hurdles and qualify for the final, but California high schooler Johnathan Cabral did not advance after placing fourth in his semi at 13.80. Cross said, "I hit a lot of hurdles, but I can't complain because I made the finals. I swerved a little off to the side after hurdle 10 and had to correct that for the run in."

Triple jumpers Omar Craddock of Florida and Maryland high schooler Marquis Dendy advanced to the final, as Craddock hit the auto qualifying mark with a 16.11 on his second attempt. Dendy jumped 15.69 on his final effort to garner a spot in the final.

With one day remaining in the Championships, Team USA has nine total medals, three of them gold, and leads the placings table with 126 points. The final day's competition starts Sunday at 1:30 with the women's high jump.

For more information on the IAAF World Junior Championships, visit