Day 6 Review: 2016 IAAF U20 World Champs: USA finishes relay sweep

by Jim Spier
2016 IAAF U20 Championships – Day 6 evening session summary



Alexis Duncan (De Soto, TX) seemed to get the best start of the medal contenders, but Elvira Herman (Belarus) passed everyone by hurdle four to get the win in a meet record 12.85.  A surprise second was taken by Jamaican Rushelle Burton in 12.87, as the top 5 ran 12.95 or better.  Tia Jones (Walton, Marietta, GA), the high-school record holder, was third in 12.89 and Duncan got a PB of 12.93 for fourth.  Duncan’s time is the third fastest ever run by a U.S. high schooler.


Kenyan Amos Kirui won this event in a world leading time of 8:20.43 (don’t I write something like this every junior or youth meet?).  Kai Benedict (California) was 14th but got a PB of 8:49.13.


It’s a pleasure to see Americans in the mix these days.  With 200 meters to go, there was a pack of five – two Ethiopians, a Kenyan, Alexa Efraimson (Nike) and Stanford-bound Christina Aragon (Billings, MT).  The Ethiopians took the lead down the homestretch with Efraimson fading.  Aragon outran Winfred Mbithe (Kenyan) to take the bronze in 4:08.71, improving on her #3 all-time high school performance and #3 all-time US Junior.  It was the first medal ever for a U.S. athlete ever in this event.  Efraimson was fifth in 4:10.33.


You know the quality is high when the winner has a seasonal (not lifetime) best of 1:44.95!   That was Kipyegon Bett (Kenya), the 2015 IAAF World Youth silver medalist.  Brian Bell (Houston) stayed with the leaders through the first lap and hung on for 7th in a respectable 1:47.68.


2015 IAAF World Youth Champion Michaela Hruba (Czech Republic) won this in 6-03.25.  Nicole Greene (U of North Carolina) finished =5th in 6-0.  (The U.S. has won only two medals, both bronze, in the history of the event.


In a bit of an upset, the U.S. beat favored Jamaica with the #4 all-time mark of 3:29.11, the world leader (and #3 all-time junior).  It was the team of Lynna Irby (Pike, Indianapolis, IN – 53.3), Anna Cockrell (Providence Day, Charlotte, NC – 51.0), Karrington Winters (Ohio State – 52.3) and Samantha Watson (Rush-Henrietta, Henrietta, NY – 52.5) beating the Jamaicans (3:31.01) with Canada getting the bronze (3:32.25).  Jamaica had a slight lead at the first exchange, then expanded it with 400 champ Tiffany James early in the 2nd leg.  But Anna Cockrell surged to about even at the 2nd exchange, and then Winters surged ahead and then blew it open late in the 3rd leg.

MEN’S 4x400m FINAL

Another upset – perhaps – but never underestimate the talent of U.S. 4x400m squads.  Botswana, the favorite, had their two studs (Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda) in the middle of the race and took the lead by the middle of the 2nd leg.  With 400 favorite Thebe having been DQ’d in the semis of that event, they were supremely motivated.  Botswana still led by the final exchange, but the U.S. was well within striking distance for Will London III’s anchor.  The U.S. team consisted of Champion Allison (George Ranch, Richmond, TX – 46.4), Ari Cogdell (Tennessee – 45.6), Kahmari Montgomery (Missouri – 45.4) and London (Baylor - 44.8).  Their time, 3:02.39, like the women, is the world U20 leader.  It was the 4th fastest ever by a U.S. junior team, and the best time since the 2004 U.S. record performance of 3:01.09.

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