Tokyo Olympics Day 15: A pair of golden Aggies

NC A&T national champions Randolph Ross and Trevor Stewart earned gold medals as members of the US men's 4 x 400 relay team

Members of the U.S. men's 4 x 400 relay team celebrate after taking the gold medal on Saturday (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Trevor Stewart took care of business early, winning a bronze medal — the first ever by an NC A&T athlete — in the 4 x 400 mixed relay on the second day of the track competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

It took his Aggies teammate Randolph Ross until the final event, but he also finally earned a medal of his own.

And it was gold.

In fact, both Ross and Stewart earned gold medals to bring back home with them Greensboro after U.S. ran to a first place finish in the men’s 4 x 400 relay on Saturday.

Although neither was selected to participate in the final race, their effort in running the first two legs of a winning semifinal heat qualified them for their medals. The quartet of Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon and Rai Benjamin finished the job Ross and Stewart started.

It was the only gold medal won by American male sprinters at the Tokyo Games.

Becoming Olympic champions is the crowning achievement for an incredibly successful year for the Aggie stars.

In May, Stewart and Ross were part of the 4 x 400 relay team that won the NCAA championship. Ross, the son of A&T coach and former Olympic hurdler Duane Ross, win the individual national championship in the 400 meters. The younger Ross also ran the 400 in Tokyo, but didn’t qualify for the final.

Medal count

________________________________Gold    Silver    Bronze    Total

USA                                                36           39           33          1o8

China                                             38           31            18            87

ROC                                               20           26            23            69

Great Britain                                20           21            23            63

Japan                                             27           12            17            56

Carolina Connections

Jayson Tatum dunks to score during men’s basketball gold medal game against France (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Former Duke star Jayson Tatum came up big in a big spot for the U.S., helping his country win its fourth straight men’s basketball gold medal by going 3 of 5 from 3-point range and scoring 19 points in an 87-82 victory against France.

High Point native Bam Adebayo added six points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots to help Team USA avenge its opening round loss to the French.

Another Duke product, equestrian Jessica Springsteen, earned a silver medal as part of the U.S. team jumping squad. Springsteen, along with teammates Laura Kraut and McLean Ward, tied Sweden for first at the end of the competition, but lost a jump off for the gold medal. Springsteen is the daughter of rock star Bruce Springsteen.

Morrisville resident Jordan Windle finished ninth in the men’s 10-meter diving competition. The 22-year-old put together a solid effort through the preliminary rounds to qualify for the final and hit on five of his six attempts in the medal round. His one miss  — an armstand forward triple somersault on the third dive that scored only 39.60 points — knocked him out of contention. It’s a dive that scored 72.60 points in the semifinal.

Asheville resident Adrian Hegyvary and teammate Gavin Hoover try to recover after crashing in their track cycling event in Tokyo (NBC Sports screenshot)

Asheville’s Adrian Hegyvary had a painful experience in his one Olympic track cycling race. Riding in an event known as “The Madison,” Hegyvary crashed just past the halfway point in the 200-lap race around the 250-meter velodrome while attempting to perform a slingshot move with teammate Gavin Hoover. Hegyvary  had just won one of the 10 intermediate sprints and stood in seventh place when they took each other out.

The race involves teams of two whipping each other around in a relay. One rider is considered in the race at a time, though they can switch at any juncture, and points are awarded to the top four finishers in each 10-lap segment.

The U.S. lost its gold medal baseball game to 2-0 in Japan on Saturday, but Ryder Ryan of North Mecklenburg High and UNC pitched another scoreless inning. Ryan didn’t give up a run while allowing only two hits in five innings of relief during the Olympic tournament while helping the U.S. to a silver medal.

UNC student Camilla Feeley was part of the U.S. team that competed in the preliminary round of the rhythmic gymnastics competition. Feeley and her teammates put together solid performances in both disciplines, but came up short of qualifying for the finals.

Duke golfer Leona Magure, representing Ireland, shot an even-par 71 in the final round on Saturday to finish in 25th place at 5-under 279.

Team USA Highlights

Allyson Felix won her 11th Olympic medal, combining with her American teammates to finish the 4×400-meter relay in 3 minutes, 16.85 seconds for a runaway victory. The team of Felix, Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu was never in jeopardy. Poland finished second, 3.68 seconds behind, and Jamaica finished third.

Allyson Felixposes with her gold medal for the women’s 4 x 400-meter relay at the Summer Olympics (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Felix, who became the most-decorated woman in Olympic track history when she won bronze in the 400 on Friday night, now passes Carl Lewis with the most track medals of any U.S. athlete. Of the 11 medals, seven are gold.

Nelly Korda gave the Americans a sweep of gold medals in golf, holding on for a one-shot victory in the Olympic women’s golf competition. Korda led by as many as three shots on the back nine. In the end, she needed two putts from just inside 30 feet on the 18th hole for par and a 2-under 69.

The U.S. has won its third consecutive gold medal in women’s water polo, pounding Spain 14-5 in the final at the Tokyo Olympics. Maddie Musselman scored three times and Ashleigh Johnson made 11 saves as the U.S. improved to 134-4 since it won gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Next up

Chelsea Gray will attempt to give Duke a sweep of the basketball gold medals contested by U.S. teams in Tokyo when the women’s team plays Japan in Sunday’s final. Tatum won gold with the men’s team while current Blue Devils women’s coach Kara Lawson coached her team to the gold in 3 on 3 basketball.

The Associated Press contributed to this story