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Jamaican women, US men win Penn relays

SHELLY-ANN-FRASERPHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, April 28- Two-time reigning Olympic 100-meter champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce anchored Jamaica to a 4×100 victory Saturday at the 119th Penn Relays, snapping an eight-year American win streak.

The US men also took a 4×100 title as 2013 world leader Mike Rodgers joined 2012 Olympic relay runners-up Justin Gatlin, Doc Patton and Ryan Bailey to fend off a Jamaican lineup that included London relay gold medalist Nesta Carter.

The meet is a first step toward the World Championships in August at Moscow for many US runners ahead of American qualifying at the national meet in June.

Fraser-Pryce anchored 2008 Olympic 100 runner-up Sherone Simpson, fellow 2012 Olympic relay runner-up Kerron Stewart and Anneisha McLaughlin to victory in 42.42 seconds with USA Blue second in 42.65, edging USA Red by .01.

“We knew the USA had a strong team and the world record. What should they have to fear?” Fraser-Pryce said. “This year we came in with no fear and were really in shape.”

Allyson Felix, the 2012 Olympic 200 champion, joined American world-record women’s 100 teammates Tianna Bartoletta (formerly Madison) and Bianca Knight for USA Red.

But the lineup lacked anchor Carmelita Jeter, who sat out after a hamstring issue last week at the Mt. SAC Relays. Jeneba Tarmoh replaced Jeter on the final leg.

Simpson gave Jamaica the lead in the first leg, Felix gained no ground in the second and while Bartoletta closed the gap, it was Fraser-Pryce who pulled away with every stride to win for Jamaica.

“There was no way I was going to let her catch me today because we wanted it so badly,” Fraser-Pryce said.

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Rodgers raced to the lead over Carter in the men’s 100 and Gatlin stretched the margin against Jamaican Dexter Lee.

“I was excited,” Rodgers said. “It was an excellent experience.”

Added Gatlin: “Second leg has my name on it. I just tried to do the best I can.”

Patton kept the lead and Bailey brought home the victory for USA Red in 38.26 with Jamaica second in 38.65 and USA Blue in third at 38.94.

“I got out a little early. Doc was hot coming in there,” Bailey said. “It was all good.”

The USA Red lineup of Torrin Lawrence, Manteo Mitchell, Bershawn Jackson and Tony McQuay won the men’s 4×400 relay in 3:00.91 with Jamaica second in 3:01.15 and Bahamas, with three members of the 2012 Olympic winners, third in 3:02.23.

Reigning world and Olympic 400 champion Kirani James of Grenada and reigning Olympic 400 hurdles champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic put the Caribbean All-Stars into second midway into the race but the unit finished sixth in 3:04.81.

Francena McCorory outraced Perri Shakes-Drayton down the final straightaway to give the USA Red relay a victory over Britain in the women’s 4×400 relay in 3:22.66, edging the visitors by .02.

A Jamaica lineup with three members of the 2012 Olympic bronze medal relay was third in 3:24.11.

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The Americans included McCorory and Dee Dee Trotter from the 2012 Olympic gold medal lineup but Jessica Beard and Natasha Hastings replaced Felix and Sonya Richards Ross, out with a right big toe injury.

“Rehab is coming kind of slow,” Richards Ross said. “The toe is slow to healing because of the lack of blood flow. I wish I was running here.”

Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu, the 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 runner-up at 400, was held off by leader Trotter in the third leg and McCorory brought home the victory.

“We miss Sonya and Allyson out here but we held it down for the USA,” said Hastings. “With the world championships coming this summer, we wanted to send a message that the USA ladies are ready.”

Despite a fall from Bereket Desta in the second leg, Ethiopia won the men’s distance medley relay in 9:16.34. Aisinet Abiyot, Desta, Mohammed Aman and Aman Wote edged Kenya by .69 of a second with USA Red third in 9:18.21.

Alysia Montano anchored the USA Red squad to an American-record victory in the women’s 4×800 relay in 8:04.31, defeating runner-up Kenya by 3.27 seconds with USA Blue third in 8:10.99.

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