BEIJING - LaShawn Merritt anchored another Team USA 4x400 relay to victory Sunday night to conclude the 2015 IAAF World Championships, while the 4x400 women brought home silver.
Merritt came from behind to win the gold, giving the Team USA six straight victories in the 4x4 at World Outdoors. Merritt has been a part of all six golds, including running in the semifinal heat in 2005. With his 2015 4x400 gold and 400m silver, Merritt brought his career World Outdoor medal tally to 11 medals, surpassing Carl Lewis’ 10 as the most for an American man.
At evening’s end, Team USA finished the competition with 18 medals to lead the overall count and again led the placing table with 214 points. Kenya was second with 173 points and Jamaica third with 132.
Merritt, Team USA reign in 4x400
David Verburg (Lynchburg, Virginia) opened the relay for Team USA, and Tony McQuay (West Palm Beach, Florida) hit the break running three abreast and moved to the lead at the 200m mark. Striding down the finish, McQuay was caught by LaLonde Gordon of Trinidad & Tobago. Bryshon Nellum (Los Angeles) took the baton one stride down to T&T with Jamaica and Great Britain hot on Team USA’s heels. That order held at the handoff, with Merritt getting the baton a stride down on T&T’s Machel Cedenio.
On the backstretch, Jamaica’s Javon Francis put on a sudden, startling surge to take the lead as the crowd roared. Merritt moved up steadily starting at the 200m mark, then stormed down the stretch to win in a world-leading 2:57.82. Trinidad & Tobago was second in a national record 2:58.20, with Great Britain third in a season-best 2:58.51. Jamaica ended fourth in 2:58.51.
Women’s relay takes silver
After an opening leg by Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross (Austin, Texas), Natasha Hastings (Brooklyn, New York) reached the break for Team USA with a narrow lead over Jamaica. When World 400m champion Allyson Felix (Los Angeles) got the baton, she found herself approximately 15 meters back from Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson. Felix immediately chipped away at the deficit and flew around the final curve, kicking down McPherson and handing off to Francena McCorory (Hampton, Virginia) with a 1-stride lead, posting a 47.7 split.
On the anchor, McCorory and Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills battled down the backstretch, with McCorory opening a gap on the bend, but Williams-Mills surged past in the final seven meters to win in 3:19.13, a 2015 world leader. Team USA crossed in 3:19.44 for silver, with Great Britain third in 3:19.62.
In other finals Sunday evening, Kara Winger (Vancouver, Washington) made it into the top eight of the women’s javelin with her 60.88m/199-9 in the third round throw. It proved to be her best effort of the evening as she placed eighth, the best finish ever by an American woman at the World Championships. Brittany Borman (Festus, Missouri) had a best of 58.26m/191-2 in round two to finish 12th.
In men’s high jump, Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard (Toledo, Ohio) cleared 2.20m/7-2.5 and 2.25m/7-4.5 on his first attempts at each height. He had three close misses at 2.29m/7-6 and was unable to clear, finishing eighth.
In the men’s 1500m final, Matt Centrowitz (Arnold, Maryland) went with the leaders and stayed out front, putting himself in medal contention from the get-go. Centrowitz led at the bell lap, on the outside of lane 1 and looked to be making a move, but the reigning world silver medalist was passed when the field surged, then boxed in on the back straight. He was unable to match the kicks of his competitors and finished 8th in 3:36.13, as Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop won his third straight title, in 3:34.40. Leo Manzano (Austin, Texas) finished 10th in 3:37.26, with Robby Andrews (Manalapan, New Jersey) 11th in 3:38.29.
Running just her fourth career race at the distance, Nicole Tully (Delray Beach, Florida) finished 13th in the women’s 5,000 in 15:27.42.
The following athletes medaled for the United States at the 2015 IAAF World Championships.Team USA Medals (18)
Joe Kovacs - Shot Put (21.93m/71-11.5)
Christian Taylor - Triple Jump (18.21m/59-9, AR)
Allyson Felix - 400 Meters (49.26)
Tianna Bartoletta - Long Jump (7.14m/23-5.25)
Ashton Eaton - Decathlon (9,045 pts., WR)
Men’s 4x400m Relay - David Verburg, Tony McQuay, Bryshon Nellum, LaShawn Merritt (2:57.82)
Justin Gatlin - 100 Meters (9.80)
Shamier Little - 400m Hurdles (53.50)
LaShawn Merritt - 400 Meters (43.65)
Justin Gatlin - 200 Meters (19.74)
Women’s 4x100m Relay - English Gardner, Allyson Felix, Jenna Prandini, Jasmine Todd (41.68)
Women’s 4x400m Relay - Sanya Richards-Ross, Natasha Hastings, Allyson Felix, Francena McCorory (3:19.44)
Michelle Carter - Shot Put (19.76m/64-10)
Trayvon Bromell - 100 Meters (9.92)
Emily Infeld - 10,000 Meters (31:43.49)
Tori Bowie - 100 Meters (10.86)
Cassandra Tate - 400m Hurdles (54.02)
Aries Merritt - 110m Hurdles (13.04)