Curtis Mitchell of the USA at the 2008 World Junior Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Strong sprinting, 4x400m world lead as USA dominates NACAC U23 Champs

Ronnie Ash ran a windy 12.98 in the 110m Hurdles and Curtis Mitchell blazed to 19.99 in the 200m as Team USA collected 74 medals to dominate the 6th North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under 23 Championships, held over the weekend at Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar, Florida.

The host nation sealed its dominance with a world leading time of 2:58.83 in the 4x400m Relay.

Aided by a strong tail wind (+3.1mps), Ash broke the 13-second barrier on the opening day of the championships to take his first international title, ahead of reigning World champion Ryan Brathwaite (13.10) of Barbados and countryman Johnny Dutch (13.30).

Curtis Mitchell became the sixth man this season and the 25th US sprinter to break the 20-second barrier in the 200m when he clocked 19.99 (w +2.0) during Saturday’s semifinals. On the same day (Saturday), the 21-year anchored the US quartet to the 4x100m relay victory in 38.96.

On Sunday, he sealed a successful weekend with the 200m gold in a windy 20.06 (+2.8 m/s), ahead of compatriot Brandon Byram (20.46) and Rasheed Dwyer of Jamaica (20.64).

2010 World Indoor relay medallist Tavaris Tae anchored the USA squad to a world leading and championships record time of 2:58.83 in the 4x400m relay, the first under three-minute performance this year. Tae had won the individual race in 45.36 and ran an unofficial 44.1 leg. In the relay, he was joined by LeJerald Betters, who opened with an unofficial 44.3, O'Neal Wilder and Joey Hughes. The previous NACAC Under 23 Championships record of 3:01.15 was set in 2002. The USA women also took gold in 3:29.80.

Bahamas (3:02.91) and Trinidad and Tobago (3:07.95) rounded up the top three. Canada's 2009 World Championships relay finalist Samuel Effah stole the show in the men’s 100m with a personal best of 10.06) to beat Jamaican champion Oshane Bailey (10.11) and Maurice Mitchell of the USA (10.17).

In the women’s race, USA’s Jeneba Tarmoh blazed to a fast 100m win in 11.00, just over the legally-permitted speed (+2.2), well ahead of Jamaica’s Samantha Henry (11.25) and Kenyanna Wilson of the USA (11.32).

Other notable performance came in the men's 800m as 20-year-old Charles Jock ran away from the rest of the field to win in a personal best of 1:45.65, more than two seconds faster than Bermuda's national record holder, Aaron Evans, runner-up in 1:47.79. Canada's Jessica Smith won the women's 800m in 2:04.96.

After running 48.85 in the semifinals, Jeshua Anderson secured the 400m Hurdles in 49.33, ahead of Winder Cuevas of the Dominican Republic (50.13) and Reginald Wyatt of the USA (50.15).

USA’s Ti'erra Brown completed a Hurdles double. She first took the 100m Hurdles in a windy 12.86, followed by the one-lap race in 55.14.

Very few victories escaped to the hosts. Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams leapt to the Triple Jump gold in a windy 14.14m, as Anguilla’s Shara Proctor did in the Long Jump (6.43m). USA’s Jordan Scott cleared a championships record of 5.56m in the Pole Vault.

Canada finished second in the medal tally with seven gold medals, followed by Mexico (three).

The NACAC Under 23 Championships is held every two years since Monterrey 2000.

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF

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