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Team USA Women Rule The Day At Diamond League In Birmingham

By Craig Bohnert | June 05, 2016, 4:26 p.m. (ET)

English Gardner (L) wins the women's 100-meter final at the IAAF Diamond League meet at Alexander Stadium on June 5, 2016 in Birmingham, England.

U.S. women made their presence felt Sunday afternoon at the Diamond League meet in Birmingham, England, winning three events and posting six top-three finishes.

The lion’s share of that haul came in the women’s 100-meter hurdles as Keni Harrison led a U.S. sweep of the top four spots in the race. All told, U.S. athletes claimed 13 top-three finishes at the sixth stop of the 14-meet series.

Harrison bolstered her Diamond Race lead with a first-place finish in a meet record time of 12.46 seconds, 0.11 ahead of teammate Brianna Rollins. Kristi Castlin was third across the line in 12.75 seconds, followed by Dawn Harper-Nelson at 12.78, her best this season. Adding to the U.S. dominance, Nia Ali came in sixth with a result of 12.95 seconds.

“I’m glad I came across the line first, as I was hitting a few hurdles,” Harrison said. “I’m blessed to be healthy. (Leading) the Diamond League standings is good, but I’m focusing on one thing at a time by making the Olympic team. I’m happy with how my form is now. I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I’m excited to be racing with such good competition.”

The U.S. also enjoyed a strong showing in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, where 2015 worlds bronze medalist Cassandra Tate took the Diamond Race lead, edging out Great Britain’s Eilidh Doyle in a photo finish. Both were clocked at 54.57 seconds, a season best for Tate. Georganne Moline was third in 54.63 seconds, while Dalilah Muhammad was fourth, crossing the line in 54.75 seconds.

“I went out pretty hard for the first half of the race,” Tate said. “I had to fight hard right to the end. Eilidh pushed me all the way. She is a very good athlete and it’s always great to compete against her.”

In the women’s 100-meter, English Gardner claimed the victory in 11.02 seconds to move into second in the Diamond Race. Tianna Bartoletta finished third at 11.11 seconds, just behind the 11.09 of Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands.

“I’m excited I finally executed,” said Gardner, who won two NCAA 100-meter titles for Oregon. “I was confident in my training, confident in my execution and I got to the line first, so it was a great day.”

Completing the stellar U.S. women’s performances was 2012 Olympian Tia Brooks, who threw a personal best of 19.73 meters to win the women’s shot put, besting Diamond Race leader Valerie Adams of New Zealand by 0.1 meters. Jillian Camarena-Williams finished fifth with a throw of 17.74 meters, while Brittany Smith was sixth, throwing 16.82 meters.

“It has been such a great year so far, and what a year to do it in!” said Brooks, who is second in the Diamond Race and only four points behind Adams. “Just to come overseas and get a personal best, I could not ask for more.”

The U.S. men also performed well, paced by the one-two finish of Marquise Goodwin and Michael Hartfield in the men’s long jump. Coupled with his second-place finish Thursday in Rome, Goodwin moved into the Diamond Race lead by one point with his leap of 8.42 meters in Birmingham. Hartfield had a best of 8.29 meters to edge out France’s Fabrice Lapierre by 0.08 meters. Christian Taylor was seventh with an effort of 7.96 meters.

“I thought I would do well out here today,” said Goodwin, who was 10th at the London 2012 Olympic Games. “The atmosphere was great to compete in. The Diamond League is definitely the best platform to compete against the best athletes in the world. I enjoy every second of it.”

Erik Kynard, the reigning Olympic silver medalist, finished second in men’s high jump to extend his Diamond Race lead. His season-best jump of 2.35 meters was just behind the world-leading 2.37 meters cleared by Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar.

Sean McLean finished third for the U.S. in the men’s 200-meter, finishing in 20.24 seconds. It was a crowded finish line, as Canada’s Andre De Grasse ran a season-best 20.16 seconds to edge out Panama’s Alonso Edward’s 20.17 seconds. After winning the 200 Thursday in Rome, Ameer Webb placed fifth Sunday in 20.62 seconds to fall to second in the Diamond Race, trailing Edward by four points. Isiah Young was sixth Sunday with a time of 20.65 seconds.

Vernon Norwood also picked up a third-place finish Sunday with result of 45.08 seconds in the men’s 400-meter. Kirani James of Grenada won in a meet-record time of 44.23 seconds, while Botswana’s Isaac Makwala was second in 44.97 seconds.

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Dawn Harper-Nelson

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English Gardner

Track and Field
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Tianna Bartoletta

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Tia Brooks

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Marquise Goodwin

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Erik Kynard