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Twenty-five athletes with conference ties compete in Moscow
Those wondering just what Brianna Rollins might do for an encore received their answer on Saturday.
The former Clemson standout capped a whirlwind half-year of gold medals and record-setting performances with her crowning achievement – the gold medal in the women’s 100 meter hurdles at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
Rollins’ winning time of 12.44 wasn’t as fast as her American record time of 12.26, set June 22 at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. But it placed her atop a field that included 2011 World Champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Sally Pearson of Australia and 2008 Olympic gold medalist and USA teammate Dawn Harper-Nelson. Pearson was the runner-up on Saturday with a time of 12.50.
And Rollins, a master of good timing, slid under the wire in becoming the youngest-ever gold medalist in the 100-meter hurdles at 21 years of age. She celebrated her 22nd birthday on Sunday.
"I feel great, my birthday is tomorrow, so I have two great things to celebrate," Rollins told USA Track & Field after Saturday’s win. "I'm just thankful, and I just thank God for blessing me with this opportunity. I didn't panic when I had such a bad start, I just continued to focus on my own 10 hurdles, and just tried to finish the race strong. It's just such a great year, it's a blessed year, that's how I can describe it."
It is a year that has included NCAA and ACC Championships and records during both the indoor and outdoor seasons, followed by the stellar performance in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Rollins’ finish on Saturday helped a Team USA overall performance that produced 25 medals – six gold, 14 silver and five bronze. That matched the United States’ second-best all-time medal tally at the World Outdoor Championships. Team USA again dominated the scoring table, finishing with 282 points to Russia’s 182 and Kenya’s 139. The 100-point margin of victory was the largest ever for Team USA.
Rollins, a three-time NCAA Champion, earned the first individual World Championship by a Clemson women’s track & field athlete and became the school’s first world champion since Shawn Crawford won the Olympic gold medal in the men’s 200 meters in 2004.
Rollins, a Bowerman finalist, upped her unbeaten streak in the high hurdles to 25 straight in 2013. She was not defeated in 17 collegiate races, and has not yet been beaten in eight races (including preliminary and semifinal rounds) since turning professional after the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.
Rollins was not the only athlete with Atlantic Coast Conference ties earning her way to the medals podium during the World Championships. Miami alumnus Murielle Ahoure, competing for the Ivory Coast, took home a pair of silver medals with a time of 10.93 in the women’s 100 meters and time of 22.32 in the 200 meters.
Ahoure, 25, became the first African to medal winner in the women's 100 meters. Ahoure finished .15 seconds behind Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, one of the world’s fastest women, in the 200 meters.
"I am very excited and proud of Murielle," Miami director of track & field and cross country Amy Deem said. "Performing and excelling at the World Championships has been a lifelong dream of hers. Winning two medals is only the beginning."
In her lone season with the Hurricanes, Ahoure was named All-America on four occasions and was the 2009 NCAA 200-meter champion. She won four ACC titles and was named the USTFCCCA South Region Performer of the Year in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Florida State rising senior James Harris ran the leadoff leg for the United States in the preliminary round of the men’s 4x400. Posting a blazing time of 44.86, Harris handed off the baton in the lead, setting the tone for the fastest time in the preliminary rounds (2:59.85). Harris was a member of a six-man relay pool for the team USA 4x400 team, which went on to capture the gold medal.
A total of 25 ACC track and field alumni competed in Moscow.
In addition to Rollins and Harris, World Games participants that competed for ACC schools during the 2013 season included NC State’s Ryan Hill (USA, men’s 5000 meters), Clemson’s Warren Fraser (USA, men’s 4x100 relay pool), Florida State’s Dentarius Locke (USA, men’s 4x100 relay pool) and Florida State’s Anne Zagre (Belgium, women’s 100 meters).
Along with Ahoure, World Games women participants with ties to current ACC schools included Duke’s Kate Van Buskirk (Canada, 1500 meters) and Susan Rowbury (USA, 5000 meters); Florida State’s Hannah England (Great Britain, 1500 meters), Susan Kuijken (The Netherlands, 1500 meters) and Kim Williams (Jamaica, triple jump); Georgia Tech’s Chaunte’ Lowe (high jump); North Carolina’s Shalane Flanagan (USA, 10K); Notre Dame’s Molly Huddle (USA, 5000 meters) and Virginia Tech’s Queen Harrison (USA, 100 hurdles).
World Championship men participants with ties to current ACC schools included Clemson’s Dwight Thomas (Jamaica, 110-meter hurdles) and George Kitchens Jr. (long jump); Florida State’s Kemar Hyman (Cayman Islands, 100 meters), Jonathan Borlee (Belgium, 400 meters), Kevin Borlee (Belgium, 400 meters) and Pelle Reitveld (Netherlands, decathlon); North Carolina’s Vikas Gowda (India, discus); Virginia’s Jeff Eggleston (USA, marathon) and Virginia Tech’s Marcel Lomnicky (Slovakia, hammer throw).
Men’s top 10 finishers in addition to medalists included Jonathan Borlee (fourth in 400 meters at 44.54), Gowda (seventh in discus at 64.03 ), Lomnicky (eight in hammer at 77.57 ) and Hill (10th in 5000 meters at 13:32.69).
Women’s top 10 finishers in addition to medalists included Williams (fourth in triple jump at 14.62), Harrison (fifth in 100 hurdles at 12.73) England (fourth in 1500 meters at 4:04.98 ), Huddle (sixth in 5000 meters at 15:05.73), Rowbury (seventh in 5000 meters at 15:06.10), Kuijken (eighth in 5000 meters 15:14.70) and Flanagan (eighth in 10k at 31:34.83.)