Two Jones-anchored teams pull away
PHILADELPHIA -- Team USA pulled off a clean sweep at the Penn Relays.
Marion Jones shrugged off more BALCO controversy to anchor two events, and the United States dominated in all six relays in the "U.S. vs. the World" races at Franklin Field on Saturday.
Jones anchored the 800- and 400-meter relays, pulling away on the homestretch for convincing victories in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd of 49,441 at one of the track and field's most famous events.
Jones, a five-time medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was coming off a fourth-place finish in the 200 at the Mount SAC Relays, her first outdoor race since 2002.
"I ran a little bit smarter," Jones said. "I think I'm in good shape. I need races. I need to run. I need to get back in the mix."
Jones put aside the distraction of a New York Times report that said a $7,350 check from her bank account was written to the founder of the California lab at the center of a performance-enhancing drug scandal. Jones said she had no knowledge of the check.
"I never signed, endorsed, agreed upon or sent any checks to BALCO," Jones said. "I'm not in a position to comment on any other person. I can't say what it might have been for. I don't know."
The 800 relay team of LaTasha Colander, Chryste Gaines, Inger Miller and Jones won in 1 minute, 29.40 seconds.
The 400 relay team of Angela Daigle, Gaines, Miller and Jones won in 42.63. Jamaica was second at 43.28, and another USA team, anchored by Kelli White, was third at 43.75.
Jamaican fans filled a good portion of Franklin Field, waving flags and chanting for their country.
The meet set a three-day attendance record of 112,701 at the 110th Relays. Most of the crowd was wild for Team USA, chanting "U-S-A!" throughout the "U.S. vs. the World" races. Before the men's 400 relay, there was an announcement for the crowd to quiet down so the runners could hear their calls.
Once the gun went off, the fans in the stadium roared.
Jon Drummond, Bernard Williams, Darvis Patton and J.J. Johnson won the men's 400 relay in 38.42, followed by Jamaica and Canada. Justin Gatlin anchored the winning 800 relay team with Mickey Grimes, Shawn Crawford and Patton in 1:19.62.
"This is the only meet when I walk in the stadium I get chills," Gatlin said. "There's nowhere else like this."
The women swept the 1,600 relay, winning in 3:23.82; the men won the 1600 in 2:58.93.
In college events, Arkansas cruised to its ninth 6,000 relay title in 10 years, winning in 16:21.74. Alistair Cragg dominated the final laps, leading by at least 30 meters over second place Stanford (16:26.76). Iona was third at 16:29.50.
"The times haven't been super-fast, but they've been good races," said coach John McDonnell.
Arkansas also won the distance medley and sprint medley relays on Friday. On Saturday, it finished second to Mississippi State (1:22.53) in the 800 relay.
The Tennessee women again dominated in the relays, this time winning the 3,200 relay in 8:21.13 - just shy of the relays record. Leslie Treherne, Kameisha Bennett, Brooke Novak and Nicole Cook helped Vols' relays teams to their third win in three days.
"It's a big show for our program," coach J.J. Clark said. "I thought it would be that way, but I didn't want to disrespect the other teams. We're really coming into our own."
Former high school sensation Alan Webb, representing Nike, won his second event of the relays, running the mile in 4:04.42. Webb also won the 5,000 on Thursday.
In other events, Florida set a men's relays' record in the 1,600 relay in 3:01.10 and Penn's Brian Chaput, the defending NCAA javelin champion, won his second straight relays title with a toss of 251 feet, 9 inches.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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