Team USA sweeps USA vs. The World
PHILADELPHIA – Competing against top national teams from the Caribbean, Europe, North America and Africa, Team USA swept all six events at USA vs. The World, Presented by Verizon, at the 109th running of the Penn Relays.
Running as many as three teams in each event, the Americans placed 1-2 in five of the six relays, and went 1-2-3 in the Verizon men’s 4x100-meter relay on a chilly and damp day at Franklin Field. The weather dampened the spirits of neither the athletes competing, nor the 39,783 spectators on hand, the fourth-largest crowd ever for the Penn Relays. (The previous three editions of the meet featuring USA vs. The World have provided the three largest crowds, and benefited from warmer and sunnier weather.)
The Verizon men’s 4x100m relay served as the most powerful display of American relay prowess. Team USA’s Red (38.62), Blue (38.67) and Olympic Development (38.86) teams swept first, second and third place. Jamaica was fourth (39.13) and Great Britain fifth (39.59).
Veteran lead-off man Jon Drummond got the Red team out well, and it was world indoor 60m champion Justin Gatlin’s crushing second leg that put Red in control of the race, leaving the field behind. Coby Miller maintained the lead, handing of to 100m world record holder Tim Montgomery, who narrowly held off a fast-closing J.J. Johnson from USA Blue.
“There was a live NBC broadcast, and I just wanted to put on a show for all the fans out there,” Gatlin said. “I’m the young guy, the rookie, and I had to prove myself today.”
The Americans were nearly as dominant in the Nike women’s 4x100m relay, avenging their defeat to Jamaica at the 2002 USA vs. The World. Four-time NCAA 100m champion Angela Williams got out to a slim, early lead for USA Red over Tayna Lawrence of Jamaica, and USA Red and Jamaica were in a dead heat after the second leg, run by Kelli White for the U.S. and Astia Walker for Jamaica. Olympic relay gold medalist Inger Miller ran a brilliant curve to put USA Red well in the lead, with Chryste Gaines bringing it home in 43.10. Known primarily as a 200- and 400-meter runner, Crystal Cox anchored USA Blue to second place in 43.42, with Jamaica third in 43.56.
The Visa women’s 4x400 was perhaps the most exciting race of the afternoon, bringing the crowd to its feet for four laps of heated competition. Me’Lisa Barber put USA Blue in the lead after one lap, followed by Jamaica, Germany and Donna Howard-Arnett of USA Red. Two-time Olympic relay gold medalist Jearl Miles-Clark drew inspiration from a roaring crowd, bringing USA Red from fourth to first on her second leg. She narrowly led Catherine Scott of Jamaica and Debbie Dunn of USA Blue.
Crystal Cox maintained the slightest of leads on the third leg for Red, followed by Mary Danner of USA Blue and Sandie Richards of Jamaica. Former World University Games and NCAA champion Demetria Washington put the race away for the Red team on the anchor, finishing in 3:26.65. Tia Trent kept Blue in second at 3:28.47, with Sheryl Morgan and Jamaica third in 3:28.69.
“This crowd is a madhouse out there, and it gave me energy,” said Miles-Clark. “The crowd was great. It reminded me of Atlanta in 1996 [the Olympics, where Miles-Clark anchored Team USA to gold]. If you didn’t have anything left, they gave it to you.”
Shawn Crawford, Ramon Clay, Darvis Patton and Justin Gatlin posted a dominating win in the Nike men’s 4x200m with their time of 1:19.16, just .05 off the Penn Relays and USA vs. The World record. Patton put the race away on the third leg, rushing past Bernard Williams of USA Blue, which finished in 1:21.43. Jamaica was third in 1:22.11.
The Visa men’s 4x400m relay left the Franklin Field crowd in stunned silence. Jamaica led USA Blue and USA Red after one lap, but Davian Clarke and Danny McFarlane dropped the baton on their handoff for Jamaica, essentially putting them out of the race. The USA Blue team of Brew, Jerome Young, Corey Nelson and James Davis seized the lead and extended it without a challenge. Their impressive winning time of 2:58.40, including a 43.2 split for Young, led the USA High Performance team in second (3:00.72) and the Caribbean All-Stars in third (3:01.09). USA Red (James Carter, Tyree Washington, Alvin Harrison, Calvin Harrison) had the most surprising finish besides Jamaica, placing fourth in 3:01.68.
Also stunning was USA Red’s win in the Verizon women’s 4x200. Kelli White, LaTasha colander-Richardson, Donica Merriman and Crystal Cox easily won with a time of 1:31.41, over USA Blue (1:33.02) and Canada (1:36.05).
The strongest-ever showing by Team USA was a testament to USA Track & Field’s new National Relay Program (NRP). Designed with a goal of reaping four relay gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the NRP provides practices and competitions for U.S. relay runners throughout the country, and throughout the competitive season. Every top U.S. runner considered a possible part of Team USA relays is participating in the NRP. USA vs. The World is the most high-profile of at least four critical domestic events in the NRP, including the Texas Relays, Mt. SAC Relays and Modesto Relays.
“This whole program is perfect,” said Olympic 4x100m relay gold medalist Jon Drummond. “There are no egos here. We’ve got a lot of pride, a lot of egos, but we check them at the door. We’re the U.S. team. This program we have will redefine relays as we know it.”
See below for complete results from USA vs. The World. For complete results from the Penn Relays, visit www.thepennrelays.com.
USA vs. THE WORLD ATHLETE QUOTES
Nike women’s 4x100m
Inger Miller: “That’s the best we’ve done [at USA vs. The World]. I’m very proud of us. We’re putting it together. We had three fabulous handoffs. In better weather, we would have run sub-43 [seconds].”
Chryste Gaines: “We definitely wanted to put a team together than could beat Jamaica. We just wanted to get good sticks. We know we’ll be running together again later this summer. This is the first time we have so many different venues to run relays in [as part of the National Relay Program].”
Verizon men’s 4x100m/Nike men’s 4x200m
Tim Montgomery: “I’m back at it. I’ve got a bulls-eye on the back of my shirt now. It was challenging and everything I wanted. It was fun. It was my first race since September 14. This race lifted a lot off my shoulders. I wanted to lift this burden.”
Justin Gatlin: “Because of the weather, my hamstrings felt a little tight. I was technically sound, and we clicked well together. There was a live NBC broadcast, and I just wanted to put on a show for all the fans out there. I’m the young guy, the rookie, and I had to prove myself today. Once you to prove to everyone what leg you’re strongest on, I felt we can carry this on to the Olympics and challenge anybody.”
Coby Miller: “I had run with Tim last year, so we had chemistry. We strive for perfection. Justin and I had a great handoff.”
J.J. Johnson: “Everybody has a bulls-eye on their back to me. On our relay, we had two veterans and a rookie on the third leg. I always feel good running anchor. I’m trying to prove to the world I’m the best anchor leg out there. It doesn’t matter who I’m running against. If I’m on anchor and somebody is a few steps ahead of me, I’m going to go after them. That’s the type of guy I am. I like to be the underdog.”
Jon Drummond: “That’s a decent time under these conditions. It’s exciting for me, being the old guy on the team, passing to the youngest guy. The relay program is great to get to know each other. This whole program is perfect. There are no egos here. We’ve got a lot of pride, a lot of egos, but we check them at the door. We’re the U.S. team. This program we have will redefine relays as we know it.”
Verizon women’s 4x200m
LaTasha Colander-Richardson: “I thought it was excellent that we did the relay camp. We got the chance to work with each other on our relay team. We can really pass good sticks.”
Donica Merriman: “I’m kind of new. I knew LaTasha back in college, so it’s an honor to be on the team with her.”
Visa women’s 4x400m
Jearl Miles-Clark: “I got the stick, and I could see (three) people ahead of me. I was getting tired. This crowd is a madhouse out there, and it gave me energy. The crowd was great. It reminded me of Atlanta in 1996 [the Olympics, where Miles-Clark anchored Team USA to gold]. If you didn’t have anything left, they gave it to you. We had four good legs today. It was a good race.”
Demetria Washington: “This crowd reminds me of the World Championships. I got the baton, and in the ‘woop’ corner [the third and fourth turns], I thought somebody was coming. I didn’t want to disappoint the mean. For us to go 1-2 is really great.”
Visa men’s 4x400m
Jerome Young: “We’ve been running pretty good together all year. We had a great crowd, too. I’ve split 44 low before [in a relay], so this [43.2] was my fastest ever. Everybody’s hand-offs were smooth. It was just right.”
James Davis: “The U.S. produces enough talent that any four runners you put on the track, we’re going to win the gold medal. We’re not trying to make people forget about Michael Johnson, we’re trying to make people think about us.”
USA vs. THE WORLD RESULTS
Verizon men’s 4x100
- USA Red (Jon Drummond, Justin Gatlin, Coby Miller, Tim Montgomery) 38.62; 2. USA Blue (Mickey Grimes, Bernard Williams, Kaaron Conwright, J.J. Johnson) 38.67; 3. USA High Performance (Shawn Crawford, Terrence Trammell, Darvis Patton, Kenneth Brokenburr) 38.86; 4. Jamaica (Lindel Frater, Ricardo Williams, Lancford Davis, Dwight Thomas) 39.13; 5. Great Britain (Jonathan Barbour, Julian Golding, Dwayne Grant, Mark Lewis-Francis) 39.59; 6. Canada (Hank Palmer, Anson Henry, Okiki Akinremi, Nicolas Macrozonaris) 40.06; 7. Germany (Holger Blume, Marc Blume, Alex Kosenkow, Jan Schulbe) 40.42; 8. Liberia (Kouty Mawenh, Sultan Tucker, Joseph Brent, Sayon Cooper) 41.06.
Nike women’s 4x100 1. USA Red (Angela Williams, Kelli White, Inger Miller, Chryste Gaines) 43.10; 2. USA Blue (Angela Daigle, LaTasha Jenkins, LaTasha Colander-Richardson, Gail Devers) 43.42; 3. Jamaica (Tayna Lawrence, Astia Walker, Kerro Stewart, Brigette Foster) 43.56; 4. Canada (Danielle Carrington, Erica Witter, Adriene Power, Asha James) 45.13; 5. USA High Performance (Debbie Dunn, Donica Merriman, Kia Davis, Crystal Cox) 45.59; 6. Germany (Anja-marie Lehmann, Julia Lerre, Theresia Strecker, Lisa Ende) 47.83.
Nike men’s 4x200 1. USA Red (Shawn Crawford, Ramon Clay, Darvis Patton, Justin Gatlin) 1:19.16; 2. USA Blue (Coby Miller, Ken Brokenburr, Bernard Williams, J.J. Johnson), 1:21.43; 3. Jamaica (Garth Robinson, Ricardo Williams, Lancford Davis, Usian Bolt) 1:22.11; 4. Caribbean All-Stars (Dominic Demeritte, Chris Brown, Dion Crabbe, Kim Collins) 1:22.61; 5. Canada (Okiki Akinremi, Anson Henry, Shane Niemi, Tyler Christopher) 1:24.05; 6. German (Holger Blume, Mark Blume, Ale Kosenkow, Jan Schulbe) 1:26.09; 7. Shore AC (Aarom Johnson, Matt Shreibman, Dameon Johnson, Jonathan Carter) 1:29.01.
Verizon women’s 4x200 1. USA Red (Kelli White, LaTasha Colander-Richardson, Donica Merriman, Crystal Cox) 1:31.41; 2. USA Blue (Angela Daigle, Debbie Dunn, Tia Trent, LaTasha Jenkins) 1:33.02; 3. Canada (Lindsay Lockheed, Mortine Cloutier, Daniella Carrington, Asha James) 1:36.05; 4. Germany (Anja-Marie Lehmann, Julia Lerre, Ann-Kabhrin Elbe, Lisa Ende) 1:40.91.
Visa men’s 4x400
- USA Blue (Derrick Brew, Jerome Young, Corey Nelson, James Davis) 2:58.40; 2. USA High Performance (Milton Campbell, Jerome Davis, Anthuan Maybank, Bershawn Jackson) 3:00.72; 3. Caribbean All-Stars (Chris Brown, Dominic Demmeritte, Arvad Moncur, Alleyne Francique) 3:01.09; 4. USA Red (James Carter, Tyree Washington, Alvin Harrison, Calvin Harrison) 3:01.68; 5. Canada (Tyler Christopher, Shane Niami, Monte Raymond, Lawrence Ringwald) 3:04.58; dq: Jamaica (Davian Clarke, Danny McFarlane, Michael Blackwood, Gregory Haughton (3:05.22)
Visa women’s 4x400
- USA Red (Donna Howard-Arnett, Jearl Miles-Clark, Crystal Cos, Demetria Washington) 3:26.65; 2. USA Blue (Me’Lisa Barber, Debbie Dunn, Mary Danner, Tia Trent) 2:28.47; 3. Jamaica (Ronetta Smith, Catherine Scott, Sandie Richards, Sheryl Morgan) 3:28.69; 4. Irina Rossihkina, Tatiana Levina, Anastasia Kapachinskia, Natalie Nazarova) 3:29.19; 5. Germany (Claudia Marx, Ulrike Urbansky, Karinna Fink, Eileen Muller) 2:37.67; 6. Canada (Lindsay Lockheed, Erica Witter, Martine Cloutier, Adrienne Power) 3:43.17.