Friday, September 2, 2011

Michael Berry only watches as Team USA 4 x 4 wins gold at world championships...

DAEGU, Korea--Team USA emerged victorious in the men's 4 x 400 meter relay, clocking 2:59.31 Friday night as day seven of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships concluded at Daegu Stadium.

For local track fans, the only disappointment in Team USA's victory was that Rainier Beach High School grad Michael Berry, who finished his freshman season at the University of Oregon, was not a part of the quartet of Greg Nixon, Bershawn Jackson, Angelo Taylor and anchor LaShawn Merritt (left/photo by Paul Merca), despite running the fastest split for Team USA in Thursday's semifinal round.

In talking to Berry, who watched his teammates get the gold from the sidelines, he said that he was told by the USA coaching staff around three hours before the race that he and Jamaal Torrance were going to be replaced by Taylor and Jackson, who did not run the qualifying round Thursday, because they were competing in the finals of the 400 hurdles that night.

Anchor Merritt made a point in talking to the media to thank both Berry and Torrance for putting them in a position to win.

"I can't start without thanking Michael Berry and Jamaal Torrence for getting us to the final. They ran two great legs in the first round to get us here.  We told them before we got here that it was our time now.  We told them we we're going to get a gold medal for them."

Looking forward to the fall, Berry said that he's going to spend a couple of weeks relaxing in Seattle before heading back to Eugene to begin his sophomore year.

Any thoughts of running in the Pan Am Games for Team USA in October in Mexico will be in consultation with Oregon head coach Vin Lananna, who is here in Daegu as the head men's coach of Team USA, and sprint coach Robert Johnson. He did admit that if he were to run at the Pan Am Games, that he would probably miss a few indoor meets, but, "I don't want to miss too many meets in Seattle--that's my home town!"

Saturday, no Washington affiliated athletes are competing.  On Sunday, University of Washington grad Mike Sayenko will run the marathon at 9 am, while Washington State grad Bernard Lagat runs the final of the men's 5000 Sunday night as the meet concludes its run in the Korean city.

Complete day seven results from the IAAF World Track & Field Championships are available here.

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