Wilson claims World relay gold, Owens-Delerme sets national record

EUGENE – The final day of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field featured a relay gold medal for Britton Wilson while Ayden Owen-Delerme placed fourth in the decathlon with a national record.

In addition, two world records were set on Sunday with Sweden’s Armand Duplantis clearing 20 feet, 4.25 inches (6.21) and Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan breaking the world record in the 100m semifinal with a 12.12 clocking.

The women’s 4 x 400 relay was the final race of the meet and the United States totaled 33 medals, the most ever at a single edition of the World Championships. Team USA had a total of 13 gold, 9 silver, and 11 bronze medals.

Wilson ran the third leg on the United States winning effort of 3:17.79, a world leader for 2022, as she split 49.39 seconds, the second fastest split among all teams in the final. She increased the lead for the Americans before handing off the baton to Sydney McLaughlin, the world record holder in the 400m hurdles.

McLaughlin secured the win for Team USA with a 47.91 anchor leg. The winning time is the eighth fastest performance all-time. It’s the seventh gold medal in the last eighth World Championships.

“I’m so excited to be here, to be on this team,” said Wilson, who became just the fourth 400m hurdler in US history to run on a gold medal 4 x 400 at the World Championships. “It was definitely a different environment. The crowd was insane. I know I had to put my best effort. It’s been a long season. I am glad I came and gave it best.”

Sydney McLaughlin noted: “It was unreal. We had such a young team. All these girls are from teams out of college. It was put together at the last-minute and to see them all come together after such a long collegiate season, I am so grateful to be part of it.”

All four members of the relay competed for SEC schools. Leadoff leg Talitha Diggs (50.50), the 2022 NCAA and USA 400m champion, is a Florida Gator. Abby Steiner (49.99) is the NCAA 200m champion from Kentucky. McLaughlin was a NCAA 400m hurdle champion at Kentucky as well.

Finishing behind the USA-SEC squad was Jamaica in 3:20.74 with Great Britain third at 3:22.64. The rest of the final field included Canada (3:25.18), France (3:25.81), Belgium (3:26.29), Italy (3:26.45), and Switzerland (3:27.81).

Owens-Delerme, the first day leader of the decathlon with a career best of 4,606 points after setting a Puerto Rican national record in the 400m with a 45.07, won the 1,500m in the last event with a career best time of 4:13.02 to add 800 points to his total.

Finishing with 8,532 points enabled Owens-Delerme to break his Puerto Rican national record and Arkansas school record of 8,528 points set earlier this season. Owens-Delerme became the first Puerto Rican athlete to compete in a World Championships decathlon.

“I’m blessed, I’m fourth in the world,” exclaimed Owens-Delerme. “I’m the fourth best athlete on earth. I was in the decathlon with the world record holder and the Olympic champion. Here I am at 22 years old, representing my country at the highest level.”

Kevin Mayer, the decathlon world record holder, won gold with 8,816 points with Canadian Pierce LaPage the silver medalist at 8,701 and American Zach Ziemek claiming bronze with 8,676 points. LePage and Ziemek both set career best scores in the competition.

Finishing behind Owens-Delerme were Lindon Victor of Grenada (8,474), defending world champion Niklas Kaul of Germany (8,434), Estonia’s Maicel Uibo (8,425), and Australia’s Cedric Dubler (8,246).

The second day started with a 13.88 in the 110m hurdles for 990 points, followed by a 138-11 (42.36) in the discus for 713 points. Owens-Delerme slipped to second place after the discus, and then went to fourth place after clearing 14-9 (4.50) for 760 points in the pole vault.

A javelin toss of 167-3 (50.98) added 603 points to his tally giving him 7,672 points going into the final event.

A career best time of 4:13.02 in the 1,500m earned Owens-Delerme 860 points to create an upgrade to his national and school record.

“I’m just so proud of Ayden, that was a tremendous effort,” said Arkansas men’s assistant coach Travis Geopfert. “Sometimes the decathlon is a boxing match. In round six he had a good round in the hurdles. Then in rounds seven, eight, and nine he took some lumps, but he just kept competing.

“If this was easy, certainly everybody would do it. It’s not. Competing on a global stage as such a young athlete, in an event that takes time to develop, he did a tremendous job.”

Cindy Sember, who trains with Arkansas women’s assistant coach Chris Johnson, set a British national record in the 100m semifinal with a time of 12.50 seconds. That time placed her fourth in the same heat in which Amusan set the world record ahead of the former world record holder, Keni Harrison (12.27).

Sember was the final time qualifier to the final, which placed her in lane one. She placed fifth in the final with a wind-aided 12.38 as Amusan claimed gold with a 12.06, assisted by a 2.5 wind.