TRACK & FIELD: U.S.A Women Shine at Penn Relays
PHILADELPHIA – Team USA on Saturday dominated the biggest international field ever assembled for USA vs. the World to sweep all six races at the 13th edition of the event at the Penn Relays.
With Americans setting meet records in the women’s 4×100m and 4×400m relay and a historic first win for the U.S. men in the distance medley relay, Team USA made its strongest statement in the history of USA vs. the World. More than 49,000 fans attended Saturday’s competition at Franklin Field.
Visa Women’s 4×100m
For the second year in a row, Team USA ran to a Penn Relays record in the women’s 4×100m. Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter of Team USA Red won in a time of 42.19. The 2012 World Indoor 60m bronze medalist, Madison got out well, and three-time world 200m champion Felix opened it up on the backstretch. Bianca Knight ran a scintillating third leg to hand off to Jeter well in the lead. The reigning world 100m champion, Jeter lengthened the lead on the final stretch to win by more than a second over Jamaica in 43.31, while Nigeria took third in 43.92.
Nike Women’s 4×400m
Team USA Red set a Penn Relays record by nearly a second to secure a U.S. sweep of all six relays. Francena McCorory got off to a quick start to place Team USA in the lead. After Allyson Felix followed up with a second strong leg (50.1), Natasha Hastings (50.3) and Sanya Richards-Ross were able to enjoy the lead free of the crowd behind them. Richards-Ross clocked the fastest split of the day in 49.5 to finish in 3:21.18, more than five seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Jamaica was second in 3:26.65, while USA Blue (DeeDee Trotter, Jessica Beard, Moushaumi Robinson, Monica Hargrove) took third in 3:27.08.
BWM Women’s Sprint Medley
Team USA Blue snapped Jamaica’s four-year winning streak in the women’s sprint medley relay with a victory of 3:42.85. Porscha Lucas and Barbara Pierre ran the first two 200m legs for the U.S. team and exchanged the lead with the Jamaicans. While Jamaica pulled ahead on the 400m leg with Olympic 400m hurdles champion Melaine Walker (52.5) doing the honors, Phoebe Wright kept Team USA in contact as she dropped down from her normal 800m distance to split 53.9 for the quarter. “The 400 is a little bit tricky for me. Wright said after the race. “I was just trying to run all-out for one lap for these days. I haven’t run a quarter since college. She continued. “My legs fell off when there was like 80 meters to go. It’s my favorite meet by far.”
Jamaica’s anchor Korene Hinds received the baton with at least a 10-meter lead over USA Blue. Marilyn Okoro of Great Britain overtook USA’s Maggie Vessey on the backstretch on the first lap of the final, 800m leg. But Hinds soon faded and Okoro and Vessey both overtook Hinds at the same point on the backstretch and began the battle for the lead. Once Vessey hit the homestretch, she surged ahead to win by a stride. Vessey split 2:02.6 to anchor the win. Great Britain was second in 3:43.72 and Jamaica was third in 3:45.79.
Penn Relays – Fields Set for Saturday’s USA vs. The World
INDIANAPOLIS – With less than 100 days until the 2012 Olympic Games, a record number of athletes and countries will compete at the 13th edition of USA vs. the World at the 118th Penn Relays in Philadelphia, this Saturday.
With teams around the globe eager to ready their squads for the Olympic Games, no fewer than 21 countries will be represented at the premier relays event in the world. Team USA will battle against teams from Jamaica, Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Germany, Kenya and Morocco.
This year’s relays include the Nike Men’s Distance Medley, BMW Women’s Sprint Medley, BMW Men’s 4×100m, Visa Women’s 4×100m, Visa Men’s 4×400m and Nike Women’s 4×400m.
USA vs. the World is the first stop of the 2012 Outdoor Visa Championship Series and will be broadcast live on NBC from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Penn Relays veterans Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross and Carmelita Jeter will once again headline the U.S. women’s squads as the trio have their sights set on London gold in the 100, 200 and 400 meters. Richards-Ross is fresh off her World Indoor victory in the 400, while Felix is a two-time Olympic silver medalist and 3-time world champion in the 200. Both women are still weighing a possible 200/400 double in 2012, and Felix could even drop down to the 100. The duo will also be joined by their teammates from the gold medal winning World Championships 4×400m squad, Francena McCorory and Jessica Beard.
Jeter was named the 2011 Jesse Owens Female Athlete of the Year after winning gold at the World Championships in the 100m and doubling up with silver in the 200m. With a personal best of 10.64 in the 100m, Jeter is the second-fastest woman in history.Three members of the 2011 World Outdoor champion 4×100m relay also will be in the pool for Philadelphia with Jeter, Felix and Bianca Knight.
Middle distance training partners Phoebe Wright and Erica Moore are great assets for the sprint medley relay lineup. Wright was a six-time Penn Relays champion during her career at the University of Tennessee, and Moore won her first international medal with a bronze at the World Indoor Championships.
USA vs. JAM vs. GBR
The women of Team USA will face stiff competition from the best of the world. Three of the four women from Jamaica’s silver 4×100m team, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson, are also set to compete, and Shericka Williams and Novlene Williams-Mills both ran on Jamaica’s second-place World Outdoor 4×400m team. Pryce enters 2012 as the defending Olympic champion in the 100. Jamaica will once again be bringing their 800m heavy-hitter Kenia Sinclair, who spilt 1:57.06 for 800m in last year’s sprint medley relay.
While the USA vs. Jamaica rivalry is a crowd favorite, the U.S. women will also have to watch out for Great Britain. All four of the members from the winning World Indoor 4×400m team are scheduled to compete, including former American Shana Cox, now running under the Union Jack.
A full menu of countries set to compete at USA vs. The World includes: Belgium, Venezuela, Australia, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Canada, Guyana, Dominican, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Germany, Grenada, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Russia, Trinidad, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and the United States.