The sun came out, the winds died down, and Texas Relays athletes responded with good performances, including four early outdoor season world leads in individual events, to wit: Louisiana State University students Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Richard Thompson, both from Trinidad and Tobago, won the featured 100 metres races in PBs – Thompson in 10.00 secs and Baptiste in 11.06; Andra Manson cleared 2.33m to win the High Jump; and Leonel Manzano won the Mile in 3:56.98. There were also “world leaders” in most of the relays, because this is the first major outdoor relays meet of the year.
Richard Thompson, who had plenty of bona fides coming in with a windy 9.95 and wind-legal 10.09 last year and an indoor NCAA 60m title three weeks ago, established a clear lead by 40m in the men’s 100m and had no trouble holding off Rae Edwards, who was second in 10.13. Thompson’s Louisiana teammate, Trindon Holliday, won the University 100m, edging Gerald Phiri (GBR), 10.20 to 10.22.
Kelly-Ann Baptiste had a narrower margin in the women’s 100m, holding off Alexandria Anderson (11.10) and Jamaican Simone Facey (11.11), both also PBs. The University 100m was won handily by Porscha Lucas in 11.20.
Andra Manson, whose confidence got an enormous boost from an indoor season which saw him win the USATF indoor championship and then place third in the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, sailed over 2.20m, 2.25 and 2.30 without a miss, cleared 2.33 on his third try, and then had one very near clearance at 2.36. Second was Scott Sellers, who cleared 2.30.
Miler Leo Manzano, born in Mexico but now a U.S.citizen, was paced most of the way by University of Texas teammates, as he went through fractions estimated at 59.6, 1:59.4 and 2:59.6 before taking the lead. Julius Bor (KEN) moved to challenge Manzano with 180m to go, but that just lit Manzano’s afterburners, and he scooted away to win in 3:56.98, his fastest-ever mile, although his best 1500, 3:35.29, is equivalent to 3:52.6 or so.
There was, as noted above, some stellar relay racing, too. More than 40 of the top American professional sprinters were present, brought in by USATF to practice baton exchanges – not always an American strong point.
The best results were a women’s 4x100m in a sizzling 42.25 turned in by Muna Lee, Torri Edwards, Carmelita Jetrer and Sanya Richards, and a 4x400m in 3:23.49 from Moushami Robinson, Natasha Hastings, Ebonie Floyd and anchored (again) by Richards. These times would make any Olympic final – not bad for pick-up teams.
The men’s relays saw five 4x100 teams under 39 seconds, the fastest being a 38.63 turned in by a professional team anchored by World 100m/200m champion Tyson Gay, who also knocked off a 45.2 relay leg. In the 4x400, the best time was the 3:00.65 by a team of Jeremy Wariner and his training mates, with the World and Olympic 400m champion anchoring in…43.4.
Washington State University’s 18-year-old Jeshua Anderson, who set an American High School record of 35.28 for the 300m Hurdles, debuted in the 400m Hurdles with a rather startling 49.68. He is also a star receiver in American football.
The women’s 100 metres Hurdles saw Jamaica’s Nikiesha Wilson (fourth in the Osaka 400 Hurdles) drop down to the shorter distance and into world class with a 12.85 victory.
James Dunaway for the IAAF
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