TORONTO -- Team USA ended the final session of track & field at the Pan American Games in celebratory fashion with a women's 4x100-meter relay record, 13 golds and a total of 41 overall for the most medals earned since 1999. The U.S. women won 23 total medals, the highest number since 1987.
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Barbara Pierre (Knightdale, North Carolina) was out very well and made up ground on the opening leg of the women’s 4x100 meter relay. Lekeisha Lawson (Victorville, California) blew it open on the backstretch to hand off to Morolake Akinosun (Austin, Texas) with a lead. Akinosun powered around the curve with Jamaica’s Schillonie Calvert close behind and handed off to Kaylin Whitney(Clermont, Florida). Whitney ran side by side with the Simone Facey of Jamaica before powering away and winning in a Pan American Games record 42.58.
In the men’s 4x100m relay final, the race was always between the host Canadians and Team USA.BeeJay Lee (Chino, California) had a solid opening curve to hand off to Wallace Spearmon (Little Rock, Arkansas), who faced Canada’s double sprint gold medalist Andre de Grasse on the backstretch. Spearmon passed to Kendal Williams (Jacksonville, Florida) in contention, and Williams made the final baton exchange with Remontay McClain (Irvine, California) just behind Canada. McClain gave up no ground on the run in, but couldn’t pass Canada and anchored his quartet to apparent silver in 38.27. Upon review, judges disqualified the Canadians for a lane violation on the first leg, and Team USA was elevated to the top of the podium.
Hurdles champion Shamier Little (College Station, Texas) broke the stagger on the first leg of the women’s 4x400 relay and used a strong final 100 to hand off first for Team USA. On the second leg,Kyra Jefferson (Gainesville, Florida) gave the team a significant lead, separating the U.S. from the field by 30 meters. Shakima Wimbley (Coral Gables, Florida) on the third leg kept the lead intact and handed off to Kendall Baisden (Austin, Texas) for the anchor. Baisden kept the US ahead and held off a fast-finishing Jamaica to take gold in 3:25.68.
Heather Miller (St. Paul, Minnesota) recorded the second-highest score of her career to win silver in the heptathlon with 6,178 points. Miller started the day with a windy 6.28m/20-7.25 long jump and added a 40.31m/132-3 throw in the javelin before running to victory in the final event, clocking 2:12.57 in the 800. Breanna Leslie (Mesa, Arizona) notched the third best score of her life with 5,844 points to place fifth.
The first 3 km of the men's 5,000 meters was run at just over 14:00 pace, so the field stayed fairly closely packed. Garrett Heath (Seattle, Washington) and David Torrence (Malibu, California) were in the top six and with 1 km left, there was still a group of 10 athletes in contention. Heath stayed in third, just ahead of Torrence at the bell. Heath moved through on the inside to very briefly take the lead with 200 to go. Down the final stretch, Torrence hit the gas and battled all the way to the line before claiming silver in 13:46.60, just .13 behind the winner. Heath narrowly missed the podium, taking fourth in 13:47.17.
In the men’s 4x400m relay, Team USA got off to a strong start with Kyle Clemons (Lawrence, Kansas) handing off to James Harris (Lanett, Alabama) in the top three. Harris couldn’t make up a lot of ground on the leaders before passing to Marcus Chambers (Tacoma, Washington). Chambers was out quickly over the first 200 but slowed into the final exchange with Kerron Clement(Gainesville, Florida), who got the baton in fourth place. Clement ran a veteran leg to put the U.S. back in medal position and he closed powerfully to grab the bronze in 3:00.21. Cuba, the silver medalists, were later disqualified, moving the U.S. up a step on the podium.
Jeron Robinson (Kingsville, Texas) and Jesse Williams (Eugene, Oregon) were clear until 2.25m/7-4.5 in the men’s high jump final, and they both required two attempts to clear that height. The duo also had matching records at the next height, clearing on third attempts, and ended the competition tied for fourth at 2.28m/7-5.75.
Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Mississippi) followed the very rapid early pace set by Colombia’s Muriel Coneo in the women’s 1500 meters final, and they went through 400 meters3 in 64.29 and 800 in 2:12.50. Coneo still led at the bell, though only just over McGee and Canada’s Nicole Sifuentes and Sasha Gollish. Sifuentes took the lead heading into the final bend, but Coneo was just a bit stronger over the final straight and won in 4:09.05, with McGee just out of the medals in fourth in 4:11.12.
Team USA Medals at the Pan American Games (41)
Women’s 4x400 relay -- Little, Jefferson, Wimbley, Baisden (3:25.68)
Men’s 4x100 relay -- Lee, Spearmon, Williams, McClain (38.27)
Women’s 4x100 relay -- Pierre, Lawson, Akinosun, Whitney (42.58, meet record)
Ashley Higginson, 3000 steeplechase (9:48.12, meet record)
Andrew Wheating, 1500 (3:41.41)
Kaylin Whitney, 200 (22.65)
David Oliver, 110 hurdles (13.07, meet record)
Kendall Baisden, 400 (51.27)
Clayton Murphy, 800 (1:47.19)
Kibwe Johnson, hammer (75.46m/247-7)
Jeff Henderson, long jump (8.54m/28-0.25w)
Shamier Little, 400 hurdles (55.50)
Queen Harrison, 100 hurdles (12.52, meet record)
Men’s 4x400 relay -- Clemons, Harris, Chambers, Clement (3:00.21)
Heather Miller-Koch, heptathlon (6,178)
David Torrence, 5000 (13:46.60)
Shalaya Kipp, 3000 steeplechase (9:49.96)
Riley Dolezal, javelin (81.62m/267-9)
Kyra Jefferson, 200 (22.72)
Desiree Davila, 10,000 (32:43.99)
Shakima Wimbley, 400 (51.36)
Marquise Goodwin, long jump (8.27m/27-1.75w)
Jill Camarena-Williams, shot put (18.65m/61-2.25)
Alysia Montaño, 800 (1:59.76)
Tenaya Jones, 100 hurdles (12.84)
Amber Campbell, hammer (71.22m/233-8)
Aron Rono, 10,000 (28:50.83)
Kara Winger, javelin (61.44m/201-7)
Sha’Keela Saunders, long jump (6.66m/21-10.25)
Gia Lewis-Smallwood, discus (61.26m/201-0)
Russ Winger, discus (62.64m/205-6)
Jenn Suhr, pole vault (4.60m/15-1)
Kyle Clemons, 400 (44.84)
Ryan Martin, 800 (1:47.73)
Conor McCullough, hammer (73.74m/241-9)
Barbara Pierre, 100 (11.01)
Cory Leslie, 3000 steeplechase (8:36.83)
Jake Blankenship & Mark Hollis, pole vault (5.40m/17-8.5)
Kellyn Taylor, 5000 (15:52.78)
Lindsay Flanagan, marathon (2:36:30)