This is the piece on day 2 of The Match by USA Track & Field media department. Team Europe won 724.5 to 601.5, with a plethora of field event wins on Day 2. Here is how USATF saw the day.
Field event prowess lifts Team Europe to victory over Team USATF in The Match, Europe vs. USA
MINSK, Belarus — While Team USATF made a valiant effort, Team Europe edged out in the mixed medley relay to put an exclamation point on the evening and secure Team Europe’s 724.5 – 601.5 win in The Match, Europe vs. USA. The U.S. won eight golds on day two but couldn’t overcome Europe’s depth in the field events.
Full results can be found here. Fans can watch on demand coverage on NBC Sports Gold.
Earlier in the evening, Team USATF fared well in the women’s 1500m by clinching positions 1-2-4-8. Shannon Osika (Ann Arbor, Michigan) controlled the pace, leading through 400m in 65.63 and 800m in 2:11.52. She continued to hold a very slight edge over Kate Grace (Portland, Oregon) at the bell, but Grace made her move down the backstretch and took over with 200m to go. Sprinting away from the field to the line, Grace set a lifetime best of 4:02.49 to win and Osika held off a Team Europe challenger to take second in a quick 4:04.92. Yesterday’s 3,000m champion, Elise Cranny (Niwot, Colorado), completed an impressive mid-distance double with a PR 4:05.83 in fifth.
A season’s best 17.01m/55-9.75 in the men’s triple jump second round elevated Chris Benard (Chula Vista, California) to the top of the standings and he was never challenged, winning by a foot. KeAndre Bates (Gainesville, Florida) had his best mark in the first round, spanning 16.70m/54-9.5 to take third, just one centimeter out of second.
Confident and composed through the first half of the race men’s 400m hurdles, David Kendziera (Mt. Prospect, Illinois) established a lead at hurdle seven and held on the rest of the way to stop the clock at 48.99. Toyota USATF Outdoors bronze medalist Amere Lattin (Missouri City, Texas) closed very well to give Team USATF a 1-2 finish with his 49.12.
In the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, Marisa Howard (Boise, Idaho) either led or was on the shoulder of the leader through the first 2,000m, passing 1K in 3:13.40 and 2K in 6:26.93. Teammate Mel Lawrence (Bend, Oregon), who had lurked in the front half of the pack for five laps, moved to the front over the next 200m and started to ease away from her challengers over the final two laps to hit the line at 9:33.24, her third fastest time ever. Howard couldn’t hold her early pace and ended up sixth in 9:47.67.
Matching the women’s 200m time that earned her silver at the Toyota USATF Outdoors, Brittany Brown (Ontario, California) blasted through the second half of the curve and was unchallenged over the final 100m to win by .31 seconds in 22.61. Kyra Jefferson (Gainesville, Florida) also dipped under 23 seconds with a 22.99 in third.
Boasting the fastest personal best in the women’s 100m hurdles field, Sharika Nelvis (Georgetown, Texas) bolted to the lead over the first hurdle and by 60m she had a lead of more than a tenth of a second. Nelvis hurdled clear the rest of the way to win in 12.80 and a fast-finishing Queen Claye (Phoenix, Arizona) came through in 12.95 for fourth.
In the women’s shot put, Maggie Ewen (St. Francis, Minnesota) threw a personal best 19.47m/63-10.5 on her third attempt and went on to win the women’s shot put by 18 inches. Her mark added one centimeter to her previous PR and kept her at No. 10 on the all-time U.S. performer list. Chase Ealey (Chacon, New Mexico) went 18.83m/61-9.5 on her fifth throw to place fourth.
Team USATF’s final win of the day came from Ben Blankenship (Eugene, Oregon) in the men’s 3,000m. Hassan Mead (Eugene, Oregon) took over the lead after the 800m mark and held the front through the bell, where Blankenship took over and made a spirited run to the front that featured a marvelous homestretch battle with Adel Mechaal of Team Europe. Blankenship gritted it out in the final meters to outlean Mechaal and claim gold in 7:57.48, .07 ahead of Mechaal. Willy Fink (Toledo, Ohio) improved from sixth to fourth in the final half-lap, crossing the line in 7:58.62.
The final event of The Match was a race for respect. Both of Team USATF’s quartets started out well with women leading the way on the second and third legs. Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, California) brought the stick to Harris in the lead, covering her 400m leg in 50.10, and Courtney Okolo (Austin, Texas) was even faster with a 49.81 carry that made up ground and put Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) just three-tenths behind heading into the anchor 800m leg. Harris and Kidder fought to keep Team USATF 1-2 through the two laps, but could not hold off individual 800m winner Tuka, who gave Europe 1 the win in 3:21.13. Harris was .08 behind with a 1:47.59 split, while Kidder’s 1:47.51 placed his team third in 3:21.47.
USATF perseveres to clinch additional points
Women’s Hammer Throw
Shaking off a first round that had fouls for all four Team USATF competitors, Brooke Andersen (Manhattan, Kansas) and Janee’ Kassanavoi (Manhattan, Kansas) went past 70m in the next two rounds. Kassanavoid hit her best of the day in round three with a 71.26m/233-9 to place fourth, while Andersen saved her best for last, notching a 72.59m/238-2 in round six to take third.
M 110m Hurdles
Running next to Olympic silver medalist Orlando Ortega, Freddie Crittenden (Utica, Michigan) was out well and in contention, with Worlds silver medalist Sergey Shubenkov to their outside. The two Europeans edged away in the closing stages of the race with Ortega winning in 13.21. Crittenden finished well to take third in 13.43.
Another tactical affair saw the field pass 400m in 54.3 with everyone still in contention. Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine), third at the bell, kept his spot to the finish and clocked 1:46.94 to miss out on second by just .05. Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) moved well over the final 100m to take fifth in 1:47.20.
W 400m Hurdles
Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer (Austin, Texas) went out conservatively before an aggressive move into the final bend pushed her into the lead. Spencer had a stride margin with one barrier to clear, but disaster struck as her lead foot clipped the 10th hurdle and she fell to the track. Kiah Seymour (Fayetteville, Arkansas) was the top American in fourth, clocking 55.82.
The top two finishers at the USATF Outdoors placed fourth and fifth in Minsk, with Sam Mattis (Leesport, Pennsylvania) recording a best of 63.66m/208-10 in the fifth round and Brian Williams (Oxford, Mississippi) throwing a best of 62.81m/206-1 on his opening attempt.
W High Jump
Inika McPherson (Beaumont, Texas) and Amina Smith (Long Island City, New York) both cleared 1.90m/6-2.75 on their first attempts but could not scale 1.93m/6-4 and finished fourth and fifth respectively. Smith’s jump matched her season’s best.
W Long Jump
Reigning World champion Brittney Reese (Gulfport, Mississippi) took the lead in round one of women’s long jump with a 6.59m/21-7.5 and improved to 6.71m/22-0.25 on her next attempt, but couldn’t stave off local favorite Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova of Belarus, who won with a best of 6.74m/22-1.5 while Reese finished third.
Prohibitive favorite Ramil Guliyev of Turkey was one of Europe’s surest nine-point men, and the reigning World champion met expectations with a half-second win in 20.16. Kyree King‘s (Ontario, California) 20.83 led a 3-4-5 Team USATF finish, just ahead of Jamiel Trimble (McKinney, Texas) and Remontay McClain (Irvine, California).
Breaking up the European stranglehold on the event, Toyota USATF Outdoors champion Michael Shuey (University Park, Pennsylvania) launched a lifetime-best 83.21m/273-0 in round two to claim fourth place and beat reigning Olympic champion Thomas RÃ¶hler of Germany.
Team USATF competition continues with the IAAF World Championships in Doha, September 26 – October 10.