The Sports Examiner

ATHLETICS: Roberts upsets McLeod, Nilsen beats Kendricks, Harrison 12.65w in frigid Drake Relays

Kentucky hurdles star Daniel Roberts

A weekend that should have been filled with fun was a victim of weather as wind took down some of the relay marks at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia and winter-esque conditions turned the Drake Relays into more of a survival exercise than a celebration of track & field.

In Des Moines, Saturday’s conditions featured temperatures around 40 F plus wind and blowing rain, but the show went on. There were some good races, with remarkably good marks considering the conditions:

● World-record holder Keni Harrison was impressive with a 12.65w (+3.3 m/s) victory in the women’s 100 m hurdles, running away from Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PUR: 12.85) in the middle of the race.

● Kentucky junior Daniel Roberts, already at 13.30 this season, overcame Jamaica’s Olympic champ Omar McLeod in a wind-aided 13.28-13.29 (+2.3). Roberts ran cleanly, but McLeod – normally smooth – hit hurdles 1-3-4-6-10 and still almost won with a lean at the end.

Asked about running with the Olympic champion, Roberts told NBCSN’s Lewis Johnson, “I was just running for my life out there.”

● The shot put was a mess, but Ryan Crouser and North Dakota State senior Payton Otterdahl were in good form, reaching 21.11 m (69-3 1/4) and 20.75 m (68-1).

● The men’s vault was moved inside and was one of the best events of the meet, with world outdoor leader Chris Nilsen of South Dakota clearing 5.85 m (19-2 1/4), his best-ever indoors. That was enough to best Americans Sam Kendricks and Andrew Irwin, who both cleared 5.80 m (19-0 1/4).

● The women’s vault was held on the track on Friday, with Sandi Morris making a good return from surgery at the end of last year to rack up a win at 4.76 m (15-7 1/4) over world outdoor leader Jenn Suhr (4.66 m (15-3 1/2). The height places Morris no. 4 on the year list.

Kori Carter came from behind to log a win in the women’s 400 m hurdles in 56.07, equal-8th on the 2019 world list, over Yanique Haye-Smith (TKS). Haye-Smith had a big lead into the eighth hurdles, but Carter was swift over the final hurdle and on the run-in to get the win.

In Philadelphia, none of the USA vs. the World relays were especially noteworthy, but they were exciting. The U.S. quartet of Chris Belcher, Bryce Robinson, Josiah Young and Mike Rodgers ran 38.80 to win the men’s 4×100 m over Canada (38.94), while Jamaica won the women’s race in 43.19 (also over Canada, 44.37).

These were hardly even “B” teams for the U.S., Canada or Jamaica, but Michael Cherry’s 44.3 second-leg split was the difference in the men’s 4×400 m for the Americans, who won easily in 3:02.70. Dontavius Wright ran a 45.06 third leg and Je’Von Hutchinson brought home the win with a 46.15 lap.

The Jamaican women were the class of their 4×400 m race, with Stephenie McPherson running 52.47 to finish off a balanced team: Shericka Jackson (51.6), Janieve Russell (52.5) and Christina Day (52.41) gave her a big lead; the second Jamaican team was second, ahead of Canada and the two U.S. teams.

Click here to access the Drake Relays results; click here for Penn.

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