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Whiting takes shot silver

Ryan Whiting

Ryan Whiting

MOSCOW – A return to gold for the men’s 4x400m and a silver medal for Ryan Whiting in the men’s shot put in his first World Outdoor Championships Friday night at Luzhniki Stadium. The medals helped provide a bright spot to an evening in which one of the sport’s biggest stars fell to injury.

Team USA now has won 16 medals in these championships – 5 gold, 9 silver and 2 bronze – and leads the point standings 194-127 over Russia.

Gold and silver night

After a disappointing silver medal in the men’s 4x400m relay at the London Olympics, a young Team USA, with an average age of only 23-years-old, came together to bring Team USA back to its gold standard in the relay. David Verburg (Lynchberg, Va.) ran the lead leg and brought Team USA to the exchange zone even with the field. Newly crowned 400m silver medalist Tony McQuay (Gainesville, Fla.) split 44.68 to create a small lead for the U.S. with Belgium second and Great Britain third. It was 19-year-old Arman Hall (Pembrook Pines, Fla.) who opened a lead for Team USA on the final stretch to split 44.92. Fresh off of his World Championship title, LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.) split an easy 44.74 to anchor the Americans home in a world-leading time of 2:58.71. Jamaica edged out Russia for second, clocking 2:59.88 to Russia’s 2:59.90. This is the 8th gold Medal for Team USA at the World Championships. This also marks Hall’s fifth world championship medal in three years – 2011 World Youth 400m and sprint medley relay champion, 2012 World Junior 400m and 4x400m champion and now his first senior title.

The first thrower of the night and the top qualifier, Ryan Whiting (Port Matilda, Pa.) put up a first-round throw of 21.57m/70-9.25 to immediately take the lead. Reese Hoffa (Athens, Ga.) sat in third with a second-round throw of 21.12m/69-3.5. Hoffa didn’t improve on that mark and ended up fourth. Defending champion David Storl of Germany uncorked 21.73m/71-3.5 in the fourth round to knock Whiting to the silver-medal position, with Hoffa remaining third after four rounds of throwing. But Canadian Dylan Armstrong’s fifth-round mark of 21.34m/70-0.25 pushed Hoffa into fourth and off the medal podium. Cory Martin (Opelika, Ala.) sent the shot 20.09m/65-11 and did not get to advance to the final three throws.

Felix suffers hamstring tear

What was hoped to be a historical triumph turned to tragedy in the women’s 200-meter final. Going for a record fourth world title in the event, Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, Calif.) visibly cried out half-way through the turn, then fell to the track, clutching her right leg. Although a stretcher was brought out to the track, Felix’s older brother and manager, Wes, carried his sister off the track. An ultrasound performed immediately at the track revealed a tear of her right medial hamstring.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica went on to win the 200 in 22.17, completing a 100-200 double, with Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast second in 22.32 and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria third in 22.32. Jeneba Tarmoh  (San Jose, Calif.) was fifth in 22.78 and Charonda Williams (Richmond, Calif.) sixth in 22.81; both women returned to check on Felix before leaving the track.

The final of the men’s 5,000m started at a jog, until Isiah Koech of Kenya sprinted to the lead and was soon followed by the rest of the field. A tactical race was on again, with surges and slow-downs and multiple leaders. With 600 meters remaining, the fight for the finish began in earnest, with Bernard Lagat (Tucson, Ariz.) Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.) and Ryan Hill (Hickory, N.C.) still in the main pack. Coming through the bell, Lagat got tangled up a bit, but came back to move up to fourth over the final turn, but didn’t have enough to hold his position for the finish. Lagat finished 6th in 13:29.87, with Rupp 8th in 13:29.87. Hill finished 10th in 13:31.27. Mo Farah of Great Britain duplicated his 10,000m-5,000m Olympic double in Moscow, winning the race in 13:26.90.

Jeneva McCall had the farthest toss ever by a U.S. woman at the World Championships, placing ninth. McCall (Carbondale, Ill.)  threw 72.33/273-3 on her first attempt and improved incrementally on her next two throws. Her toss of 72.65m/238-4 on her third attempt was her best effort of the evening. Amanda Bingson (San Marcos, Texas) had one legal throw of 72.56m/238-1 to place 10th on her second attempt. All four throws surpassed the previous best by a U.S. woman at Worlds, so McCall now holds that distinction.

As the oldest man to ever jump in the final of a World Championships, 35-year-old Dwight Phillips (Smyrna, Ga.) leapt 7.88m/25-10.25 on his third attempt, but did not advance to the final three attempts and finished 11th.

Qualifying Action
For the first time in World Championships history, Team USA will have three women in the 800-meter final. In the first semifinal, Alysia Montano led the pack through 400m in 56.33 held on for the win in 1:58.92, with Brenda Martinez (Big Bear Lake, Calif.), kicking to place second in 1:59.03. 19-year-old Ajee Wilson (Neptune, N.J.) unleashed a furious kick over the final 150 meters to move from last to cross the line in 2:00.90 to take the third auto qualifying spot in the final.

The men’s 1500m semifinal saw 2011 bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz (Portland, Ore.) advance to the final, finishing second in his heat with his well-timed kick over the final 250m to finish at 3:35.95 and claim an automatic qualification. In the first semifinal, Lopez Lomong (Beaverton, Ore.) was sixth in 3:43.79; Leo Manzano (Austin, Texas) moved from last to eighth in the final 200m, finishing in 3:44.00 as neither man advanced.

Curtis Mitchell (Daytona Beach, Fla.) blasted a lifetime best of 19.97 to win the first semifinal of the men’s 200m.  Mitchell clocked the fastest time of the day, and will advance automatically to Saturday’s final. Isiah Young (Lafayette, Miss.) clocked 20.36 in lane eight to finish third in the second semi, and Wallace Spearmon (Dallas, Texas) finished sixth out of the third heat in 20.66 as neither advanced.