Walter Henning broke his own American Junior record in the Hammer Throw to win his third consecutive title in the USA Track & Field Junior Championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State on Sunday (22 June).
Yesterday was the third and final day of the U.S. qualifying meet for the 12th IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland on 8-13 July. The top two finishers in each event will represent the U.S. in Bydgoszcz contingent upon a achieving a qualifying standard.
Henning threw 73.87m to eclipse his meet and national standard of 73.59m set in the 2007 USATF Junior Championships. It was the latest accolade for Henning, who also holds the all-time U.S. high school record.
Henning, who attends LSU after transferring from North Carolina in the midst of his first collegiate season, set his record on his first throw despite straining his right quadriceps on the effort.
The condition, which has bothered him for almost 18 months, flared up early into his wind up. Henning said it was “awkward” and a “struggle” through four turns to get his throw off.
“If I didn't hurt myself I feel like I could have gone a little farther,” said Henning who fouled his second attempt and passed in the final four rounds because of the injury.
“It was not so much the record. The one goal was to make the team and needing two people me not to pass me,” said Henning.
Challenged by his likely successor
Henning received a challenge from 2007 World Youth Championships finalist Conor McCullough, who finished second at 71.16m.
McCullough, a high school junior from Chaminade High in West Hills, Calif, finished fourth in the 2007 IAAF World Youth Championships after entering the finals with the top throw in the qualifying – a mark that would have earned him a silver medal in the finals.
“When you see the world stage, it gives you a new perspective,” said McCullough, whose father Conor was a 1984 and 1988 Olympian in the Hammer Throw for his native Ireland. “It gave me motivation pushed me this year after finishing out of the medals and walk home with nothing.”
McCullough has broken Henning’s freshman and sophomore records. Henning, who is 3-0 against McCullough, tabs his competitor as a likely candidate to break his high school and American Junior record in the upcoming year.
“I told him that he doesn’t break my record this year that he’s doing something wrong,” Henning said. “He’s definitely going to get everything next year and eventually the (junior record).
In other throws on Sunday, Chinwe Okoro of Louisville defeated 2007 World Youth finalist Becky O’Brien in the women’s Shot Put, 16.16m to 15.89m. Geoffrey Tabor won the discus at 59.57m in the final round.
Beard and Hasay also successfully defend titles
Henning along with Jessica Beard in the women’s 400m and Jordan Hasay in the women’s 1500m defended their titles.
Beard, a 2006 World Junior 4 x 400m gold medallist who attends Texas A&M, edged Lanie Whittaker, 52.23 to 52.25, to win her third consecutive 400m championship.
Hasay, a high school junior at San Luis Obispo Mission Prep (Calif.) who placed second in the 2007 World Youth Championships, won the women’s 1500m in a homestretch battle with Alex Kosinski of Oregon, 4:18.44 to 4:19.22.
The diminutive blonde pony-tailed Hasay was also entered in the 3000m but scratched from the event despite running 9:52.13 for 3200m in the California high school state meet on 31 May - the No. 2 outdoor mark in U.S. history. Although swayed by her fitness, time, Hasay and coach Armando Siqueiros decided to stick with the 1500m because they had geared her training to the event and thought her medal chances in the World Junior Championships would be best in the metric mile.
"I wanted to come back and defend my title," Hasay said. "And at Worlds, I'm a little more competitive in the 1500 than at the 3K and 5K. I am still young and like to keep my speed fresh. We kind of surprised ourselves in the (3200m) but it was too late to change our mind and kept training for the shorter distance.''
Another meet record was also set by LSU signee Rachel Laurent, a three-time Louisiana State champion, in the women’s Pole Vault at 4.22m. Leslie Brost finished second at 4.04m after winning the Nike Outdoor Nationals title in Greensboro, N.C. on Friday.
Sales and Townsend conquer headwinds in 200m
Antonio Sales of South Carolina won the 200m in 20.19 into a 2.2 m/s headwind to avenge a runner-up finish to Terrell Wilks of Florida in the 100m on Friday (20). Curtis Mitchell was second in 21.03 and Wilks was third in 21.08.
Tiffany Townsend of Baylor won the women’s 200m in 23.60 into a stiff 2.4m/s breeze. Victoria Jordan, the runner-up in the 100m, placed second in 23.73.
O’Neal Wilder of Mississippi State won the 400m over Marcus Boyd of Baylor, 45.62 to 46.02.
Ryann Krais the 2007 World Youth 400m hurdles bronze medallist, won the Heptathlon with 5217 points with marks of 14.03 in the 100m Hurdles, 1.65m in the High Jump, 9.48m in the Shot Put , 25.28 in the 200m, 5.71m in the Long Jump, 32.42m in the Javelin Throw and 2:21.19 in the 800m.
Laurynne Chetelat, a senior at Davis High (Calif.) who was a member of the U.S. Junior team in the 2008 IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships, won the women’s 3000m in 9:29.45.
Evan Jager of Wisconsin won the 1500m in 3:47.43 and Curtis Carr won the Steeplechase in 8:55.64.
Alitta Boyd bounded a wind-aided 13.13m to win the women’s Triple Jump in the final round over TiAra Walpool of Kansas State (12.99m). Ryan Fleck won the High Jump at 2.17m.
Winners in the 10,000m Race Walk were Matthew Forgues (49:01.41) and Miranda Melville (54.04.07.
Kirby Lee for the IAAF
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