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Team USA Wins Whopping 19 Medals At Halfway Point Of Paralympic Track And Field Worlds

By U.S. Paralympics | Oct. 26, 2015, 5:09 p.m. (ET)

Richard Browne celebrates winning the men's 200-meter T44 final at the IPC Athletics World Championships at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium on Oct. 25, 2015 in Doha, Qatar.

Bringing enough heat to match that of the desert in which they're competing, Team USA athletes have been on fire at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar. After five days of competition, the U.S. ranks third in the medal count with seven gold, seven silver and five bronze medals while setting one world record, three championship records and three American records. Here's a look at the action as it's unfolded so far.

Day 1

Jeremy Campbell (Perryton, Texas) and Sam Grewe (Middlebury, Indiana) won Team USA’s first two gold medals on day one of the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships. The U.S. finished the day with six medals including two gold, three silver and one bronze at the Qatar Sports Club in Doha.

In the men’s discus F44, it was a 1-2 finish for Team USA as Jeremy Campbell defended his title with a championship record of 61.21-meters. Newcomer David Blair (Mount Eagle, Utah) picked up a silver medal at his first world championship, finishing with a personal best of 60.46. The two Americans bested the rest of the field as the only two to break the 60-meter barrier.

“It’s been a lopsided year for me, very up and down, so I feel great to come into the world championships and end on this note by defending my title,” Campbell said. “I’m also very excited that my teammate is on the podium with me. It’s becoming a really fun event, there’s a lot of good throwers.”

Underdog Sam Grewe (Middlebury, Indiana) made a name for himself when he won gold in the men’s high jump T42 after only a year of competing in the sport, trumping his competitors with a personal best of 1.81.

“It’s my first time in the Middle East, first time at a world championships and my first year high jumping so it feels really good,” Grewe explained. “I came into this hoping for 1.70 and came out with way more than I expected so I’m pretty happy about that.”

Teen standout Alexa Halko (Williamsburg, Virginia) grabbed Team USA’s first medal of the competition in her world championship debut, breaking an American record in the women’s 100 T34 with a time of 18.55 to shave nearly five-hundredths of a second from her personal best.

“I’m so excited,” Halko gushed. “I hope everything goes this way from here on out, but either way I’m very happy I was able to grab a silver.”

Teammates Cheri Madsen (Nebraska City, Nebraska) and Hannah McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) both grabbed hardware in the women’s 200 T54. Crossing the line behind Amanda Kotaja of Finland, Madsen and McFadden finished in an identical time of 29.96, with Madsen being awarded the silver medal and McFadden taking bronze. This marked the first world championships medal for McFadden and the third for Madsen.

“That was so much fun,” Madsen said, grinning. “Hannah and I have been battling all year long. I got hurt earlier [in the season] and she got me a few times. It’s just so nice to be able to come back after a long retirement and be able to medal at a world championship.”

World record holder David Brown (St. Louis, Missouri), with guide Jerome Avery, grabbed the first place finish  in the  semifinal round of the men’s 100 T11, clocking in with a time of 10.89 and ensuring Friday’s final will be an exciting race to watch. Jaquvis Hart (Bossier City, Louisana) also picked up a first place finish in the men’s 400 T47 semifinal to grab a spot in the final after clocking in at 50.12.

Other notable performances of the night included Lacey Henderson’s (Phoenix, Arizona) fifth place finish in the women’s long jump T42, a sixth place ranking for Rachel Kroener (Scottsdale, Arizona) in the women’s shot put F34 with a throw of 5.55 and a seventh place result for Johnnie Williams (Yukon, Oklahoma) in the men’s discus F56 with a result of 35.18.

Day 2

David Brown (St. Louis, Missouri) and Jaquvis Hart (Shreveport, Louisiana) claimed the first world titles of their careers as they led the way for Team USA to win three medals, two gold and one silver on the second day of competition, bringing Team USA's totals to nine medals, with four gold, four silver and one bronze.

Brown and guide Jerome Avery (Lemoore, California) stormed to the win in one of the marquee events of the night, the men’s 100m T11 final. Brown got out to an early lead and never relented as he out sprinted runner-up Felipe Gomes of Brazil by more than two-tenths of a second. Brown and Avery crossed the line in 11.03 seconds.

“It means a lot to me to win gold today, words cannot even describe it,” Brown gushed. “There’s no limit to how fast I can go and no limit to what I can do. All of the athletes out here have the potential to do incredible things.”

Jaquvis Hart, who also competes for Louisiana Tech, broke a championship record and won the first gold medal of the day for Team USA. Hart demolished his competition in the men’s 400 T47 clocking in with a time of 48.17 to eclipse his closest competitor by more than seven-tenths of a second.

“It’s really early in the training year for me so I wasn’t expecting to run that fast,” Hart said. “I just went out to achieve my best and came out with a win so that feels really good.”

Kerri Morgan (St. Louis, Missouri) won the silver medal in the women’s 200 T52 behind Marieke Vervoort of Belgium. Morgan crossed the line in a time of 37.60. Today’s second place finish gives Morgan her fifth career world championship win.

Tim Tanner (Clarksville, Tennessee) secured a spot in the men’s 100 T13 final after clocking in with a personal best of 11.55 in the semifinal round. Teammate Tyson Gunter (Pocatello, Idaho) also claimed a spot in the finals. Unfortunately, Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota) was within one second of qualifying, but did not advance to the final. Chelsea McClammer (Richland, Washington) and Susannah Scaroni (Tekoa, Washington) each nabbed a spot in the women’s 1500 T54 final after both advancing automatically with top-three finishes in their heats.

Day 3

Team USA’s women continued the medal streak on the third day of competition. With two addition top three finishes this evening, Team USA medal count increased to eleven total wins.  

Hannah McFadden (Baltimore, Maryland) grabbed the first medal of the night after racing to a bronze medal finish in the women’s 100-meter T54 with a time of 16.91, a huge improvement for the wheelchair racer since her last stint at the world championships in 2013.

“I feel great,” said McFadden. “This is definitely a great experience because in the London Paralympic Games I got eighth place and the last world championships I got seventh. To finally be able to medal at an event that I’m good at is pretty exciting and I look forward to the next races.”

Rachael Morrison picked up the second medal of the night with a silver in the women’s club throw F51, finishing at 18.85, a personal best in the event.

“I’ve been working on the cues and techniques to let my body do what it wants to do,” Morrison said. “I came in with no expectations so I’m happy I achieved a personal best.”

Richard Browne (Jackson, Mississippi) and Hunter Woodhall (Syracuse, Utah) each took the top spot in their heats advancing to tomorrow night’s men’s 200 T44 final, one of the most anticipated events of the competition with Browne attempting to keep control of his T44 world record. Browne clocked in at 22.36 while Woodhall inched his way above T43 world record holder Alan Oliveira, finishing at 22.46, just two one-hundredths of a second ahead.

“I came in the race with a good attitude, just ready to run and not worried about my competitors,” Woodhall stated. “I feel like because of the time and training I’ve put in I’m going to have a chance to hold my own tomorrow but with all the great competitors in this race only time will tell.”

T13 runner Kym Crosby (Yuba City, California) just missed the podium in the women’s 400 final, clocking in at 1:00.24, less than one one-hundredth of a second behind the third place finisher Sanaa Benhama of Morocco.

“I didn’t have the performance I expected today but I will redeem myself in my next race on the 27th,” said Crosby.

Other notable performances of the night include Cheri Madsen’s (Union, Nebraska) fifth place result in the women’s 100 T54, Chelsea McClammer’s (Richland, Washington) fifth place finish in the women’s 1500 T54 and April Holmes’ (Kissimmee, Florida) sixth place result in the women’s 200 T44.

Day 4

Richard Browne’s (Jackson, Mississippi) record-breaking performance in the men’s 200m T44 final highlighted day four of competition in Doha as Team USA added two gold and two bronze medals to its medal count at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships.

After taking the world record at the Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meet in Brussels, Belgium last year, Browne proved his biggest competition remains himself as he clocked in at 21.27, more than half a second faster than his previous time of 21.62, to grab his first world title.  

“That race went absolutely great,” said Browne. “It feels so good to break a world record again and bring another gold home to America. I just went out there and did my best.”

Michael Brannigan (East Northport, New York) grabbed his first world title racing to the finish line in the final seconds of the men’s 1500 T20 to beat out second place finisher Bazanjani Nazanjani from Iran by three one-hundredths of a second. He also grabbed a championship record with a time of 3:36.50.

“I feel really happy,” said Brannigan. “I tried to be calm and not get too hyper, instead be patient and just relax. I’m excited to see what’s next to come on my road to Rio.”

Up-and-coming track sensation Hunter Woodhall (Syracuse, Utah) proved he could hold his own against the world’s top competitors as he grabbed a bronze medal in the men’s 200 T44 finishing with a time of 22.09, just five one-hundredths of a second behind Brazil superstar Alan Oliveira.

“It was amazing to win bronze,” said Woodhall. “I just came into the competition with a good attitude, hoping to do my best and to come away with a medal, that’s really all that matters. Next I’m focusing on the 400-meter and then after that I’m going to go home, watch some film and see what I need to fix to come back stronger next time.”

On the field, Natalie Bieule (Pembroke Pines, Florida) took home a bronze medal after finishing the women’s discus throw F44 with an American record of 29.61.

“I can’t even put into words how I feel right now, I’m so happy and grateful,” Bieule gushed. “This experience has been phenomenal. It’s been a rough and tough journey but I’m just so happy to end this season with not only a personal best, but also a bronze medal.”

Chelsea McClammer (Richland, Washington) just missed the podium in the women’s 400m T53 clocking in with a time of 58.47, just two one-hundredths of a second behind third place finisher Lisha Chung from China. Teammate Shirley Reilly (Tucson, Arizona) was close behind with a fifth place result in the same race after finishing in 1:00.44.

Day 5

Raymond Martin (Jersey City, New Jersey) defended his world title in the 1500-meter as he led Team USA to win four medals on the fifth day of competition at the Qatar Sports Club.

Team USA is now third in the medal count with seven gold, seven silver and five bronze medals for 19 overall podium finishes.

Martin bolted to an early lead in the men’s 1500 T52, only dropping back to aid his teammate Steven Toyoji (San Francisco, California) in moving up into the second place position. While a 1-2 finish for Team USA looked imminent, a late sprint by Japanese teammates Ueyonabaru Hirokazu and Sato Tomoki bumped Toyoji back to fourth place. Ultimately Martin crossed the line in 3:49.41, while Toyoji finished less than three-tenths of a second off the podium. This is the second world title of the year for Martin, after winning the marathon championships in London in April.

“My race strategy was to attack in the middle of the race periodically, but it didn't work out like I wanted because the guy in second place finished within seconds of me,” Martin said. “I’m not sure about changing my strategy for the rest of my races, it’s pretty hot here and I was gasping there at the end, I’m just glad I had enough to come away with the gold.”

Roderick Townsend (Stockton, California) only needed two attempts to add his name to the record books. With his second jump of 14.49, Townsend set the American record and secured the silver medal in his world championships debut at the men's triple jump T47. Townsend finished behind Fuliang Liu of China,who twice improved the world record en route to his winning mark of 15.29. 

“I just really wanted to go and get the cobwebs shaken out a bit,” Townsend said. “It was my first event of the competition, so just wanted to go out there, have a little fun and hopefully get on the podium.” 

Kerri Morgan (St. Louis, Missouri)  finished the women’s 100 T52 with a season’s best of 20.97 to grab a second silver medal in Doha with Belgium's Marieke Vervoort taking the first place finish at 20.39. This is Morgan’s second medal of the championships after taking silver in the women’s T52 200 on Friday. 

“The race went pretty well,” Morgan stated. “My acceleration was probably the best part of the race, my start wasn't bad but I wish it was a little quicker. But all in all it was a good race, I’m happy to get a medal and I still have the 400-meter left which is really my strength.”

Regas Woods (Ocala, Florida)  jumped to a bronze medal in the men’s T42 long jump after recording a mark of 5.56 on his second attempt to grab his first world championship medal in Doha. 

“I’m excited about bringing a medal home for my country, team, hometown and most of all my kids,” Woods said. “I wasn’t going home empty handed, I had to bring home a medal. It was a big improvement from the last world championships when I came in dead last and this time around I’ve got bronze.”

Other top performances of the day included Ivonne Mosquera-Schmidt (New York, New York) finishing just shy of the podium with a fourth-place finish in the women’s 1500 T11 final and Shirley Reilly (Tucson, Arizona) and Chelsea McClammer (Richland, Washington) advancing to the final of the women’s 800 T53.

Competition continues through Saturday, Oct. 31. Head over to USParalympics.org for results, a free live stream of the competition and the best photos of Team USA. Follow @USParalympics on Twitter for live updates, medal counts and much more.