January 27, 2018
NEW YORK – A longtime American record was rewritten during the International Women’s 4×200 relay at the Dr. Sander Invitational Saturday at The Armory New Balance Track & Field Center in Washington Heights.
The United States team of Kyra Jefferson, Deajah Stevens, Asha Ruth and Daina Harper won the 4×200 with an American-best 1:32.67, eclipsing the 1994 American mark of 1:33.24. During Saturday’s performance the USA team, running together for the first time, nearly broke the world record of 132.41 set by Russia in 2005.
Ruth, of Harlem and former standout at Rutgers, didn’t know she’d get a chance to make American history until early Saturday morning when she was added as the team’s anchor when Shakima Wimbley pulled out. “I got the phone call this morning,” Ruth said. “I said, ‘Sure, I’d do it and I didn’t have to go to work. I knew our girls would get out quickly because they are amazing 200 runners. All I had to do was maintain my lead.”
Stevens is a 2016 Rio-Olympian whose running career started in nearby Mt. Vernon, N.Y. while Jefferson and Harper hail from Detroit and Houston, respectively.
The USA team held off a hard-charging Jamaica outfit of Verone Chambers, Yanique Ellington, Sonequa Walker and Shavine Hodges who finished runner-up with a 1:34.83 time.
“It’s always fun when you beat Jamaica,” added Harper.
Both the men’s and women’s 800m provided strong showings by familiar faces during Saturday’s nationally-televised meet.
American 800m champion Ajee’ Wilson of Neptune, N.J. led from beginning to end to win the Women’s 800m with a time of 2:00.90. She held off Jamaican middle-distant standout Natoya Goule, who nearly caught Wilson at the finish line.
“I’m definitely satisfied with this performance,” Wilson said. “But I could have done a little bit better and it’s a win. I heard the crowd start cheering at the end so I felt someone was closing in.”
Wilson quickly turns her focus to the February 3rd 111th NYRR Millrose Games. She will compete in the Jack & Lewis Rudin Women’s 4×800where her USA team will have a legitimate shot to surpass the world indoor record of 8:06.24 set in 2011 by Russia during the Russian Indoor Championships in Moscow.
Eric Sowinski, who in 2013 at the NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory set the American record in the 600 meters, came in first Saturday at the Dr. Sander Invitational’s talented 800m field turning back the likes of U.S. 1500m champion Robby Andrews, Rio Olympic bronze medalistClayton Murphy. Sowinski captured the 800m with an impressive 1:46.98 time.
“I love The Armory,” said Sowinski, the former Iowa Hawkeye standout. “This is where my career started. I luckily got into Millrose during 2013 and I broke a record. To have the opportunity to run at Millrose really sparked my career.”
The former Armory Track Invitational, now in its 18th year, honors Dr. Norbert Sander, The Armory’s late founder and CEO who restored The Armory on 168th Street, returned track and field to upper Manhattan, and made The Armory home for many of the nation’s best indoor events including the renowned NYRR Millrose Games to take place on February 3.
The Dr. Sander Invitational is the largest indoor college meet in the country, and the roster of professional events at the meet has been expanded to 11 for the 2018 edition.
Go to ArmoryTrack.com to learn more about the Dr. Sander Invitational.