Ashley Spencer is back.
The former Lawrence North High School sprinter won gold and silver medals in track and field’s World Indoor Championships at Portland, Ore.
She ran anchor leg Sunday for the U.S. team that won the women’s 1,600-meter relay in 3:26.38. The Americans won by 4.77 seconds, second-largest margin in the history of the indoor worlds.
She won a silver medal in Saturday’s 400 meters, clocking 51.72. Bahrain’s Oluwakemi Adelkoya won gold in 51.45.
Spencer earned $20,000 for the silver and $10,000 as one-fourth of prize money for relay gold. Natasha Hastings, 400-meter bronze medalist Quanera Hayes and 2016 world leader Courtney Okolo ran the first three legs.
“I really didn’t think about anything else but finishing up for my team,” Spencer told USA Track & Field. “Finishing what they had put forth for all of us is the most important thing. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I’m looking forward to outdoor season.”
Spencer, 22, is aiming at both the 400 meters and 400-meter hurdles at June’s U.S. Olympic Trials. She was inhibited by a leg injury while at Texas last year but has returned to the form that allowed her to win three medals at previous world meets. She has two golds from the 2012 junior worlds and a relay silver from the 2013 outdoor worlds.
In the men’s 1,600 relay, Batesville’s Chris Giesting ran a 45.34 third leg for the U.S. team that won in 3:02.45, only .33 off the world record set by the United States in 2014.
That world-record team included Lawrence Central grad Kind Butler. Giesting’s former Notre Dame teammate, New Palestine’s Patrick Feeney, contributed a leg in Saturday’s semifinals.
Overall, Team USA set meet records for gold medals (13) and total medals (23). Previous records, both by the United States, were 10 golds in 2012 and 19 total in 1999. Ethiopia was a distant second in the medal table with two golds and five total.
Besides the two relays, the United States’ three other gold medalists Sunday were:
>> Matt Centrowitz, who won the men’s 1,500 in 3:44.22 in a final separating the medalists by only 0.15 seconds. The Czech Republic’s Jakub Holusa was second in 3:44.30 and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand third in 3:44.37. Centrowitz became the first American to win gold in a global 1,500 – Olympics, outdoor worlds or indoor worlds – since Mel Sheppard at the 1908 London Olympics.
>> Marquis Dendy with a distance of 27 feet, 1 ¼ in the men’s long jump.
>> High school senior Vashti Cunningham with a leap of 6-5 in the women’s high jump. The 6-1 ½ Cunningham, 18, of Las Vegas, became the youngest U.S. medalist ever at the indoor worlds and youngest high jump champion. Cunningham, daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, announced she was turning pro.
Sunday’s attendance was a sellout of 7,191 at the Oregon Convention Center.
Call IndyStar reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.