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Capel helps U.S. to relay sweep

Published Sep. 29, 2005

This U.S. men's 400-meter relay team finally got it right, and led a gold sweep for the Americans.

Anchor John Capel, a Florida track and football standout, and his teammates avoided baton blunders that have derailed the United States in recent years, and won Tuesday in 38.55 seconds, the fifth fastest time of the year.

South Africa was second in 39.08 and Italy third in 39.31.

The United States also won the women's 400 relay and both 1,600 relays as the 11-day Olympics-style event wrapped up. The men won the 1,600 in 3:00.88, the third fastest time of the year, to beat Britain by more than three seconds.

At the '95 and '97 World Championships two years ago, the 400-meter relay team blew handoffs in the first round. And it was disqualified at the '88 Olympics because of a handoff outside the zone.

"The problem with the U.S. in relays is the short time they have to work together," said Clyde Hart, who like the rest of the U.S. track coaches here will guide the team at the 2000 Olympics.

"I'm very proud of our guys here. This is the team of the future."

The men's 400 victory marked a measure of redemption for Capel, a graduate of Hernando High, who finished a disappointing second to Brazil's Andre Domingos Da Silva in the 100 Sunday.

A rematch in the relay never materialized, though, because Brazil dropped the baton in the first exchange.

"I was not worried about the Brazilian. I know he's not faster than me," Capel said. "The Brazilian said that we cannot run, that we talk too much trash. So we proved that we can win."

In the women's 400 relay, U.S. anchor Nanceen Perry pulled away from Poland's Zuzanna Radecka down the stretch. Angela Williams, Torri Edwards and Lakeisha Backus completed the American quartet, which finished in 43.49.

Poland took the silver in 43.74, with Germany third in 43.96.

The United States took the women's 1,600 in 3:27.97.

The five American medals Tuesday _ Adrien Sawyer took silver in the women's long jump _ brought the country's total to 63, 30 gold. Russia was second with 43 medals, 14 gold.