USATF Press Release
April 26, 2014
DES MOINES, IOWA — The weather continued to cooperate and the best athletes in the world responded by putting on another dazzling display around the blue oval at Drake Stadium Saturday.
Five more world outdoor bests were either set or equaled Saturday, pushing the total to 11 during the 105th running of the Drake Relays before a sellout crowd of 14,504.
The biggest noise came in the Women’s 100 Hurdles Moscow Games Rematch where reigning 2013 World Champion Brianna Rollins was upset in a photo finish by Kristi Castlin.
Castlin, running in lane eight, made a strong push at the end to clip Rollins by five thousandths of a second: 12.571 to 12.576 while setting a meet record.
“This was my first race of the season, ” said Castlin. “I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder being in lane eight. I had to execute my best race since I was out there on my own.
“It’s hard to be in the U.S. because we are so deep. I want to establish myself and hopefully one day win a gold medal.”
Rollins had won 19 straight races in the women’s 100 hurdles en route to setting an American record in her last appearance at Drake Stadium of 12.26 at the USA Championships last June 22. Rollins’ last loss in the 100 hurdles came in the finals of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., where she finished sixth.
“This was a great opener,” said Rollins. “I just wanted to run a relaxed race and tried focusing on myself. Someone beat to the line, but that’s okay it was all in God’s plan.”
Kellie Wells, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, was third in 12.68. Dawn Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist, struggled out of the blocks, finishing a disappointing seventh in 12.87.
Chaunte Lowe enjoyed a better return to Drake Stadium, where she set an American record in the women’s high jump in 2010.
Lowe, a two-time Olympian, won the Women’s High Jump Moscow Games Rematch tying a world best by soaring 1.96m/6-5 to beat two-time U.S. Indoor champ Inika McPherson on fewer misses.
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Lowe coming off maternity following the birth of her third child. “It was a coin toss. I have been training really, really hard, but I hadn’t had any great competitions up to this point. I had two small ones just to see where my steps were.
“To come out here and take the win made me feel like I still have the juice.”
Lowe cleared six different heights on her first attempt before missing three times at 1.99m/6-6.25.
Brigetta Barrett, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist and 2013 World Champion silver medalist, was fourth at 1.93m/6-4.
Running out of lane seven, Tiffany Williams captured the Women’s 400 Hurdles Moscow Games Rematch in 55.53, beating a field that included Lashinda Demus, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist and 2011 World Championship gold medalist.
The race produced three of the top five times in the world so far. Williams’ time ranks second. Jamaican Nickiesha Wilson, who won the NCAA championship in Des Moines in 2008, was second in 55.68, which ranks fourth on the world list. Demus placed third in 55.97 for the fifth best time in the world.
“For me to come out and win this race is a big stepping stone,” said Williams. “These last three years have been a real struggle for me…So to be back to be on top feels great. I finally had my race together.”
The USA White team consisting of Jeff Porter, Dominic Berger, world outdoor record holder Aries Merritt and Ty Akins won the invitational men’s shuttle hurdle relay in a world leading 53.77 seconds. Jamaica was second, while the USA Red team was in contention before Spencer Adams crashed through a hurdle running the third leg.
Renaud Lavillenie from France and Steve Lewis of adidas each equalled the 2014 world outdoor best performance in the men’s pole vault at 5.70m/18-8.25.
Lavillenie, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and world indoor record holder, won on fewer misses, clearing 5.70m/18-8.25 on his second attempt. Both vaulters passed at 5.76m/18-10.75 before missing on all three attempts at 5.82m/19-1.
Ethiopia’s Aman Wote, the 2014 World Indoor champion in the 1,500, coasted to victory in the men’s invitational mile in a world leading time of 3:53.39. Patrick Casey from the Oregon Track Club was the top American, finishing third in 4:00.86.
Contributed by Mike Mahon