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Men’s relays sweep as Team USA delivers exciting performances at USA vs. The World


PHILADELPHIA -- Team USA took home four relay victories, and the men swept their relay battles, at this year’s installment of USA vs. the World Saturday at Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania.

USA Red turned in a terrific finish in the men’s 4x100-meter relay, courtesy of Mike Rodgers (Round Rock, Texas), Justin Gatlin (Clermont, Florida), Isiah Young (Oxford, Mississippi) and Ryan Bailey (Los Angeles, California) taking down a veteran Jamaican team including Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell.

Team USA was second after the first handoff but Gatlin flew on the second leg to hand off to Young with the U.S. clearly in the lead. Jamaica made up ground on the third leg but not enough, as Bailey held off Powell to cross in 38.68. Jamaica closed in 38.88 and Team USA Blue (Joe Morris [Tualatin, Oregon], Justin Walker [Slidell, Louisiana], Maurice Mitchell [Overland Park, Kansas] and Sean McLean [Raleigh, North Carolina]) was third in 38.92.

The women’s 4x100-meter relay was equally exciting, as youngster Kaylin Whitney (Clermont, Florida) nearly ran down Natasha Morrison of Jamaica at the finish. Team USA finished second to Jamaica, 43.70-43.79.

The women’s 4x200-meter relay, comprised of Leslie Cole (Carson, California), Tawanna Meadows (Lewisville, Texas), Cambrya Jones (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and Porscha Lucas (College Station, Texas) had an exciting finish Saturday as Team USA and the Jamaicans went to the wire. The U.S. led after the first two legs and Jamaica and Caribbean All-Stars were shoulder-to-shoulder with Team USA. After a chaotic final handoff, Jamaica emerged with a strong lead out of the turn with Team USA and Caribbean All-Stars close behind. Lucas ran down Jamaica at the finish, with both teams finishing in 1:31.98. After a long wait to confirm, Team USA was given the victory 1:31.972 to 1:31.979.

The Team USA men’s 4x200-meter relay cruised to a victory Saturday with a wire-to-wire finish in 1:20.64. Morris led things off with a great opening leg, handing off to Mitchell with a comfortable lead. Ameer Webb (Los Angeles, California) took the stick and staved off a strong surge by Jamaica before two-time Olympian Wallace Spearmon (Fayetteville, Arkansas) crushed the anchor leg and ran for the win, defeating Jamaica (1:21.45) and Guyana (1:24.42).

The women’s 4x400-meter relay turned in a runner-up finish Saturday, with the quartet of Brianna Nelson (Austin, Texas) [54.7], Shapri Romero (Tucson, Arizona) [50.8], Jernail Hayes (Petersburg, Virginia) [52.00], and DeeDee Trotter (Los Angeles, California) [50.95] crossing in 3:28.42. Jamaica finished ahead of the Americans in 3:26.58.

The men’s 4x400-meter relay closed out the day in thrilling fashion, with Olympic silver medalist Bryshon Nellum (Los Angeles, California) running a 45.7 opening leg to hand off in first. Indoor 500m world record holder Brycen Spratling (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) handed off the baton just behind the Bahamas to Clayton Parros (Clermont, Florida), who ran a 45.11 third leg to hand off the baton even with the Bahamas. Notre Dame All-American Patrick Feeney (South Bend, Indiana) was the difference-maker for Team USA, holding off a relentless anchor leg from Ramon Miller of the Bahamas to turn in a 44.84 split and give Team USA the victory in 3:00.86. Bahamas finished in 3:01.63 and Jamaica was third in 3:03.02.

USA vs. the World this year served as a precursor for the excitement expected next weekend at the IAAF World Relays, May 2-3.

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