Katie Branham
USA Track & Field
Marketing &Communications Manager
MOSCOW — Brianna Rollins capped off a perfect championship season in the women’s 100m hurdles as Team USA again stormed to a four-medal performance Saturday night at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at Luzhniki Stadium.

Heading into the final day of competition, Team USA has 20 medals – six gold, 11 silver and three bronze. They lead the point standings 236-156 over Russia.

In the 100m hurdles, Rollins (Miami, Fla.) overcame a slow start out of lane 6 to come from behind on Olympic gold medalist Sally Pearson of Australia in lane 5. The NCAA and USA champion, Rollins overtook Pearson over the eighth and ninth hurdles, keeping her cool as she cruised to a well-executed victory in 12.44, adding the World title to her belt. Pearson clocked  season-best 12.50. Tiffany Porter of Great Britain was third in a personal-best 12.55, with Olympic silver medalist Dawn Harper(Los Angeles, Calif.) fourth in 12.59 and Queen Harrison (Richmond, Va.) fifth in 12.73. American Nia Ali (Philadelphia, Pa.) had run 12.83 to finish third in the first semifinal earlier in the evening and did not advance to the final.

In the most thrilling final of the night, a young Team USA went head to head with the Russians in the women’s 4x400m relay. Running lead-off Jessica Beard (College Station, Texas) handed off to 400m national champion Natasha Hastings (Atlanta, Ga.) with a 5-meter lead. At the second hand-off, the U.S. and Russia were even as Ashley Spencer (Indianapolis Ind.) took on third-leg duties. Trailing the Russians by a step, Spencer hugged the inside lane as Kseniya Ryzova of Russia drifted out to the second lane coming down the homestretch. With a half-stride lead over the U.S., Russia then cut into the inside to make the exchange, with their anchor-leg runner, Antonina Krivoshapka lined up on the rail and Team USA’s Francena McCorory (Hampton, Va.) on her outside shoulder. The cross-traffic jam caused Spencer to come almost to a stop before being able to hand off to McCorory, who pulled even with Krivoshapka off the final turn but couldn’t overtake the Russian, finishing second in 3:20.41 to Russia’s 3:20.18. Great Britain was third in 3:22.61.

Olympic silver medalist Brigetta Barrett (Tucson, Ariz.) sailed over the bar on her first attempt at her opening height of 1.89m/6-2.25, then 1.93m/6-4, 1.97m/6-5.5, and 2.00m/6-6.75 to sit in first heading into 2.03m/6-8. Barrett failed to clear but Russian Svetlana Shkolina made her first attempt, giving Shkolina the gold and Barrett the silver. With her clearance, Barrett tied the best height ever by an American at the Worlds.

In the men’s 200m, Curtis Mitchell (Daytona Beach, Fla.) overcame a poor first 30 meters to reel in the field down the straightaway and outlean Nickel Ashmeade for bronze in 20.04 to prevent a Jamaican sweep. Usain Bolt won the race in 19.66, with Warren Weird second in 19.79. Ashmeade was fourth, just .01 behind Mitchell.

Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.) recorded the best finish ever by an American woman in the World Championship 5,000m final as she finished sixth. Huddle worked alongside Shannon Rowbury (San Francisco, Calif.) over the final half of the race. The two Americans raced in the 6th and 7th position as they ran 15 meters off of the lead pack of Meseret Defar, Mercy Chrono and Almaz Ayana. With two laps to go, they caught Buze Diriba of Ethiopia who fell off the lead pack. Huddle made a strong charge over the final stretch to try and pass Diriba, but was unable to, as she crossed the line 6th in 15:05.73. Rowbury was close behind as she took 7th in 15:06.10. Kim Conley (West Sacramento, Calif.), who led the first laps of the race, faded to 12th in 15:36.58. The best place finish at the World Championships was previously run by Libbie Hickman (1997), Jen Rhines (2007) and Lauren Fleshman (2011).