Tyreek Hill completes his sprint double at the US junior championships (Kirby Lee - Image of Sport) © Copyright
- The three day USA Junior Championships, which served as the selection meet for the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships, Barcelona, Spain, 10-15 July, concluded on Sunday (17). The top two finishers, provided they have met the qualifying standards in each event, will be invited to compete in Barcelona as members of Team USA. Below is a day-by-day rundown.
Day 3 - Hill doubles gold on final day of Junior Championships
Tyreek Hill pulled away from the field in the men’s 200m taking home his second gold medal to highlight the final day of competition at the USA Junior Championships in Bloomington, Ind. at Indiana University.
Hill won the 100m (10.28) on Friday and closed with a 20.57 in the 200m. Hill, who had a large cheering section of family watching him win, will compete in both events for Team USA at the World Junior Championships.
"They go to every track meet I go to," Hill said of his family. "Right now I’m tired but I’m really happy. It’s a very good experience for me and my family."
The women’s Heptathlon came down to an exciting battle between Kendell Williams of Kell High School (Marietta, Ga.) and Erica Bougard of Mississippi State. Williams led the field with the top score through the first six events. The tables turned in the final event as Bougard was able to gain an edge over Williams with a 2:14.39 victory in the 800m. Williams finished nearly 15 seconds back in 2:29.47. Bougard took gold with 5547 points while Williams took the runner-up spot with 5481 points.
"I heard them calling her name so I thought she was right behind me but it turned out she wasn’t, so I was pretty stoked," Bougard said. "It means a lot to me but I know but I know I really have to push it because I’m 10th [on the World Junior list] and I want to be at least top five.
The women’s and men’s 1500m races produced exciting finishes by both Bronxville High School sophomore Mary Cain and Austin Mudd of the University of Wisconsin. Cain’s early pace pushing and depth of competitors in the field helped her to reach a new personal best of 4:14.74 while Mudd had to fight to the finish to win in 3:46.50. Cain bettered Jordan Hasay’s Junior meet record of 4:16.98 set in 2007.
"I wanted to PR, so I’m excited," Cain said. "I’m used to running alone, so I was pumped. I knew they would not just let me go, they would be on me this whole time and that’s exactly what they did. It was a big honour running with them."
"I knew people were going to key off me having the fastest seed time coming into the meet so my coach and I decided to take it out a little faster than I’m used to," Mudd said. "I was mid-pack going into the last 200m so i was trying to running as fast as I could until I saw the finish."
In the final event of the day, Rodney Brown of Louisiana State University broke the USA Junior meet record in the men’s discus with a throw of 62.99m. Brown’s throw bettered the previous meet record, set by Mason Finley in 2009, by over two feet.
Day 2 - Ashe throws record on day two USA Junior Championships
Shelby Ashe improved her own American Junior record to win the women’s hammer throw to highlight action on day two.
Ashe improved her own American Junior record and meet record in the hammer with a monster throw of 68.12m. Ashe’s mark improves her spot on the world junior list from seventh to second. Ashe previously set both the American Junior record in 2010 at 65.32m. Ashe, who is taking a gap year after graduating from St. Pius X Catholic High school, will also compete in the Olympic Trials next week.
"It gives me a better spot on the line up for the Olympic Trials. It’s the automatic qualifier that I didn’t quite have yet but I knew I could throw it," Ashe said. "I’m excited out of my mind. It’s just a great opportunity and I never really thought I’d be here at 19, so I’m just ready to have some fun and see what happens."
In the Decathlon, Gunnar Nixon of Arkansas improved his runner-up finish from 2011 to win the title with 7761 points. Nixon’s mark is currently No. 3 on the world junior list. Garrett Scantling of the University of Georgia took the runner-up spot with 7434 points to join Nixon on the World Junior squad. Also of note is that Nathan Donnellon of Ypsilanti, Mich. set an American Junior record in the decathlon discus with his throw of 49.64m.
"It’s great. I’ve represented the USA a couple of times," Nixon said of the opportunity to compete at World Juniors. "It’s a great honour and I’m looking forward to it."
Jarrion Lawson of Texarkana, Texas, won his second U.S. Junior title of the weekend by taking first in the men’s Triple Jump with 15.64m. On Friday, Lawson won the Long Jump with a mark of 7.77m.
Eric Futch of Lansdowne, Pa. ran away from the field in the men’s 400m Hurdles to take the win by nearly half a second in 50.73. Futch earned a personal best and now holds the No. 2 spot on the world junior list. Futch will be joined in Barcelona by Texas A&M freshman Greg Coleman, who finished second in 51.31.
"I’m really excited. It’s what I’ve been waiting for my whole life," Futch said. "I’ve been dreaming to make the USA team my whole life."
Day 1 - Vaughan, Kirillov rewrite records on Day 1 USA Junior Championships
Shelbi Vaughan set an American Junior record in the women’s discus and Nikita Kirillov broke a 19-year-old meet record in the men’s pole vault to highlight competition on day one.
Vaughan, of Mansfield, Texas, threw a new American Junior record twice during today’s discus competition. Vaughn first bettered the record on her fourth attempt with a heave of 60.03m. Her best mark and second record-breaking throw came on her final attempt with a mark of 60.59m. Vaughn’s record betters Olympian Suzy Powell’s mark from 1995.
"Each meet I’ve gone to this summer I’ve broken records," said Vaughan. "At practice I’ve been throwing well over 200 feet and I was hoping to do that today but the winds were really dead, but I’m really excited to break the record twice in one meet."
Alex Collatz of USC took the runner-up spot in the discus with a throw of 52.18m to punch her ticket to Barcelona.
Kirillov of Georgia Tech out jumped the field in the men’s pole vault with his new meet record of 5.54m. The previous record was set by Lawrence Johnson in 1993, the year Kirillov was born.
"I’m originally Russian and I got my citizenship a while ago," said Kirillov. "It’s definitely going to be a great honour representing the U.S., I’ve always wanted to."
Casey Bowen took the runner-up spot to qualify for the 5.00m 'A’ standard with his clearance of 5.20m.
Brianna Nerud made it a one-woman show in the 3000m Steeplechase. Nerud jumped off the line to quickly take the lead, and led the race from the first barrier to the last. Nerud came into the meet with the best high school time in the U.S. this year, and came close to bettering her season best of 10:19.91, but finished a few seconds off in 10:23.87. Courtney Frerichs will join Nerud at the World Junior Championships with her second place finish of 10:35.23.
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