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Americans win five other events

4/30/2005

PHILADELPHIA -- American Tyree Washington fell, and Team USA
lost the 1,600-meter relay Saturday at the Penn Relays, beaten by a
Jamaican team in one of six all-star events.

Washington clipped the heels of Bahamas' runner Chris Brown on
the second leg and fell hard to the ground. He ripped down his
jersey in disgust and did not continue.

Jamaica took over and the team of Michael Blackwood, Sanjay
Ayre, Jermaine Gonzales and Davian Clarke won in 3 minutes, 2.63
seconds, holding off another American team that finished second in
3:03.02.

Jamaican fans filled a good portion of Franklin Field at the
University of Pennsylvania, waving flags and chanting for their
country like they always have at the historic meet. This time, they
had something to celebrate at the end.

"We've been trying to beat the U.S. for a long time," Ayre
said. "I'm glad to finally be a part of it. If Tyree didn't fall,
I think it would have been a very interesting race."

The Americans, trying to sweep the "U.S.A vs. the World" meet
for the third straight year, won the first five races heading into
1,600 relay. With a slick track thanks to light rain, and a gray,
overcast sky making it a gloomy day, Jamaica fed off the fall and
the encouraging crowd.

"When they get a chance to see all the top runners come in from
the island, it's a great privilege," Clarke said. "This is their
only chance to see the Jamaican athletes on the grand stage."

The gold watch given to winners was doubly appropriate for
Clarke, who turned 29 on Saturday.

"I've been coming here ever since I was in high school (in
1991) and this is my first watch," he said. "This is a great
accomplishment for me."

The win overshadowed another dominant performance by American
runners in the 400-meter relay, but they were encouraged by the
results anyway.

"I think we bring a breath of fresh air, especially with
everything going on in track and field right now," said Justin
Gatlin, who anchored the winning 400-meter relay team. "We all
have the guts and glory to be the best and put on the best show."

Gatlin trailed by a few meters when he grabbed the baton and
quickly caught J.J. Johnson, who anchored another American team.
Gatlin, who won the gold in the 100 meters in the Athens Olympics,
led his team to a thrilling victory in 38.58 seconds.

"I just wanted to hold the stick as tight as I can and bring it
home," Gatlin said. "Whoever was in front of me was going to get
mowed down."

The other American team, anchored by Johnson, was second in
38.60 and Jamaica was third in 39.38.

The American women's team of Allyson Felix, Kia Davis, Moushammi
Robinson and Hazel Clark ran the fastest time ever in the sprint
medley relay, winning in 3:37.42.

"This is the best place to do something like this," Clark
said. "I was telling myself to dig and stay cool. They definitely
were coming, but I ran a great split (2 minutes) despite that."

The U.S. women's 400-relay team of Angela Daigle, Lauryn
Williams, Inger Miller and LaTasha Colander won in 42.68, and the
Americans took both sprint medleys, too. Leo Bookman, Karron
Conwright, Mitch Potter and Khadevis Robinson won the men's in
3:12.10, and Felix, Davis, Debbie Dunn and Clark took the women's
event in 3:37.42.

The American women won their 1,600 relay, with Dee Dee Trotter,
Lashinda Demus, Sanya Richards and Monique Hennagan finishing in
3:22.93.

Michigan set an NCAA record in the 4-mile relay, winning in
16:04.54. The previous mark of 16:07.96 was set by Arkansas at the
1999 Penn Relays.

"It's been one of the big plans of the year," said Mike Woods,
who ran the second leg. "It's been pretty amazing to run that
fast."

The Wolverines got outstanding performances from Nick Willis
(3:56.2) and anchor Nate Brannen (3:59.4) a day after the team won
the distance medley relay. The Wolverines considered the result a
minor disappointment, though, because they wanted to break the
16-minute mark.

Michigan completed a wildly successful weekend later in the day,
winning the 3,200 relay in 7:22.59.