Felix shines at Penn Relays

Apr 26, 2008 - 10:03 PM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Allyson Felix got the better of sprint rival Sanya Richards as the Americans dueled for the first time outdoors at the Unuted States vs. World meet at the Penn Relays on Saturday.

Felix, the women's world 200m champion , and Richards, the 2006 IAAF World Athlete of the Year Richards clashed on the anchor leg of the women's 4x100 meter relay, representing rival USA quartets in front of a crowd of 49,831 at the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field.

It was Richards' Blue squad that made the early pace, as Muna Lee, Torri Edwards, and then Carmelita Jeter got the better of the Red team's Lauryn Williams, Miki Barber and her twin sister Lisa Barber with Jamaica also looking strong..

Richards, the 400m specialist, is looking to stake a claim to a place on the six-woman U.S. Olympic 4x100 squad for Beijing later this summer and she took the baton a step ahead of Felix only to see her rival glide by on her inside down the straight for a U.S. Red victory in 42.57 seconds. U.S. Blue was second in 42.64 and Jamaica third in 43.31.

Later, Felix and Richards turned teammates for the women's 4x400, helping U.S. Blue to a meet record 3:22.16 victory.

Felix took the baton from Mary Wineburg and opened up a big lead over Jamaica's Novlene Williams to clock a 50.1-second leg before handing off to Natasha Hastings.

When Richards began her anchor leg she already had a 35m lead to protect but was not to be overshadowed by Felix and ran a 50.18 for an emphatic victory in what already looks like the top U.S. quartet for Beijing.

Jamaica was a distant second in 3:27.96, just ahead of the U.S. Red quartet of Moushaumi Robinson, Sheena Johnson-Totsa, Monica Hargrove, LaShinda Demus in 3:27.98.

The hyped U.S. Red men's 4x100 quartet of Leroy Dixon, Wallace Spearmon Jr., Doc Patton and Tyson Gay saw its hopes hit at the first changeover when Dixon appeared to be struck in the face by the Canadian runner on his inside. The impact disrupted Dixon's stride but the American managed to continue and make the handover to Spearmon, albeit with plenty of ground to make up on the leaders.

Spearmon recouped some of it, as did Doc Patton on the third leg but it was too late to run down Jamaica, anchored by Dwight Thomas, who delighted the huge contingent of Jamaican fans at Franklin Field by taking the race in 39.04 with the U.S. Blue team of John Capel, Xavier Carter, Michael Rodgers and Shawn Crawford second in 39.14.

Trinidad & Tobago took third in 39.33, with anchor Darrell Brown holding off Gay as U.S. Red clocked 39.38.

The Canada Red squad of Hank Palmer, Anson Henry, Jared Connaughton, Brian Barnet placed fifth in 39.60 with Netherlands Antilles sixth in 39.86 and a Great Britain quartet of Simeon Williamson, Mark Findlay, Andy Turner, Tyrone Edgar seventh in 39.96 . Canada White was disqualified

Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner was the difference between the rival U.S. teams as he ran a 43.88 final leg to drive the Blue team to a sub-three minute victory in 2:59.71.

The Blue and Red teams had been neck and neck at the end of the third leg as 2007 World Outdoor 400m hurdle champion Kerron Clement duked it out with the Blue's Darold Williamson.

Clement pushed his rival all the way but the hurdler was just edged out as Williamson handed over to his old Baylor teammate Wariner to run the telling anchor leg. Former Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor had no answer for U.S. Red but did enough to hold Jamaica for second place in 3:01.12, with the Caribbean nation third in 3:02.00.

Jamaica, though, had already added a second victory of the meet by taking the women's sprint medley relay, contested with legs of 200m, 200m, 400m and 800m.

Jamaica clocked 3:37.61, with the All-Stars second in 3:39.16 and U.S. Red third in 3:41.08.

There was excitement in the men's distance relay when U.S. Blue lead runner Nick Symmonds ran strong 1200m to open up a lead over Kenya with USA Red third.

David Neville continued the hard pace for Blue over the 400m second leg, stretching the lead to around 50m but when Jonathan Johnson took the baton for the third leg of 800m, that lead was shortened to just 15m after a charge by the World All Stars' Kenyan Ismael Kombic.

As the final leg of 1600m got under way, the race was up for grabs once again as U.S. Blue runner Christian Smith was forced to battle with U.S. Red 17-year-old Kenyan Josephat Kithii, and the All-Stars, also represented on the final leg by a Kenyan, Boniface Songok

At the bell, Sean O'Brien hit the front with his move covered initially by Kithii, before O'Brien kicked on again down the back straight. Kithii hit back once more, though and this time O'Brien had no answer as the teenager raced away from him down the home straight for a Kenyan victory in 9:29.79.

U.S. Red finished second in 9:30.66 with the All Stars third in 9:31.67. U.S.Blue was fourth in 9:32.12 and Canada fifth in 9:42.20.

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