Bernard Williams shows he's still a force

The Baltimore Sun

PHILADELPHIA -- Don't count out Bernard Williams.

A solid second-leg performance on the USA Blue team that placed a close third in the "USA vs. the World" 400-meter relay yesterday at the 113th Penn Relays indicated there's plenty of zip left in the legs that have carried this 29-year-old ex-Carver Vo-Tech and University of Florida sprint star to the heights of track and field.

In a slam-bang 1-2-3 finish before 46,363 fans at Franklin Field, 2004 Olympic 200-meter champion Shawn Crawford anchored the USA Red team to a 38.35 verdict over Team Jamaica (38.89) and Williams' USA Blues (38.97).

The 2006 season wasn't a huge one for Williams, a member of the Olympic champion U.S. 400-meter relay team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2003 national 100-meter champion. He dropped to ninth in the U.S. 100-meter rankings last year, his lowest place since he emerged on the national scene.

Two months remain until the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis in June, the meet that determines the team bound for August's World Championships in Osaka, Japan. Williams has been a nationals finalist seven times in the past nine years.

Dakari Taylor-Watson of Morgan State ruled the Eastern Collegiate men's triple jump event, spanning 49 feet, 3 3/4 inches.

Morgan State sprinters had a good day, too. The Morgan men took the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) 1,600-meter division in 3:11.65, edging Navy (3:11.70) and Maryland (3:11.74).

Morgan men also ran a close second to Lincoln in the IC4A 800-meter relay (in 1:25.47); Morgan's women were third in the ECAC 800-meter relay (1:38.35) and fourth in the ECAC 1,600 relay (3:45.51). Coppin State's 7:38.55 landed a sixth in the non-championship men's 1,600.

Triple jumper Artavius Williams of Poly placed sixth in the boys scholastic competition at 46 feet, 5 1/4 inches.

Gilman School ran to third-place medals in the boys prep school 1,600 relay final, clocking 3:28.25.

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