BARCELONA, Spain — One day after running the leadoff leg for the United States in Saturday’s semifinal round of the 4x400-meter relay, LSU’s Quincy Downing put his squad in the lead with a career-best split of 45.07 seconds as the Americans won gold at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Sunday’s finale at Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium.
Downing opened with the fastest split on the team as the United States posted a 2012 world junior leading time of 3 minutes, 3.99 seconds — the ninth-fastest time in championship history.
After Downing’s a 45.07-second split from the gun, Aldrich Bailey held the lead with a 46.74-second split before handing off to Chidi Okezie at the second exchange. Okezie ran 46.40 on the third leg before handing off to Arman Hall on the anchor. Hall finished in 45.78 as the Americans won the gold medal by more than one second with their winning run of 3:03.99.
Poland won silver in 3:05.05 and Trinidad & Tobago won bronze in 3:06.32.
“The leadoff felt great,” Downing said in a university release. “I feel great. Training with the LSU staff has been great. It’s been a big part of this team. I’ve known some of these guys for a long time, and have even run against them too. When we came here, I knew it was going to be a great team based on all of our selections. I knew we’d win a lot of medals. It’s fun to be a part of this.”
The United States has now won six straight gold medals in the 4x400-meter relay at the IAAF World Junior Championship dating to the 2002 season and 12 gold medals in 14 appearances all-time since 1986.
Downing’s performance wrapped up the most successful IAAF World Junior Championships in history of LSU track & field as the Tigers brought home four medals from the event.
Tiger freshman Aaron Ernest was a three-time medalist for the United States as the leader of the country’s sprint squad. Ernest anchored Team USA to the gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay on Saturday with the second-fastest time in history by a junior team at 38.67, while he also swept sprint silver medals by racing to PRs of 10.17 in the 100-meter dash on Wednesday and 20.53 in the 200-meter dash on Friday.