Americans win five other events

Updated: April 30, 2005, 11:18 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press