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Team USA Weekend Preview: April 26, 2013

By Paul D. Bowker | April 26, 2013, 12:30 p.m. (ET)
 Sarah Groff
Francena McCorory, Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross and DeeDee Trotter celebrate winning gold in the women's 4 x 400m relay final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on Aug. 11, 2012.

It’s beginning to feel a bit like summer. With two major track & field meets this weekend plus a slate of other events in rowing, beach volleyball, equestrian, canoe/kayak and more, there’s a lot to catch up on in this week’s Team USA Weekend Preview.

TRACK AND FIELD

USA vs. The World, Penn Relays, April 27, Philadelphia

Olympic gold medalists Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix, DeeDee Trotter and Francena McCorory will reunite to race in the 4x400-meter relay Saturday at the Penn Relays. The same U.S. 4 x 400 relay members routed the field in London to beat Russia by 3 minutes, 16.87 seconds, the biggest margin in that event since East Germany beat the United States by 3.58 seconds in the 1976 Games.

That is likely to be just one highlighted moment in the 14th USA vs. The World competition. The relay races are loaded with Olympians.

The women’s 4x100 relay will feature world-record holders Tianna Madison Bartoletta, Bianca Knight and Felix. Carmelita Jeter has been hampered with leg cramp injury. Olympic silver medalists Justin Gatlin, Trell Kimmons, Ryan Bailey, Doc Batton and Jeff Demps are possibilities in the men’s 4x100 relay. Bernard Lagat, Nick Symmonds, Duane Solomon and Andrew Wheating are probables in the men’s distance medley relay.

The World squad includes Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller of the Bahamas, and two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart of Jamaica.

The event is a part of the USATF Championship Series, which also includes the Adidas Grand Prix, Nike Prefontaine Classic and USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

TV: 1 p.m.-3 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC; 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports

Also in track & field

Drake Relays, April 26-28, Des Moines, Iowa

Meanwhile, 25 Olympic medalists will descend on Des Moines, Iowa, for the annual Drake Relays this weekend, highlighted by native star hurdler Lolo Jones. In one of the 13 high-profile professional races dubbed “London Rematch,” Jones will compete against 2012 Olympic silver and bronze medalists Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells in the 100-meter hurdles.

Among the 2012 Team USA gold medalists competing at Drake are long jumper Brittney Reese, high jumper Jenn Suhr, triple jumper Christian Taylor and 110-meter hurdler Aries Merritt.

The men’s shot put competition will include Team USA’s three Olympians, Reese Hoffa, Ryan Whiting and Christian Cantwell. Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the 400 meters, highlights the quarter-mile field. Wariner was inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame on Thursday.

TV: 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN3; 8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN2

ROWING

USRowing Selection Regatta, April 25-27, West Windsor, N.J.

More than 100 athletes are competing in the selection regatta in West Windsor, N.J. Selection races will be held in men’s and women’s single sculls, lightweight men’s and women’s single sculls, men’s double sculls and men’s pair. The winners of the men’s and women’s single sculls will earn the right to compete at one or two World Cup event and if he or she finishes in the top four or top half of the field, earn a berth on the team that will compete at the World Rowing Championships Aug. 25-Sept. 1 in Chungju, South Korea. The event is the first in a new four-year cycle leading up to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Eleanor Logan posted the fastest time of Thursday’s heats and time trial. Logan won the first semifinal in a 7:42.95, and London bronze medalist Megan Kalmoe was second in a 7:47.33. In the second semifinal, Ellen Tomek won by 2.5 seconds in a 7:47.24. California Rowing Club’s Stesha Carle finished second in a 7:49.70, while Olympic gold medalist Esther Lofgren with a time of 7:50.33.

John Graves clocked the fastest time of the semifinals of the men’s single sculls. Graves, who competed in the lightweight men’s single at the 2009 and 2010 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, won the time trial and his heat Thursday. Graves crossed the line in a 7:09.24, with Nick Trojan second in a 7:11.53. Beijing Olympian Sam Stitt edged out London bronze medalist Glenn Ochal, 7:15.60 to 7:17.33. In the second semifinal, Stephen Whelpley won with a time of 7:11.99. Willie Cowles and Matt Miller finishing in a 7:14.55 and a 7:15.82, respectively.

ICE HOCKEY

IIHF U18 World Championship, April 18-28, Sochi, Russia

A 4-0 victory over Sweden on Thursday advanced the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team to the semifinals of the IIHF U18 World Championship in Sochi, Russia. Will Butcher and Tyler Motte scored first period goals for the United States and goaltender Thatcher Demko stopped all 28 shots he faced at Shayba Arena, the venue for the women’s ice hockey tournament at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“Our goal is to get stronger and stronger each game,” U.S. coach Don Granato said. “We’re happy with the performance today, but will continue to work hard tomorrow.”

A victory in the semifinals against host Russia would send Team USA to Sunday’s gold medal game and a shot at its fifth consecutive world championship.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

FIVB Fuzhou Open, April 24-28, Fuzhou, China

The No. 2-seeded men’s team of Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser, and the No. 4-seeded women’s team of April Ross and Jennifer Kessy led six U.S. teams into Friday’s play at the FIVB Fuzhou Open in China. Rosenthal and Dalhausser won Pool H, advancing to the second round. All three U.S. men’s teams advanced through pool play, including Pool H winners Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson.

Ross and Kessy, the silver medalists at the London 2012 Olympic Games, won their first two pool matches, including 21-18, 25-23 over U.S. teammates Lauren Fendrick and Nicole Branagh. No. 27 Summer Ross and Brittany Hochevar opened the tournament with an upset victory over sixth-seeded Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic. The women will finish pool play Friday.

Also in beach volleyball:

Desert Open, Junior Beach Tour, April 28, Glendale, Ariz.

EQUESTRIAN

Rolex/FEI World Cup Final, April 25-28, Gothenburg, Sweden

Beezie Madden, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, grabbed the lead Thursday after four rounds of the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. Madden, riding Simon, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood, posted a time of 62.28.

Other U.S. riders in the top 15 were Harvard University freshman Katie Dinan, 9th place; McLain Ward, 10th place; Charlie Jayne, 11th place; Reed Kessler, 13th place. Ward and Kessler are 2012 Olympians.

Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Championship, April 25-27, Lexington, Ky.

Three-time national CCI4* champion Phillip Dutton and two-time national champion Buck Davidson are among the top riders competing at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, which also serves as the Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Championship. Riders from seven nations are entered in the competition, which is the only CCI4* competition in the United States.

Becky Holder was the highest-placed American, placing second after Thursday’s first round of dressage. Will Faudree was in fifth place.

TV: 4 p.m.-5 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC

Webcasts: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:15 p.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, usefnetwork.com

Reining World Freestyle Championship, April 27, Lexington, Ky.

Defending champion Pete Kyle and 2011 champion Shane Brown will be among a field of 22 competing Saturday in the Reining World Freestyle Championship at Alltech Arena in Lexington, Ky. David O’Connor, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist and current USEF Eventing Team Coach, will also compete. The Kentucky Reining Cup will be held Friday. The competition is a part of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

CANOE/KAYAK

USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Team Trials, April 26-27, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Spots on the USA Canoe/Kayak team that will compete in the 2013 ICF Sprint World Cups and Sprint World Championships will be determined at the Sprint National Team Trials on Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City, Okla. The competition will be used to select the senior, junior and under-23 national teams, and will also include ParaCanoe racing, a discipline that will make its debut at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games.

Among those racing this weekend is Olympian Tim Hornsby, who beat out Ryan Dolan for the only U.S. men’s sprint kayak slot for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Maggie Hogan and Kaitlyn McElroy are among those in the running to try to replace three-time Olympian Carrie Johnson in women’s kayak.

The ParaCanoe National Team Trials will not occur until July, but USA Canoe/Kayak is offering ParaCanoe racing at all national sprint events. Shad Isaac, a local Paralympic contender in wheelchair racing, will make his ParaCanoe debut in Oklahoma City.

GYMNASTICS

FIG Challenge Cup, April 26-28, Ljubijana, Slovenia

Alex Naddour, an alternate at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and Paul Ruggeri will compete in the International Gymnastic Federation Challenge Cup in Slovenia. The competition begins Friday with qualifications. The top eight qualifiers in each apparatus will advance to the finals Saturday and Sunday.

FENCING

World Cup, Senior Men’s Foil, April 26, Seoul, South Korea

Grand Prix, Senior Women’s Foil, April 27, Seoul, South Korea

The U.S. men’s and women’s senior foil teams are in Seoul, South Korea, this week for a men’s World Cup tournament and a women’s Grand Prix tournament. A strong season by the men boosted them into second place in the world rankings after a second-place finish at the La Coruna World Cup. Olympians Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt have each won individual silver medals this season.

Nzingha Prescod, also a 2012 Olympian, will lead the women’s foil team. She placed fifth at the Tauberbischofsheim World Cup in March and then 10th at the Torino World Cup.

Also in fencing:

World Cup, Senior Men’s Saber, April 26, Athens, Greece

SAILING

ISAF World Cup, April 22-27, Hyeres, France

Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha were in third place in the 470 women’s sailing class, and Sydney Bolger and Sarah Lihan were in 10th place entering Friday’s final day of series racing at the ISAF World Cup Hyeres. The top 10 crews in each Olympic class advance to Saturday’s medal round.

Bolger and Lihan jumped to 10th place in the standings after consecutive wins Wednesday and Thursday. The United States had no other crews in the top 10, although three crews were in 15th place in three different classes.

“We haven’t been looking at results until today,” Lihan, a 2012 Olympian, said after racing Thursday. “We know where we stand and what our goals are. We’ll be looking to post some good scores.”

TRIATHLON

USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon National Championship, April 28, Enumclaw, Wash.

More than 200 athletes are expected to compete for spots on the national duathlon team at Sunday’s USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon National Championship. The top 18 finishers in each age group will qualify to compete for Team USA at the 2013 ITU Long Course Duathlon World Championships in September in Switzerland.

Sunday’s event consists of an 8.2-kilometer run, 46.5k bike race and 6k run. It is being held in conjunction with the Mount Ranier Duathlon. Title contenders including two-time national champion Patty Peoples-Resh and 2012 55-59 age-group men’s champion David Burkhart.

CYCLING

Joe Martin Stage Race presented by Nature Valley, April 25-28, Fayetteville, Ark.

Francisco Mancebo tops the men’s standings and Alison Powers is the No. 1 woman as the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar series heads to Fayetteville, Ark., this week for the Joe Martin Stage Race presented by Nature Valley. Powers’ dominant finish at the Redlands Bicycle Classic three weeks ago put her atop the points standings by 160 points after the season’s opening race.

Also in cycling:

USA Crits Speed Week A, April 27, Georgia and South Carolina

Chris Lillig Memorial Cup and Old Capitol Criterium, USA Cycling Road Development Race Series, April 27-28, Iowa City, Iowa

TEAM HANDBALL

IHF Continental Cup, April 29-May 5, Guatemala City, Guatemala

Play begins Monday in the International Handball Federation Continental Cup in Guatemala City. USA Team Handball named a men’s roster of 14 athletes for the tournament.

SQUASH

Lapham-Grant Matches, April 26-28, Victoria, B.C., Canada

The United States and Canada will battle for titles in the Lapham Cup (men’s singles), Grant Trophy (men’s doubles), Crawford Trophy (women’s singles and doubles) and Lawrence-Wilkins Trophy (legends doubles). The competition dates back to the beginning of the Lapham Cup in 1922. The United States won three of the four trophy competitions in 2012.

KARATE

North American Cup, April 28, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Competition will be held Sunday in the North American Cup in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. USA Karate will have athletes in age divisions ranging from 16 to 34, which were determined at the U.S. Team Trials held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.

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