High-SchoolTrack-and-XC: california

2012 IAAF World Junior Championships Preview: Women's Track Events

July, 10, 2012
Shamier LittleJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSIL prep Shamier Little won the US Junior women's 400H and climbed to World#3 and medal contention for the WJC.


Event-by-event capsule previews of the men's track events, noting Team USA hopes and leading global contenders for the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships:

Women’s 100 Meters
WJR: 10.88, Marlies Gohr, GDR, 1977
AJR: 11.03, English Gardner, U. of Oregon, 2012

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Jodie Williams, GBR, 11.40 (2-Takeia Pinckney, 4-Ashton Purvis)
2008: Jeneba Tarmoh, USA, 11.37 (5-Shayla Mahan)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 11.56 / 11.78
2008: 11.52 / 11.60

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Athonique Strachan, BAH, 11.22
2. Dezerea Bryant, Clemson, 11.29
3. Shayla Sanders, Boyd Anderson FL sr, 11.32
15. Jennifer Madu, Plano TX sr, 11.46

Analysis: Americans have been winning the women’s World Junior 100 every other year, on the average, so 2012 might be the year after Jodie Williams GBR captured the 2010 crown. Team USA has Clemson’s Dezerea Bryant, who won 4x100 gold as a WI prep in Moncton, and Texas prep Jennifer Madu, the 2011 World Youth champ. Madu actually has a PR of “just” 11.46 and ranked just ninth among juniors from her own country, but she beat several of those ahead of her at US Juniors (including World#3 Shayla Sanders). And that underscores one of her strengths: She’s getting tougher and tougher and gets it done against faster runners. World #1 Anthonique Strachan BAH is better known in the 200, where she made the Moncton semi and then the World Champs senior semi in Daegu last year, but her PR of 11.22 is the world’s best.

Women’s 200 Meters
WJR: 22.18, Allyson Felix CA, 2004
AJR: 22.11, Allyson Felix CA, 2003

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Stormy Kendrick, USA, 22.99 (5-Ashton Purvis)
2008: Sheniqua Ferguson, BAH, 23.24 (5-Tiffany Townsend, 5-SF3-Ashton Purvis)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 23.27 / 23.51
2008: 23.52 / 23.67

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Shaunae Miller, BAH, 22.70
2. Anthonique Strachan, BAH, 22.75
3. Dezerea Bryant, Clemson, 22.97
5. Olivia Ekpone, Texas A&M, 23.18

Analysis: World #1 Shaunae Miller BAH appears to be entered only in the 400, as is #4 Ashley Spencer USA. So Anthonique Strachan BAH and American Dezerea Bryant of Clemson are the first and second seeds, just like in the 100. But then there’s Texas A&M’s Olivia Ekpone, the former MD prep who has a slower PR, but beat Bryant at the US Junior meet. The Aggie has improved sharply this year. Others expected to be in the mix are World #7 Justine Palframan RSA with a 23.22 PR and Shai-Anne Davis CAN at 23.24. The surprise 2010 champ was also from Clemson, Stormy Kendrick.

Women’s 400 Meters
WJR: 49.42, Grit Breuer, GER, 1991
AJR: 49.89, Sanya Richards, Nike, 2004

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Shaunae Miller, BAH, 52.52 (4-Stacy Ann Smith, 7-Regina George)
2008: Folasade Abugan, NGR, 51.84 (2-Jessica Beard, 7-Lanie Whittaker)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 53.17 / 53.59
2008: 52.36 / 53.78

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Ashley Spencer, U. of Ill., 50.95
2. Shaunae Miller, BAH, 51.25
3. Omolara Omotosho, NGR, 51.28
8. Erika Rucker, S. Carolina, 52.27

Analysis: The battle between meteoric American Ashley Spencer and defending champ and all-time Bahamian teen great Shaunae Miller could be one of the great battles of the meet. Miller won in Moncton as a 16-year-old (with 52.52; admittedly one of the meet’s slower years), then ruled the World Youth 400 last year with 51.84. She’s more than a half-second faster now, but the amazing Spencer, who was a good, but not great hurdler as a prep who almost never ran the 400, is suddenly the global leader after a dream NCAA championship season as a college frosh. Neither of them, though, can afford to ignore the Nigerian World #3-5 duo of Omolara Onotosho and Florence Uwakwe (52.09). The other American, South Carolina frosh Erika Rucker, should make the final and, if she can get under 52, might contend for bronze. There is more sub- or low-52 talent in the field which has not emerged with new PRs this year, too, like Chrisann Gordan JAM (51.94 last year), Bianca Razor ROU (51.96), Olivia James JAM (52.14) and Christian Brennan CAN (52.12). All were in the World Youth final last year.

Women’s 800 Meters
WJR: 1:54.01, Pamela Jelimo, KEN, 2008
AJR: 2:00.07, Kim Gallagher PA, 1982

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Elena M. Lavric, ROU, 2:01.85 (5-Ajee Wilson, 4-SF1-Laura Roesler)
2008: Elena Mirela Lavric, ROU, 2:00.06 (8-H4-Sarah McCurdy, 9-H2-Camilla Dancer

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 2:02.51 / 2:04.33
2008: 2:02.05 / 2:05.43

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Francine Niyonsaba, BDI, 1:59.11
2. Anatasiya Tkachuk, UKR, 2:00.78
3. Jessica Judd, GBR, 2:01.09
5. Ajee Wilson, Neptune NJ, 2:02.61
-- Danielle Aragon, Billings MT, 2:05.06

Analysis: It would be natural to think that after a fifth-place finish in the 2010 WJC and a victory in the 2011 WYC, NJ prep Ajee Wilson would be the favorite to win in Barcelona. But the World Junior list paints a picture of a tougher group of athletes than Wilson faced two years ago. Despite a new PR of 2:02.61, she is ranked “just” fifth. World leader Francine Niyonsaba BDI, whose 1:59.11 produced a stunning victory in her third race ever at the African Championships just a week ago, is not in the field. But another ahead of Wilson is Anatasiya Tkachuk UKR, who was a 2:00.37 performer last year, too. And then there’s World #3 Jessica Judd who was third behind Wilson in Lille last summer, but now has a 2:01.09 PR. Wilson will likely need all of her tactical wiles, as well as a sub-2:02, if she wants to medal or win. There are several others in the 2:02-03 range. The other American, MT prep Danielle Aragon has chopped five seconds off her PR in recent weeks and it wouldn’t be shocking if she kept improving. The only US medal in meet history came from Rebekah Noble with bronze in 2006.

Women’s 1500 Meters
WJR: 3:51.34, Yinglai Lang, CHN, 1997
AJR: 4:09.10, Suzy Hamilton, U. of Wis., 1987

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Tizita Bogale, ETH, 4:08.06 (4-Jordan Hasay, 7-H1-Rachel Schneider)
2008: Stephanie Twell, GBR, 4:15.09 (4-Jordan Hasay, 6-Alex Kosinski)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 4:11.04 / 4:18.90
2008: 4:17.06 / 4:21.73

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Faith C. Kipyegon, KEN, 4:03.82
2. Tizita Bogale, ETH, 4:08.48
3. Nancy Chepkwemoi, 4:09.41
11. Mary Cain, Bronxville NY, 4:14.74
21. Hannah Meier, GP South MI, 4:18.44

Analysis: For those who like to compare NY prep distance prodigy Mary Cain with the legendary DyeStat alum Jordan Hasay, this is another great opportunity. Hasay’s back-to-back fourth-place finishes in 2008 and 2010 are the high water mark for Team USA runners in this event and captured the imagination of distance fans nationally each year. While Cain is ranked “only” 11th on the World Junior list, the good news is that when you take away African runners beyond each nation’s allotment of two, then her rank improves to seventh – and all but three are within a second of her 4:14.74 PR. World #1 this year is Faith Kipyegon KEN, the World Junior XC champ from 2011 with a 4:03.82 PR. But don’t forget about World #2 Ethiopian Tizita Bogale, the defending champ from Moncton and a 4:03.94 performer in 2011. MI prep Hannah Meier, whose terrific kick earned her the second spot on the US team, was ninth at the World Youths last summer and she is 13th among entrants, giving her a good chance to at least make the final. And speaking of kicks, if the final is more of a kickers’ race, as it was in 2008, Cain would stand an excellent chance; she closed in 62 during her 4:39 mile PR.

Women’s 3000 Meters
WJR: 8:28.83, Zola Budd, GBR, 1985
AJR: 8:57.27, Ceci Hopp, Stanford, 1982

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Mercy Cherono, KEN, 8:55.07 (9-Jordan Hasay, 10-Emily Sisson)
2008: Mercy Cherono, KEN, 8:58.07 (6-Laurynne Chetelat)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 8:55.33 / (straight final)
2008: 9:03.76 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Nancy Chepkwemoi, KEN, 8:56.52
2. Gotytom Gebreslase, ETH, 9:00.97
3. Purity C. Rionoripo, KEN, 9:06.20
16. Lindsay Crevoiserat, UConn, 9:21.88
-- Aisling Cuffe, Stanford, 9:07.79 (indoor)

Analysis: As has been the case before, the World Junior list in this event does not reflect what we’ll see in Barcelona as World #1 Nancy Chepkwemoi is entered only in the 1,500 and others are not entered at all, either because they were beaten in their trials races or are competing at the senior level. This group of absentees includes 2011 WY champ Gotytom Gebreslase ETH. World #4 Miyuki Uehara JPN is the top seed at 9:06.91 and while US Junior champ Aisling Cuffe, the former prep superstar from NY, is listed only with her 3k PR from outdoor 2011, she has an indoor mark of 9:07.79 that would seem to put her smack in the medal battle. Amazingly, none of the Kenyans or Ethiopians entered have PRs under 9:10 – though don’t doubt there is sub-9:00 talent in the field. Also in the hunt could be the British duo of Emelia Gorecka (11th in Moncton; 9:10.31 best) and Laura Muir (9:12.80 best).

Women’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase
WJR: 9:20.37, Birtukan Adamu, ETH, 2011
AJR: 10:00.08, Shelby Greany, Providence, 2010

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Purity C. Kirui, KEN, 9:36.34 (10-Shelby Greany, 12-Eleanor Fulton)
2008: Christine K. Muyanga, KEN, 9:31.35 (6-H2-Elizabeth Graney, 9-H1-Rebecca Wade

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 9:43.71 / 10:35.58
2008: 9:37.81 / 10:23.88

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Evdokiya Bukina, RUS, 10:05.73
2. Daisy Chepkemei, KEN, 10:06.6h
3. Stella Ruto, KEN, 10:07.4h
15. Brianna Nerud, North Shore NY, 10:19.91
-- Courtney Frerichs, UM-KC, 10:34.48

Analysis: Amazingly, no one is under 10:00 on the World Junior list so far – and none of the Kenyan and Ethopian talent entered has a career PR under that mark. Still, don’t be surprised to see a winning time under 9:50 or even 9:40. NY prep Brianna Nerud, who has run this event several times due to chasing an Olympic Trials qualifier all spring, should make the final and, if she can cut another 5-8 seconds off, could be in the medal conversation if it turns out that sub-10 is beyond most of the talent. Nerud, of course, was seventh in the World Youth 2k ST last summer with the second best US time ever. The winner of that race, Norah Tanui from Kenya, doesn’t appear to have contested the race this year and only two who beat Nerud in that race are in Spain for this one.

Women’s 5000 Meters
WJR: 14:30.88, Tirunesh Diababa, ETH, 2004
AJR: 15:36.95, Molly Huddle, Notre Dame, 2003

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Genzebe Dibaba, ETH, 15:08.06 (6-Emily Sisson)
2008: Sule Utura, ETH, 16:15.59 (11-Catherine White, 12-Ashley Higginson)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 15:17.39 / (straight final)
2008: 16:27.96 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Buze Diriba, ETH, 15:11.53
2. Magdalene Masai, KEN, 15:17.75
3. Beatrice W. Murigi, KEN, 15:21.77
-- Cayla Hatton, Andover Acad. MA, 16:14.99
-- Allison Woodward, U. of Oregon, 16:15.27

Analysis: This race will feature the top current Ethiopian junior talent, but not the best from Kenya. World #1 Buze Diriba ETH has run 15:11.53 and has the top PR in the field by 13 seconds. But top Kenyan entrant Caroline Chepkoech has run only 15:49 this year (though 15:24.66 last year). After those two, the next best “proven” talent is Emelia Gorecka GBR who has run an excellent 15:34.21 (also entered in 3k). MA prep Cayla Hatton is one of the most intriguing stories of the year, emerging from injury at a small prep school to run all-time list-makers at 1,500 to 10,000 meters. Her runner-up finish at US Juniors was somewhat spoiled by an insanely fast mid-race surge. Oregon frosh Allison Woodward won that race in 16:15.27 in very warm conditions, but she has run 32:56 for 10k at the NCAA champs. In summary, it would seem both Hatton and Woodward have sub-16 potential, which could lead them to at least a top ten spot, though medal contention is probably out of reach. MO prep Emily Sisson ran an epic prep USR 15:48.91 two years ago to place sixth, breaking the mark set by Caitlin Chock in the same meet six years earlier while taking fifth.

Women’s 10000 Meter Racewalk
WJR: 42:59.48, Elena Lashmanova, RUS, 2011
AJR: 49:43.85, Maria Michta, CW Post, 2005

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Elena Lashmanova, RUS, 44:11.90 (No USA)
2008: Tatyana Mineeva, RUS, 43:24.72 (No USA)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 45:56.15 / (straight final)
2008: 44:24.10 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 Track

1. Ekaterina Medvedeva, RUS, 44:30.49
2. Olga Dubrovina, RUS, 44:42.28
3. Sandra Arenas, COL, 45:11.2h
No Team USA

2012 IAAF World Top 3 Road
1. Nadezhda Leontyeva, RUS, 44:32
2. Ekaterina Medvedeva, RUS, 44:46
3. Sandra Arenas, COL, 45:17

Analysis: For the third straight WJC, no Americans qualified, time-wise. Russia will seek to add to its title collection with World #1 (track) Ekaterina Medvedeva and the road event leader Nadezhda Leontyeva. But Sandra Arenas COL, #3 on both lists, and Alejandra Ortega MEX beat both for the IAAF Walking Cup title earlier this year. It should be a great four-way battle for gold.

Women’s 100 Meter Hurdles
WJR: 12.84, Aliuska Lopez, CUB, 1987
AJR: 12.95, Candy Young PA, 1979 and Cinnamon Sheffield, LSU, 1989

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Isabelle Pedersen, NOR, 13.30 (6-Evonne Britton, 5-SF1-Donique’ Flemings)
2008: Teona Rodgers, USA, 13.40 (6-H2-Vashti Thomas)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 13.46 / 13.76
2008: 13.49 / 13.56

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Ekaterina Bleskina, RUS, 13.11
2. Alina Galitskaya, RUS, 13.12
3. Morgan Snow, U. of Texas, 13.13
14. Dior Hall, G. Washington CO, 13.45

Analysis: Team USA won golds in 2004 and 2008 in this event and, with no clear favorite, it’s possible an American could again top the medal stand. Texas frosh and World #3 Morgan Snow won the US Juniors and is just .02 off the World Junior lead. She also has a windy 13.04 which is an all-conditions global best. CO prep super soph Dior Hall continued a great year that included her New Balance Nationals Indoor 60H title with the runner-up spot in Bloomington, beating older stars like 2011 World Youth champ Trinity Wilson CA and US#1 prep Sasha Wallace CA. Hall is only ranked 14th, but has a 13.31w best, too, and don’t be surprised if she makes the final. World #1 Ekaterina Bleskina was the 2010 Youth Olympic champ, while #2 Alina Galitskaya is not on the team. Also watch for Noemi Zbaren SUI, who was second behind Wilson in Lille last summer and is World #4 now.

Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles
WJR: 54.40, Xing Wang, CHN, 2005
AJR: 54.7h, Lashinda Demus, USA, 2002

Recent Champs
(plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Vera Rudakova, RUS, 57.16 (2-Evonne Britton, 7-Cristina Holland)
2008: Takecia Jameson, USA, 56.29 (7-H2-Kori Carter)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 57.35 / 59.18
2008: 57.08 / 58.04

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Janieve Russell, JAM, 57.04
2. Adekoya Kemi, NGR, 57.22
3. Shamier Little, Lindblom Prep IL, 57.44
7. Kaila Barber, Notre Dame, 57.70

Analysis: Team USA won golds in this event in 2002 (Lashinda Demus) and 2008 (Takecia Jameson) and could do so again in 2012. IL prep Shamier Little had a big PR at US Juniors with her 57.44 (World #3) and the sky seems the limit for this fast finisher. Kayla Barber, after a super career as an OH prep, had a good frosh year at Notre Dame and has a solid shot to medal, too. World #1 Janieve Russell JAM is an all-around athlete who has competed in other events at this level, but has never been in as great a position to win as now. #2 Adekova Kemi NGR is less experienced. The field also includes Aurelie Chaboudez FRA, the 2010 Youth Olympic champ and now at 57.99 (World #8) and Australian Sarah Carli, who was second behind American Nnenya Hailey in the 2011 WYC.

Women’s 4x100 Meter Relay
WJR, AJR: 43.29, Team USA, 2006

Recent Champs
2010: USA, 43.44
2008: USA, 43.66

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 44.09 / 45.41
2008: 44.61 / 44.45

2012 IAAF World Top 3
1. Young Achievers A (US preps), 44.39
2. Great Britain & N.I., 44.48
3. Jamaica, 44.51

Analysis: Team USA has won the last four titles and six of the last eight. There’s no reason to think that won’t continue. It doesn’t hurt that Clemson’s Dezerea Bryant has won American relay gold in 2010 at this meet, and that the relay pool includes Boyd Anderson FL teammates Shayla Sanders and Kali Davis-White. Texas prep Jennifer Madu, of course, helped bring the stick around for the World Youth medley runner-ups last summer. Only a dropped stick – which doesn’t seem to happen here like it does at the elite level – would seem to have a chance at derailing Team USA and a world record attempt (though the Jamaicans can’t be counted out).

Women’s 4x400 Meter Relay
WJR, AJR: 3:27.60, Team USA, 2004

Recent Champs
2010: USA, 3:31.20
2008: USA, 3:30.19

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 3:32.24 / 3:38.96
2008: 3:34.20 / 3:37.84

2012 IAAF World Top 3
1. Jamaica, 3:34.27
2. Colombia, 3:36.78
3. Jamaica II, 3:37.21

Analysis: Team USA has been dominant here, as well, winning the last five titles. It’s been awhile, though, since that 3:27.60 world record has been challenged. This could be the group that does it, with mega-talented 400 favorite Ashley Spencer, fellow collegian Erica Rucker, and MI prep Kendall Baisden and VCU frosh Kiara Porter taking it around. Baisden and Porter have run 52.59 and 53.07, adding to the 50.95 and 52.27 PRs of the first two. Again, Jamaica could challenge, along with Nigeria and The Bahamas.
Womens USATF 100Errol Anderson/ESPNHSFL prep Shayla Sanders FL (left) finished third to Dezerea Bryant in the USATF Junior Womens 100, but both will represent Team USA in their favored WJC 4x100.


With a roster filled with experienced internationalists, including seven previous IAAF World Junior or World Youth medalists and seven more previous finalists, Team USA is in a word, loaded, going into the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships which begin Tuesday. There are arguably at least a dozen medal contenders competing (plus the relays), all of whom could help the U.S., combining with the men, to break its all-time championship best of 21 medals.

It’s good to start with the sprints, because therein lies Team USA’s true gold favorites: U. of Illinois frosh Ashley Spencer and both relays. A year ago, Spencer was a 42-second 300 hurdler from Warren Central HS in Indiana and had almost no experience running the 400 as a prep. Over the course of an incredible freshman year, she became the country’s top junior 400 runner and an NCAA champ with a 50.95 PR. She’s #1 in the world with that mark and, having run low-50-points for relay splits, she should be able to back up her talented teammates and bring home the gold on the anchor of the 4x400 to help the Americans defend their title.

The short sprints should be nearly as good, with 2011 World Youth champ and Texas prep Jennifer Madu and 2010 4x100 relay gold medalist and World #2 Dezerea Bryant of Clemson leading the way in the 100 and on the 4x100 relay – hoping for another title defense in the latter. Preps Shayla Sanders and Kali Davis-White, both from Boyd Anderson in Florida, will help take the stick around. Bryant and fellow collegian Olivia Ekpone are medal threats in the 200.

Injury-plagued 2011 World Youth champ and CA prep Trinity Wilson did not make Team USA, but collegian Morgan Snow and young gun Dior Hall – who claimed the New Balance Nationals Indoor 60H – lead 100H hopes. Illinois prep Shamier Little and collegian Kaila Barber should both make the final in the longer hurdles and contend.

In the 800, NJ prep Ajee Wilson is another returnee from the 2010 WJ squad, where she was fifth, and is now the reigning World Youth champ. With tougher competition this year, she is World #5 going into Barcelona. Unranked Danielle Aragon, a fast-improving Montana prep, should not be discounted, either. Other distance hopes for Team USA ride primarily on the shoulders of NY prep Mary Cain in the 1,500 (where she’s #2 all-time HS), 2011 World Youth steeplechase finalist Brianna Nerud (also of N.Y. and #2 in prep history), and very experienced Stanford frosh Aisling Cuffe in the 3,000 – though others could contend, as well.

Prep throws USR-holders Shelbi Vaughan, Haley Crouser, and Shelby Ashe (now post-HS) lead a superlative Team USA contingent on the field. Former GA prep Ashe is World #2 in the hammer, having set the American Junior record of 223-6 at the Trials, and returns from the 2010 WJ squad. Vaughan, who was fourth in the Olympic Trials discus and has thrown 198-9, trails only two on the World Junior list and won bronze in Lille last summer. Oregon prep Crouser was fourth at 2011 WY in the javelin, set her mark with 181-2 in March, was seventh at the Trials and is ninth on the WJ list.

Javelinist Brianna Bain (Stanford), 2009 WY discus medalist Alex Collatz (USC), and World top ten putters Christina Hillman (Iowa State) and GA prep Tori Owers (another 2011 WY finalist) will also support the American cause as likely finalists and possible medalists.

Among the jumpers, U. of Florida triple jumper Ciarra Brewer (seventh in 2009 WY Champs) is World #4 and U. of South Dakota vaulter Emily Grove is World #5. But don’t forget about preps like Madu in the TJ, Robin Reynolds FL in the LJ, and 2011 WY eighth-place finisher Sydney White NC in the PV.

And while Mississippi State’s Erica Bougard and GA prep Kendall Williams are not high on the heptathlon lists, both could threaten American junior or high school records.

How many medals can Team USA women win in Spain? How about at least 10? In terms of golds, expect a relay sweep and one from Spencer, plus at least one more in the sprints, hurdles or throws. For additional overall medals, plan on 2-3 more from the sprints/hurdles, one from the distances, and one or two in the throws.

2012 IAAF World Junior Championships Preview: Men's Track Events

July, 7, 2012
Tyler SorensenJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSTyler Sorensen broke the American Junior record for the 10k walk at last summer's World Youth Champs and hopes to shine again in Spain. He is also the only member of Team USA who competed in the 2010 World Juniors.


Event-by-event capsule previews of the men's track events, noting Team USA hopes and leading global contenders for the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships:

Men’s 100 Meters
WJR: 10.01, Darrell Brown, 2003
AJR: 10.01 Jeff Demps FL, 2008

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Dexter Lee, JAM, 10.21 (2-Charles Silmon, 4-Michael Granger)
2008: Dexter Lee, JAM, 10.40 (3-Terrell Wilks, DQ-SF2-Antonio Sales)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 10.28 / 10.71
2008: 10.45 / 10.59

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Adam Gemili, GBR, 10.08 (+0.8w)
2. Aaron Ernest, USA/LSU, 10.17 (+1.2w)
3. Abraham Hall, USA/S. Grand Prairie TX sr, 10.19 (+1.3w)
3. Tyreek Hill, USA/Coffee Co. GA sr, 10.19 (+1.7w)
3. Julian Forte, JAM, 10.19 (+0.1w)

Analysis: With two-time champ Dexter Lee JAM finally having moved on, the meet will have its first new winner since 2006. Team USA fortunes have gradually improved each of the past two WJCs and maybe this will be the first gold since 2004. The top contenders are pretty light on international experience, with none “lighter” than Tyreek Hill – who was unknown beyond Georgia before his breakout marks at Golden South in late May. Hill and LSU frosh Aaron Ernest should each be medal contenders, along with Adam Gemili and Julian Forte. Also watch out for 2011 World Youth silver winner Oseto Kazuma JPN, who’s improved to 10.23 this year. It’s a shame that 2011 Pan Am Jr champ Marvin Bracy – the Florida prep who ran 10.06w this year before injury – won’t be here, too. Team USA has won gold three times here, the first two meets in 1986 and 1988, then in 2004 with Ivory Williams.

Men’s 200 Meters
WJR: 19.93, Usain Bolt, JAM, 2004
AJR: 20.13, Roy Martin TX, 1985

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Shota Iizuka, JPN, 20.67 (3-SF1-Oliver Bradwell, 5-SF3-Eric Harris)
2008: Christophe Lemaitre, FRA, 20.83 (4-Curtis Mitchell, 6-Antonio Sales)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 21.00 / 21.12
2008: 20.96 / 21.02

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Tyreek Hill, Coffee County GA sr, 20.14 (+1.8w)
2. Julian Forte, JAM, 20.38 (+1.0w)
3. Delano Williams, TKS, 20.53 (+2.0w)
4. Aaron Ernest, LSU, 20.54 (+0.5w)
4. Zhenye Xie, CHN, 20.54 (+0.5w)

Analysis: The cast will be similar to the 100, with Tyreek Hill, Julian Forte (who may or may not double), Aaron Ernest and Adam Gemili (20.61) all contending for medals. But the US storyline is dramatically different. First, this is the event where Hill really made jaws drop at Golden South in May with his 20.14, just .01 off the WJR. He wasn’t as fast at US Juniors, but his 20.57 win was still very impressive. Like in the 100, if this newbie to the big time can maintain fitness and composure, a medal – possibly gold – could be his. The other thing is that this was a rough event for Team USA two years ago with no finalists. In fact, Team USA athletes won gold here in 1986, 1988, and 1994, but have had a dismal medal drought since Wes Felix's bronze in 2002. That drought could well end in Barcelona.

Men’s 400 Meters
WJR, AJR: 43.87, Steve Lewis, USA, 1988

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Kirani James, GRN, 45.89 (3-Errol Nolan, 5-Josh Mance)
2008: Marcus Boyd, USA, 45.53 (3-O’Neal Wilder)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 46.36 / 47.02
2008: 45.76 / 47.13

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Luquelin Santos, DOM, 44.45
2. Aldrich Bailey, Mansfield Timberview TX sr, 45.19
3. Bafetoleng Mogami, BOT, 45.46
4. Steven Solomon, AUS, 45.54
6. Arman Hall, St. Thomas Aquinas FL sr, 45.59

Analysis: Goodbye, Kirani James; hello, Luquelin Santos. The 2011 World (Senior) champ James had four straight years of winning silvers, then golds in IAAF World Youth and World Junior meets, finally ending with his 2010 WJC gold, before moving on to the elite. But Santos, who was sixth at the 2010 WJC, exploded to 44.71 late last fall, then has hit 44.45 this summer (plus three more times at 45.29 or better) to become the #3 junior ever. So that’s what US prep Aldrich Bailey TX, the WJ#2, is up against in Spain. He’ll likely have to achieve his sub-45 dreams to earn gold. 2011 World Youth Champ Arman Hall is certainly a medal contender as well, part of a group of several between 45.4 and 45.7. Americans have won three of the last five WJC 400s, with the last being Marcus Boyd’s 2008 victory.

Men’s 800 Meters
WJR: 1:42.69, Abubaker Kaki, SUD, 2008
AJR: 1:44.9h, Jim Ryun, U. of Kansas, 1966

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: David Mutinda Mutua, KEN, 1:46.41 (2-Cas Loxsom, 3-Robby Andrews)
2008: Abubaker Kaki, SUD, 1:45.60 (6-SF3-Elijah Greer, 8-H2-Donte Holmes)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 1:47.00 / 1:48.38
2008: 1:47.57 / 1:49.25

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 10)
1. Nijel Amos, BOT, 1:43.11
2. Mohammed Aman, ETH, 1:43.51
3. Leonard Kirwa Kosencha, KEN, 1:43.60
-- Tanner Sork, Camas Union WA, 1:48.74
-- Shaquille Walker, BYU, 1:49.41

Analysis: 2010 was an amazing year for Team USA in this event as collegiate frosh Cas Loxsom and Robby Andrews earned silver and bronze to end a 16-year-span of no Americans even making the final. The U.S. talent isn’t at the same level this time, but don’t underestimate WA prep Tanner Sork, one of the biggest surprises late this spring in any event in the country. He made a giant one-meet leap, from 1:52 to 1:48.74 in early June, and has backed it up with two more sub-1:50s. He has a solid chance to be the fifth American ever to make the final. Meanwhile, two of the three medalists from last summer’s insane World Youth final (three under 1:45) should be here. The winner of that race, Leonard Kosencha KEN, is now down to 1:43.60 but is competing at the senior level. But #1 on the WJ list is Nijel Amos BOT – fifth in Lille last summer in 1:47.28, but with a dramatic improvement now to 1:43.11 - #2 all-time on the WJ list. This WJ field will likely be much, much better than it was in 2010.

Men’s 1500 Meters
WJR: 3:36.1h, Jim Ryun, U. of Kansas, 1966
AJR: 3:30.24, Cornelius Chirchir, KEN, 2002

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Caleb M. Ndiku, KEN, 3:37.30 (12-SF2-Elias Gedyon, 6-SF3-Peter Callahan)
2008: Imad Touil, ALG, 3:47.40 (8-Evan Jager, 5-H2-Duncan Phillips)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 3:38.91 / 3:44.05
2008: 3:47.65 / 3:47.71

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Geoffrey Barusei, KEN, 3:33.69
2. Hamza Driouch, QAT, 3:33.69
3. Teshome Dirirsa, ETH, 3:34.55
19. Austin Mudd, U of Wisconsin, 3:40.87
-- Izaic Yorks, Lakes WA, 3:46.67

Analysis: Since the East Africans took over, this (and the other distances) have been tough for the U.S. to crack. The best-ever finishes by Team USA were fifths by Jason Pyrah (1988) and Gabe Jennings (1998) and just making the final is seen as an accomplishment. Collegiate frosh Austin Mudd, though, has a good chance of advancing and finishing in the top half, especially if it’s a kicker’s race. WA prep Izaic Yorks will be hard-pressed to make the final, but don’t count out this super talent. World #1 Geoffrey Barusei KEN did not try out for his team, but #3 Teshome Dirirsa ETH was the World Youth champ in 2011 and #2 Hamza Driouch QAT has made WJ and WY 800 finals the past two years, and was second in the Youth Olympic 1k in 2010.

Men’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase
WJR: 7:58.66, Saif Saaeed Shaheen, KEN, 2001
AJR: 8:33.8h, John Gregorek, Georgetown, 1979

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Jonathan M. Ndiku, KEN, 8:23.48 (10-Jared Berman, 15-H1-Dakota Peachee)
2008: Jonathan M. Ndiku, KEN, 8:17.28 (9-Dylan Knight, 10-Curtis Carr)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 8:37.02 / 8:55.77
2008: 8:25.14 / 8:55.28

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Conseslus Kipruto, KEN, 8:08.92
2. Gilbert Kiplangat Kirui, KEN, 8:11.27
3. Jaouad Chemlal, MAR, 8:25.98
-- Edward Owens, Princeton, 8:53.55
-- Darren Fahy, La Costa Canyon CA, 9:03.15

Analysis: In no event has one country been as dominant as Kenya has been in the steeple, with victories in all 13 WJCs. Like in the 100, a 2-time champ has moved on in Ndiku, but one of his countrymen will surely fill the spot. World #1-2 Conseslus Kipruto and Gilbert Kirui were last year’s 1-2 finishers in the World Youth 2k steeple and they have 14 seconds on the rest of the world list. The best U.S. finish ever was fifth by Chris Dugan in 1998 and it’s unlikely that will be bettered this year. CA prep Darren Fahy is unlucky that his WJC year comes when he’s a HS senior instead of a collegiate frosh; it will likely take an improvement of several seconds for him to make the final. Collegian Eddie Owens, who lost to Fahy in the US Junior race but has a PR 10 seconds faster, should make it if he’s fit and on top of his game.

Men’s 5000 Meters
WJR: 12:52.61, Eliud Kipchoge, KEN, 2002
AJR: 13:25.46, German Fernandez, Okla. State, 2009

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: David K. Bett, KEN, 13:23.76 (11-Trevor Dunbar)
2008: Abreham Cherkos, ETH, 13:08.57 (11-Matt Centrowitz, 16-Ryan Collins)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 13:28.92 / (straight final)
2008: 13:11.97 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Hagos Gebrhiwet, ETH, 12:47.53
2. Isiah Kiplangat Koech, KEN, 12:57.63
3. Yigrem Demelash, ETH, 13:03.30
-- Kirubel Erassa, Okla. State, 13:47.26
-- Kyle King, U. of Virginia, 13:55.80

Analysis: A new world junior record in the event was set just Friday (July 6), but don’t expect the Ethiopian Gebrihiwet (or the World #2 and #3) to be in Barcelona, but rather the Olympic Games or Diamond League circuit. That doesn’t mean the race will be much easier. Kenya’s team will be led by 2011 World Youth 3k champ William Sitonik, who won the Kenyan Trials 5k. Team USA, which has never had an athlete finish higher than ninth in this event (most recently Galen Rupp in 2004), will counter with collegians Kirubel Erassa and Kyle King.

Men’s 10000 Meters
WJR: 26:41.75, Samuel Wanjiru KEN, 2005
AJR: 28:15.82, Galen Rupp OR, 2005

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Dennis C. Masai, KEN, 27:53.88 (6-Parker Stinson, 16-Graham Bazell)
2008: Josphat Bett Kipkoech, KEN, 27:30.85 (17-Donn Cabral, 19-Dan Dunbar)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 28:14.55 / (straight final)
2008: 28:07.98 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Geoffrey Kirui, KEN, 27:08.44
2. Charles Ndirango, KEN, 27:58.02
3. Enoch Omwamba, KEN, 28:18.93
-- Ryan Pickering, U. of Oregon, 30:56.77
-- Jacob Kildoo, Notre Dame, 31:04.61

Analysis: He may have finished “just” sixth and been lapped by the winner, but TX prep Parker Stinson’s 29:32.23 (#6 all-time HS) at the 2010 WJC was a spectacular PR and an effort that resounded in the prep distance community. This year’s US entries, collegians Ryan Pickering and Jacob Kildoo, are unlikely to top that – but then no one thought Stinson would run 29:32 two years ago, either. Meanwhile, in this event the world’s top junior distance runner IS expected to run this meet instead of the next level, so Geoffrey Kirui KEN – whose PR came at the Pre Classic (Kenyan Olympic Trials) last month – is the heavy favorite.

Men’s 10000 Meter Racewalk
WJR: 38:46.4h, Viktor Burayev, RUS, 2000
AJR: 41:23.14, Tyler Sorenson CA, 2011

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Valery Filipchuk, RUS, 40:43.17 (7-Trevor Barron, 15-Tyler Sorensen)
2008: Stanislav Emelyanov, RUS, 39:35.01 (No USA)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 40:50.37 / (straight final)
2008: 40:29.57 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (Track) (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Benjamin Thorne, CAN, 40:26.0h
2. Takumi Saito, JPN, 40:32.74
3. Pavel Parshin, RUS, 41.14.73
-- Tyler Sorensen, Torrey Pines CA sr, 44:11.35

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (Road)
1. Takumi Saito, JPN, 40:14
2. Ihor Lyashchenko, UKR, 40:35
3. Alexander Ivanov, RUS, 40:48

Analysis: 2010 was the best year ever for US walkers at this meet as Trevor Barron and Tyler Sorensen were seventh and 15th, with Barron setting the American Junior Record. Sorensen reset that mark last year at World Youths, where he was fifth, and has a chance to return here and improve his position. The only problem is that he was injured this winter and has only been training healthily for a few months. If he can match his 41:23.14 PR, he has a good chance to be in the top five or better. The favorites include Benjamin Thorne CAN, Takumi Saito JPN, and 2011 WY Champ Pavel Parshin RUS.

Men’s 110 Meter Hurdles
WJR: 13.12, Liu Xaing, CHN, 2002
AJR: 13.08, Wayne Davis NC, 2009

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, FRA, 13.52 (5-Caleb Cross, 4-SF2-Jonathan Cabral)
2008: Konstantin Shabanov, RUS, 13.27 (2-Booker Nunley, 4-SF2-Ron Brookins)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 13.59 / 13.77
2008: 13.51 / 13.62

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Yordan L. O’Farrill, CUB, 13.27 (0.0w)
2. James Gladman, GBR, 13.30 (1.2w)
3. Artie Burns, Miami N’Western FL jr, 13.35 (-1.4w)
7. Dondre Echols, Potomac MD sr, 13.56 (-1.8w)
9. Joshua Thompson, Pitt, 13.59 (-1.8w)

Analysis: It’s too bad injuries cut short Artie Burns’ campaign as the Florida prep would have been a gold medal contender had he stayed healthy and made it to Spain. But don’t sell Dondre Echols MD or collegian Joshua Thompson short. Both could make the final and be in the medal mix. Echols has progressed sharply in the past few months after a fine indoor season. Thompson, of course, is readjusting to the lower hurdle height after his collegiate season. The World #1-2 are relatively inexperienced at this level, but World #4 Nicholas Hough AUS won the Youth Olympic title in 2010 over the shorter hurdles.

Men’s 400 Meter Hurdles
WJR, AJR: 48.02, Danny Harris, Team USA, 1984

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Jehue Gordon, TRI, 49.30 (7-SF2-Sheroid Evans, 4-H5-Steven White)
2008: Jeshua Anderson, USA, 48.68 (2-Johnny Dutch)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 50.22 / 51.22
2008: 49.56 / 51.48

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Felix Franz, GER, 50.48
2. Shota Madokoro, JPN, 50.62
3. Egor Kuznetsov, RUS, 50.62
4. Eric Futch, Penn Wood PA sr, 50.73
11. Gregory Coleman, Texas A&M, 51.01

Analysis: After enjoying global domination in 2006 and 2008 – with gold/silver sweeps – Team USA was shut out of the 400H final in 2010. PA prep Eric Futch hopes to lead the way back on to the medal stand after his PR at US Juniors rocketed him up to World #4. So little time separates the top dozen, that the medals are really up for grabs. World #3 Egor Kuznetsov RUS was the World Youth champ in 2011 over the shorter barriers.

Men’s 4x100 Meter Relay
WJR, AJR: 38.66, Team USA, 2004

Recent Champs
2010: USA, 38.93
2008: USA, 38.98

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 39.72 / 40.07
2008: 39.70 / 40.40

2012 IAAF World Top 3
1. Japan, 39.16
2. US All-Stars (Great Southwest), 39.93
3. Jamaica, 39.39

Analysis: Team USA has grabbed four of the last five titles and three in a row. They certainly have the speed for another sub-39 with Tyreek Hill, Aaron Ernest and relay pool picks Arthur Delaney (Oregon frosh) and Cameron Burrell (Texas prep). Could the 38.66 World Junior record by Team USA from 2004 be threatened? Meanwhile, the world list means little with most national squads not having marks yet, but Japan (second in 2011 WY medley relay) is a serious threat now and Jamaica is always dangerous (DNS in 2011 WY medley).

Men’s 4x400 Meter Relay
WJR, AJR: 3:01.09, Team USA, 2004

Recent Champs
2010: USA, 3:04.76
2008: USA, 3:03.86

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 3:06.49 / 3:08.32
2008: 3:06.47 / 3:09.23

2012 IAAF World Top 3
1. Trinidad and Tobago, 3:05.95
2. Poland, 3:08.81
3. Bahamas, 3:09.23

Analysis: Team USA is nearly as dominant here as the Kenyans are in the steeple, with the last five titles in a row and 11 of 13 overall. Preps Aldrich Bailey TX and Arman Hall FL not only have World Youth relay experience, but also two of the world’s top five times. So victory not only seems really likely, but Team USA’s World Junior record of 3:01.09 from 2004 could be under siege. Collegians Chidi Okezie and Quincy Downing, both 46.10-20 performers, are the relay pool members. The toughest competition could come from Trinidad and Tobago, which has run 3:05.95 this year.

Ajee Wilson 2012 Olympic TrialsJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSAjee Wilson (4) held her ground against older competitors and finished second in her heat to automatically qualify for the semifinals in the women's 800 on Friday at the Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

DyeStat Olympic Trials Home

EUGENE, Ore. -- Six-figure shoe contracts surely help. Agents and other support personnel are nice. University scholarships and big-name coaches are the norm.

But at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials, talent is the currency that trumps everything else. Friday at Hayward Field, three of the five high school athletes competing advanced beyond the initial round and kept their dreams alive.

Shelbi Vaughan and Aldrich Bailey, seniors from the same Dallas suburb, both made impressive Trials debuts. Vaughan threw 193-9 and qualified for the finals of the women's discus with the fourth-longest throw.

"It was my first time ever throwing in the rain," Vaughan said.

And yet, she was unfazed, even after a first-attempt foul. Her second throw traveled 183-3 and her fourth throw clinched her advancement to the finals.

"It's really exciting to be able to throw with the best of the best," said Vaughan, of Mansfield, Texas' Legacy High School. "My goal coming in was to make the finals and we'll see where it goes from there."

Timberview High School is in the same school district as Legacy, and Bailey gave his hometown a second reason to celebrate when he ran 45.59 to advance in the men's 400 meters.

Bailey ran in Lane 8 and therefore couldn't see the other competitors for most of the race, but his confidence and leg speed were enough to move him through to Saturday's semifinal round.

Bailey did not mince words when asked whether he was satisfied to enjoy being at the Trials and watch previous Olympic champions such as Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt up close.

"I came here to make the Olympic team," Bailey said.

He believes he can run faster than his lifetime best of 45.19, if he has to, in order to advance even further to the finals.

"That'd be nice if we both made it to the finals from the same town," Bailey said, referring to Vaughan.

In the women's 800 meters, three more preps were scattered over four heats. Neptune (N.J.) senior Ajee Wilson ran with the savvy of a pro in her heat, leading it off the final curve and running comfortably to second place in 2:03.63. She will run in a semifinal Saturday.

"The first lap I felt comfortable. I just wanted to make sure I got in a good space," Wilson said. "I was feeling good, so I thought I might as well go (to the lead)."

Wilson got into competitive races with elite athletes several times already this year, including running in the New Balance Grand Prix and Millrose Games indoors and the adidas Grand Prix outdoors earlier this month. Those experiences are paying off.

"Definitely, it's taught me to be a better racer and to be prepared for whatever is going on in the race," she said.

Mary Cain of Bronxville (N.Y.), who recently turned 16, ran 2:04.11 in her heat and didn't have enough of a kick to advance. "I really tried to pick it up and tried to pass some people, but I just couldn't do it," she said.

It was Cain's first time racing pros or collegians. "No matter what, this has been a lot of fun. Not every 16-year-old gets to do this," she said. "No. 1 (thing), I wanted to have fun. I was (ranked) 31st of 32 people here, so I was like 'Hey, you got here. This is cool. It's a dream come true.'"

Cain and Wilson greeted each other before the event started with a hug. Cain said she told Wilson "to go out there and rock it." Wilson topped Cain in the New Balance Nationals Indoor 800 this past March, but Cain finished ahead of Wilson in winning the Penn Relays mile in April.

Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.) senior Amy Weissenbach finished in 2:06.46 in the second heat. She was caught up behind two runners who got tangled up and nearly fell to the track, but managed to place fifth out of eight.

Weissenbach spent some time Thursday evening in a hotel room with Joanna Hayes, one of Harvard-Westlake's assistant coaches and a competitor in the women's 100-meter hurdles. (Hayes is the 2004 Olympic champion).

"I just said to her, 'Let's go Amy, have fun and run fast.'" Hayes said. "At this point that's all you can do. You don't want to over-coach. Yesterday, I told her enjoy yourself and let's have a good time tomorrow and run as fast as you can. This is a whole new world (for her)."
WY 800John Nepolitan/ESPNHSStar rivals Ajee Wilson (right, winning) and Amy Weissenbach (falling, fourth) last met in the 2011 WYC 800 final. Now they'll race again in the Diamond League 800 at Saturday's adidas GP.

The boys and girls Dream Mile and 100 meter races won’t be the only highlights for prep fans at the adidas Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island this coming Saturday.

The women’s Diamond League 800 will also feature two high schoolers. That Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) senior Ajee’ Wilson is contesting the event is no surprise; she’s been racing collegiate and elite athletes at almost every opportunity since the indoor season. But the fact that Harvard-Westlake senior Amy Weissenbach is entered is eye-opening. Not only will it be Weissenbach’s first race at this level, but it will also be the first time the pair of 2:02 performers have met since the World Youth Championships final last July.

Wilson won the World Youth title in that race in Lille, France with a 2011 US#2 2:02.64, good for #6 all-time, while Weissenbach wound up fourth after a dive at the line. Wilson also defeated Weissenbach at the World Youth Trials a few weeks earlier. For the season, Weissenbach had the fastest time, with her 2:02.04 from her state meet being a national federation record and #3 all-time.

That the two U.S. preps have the opportunity to compete in a Diamond League race is an incredible opportunity. The field-runner field also includes American pros Maggie Vessey, Jenny Simpson, Molly Beckwith and Erica Moore, as well as Ethiopian Fantu Magiso and two British runners. Magiso has the top entry mark at 1:57.56, followed by Vessey at 1:57.84. But in the Millrose race, Wilson beat Vessey and was less than half a second behind Magiso.

Interestingly, neither comes into this race having matched their 2011 bests, though, and neither is atop the U.S. list. That honor belongs to Bronxville (Bronxville, N.Y.) soph Mary Cain, who has clocked 2:03.34. Wilson has run 2:05 three times outdoors with a best of US#2 2:05.19, while Weissenbach has done so twice with a best of US#3 2:05.55. Indoors, however, Wilson did produce a 2:04.13 at the Millrose Games, which elevated her to #2 all-time undercover.

It will be fascinating to see whether the competition can help either or both preps elevate their game, possibly to the level of Kim Gallagher’s 1982 2:00.07 USR, and whether Weissenbach will finally have Wilson’s number or if the Jersey star will prevail again. The two stars could meet again a week later at the USATF Juniors in Bloomington.
Nick HartleMark FordneyHis blazing 400 speed kickstarted Nick Hartle's state meet quadruple last weekend.

Nick Hartle wants to run fast in the 800 meters and believes he can get a couple of seconds under 1:50.

But last weekend the senior from Centennial High School in Las Vegas was all about helping his team try to win its first Nevada boys track and field championship, which is why he was willing to try an ambitious four-event workload in the Class 4A battle that included the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

“I tried a quad last year, but I did the 4x4 (relay) instead of the open 400,” Hartle said.

In Nevada, regional meets whittle the fields down so that the state championships are a finals-only meet.

At Damonte Ranch High School in Reno last Friday, Hartle won the 1,600 meters in 4:18.03 (at 4,500 feet elevation) and then 50 minutes later turned the 400 in a track record 47.79 seconds – an amazing turn of speed for someone whose range goes up to 5,000 meters, where he is a two-time state cross-country champ.

Hartle figured that the 400 would be the most difficult race to win. State leader Arnold Carrillo of McQueen had run 47.43 at the Arcadia Invitational on April 7. But when Carrillo suffered an injury at the regional meet, Hartle knew he’d have a chance to sweep all four races.

Hartle had dipped below 48 seconds on a relay split, but never in an open 400. For a mid-distance runner, Hartle’s US#58 time felt like his best performance of the weekend.

“It was a huge PR,” he said. “After that I was positive that I could win all four.”

On Saturday, Hartle ran 1:52.53 to take the 800 and 9:28.27 in the 3,200, where he won by 20 seconds.

Hartle’s 40 points gave Centennial a huge boost. The school totaled 79 points and won the state crown by 18.

The UCLA-bound Hartle is Centennial’s salutatorian and also won the school’s outstanding male athlete award at a ceremony earlier this week. He concluded his prep career in Nevada with two cross country titles, six individual track titles and one relay victory.

Earlier this season, Hartle was the anchor for two huge relay efforts. At Arcadia, Centennial won the 4x800 relay in 7:44.00 (US#6). A couple weeks later, at the Mt. SAC Relays, Centennial put together a US#1 distance medley relay (10.05.84). In that race, Hartle split 4:12.8 in the 1,600.

Hartle is the state record holder in the 800 (1:49.91) and 1,600 (4:10.23) and has left a significant imprint on Nevada high school running.

“Because we are one of the smaller states, in terms of numbers (of people), in the past we haven’t seen a whole lot of talent. Nevada has been on the back burner,” he said.

High jumper Gabby Williams and throwers Ashlie Blake and Avione Allgood have also contributed to putting Nevada on the front burner this spring. Hartle would like to do his part to keep it there and plans to run at Great Southwest and New Balance Nationals with hopes of driving his 800 meter time down even lower and perhaps winning a national title.

“I’d like to get as low as I can get, under 1:50 again, and hopefully down to 1:47 or 1:46,” he said.

With 47.79 speed in the 400 meters, Hartle has renewed confidence that he has what it take to move into the all-time list in the 800.

He’ll take a couple more shots at it.

“I kind of just want to go for one more month and then relax before going to college,” he said.
Press Release

NEW YORK CITY (May 16, 2012)—Josh Lampron and Ben Malone, who own the two fastest 1500-meter times in the nation so far this season, are among 16 top high school athletes added to the fields for the adidas Dream 100 and adidas Dream Mile at the adidas Grand Prix on June 9, organizers have announced.

Also headlining the roster are Ajee Wilson, the 2011 World Youth Champion at 800 meters, and freshman sensation Alexa Efraimson, the first freshman ever invited to a Dream event.

The Dream 100 and Dream Mile are again destined to be among the most hotly contested events at the adidas Grand Prix on June 9. In its eighth year as one of the premier track-and-field events in the world, the adidas Grand Prix, at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, will feature dozens of Olympic medalists and World Champions, including Yohan Blake, the reigning 100-meter World Champion, and David Rudisha, the 800-meter World Record-holder, who will be making his U.S. debut. The event will again be the sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit and is part of the Visa Championships Series. Tickets are now available at adidasgrandprix.com or by calling 1-877-849-8722.

Lampron, a senior from Mansfield, Mass., last weekend ran 3:45.74 for 1500 meters at a meet in Boston, among the top-20 high school times in U.S. history and the fastest in the nation since 2009. The 2011 national champion in the mile, Lampron is a three-time state champion and will attend Villanova University in the fall.

Malone, a junior from Hillsdale, N.J., is the 2012 National Indoor Champion at 800 meters and holds U.S. high school indoor records for a junior at 800 meters (1:49.94) and 1000 meters (2:23.56). On Monday, he ran the #2 time in the U.S. at 1500 meters, 3:49.84.

A senior from Neptune, N.J., Wilson is one of the top high school athletes in New Jersey history. Currently ranked #2 in the nation at 800 meters, she finished the 2012 indoor season ranked #1 at both 600 and 800 meters. A qualifier for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, Wilson will attend Florida State University.

Efraimson, of Camas, Wash., has run 4:23.41 for 1500 meters already this season to rank #4 on the U.S. list, and her time of 2:08.92 for 800 meters is #7. She finished 14th at cross country nationals last fall.

Also accepting invitations to the Boys’ Dream Mile are Jacob Burcham, a junior from Ona, W. Va.; who finished seventh at 1500 meters in the 2011 World Youth Championships in 3:46.55, the fastest time by a U.S. prep last year; Brannon Kidder, a senior from Lancaster, Ohio, a four-time state track champion ranked #4 in the U.S. at 1600 meters who is headed to Penn State University; Craig Nowak, a senior from Cypress, Tex., who is a five-time 5A state champion, ranks #2 at 1600 meters and #3 at 3200 meters, and will attend Oklahoma State University; and Craig Engels, a senior from Pfafftown, N.C., ranked in the top 10 at the mile (#3), 1500 meters (#4), and 3200 meters (#10). Engels was the 2012 Penn Relays Mile Champion in front of Burcham, the runner-up, and Malone, who placed third. He will attend North Carolina State University.

Joining Wilson and Efraimson in the Girls’ Dream Mile will be Haley Pierce, a senior from Wilmington, Del., the 15-time State Champion ranked #3 at 3200 meters and #4 at 1600 meters who will attend Georgetown University; Angel Piccirillo, a senior from Homer Center, Penn., who is a two-time state Gatorade Cross-Country Athlete of the Year, a seven-time State Champion, ranks #2 in the mile and will attend Villanova University; Amy-Eloise Neale, a junior from Snohomish, Wash., six-time Washington 3A State Champion ranked #4 in the mile and #6 at 1500 meters; and Paige Rice, a sophomore from St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, Ore., the 6A Oregon Cross Country State Champion ranked #4 in the U.S. at 1500 meters.

Burcham, Wilson, Pierce, Piccirillo and Neale are all making return Dream Mile appearances.

Joining the field of the adidas Boys’ Dream 100 are Raymond Bozmans of Fort Collins, Colo., a senior ranked #3 in the U.S. at 100 meters and #5 at 200 meters who is the 2012 Arcadia Invite Champion and will attend Texas Christian University on a football scholarship; and Khalfani Muhammad of Sherman Oaks, Calif., a junior who is the 2012 Mt. SAC champion at both 100 and 200 meters and 2011 state runner-up in both distances.

Added to the adidas Girls’ Dream 100 are Kali Davis-White of Lauderdale Lake, Fla., a junior ranked #4 in the U.S. and 2012 Florida State 4A runner-up at both 100 and 200 meters to the previously announced Shayla Sanders; and Destinee Gause of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, a senior who is the 2012 National Indoor Champion at 200 meters and is ranked #5 at 100 meters. The 2011 Ohio State Champion at 100 and 200 meters, she will attend the University of Florida.

Fields for the Dream Mile and Dream 100 are being drawn from the winners of three qualifying meets in the adidas Golden Stripes series, as well as from at-large bids. The first meet, the adidas Meet of Champions, was held on March 24, followed by the Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kan., April 19-21. Next up is the Golden South Classic in Orlando, Fla., on May 26. In addition to the opportunity to compete in a world-class international track event, athletes in the Dream Mile and Dream 100 will also have the chance to receive coaching from mile legend Jim Ryun.

All of the latest news, photos and additional information on the event can be found at adidasgrandprix.com, the event’s pages on Facebook at facebook.com/adidasGrandPrix and on Twitter at twitter.com/adidasGrandPrix. When tweeting, use #agpny. For even more coverage on the Dream Mile and Dream 100, visit adidasgoldenstripes.com.


Sara Hunninghake, Global Athletics & Marketing
Bernie MontoyaJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSBernie Montoya (Ieft) leapt into everyone's national radar with his 8:48.25 for second at the Arcadia 3200.
It was 100 degrees in Yuma, Ariz. on Thursday, where Cibola High junior Bernie Montoya was preparing for the Arizona state championships this weekend.

On Friday, he’ll run in the 1,600 and 800 at Mesa Community College. On Saturday, he has a leg on the 4x800 relay, and finally, the 3,200 meters.

This spring, Montoya has emerged as one of the standout members of a junior class of distance runners that includes Edward Cheserek, Jake Leingang, Jacob Burcham and Andrew Gardner.

A month after taking the lead on the last lap and finishing second in the blockbuster Arcadia 3,200 meters, in an Arizona record 8:48.25, Montoya is still coming to grips with his sudden rise to the prep distance ultra-elite.

“Honestly, I never thought I’d be at this level,” he said.

At Arcadia, he went to the starting line unsure whether he could break nine minutes.

“I was just hoping to survive,” Montoya said. “It gives me goose bumps and chills just thinking about (what happened). To challenge Futsum (Zeinasellassie), I didn’t think I’d be a contender for the gold. But with two laps left I thought, ‘I’ve gone this far. No reason to quit now. Why not go for it?’”

Montoya has the U.S. lead in the 3,000 meters, 8:18.81, because he was leading the race when the runners hit that point and timed en route to the finish line.

Since then, he has run 4:07.72 in the 1,600 meters and 1:53.22 in the 800.

In 2011, Montoya made news in Arizona when he won the 1,600 at the state championships despite losing his shoe midway through the race. He ran 4:12.01, crossing the finish line and then limping off the track because of torn skin on the bottom of his foot.

He didn’t race again on the track last spring, though Arizona’s state meet is in mid-May.

“The reality is, we saw it coming,” Cibola coach Kris Norton said of Montoya’s improvement. “His sophomore year, at a dual meet, he ran 9:22 goofing around and smiling. There was no way he couldn’t have run nine flat, but he only had one good chance with Billy Orman. But that state race got tactical. They were running together and came through the mile in 4:50.”

So Norton said he was thinking 8:55 at Arcadia – great, but not the eye-popping 8:48 that broke Orman’s state record.

But the most noticeable change in Montoya might be his physique. He came out of his sophomore year looking like a high school kid. He emerged from Yuma’s furnace of a summer this past September with a physique more typical of a college runner. That led to a fall campaign that included a state title and, eventually, a 12th-place finish at Nike Cross Nationals. But it seems the fruition of that summer work has truly come this spring on the flat, fast ovals of California and Arizona.

“I think it’s just more experience,” Montoya said. “My sophomore year, I was barely entering the sport. With a year of solid summer training and winter training, and resistance training that I’ve done, it defined and toned the body.”

Montoya was already blessed with impeccable running form. With a bigger base, natural maturation and repeated exposure to Yuma’s tough running conditions, he has moved to the forefront.

Over the summer, Montoya trained with Norton and his college-aged son, Ryan, on the flat paths that follow the Colorado River and assorted canals.

They would rise at 4:30 or 5 a.m. to get up and go run 10-12 miles early in the morning when the temperatures were still cool. Norton and three other coaches were in charge of transporting water to them at checkpoints on the route.

“We just need to be careful with training because the heat is really dangerous,” Montoya said. “It could toughen you up a little bit.”

In July, the average daily high temperature in Yuma is 107 degrees; in August, it’s 106 but there is more humidity.

Montoya also has easy access to sand dunes, which he runs in early in the season for a challenging leg-strengthening workout.

“It’s mostly very dry and scorching hot,” he said. “I’ve always been able to manage (the heat). You learn to adapt here. You have to drink a lot of water and stay out of the sun. For training, we find a way around (the challenges) and get our workouts in.”

After this weekend, Montoya will begin to focus on the Dream Mile at the Adidas Grand Prix. Beyond that, the schedule is still up in the air. He has also been invited to the Nike Elite Camp in July.

Norton and Montoya are still getting used to the opportunities that come from being a national caliber elite.

“It’s a little strange,” Norton said. “You’ve been doing the coaching, and doing all the training, and then you get a kid like this. You want to make sure you are doing everything you can for the kid to make sure he fulfills his potential. That’s the main thing, taking little extra steps to challenge a kid at this level.”

A select few have Olympic Trials in sights

May, 7, 2012
Aldrich BaileyBert Richardson/ESPNHSAldrich Bailey, shown here at the Texas Relays, ran a US#1 45.19 400 meters and could test himself against the nation's best at the Olympic Trials in June in Eugene, Ore.

The Olympic Trials, which will decide which U.S. track and field athletes make it to the 2012 London Games, are just six weeks away.

As the high school season moves toward state championships from coast to coast, we have an eye on which preps may crash the party in Eugene and go head to head with professionals and collegians in competition for a spot in the U.S. Olympic team.

Making it to the Olympics as a high school student (or recent graduate) is exceedingly rare in modern track and field. Dwayne Evans made the team in 200 in 1976, shortly after graduating from Arizona’s South Mountain High School. The same year, Johnny "Lam" Jones, a legend from Lampassas High (Texas) made it in the 100 meters and won a gold medal in the 4x100 relay.

No high school male has competed in the Olympic Games in a U.S. uniform since then.

Sisters Sherri and Denean Howard of Kennedy High (Los Angeles) went 1-2 in the 400 meters at the 1980 Olympic Trials, but that year’s U.S. team didn’t get compete in Moscow, Russia because of a boycott. Denean was just 15 at the time, coming out of her sophomore year. (She would go on to make three more Olympic teams).

Before Title IX became law in the 1970s it was common for teenagers to make the U.S. women’s Olympic team. But the advent of college scholarships, plus professional opportunities, has made it exceedingly difficult for a high school athlete to make the team ever again.

However, the very best prep athletes do make it into the Trials on occasion, soaking up the experience of being one step away from their dream. The starts lists usually include 24-32 athletes per event.

Here is a closer look at where some of this year’s top high school athletes stand. Some of these athletes may choose not to do the Trials for scheduling reasons. The U.S. Junior Championships, which is the qualifying meet for World Juniors (and a trip to Barcelona) is just days before the Trials start at Eugene, Oregon's Hayward Field.

Olympic Trials Qualifying Standards

2012 US High School Leaders

Marvin Bracy, Boone (Florida): A report in Monday’s Orlando Sentinel stated that there is hope that Bracy will be able to be at full strength for the Golden South Invitational on May 26. Bracy, who has a wind-legal best of 10.25 seconds (and 10.05 wind-aided), won the Florida state title in the 100 over the weekend, but had to pull out of the 200 with a slight hamstring strain. If he can get back to his best, Bracy should make the cut-off for the Trials. He would be a longshot to make the finals there.

Aldrich Bailey, Timberview (Texas): Based on the sizzling 45.19 he ran a little over a week ago, Bailey is a shoo-in to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the 400 meters. And if he can bring the time down even further, as he has suggested that he will, he could have a realistic chance of advancing beyond the first round. Arman Hall (Florida) and Najee Glass (N.J.) could potentially make it into the Trials, too, but both of them would need to PR and dip below 46 seconds.

Sean Keller, Heritage (Vancouver, Wash.): With the US #2 all-time throw of 244-1 at the end of April, Keller moved into the top 10 nationally (including pros and collegians). His place in the Trials is probably secure, but if he chooses to throw at the U.S Junior Championships the preceding week he may not have a rested arm.

Jacob Blankenship (Ohio), Shawn Barber (Texas), Reese Watson (Texas): During the indoor season, there was a lot of momentum happening for the top boys pole vaulters. But outdoors, not one of them has made 17 feet since April 1. And time is running out. The standard to make the Trials is 18-0.50, which none of them has made yet. However, Barber is eligible to compete for Canada and will likely compete in that nation's trials.

Devin Field (Texas) and Jarrion Lawson (Texas): Field was not allowed to compete this spring in varsity events for DeSoto because of the UIL’s residency issues, but his goal for the spring was 26 feet in the long jump. If he can get close to that number, he could make the Trials field (it takes 25-7 to qualify). Lawson, of Liberty-Eylau, has a wind-aided best of 25-10.75. If he can go big at the Texas state championships (without the wind), then he has a chance of making the cut.

Tyler Sorenson (California): The record-breaking junior racewalker earned a spot in the 20-kilometer even last year as a 17-year-old, making him one of the youngest Trials qualifiers ever for this event.


Haley Crouser, Gresham (Ore.): Only a high school junior, Crouser joined her older brother Sam and cousin Ryan as a national record holder this spring when she threw her javelin 181-2. She is a lock to make it into the Trials (along with Sam and Ryan), but she would need a huge PR in order to make it to London. (The Olympic A standard is 200-1). She has a realistic chance to finish in the top five at the Trials. Avione Allgood (Nev.) has been hoping all spring that her surgically repaired shoulder heals in time to throw at the Trials. She threw 176-8 for fourth at the U.S. Championships last year and competed at the Pan Am Games last fall.

Shelbi Vaughan, Legacy (Mansfield, Texas): She is consistently in the 180s with her discus and hit a best of 191-6 for a new U.S. high school record. That puts her squarely inside the top 10 nationally. On a good day, she could even make the finals at the Olympic Trials. But in 2008, the three who made the U.S. team all threw farther than 205 feet.

Gabrielle Williams, Reed (Sparks, Nev.): Still a little shy of the Trials standard (6-0.50), the U.S. leader has cleared six feet once and has a little more time to make an improvement that could put her into the field. It’s a lot to ask of a high school sophomore.

Shayla Sanders, Boyd H. Anderson (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.): She has been the dominant high school sprinter this spring in the 100 (11.33) and 200 (23.25), but these are extremely competitive events in the U.S. What will it take for her lineup against the likes of Carmelita Jeter or Allyson Felix? Sanders has met the qualifying standard for the 100, but if a bunch of women run fast at the NCAA championships, it could bump her down the list. If she can improve her time by even a few hundredths, she’d have a good chance of making the field. In 2008, it took 23.12 to make the field in the 200, so that might be out of reach.

Robin Reynolds, Jackson (Miami): The US leader in the 400 (52.19) has the B standard for the Trials, but that’s not a guarantee of making the cut. In 2008, 52.58 was the last accepted entry (out of 27 in the field). Reynolds’ best time would have made the field (22nd). Reynolds also has a long jump best of 20-6.25, about eight inches short of the Trials qualifying mark.

Ajee Wilson, Neptune (N.J.), Mary Cain, Bronxville (N.Y.) and Amy Weissenbach, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.): These are three of the all-time best prep 800-meter runners and all three of them have credentials that could put them into the Trials. In 2008, the slowest woman in the field made it in with 2:04.90. This is becoming a deeper even in the U.S., so it could take something a little faster this time. Wilson ran 2:02.64 last July and has a best so far this spring of 2:05.28. Cain, who is only a sophomore, is coming on strong and has a best of 2:05.90, but split 2:03.7 on a relay last year. She is also very close to the Trials B standard in the 1,500 (4:17.00). Weissenbach, the California state champion, has a PR of 2:02.04, although she has not run a fast one yet this spring.

Trinity Wilson, St. Mary’s College (Calif.), Dior Hall, George Washington (Colo.), Traci Hicks, Long Beach Poly (Calif.): In 2008, Jacqueline Coward (Tenn.) was a prep elite who made the field, qualifying with her best time of 13.20. At the Trials, she ran 13.69 and was last in her prelim, demonstrating how massive the leap is to this level of competition. Wilson ran 13.41 on April 7, but also suffered a hairline fracture of her big toe and hasn’t competed since. If she can return in time to compete in the California state meet, and get back to her PR of 13.15, she could land in the Trials. Hall, a sophomore, is the indoor national champion and has a PR of 13.18 from last year. Hicks has a wind-aided best of 13.22 and could also be on the bubble for a berth. (In 2008, it took 13.24 to make it into the meet).

Brianna Nerud, North Shore (Glen Head, N.Y.): The senior has run a couple of 3,000-meter steeplechase races in order to see if she can make the Trials B standard of 10:15, but has a best so far of 10:24.95. It would take a startling improvement in order to make the field. In 2008, it took 10:09 to make it and this year will probably take something a few seconds faster.

Cayla Hatton, Phillips Academy (Andover, Mass.): She ran an eye-popping 10,000 meters time of 33:17.28 at a low-key college meet – second-fastest in U.S. high school history. At the time, it seemed like she might be a lock for the Trials. Now, it appears that time won’t make the cut. In 2008, 33:24.10 secured the last spot in the field. This time around, it is much more competitive thanks to a couple of fast races this spring at Stanford (April 6 and 27). Twenty-nine women broke 33 minutes in those two races.

Kendell Williams, Kell (Marietta, Ga.): Has she gotten well-rounded enough to score 5,600 points in the heptathlon? That’s what it takes to make it into the Trials (at a minimum), and last year as a sophomore Williams was an age-group record-breaker with 5,170. Williams can compete with the best in the hurdles, high jump and long jump. She was reportedly working on her throws with the Throw1Deep Club in Georgia and that was a smart move. If her shot put and javelin are consistently superior to where they were a year ago, 5,600 is within her range.

First stop Buckley, next stop New York City

May, 4, 2012
Marcus Dickson White River WashingtonAdam LeahyMarcus Dickson of White River (Wash.) leaves the competition behind during an 800 meters race on March 30.
There are just three stop lights in Buckley, Wash., the small town located in the foothills halfway between the city of Seattle and the summit of Mt. Rainier. There’s just one restaurant, Wally’s, a drive-in that’s popular with the high school kids.

It’s the kind of place where the high school’s sports are a big deal.

Last week, word spread like wildfire that Marcus Dickson was going after the White River High School record in the 1,600 meters in a dual meet against Sumner, right there in Buckley.

Dickson encouraged the buzz in town and then put on a show for the people who came to watch him run in his final home meet. He ran a US#1 4:05.83, helped by a teammate willing to run the first 800 in 2:02 and coaches positioned strategically around the track to keep him up to date on his split times.

“It was my last meet ever in a small town where people always ask me how I’m doing,” Dickson said. “A lot of people came out. We’d spread the word, ‘Come watch the mile.’ A lot of classmates and community members showed up. I knew it was going to be hard to run 4:05 in a league meet, but I also knew I had it in me.”

The school record was not soft. Andy Maris ran 4:06.61 in 1989. Dickson could see the name and time on a wall at the school every day and had long ago decided he wanted to take it down.

He got into position to do it with an ambitious 50-mile per week training regimen logged during a very wet Northwest winter and early spring. Dickson was the last athlete invited to join the field for the mile at the Brooks PR Invitational on Feb. 26 and then he ran 4:07.18 for the win in his only indoor meet.

“That broke me out of my shell a little bit,” Dickson said. “I had never run in a major race before. I’d read about those guys and found out when I met them that they were all regular kids like me. It told me I can run with anyone right now.”

In mid-March, when a late winter blast of snow and ice made the track at White River unusable, Dickson drove to nearby schools at lower elevations to scout for a track that was clear. He found one at Auburn-Riverside, waited until the school’s track teams were done using it, and then completed his workout under the cloak of darkness.

When the weather is at its worst – and the rain is colder at Buckley’s 700 feet – Dickson turns it to his advantage.

“No one else is running right now, so let’s run,” he said.

Dickson escaped the drizzle to run at the Arcadia Invitational on April 7 in California, finishing second in the mile to Brad Nye (Kaysville, Utah) in 4:09.41.

“Brad’s an amazing runner and it’s hard to beat him,” Dickson said of his future BYU teammate. “I was happy with what I did, it was an outdoor PR at the time, but I hate losing. I think (Arcadia) was a turning point for me. After Brooks I felt invincible. At Arcadia, I was expecting to win that race. It was a little wake-up.”

Motivation comes easy to Dickson, the youngest of five kids. He grew up wanting to surpass the achievements of his two older brothers, who both ran at Auburn High, one of the big Class 4A schools downhill from Buckley. Even within Washington, Dickson didn't gain widespread recognition until this year because of the exploits of runners like Andrew Gardner, Nathan Weitz and Anthony Armstrong.

"Those guys are the real deal, in track and cross," Dickson said. "They always beat me in cross country. I was hoping for a big year in track but wasn’t always sure because they always beat me. They motivated me to work harder. I thought of each one of those guys and wanted to be with them in track."

On April 26, at Buckley, there was a burst of hail at the track 20 minutes before the 1,600. But the people who came to watch had just enough time to close their umbrellas and find a good place to stand or sit. The sun came out. And Dickson got ready to run.

“He had a plan,” White River coach Jerry Scheidt said. “He wanted to break that record. He’s been chasing that thing for four years.”

Teammate Kody Gould, a 4:16 1,600-meter runner, helped him get to 2:02 for two laps.

By the end, Dickson was lapping runners, which caused a brief mix-up for the timing system. But the hand times all confirmed that it was under 4:06 and the automatic timing verified it. The townspeople cheered. Classmates greeted him with hugs.

With the months of May and June still to go, Dickson has a lot to look forward to on the track. He’d like to help White River win the Class 2A championship, running as many races as he needs to make that happen.

He certainly feels like he’s got a shot at the state record in the 800 (1:49.41 by John Cote of Lindbergh in 1997), mostly likely when he runs at the Oregon-Washington BorderDuel in Portland on June 2 against Nick Boersma (1:51.78) and Izaic Yorks (1:51.75). Two days after the 4:05, at the Shoreline Invitational, he just missed that 800 mark, running US#2 1:49.45.

And he’ll get another shot at Nye and the rest of the nation’s top milers when he makes his first trip to New York City for the June 9 Jim Ryun Dream Mile.

“I’m excited,” Dickson said. “There’s a lot left to do.”

Big marks for Chapus, Fahy, Graham

April, 30, 2012
Two big California invitational meets for open, college and Olympic-level athletes provided the venue for a trio of US#1 and all-time list-making performances this past weekend in the distances.

At the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford, Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) senior Cami Chapus competed in the second-fastest of six 1,500-meter sections and while she finished 11th, she clocked a US#1 4:19.54. The race was won by Lauren Johnson of Nike in 4:11.22. Chapus’ time is second only to her PR 4:17.12 that she ran last year in also leading the nation, and making her #6 in prep history in the event, at the World Youth Champs. She also was US#1 last spring in the mile and is expected to try and defend her title at the adidas Dream Mile in June.

Also at the Payton Jordan meet, Cary Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) senior Thomas Graham ran a major 5,000 on the track for the second time this year and improved his US#1 mark slightly to 14:11.23. He placed ninth in the third-fastest section of the event, won by Colorado’s Christian Thompson in 13:59.23. Graham remains #16 on the all-time list with that performance.

Down south at the UCSD Triton Invitational, La Costa Canyon (Escondido, Calif.) senior Darren Fahy made his 3k ST debut in alarmingly good fashion, running a US#1 9:03.15 that rocketed him up to #7 on the all-time list. Fahy is also currently US#3 and #6 in the 1,600 (4:08.15) and 3,200 (8:54.51) and was unbeaten last fall in cross-country until the Foot Locker Finals. Graham’s big senior year has also included a ninth-place finish at Foot Locker Finals.

Westfield makes all the right moves in 4x800

April, 29, 2012
Westfield 4x800 Penn RelaysJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSTyrone Walker tucks away the baton after taking it from Westfield (Va.) teammate Nathan Kiley during the 4x800 championship at Penn Relays.

PHILADELPHIA – When Tyrone Walker decided to go for broke in the Championship of America 4x800 with 300 meters left there may have been 49,000 people at Franklin Field who thought the move came too early.

The people that mattered most -- Walker’s three Westfield teammates and his coach – all trusted that he was doing the right thing.

“I wasn’t worried,” Westfield coach Kelly Deegan said. “I have confidence in him. If he thinks that’s the time to go then that’s OK.”

Westfield (Chantilly, Va.) ran US#1 7:39.73 and more importantly won the race on Saturday during the primetime session of the Penn Relays. Max Chambers (1:57.6), Jeff Edmondson (1:56.4), Nathan Kiley (1:51.3) and Walker (1:54.4) couldn’t afford one bad step against Kingston College of Jamaica, which finished second in 7:40.52.

Westfield ran the top time in qualifying on Friday but ran nine seconds better in the final.

The first big moment came in the final 200 of the third leg, when Kiley flew by two Jamaican runners to give Westfield its first lead. Kiley’s 1:51.3 split was the fastest in the race.

He turned the baton over to Walker but Kingston’s Sanj Powell quickly moved the front. Walker tucked in behind and waited for his cue.

“That’s my plan every time I run,” Walker said. “Always take it at 300. I try to keep a constant pace for the first 400 so I can have enough for the kick. There was nothing that told me (to go), it just where I knew I wanted to kick.”

The new question became: Who had more to give, Walker or Powell? As Walker drove for home, Powell drew even and tried to go around him. The two kept moving at the same speed and Walker wasn’t about to give up his precious lead.

“I was sort of praying in my head ‘Please don’t let him catch me,’” Walker said. “I would have dove across the finish line if it’s what I had to do to keep the lead.”

It was a six-second improvement for Westfield, which placed fifth at New Balance Nationals Indoor in March.

The team is already looking ahead to New Balance Outdoors with the idea of contending for the national title in June.

“I don’t think we ever had it close in our dreams to win this honestly,” Kiley said. “With the crowd here, a lot of them were rooting for Jamaica and a lot were cheering for the U.S. There was not only race competition, it (felt) like representing our country.”

The Jamaican crowd still had lots to cheer about, even though the U.S. professionals won all six of their matchups with Jamaica.

In the boys 4x400 Championship of America, Carribean schools swept the top six places, led by Munro College of Jamaica (3:11.91). Lodge of Barbados was third, the only non-Jamaican team. U.S. entrants Gardena Serra (Calif.) and Trenton Central (N.J.) were both disqualified.

Earlier, in the 4x100, Wolmer’s Boys (Jamaica) went 40.34 and led a 1-2-3 sweep for the island nation. The huge Jamaican presence in the stadium included prime minister Portia Simpson Miller, who sat in the grandstand and also took part in a ceremony on the Franklin Field infield.

Jamaica’s high school excellence extended to the field events, too. Clive Pullen of Jamaica College won the long jump with 24-3, edging Anthony Averett of Woodbury (N.J.), who went 24-0.25. Christoff Bryan of Wolmer’s won the high jump with a clearance at 6-11.50.

The U.S. got victories from Michael Jensen of Appoquinimink (Middletown, Del.), who went 16-4.75 and PR’d by more than a foot.

And in the triple jump, Anaquan Peterson of Lakeland (Suffolk, Va.) took the title with a wind-aided mark of 50 feet even.

Eric Futch, one of Pennsylvania's top high school athletes, also had a big day. In the morning, he won the 400 hurdles in a US#1 time of 51.77. And later, he split 48.5 to help Penn Wood win the Philadelphia Area boys 4x400 title.

Aldrich Bailey 'picks it up,' rips 45.19 in 400

April, 28, 2012
Aldrich BaileyBert Richardson/ESPNHSAldrich Bailey, shown here at the Texas Relays, ran a US#1 45.19 400 meters and could test himself against the nation's best at the Olympic Trials in June in Eugene, Ore.

Texas 5A Region 1 Results

Aldrich Bailey of Timberview (Arlington, Texas) ran the fastest 400 by a U.S. prep in 17 years on Saturday at the Texas 5A Region 1 meet in Lubbock, Texas.

Bailey ran 45.19 seconds to better the National Federation (high school-only competition) record of 45.25 set by Calvin Harrison in 1993. However, his time ranks No. 6 all-time among preps, according to Jack Shepard's High School Track, trailing Darrell Robinson's 1982 record of 44.69, Jerome Young's 45.01 (1995), Henry Thomas' 45.09 (1985), Obea Moore's 45.14 (1995) and William Reed's 45.17 (1987).

Bailey also broke the Texas state record.

"I was expecting (to run fast)," Bailey told Dyestat after the race. "I surprised myself a little bit, but not all the way. My goal is to run 44 this year."

In contrast to other races this year, Bailey decided to get out fast and not let himself rest.

"In other races I've been relaxing too much," he said. "You can't slow down much in the 400. It's a sprint. I got out good, picked it up on the curve and stayed strong."

Bailey thought he might dip under 45 seconds but said he slowed just a little before the finish line.

Bailey also split a reported 44.8 anchor leg on Timberview's 4x400 relay, which ran 3:12.71. And the school's 4x100 relay ran 40.46. Both of those relay performances are new US#1s.

"My team had a good day," Bailey said.
By Rich Gonzalez
Editor, ESPNHS/DyeStatCal

(ARCADIA, Calif.)
-- The Sacramento Meet of Champions enjoyed perhaps its greatest showing yet, with the 32-year-old meet brandishing a meet-best 478 DyeStateElite marks. The total DSE tally vaulted the popular Northern California meet up to third on this year's California meet rankings list as well as among the top 10 meets nationally!

The very powerful Escondido Invitational in San Diego County once again delivered great action as 11 new San Diego Section leading marks were established among a very robust 136 DyeStatElite marks. That ranks second this year (only behind the Mt. Carmel Invitational) among San Diego Section invitationals.

Over in the Southern Section, the Ventura County Championships exactly matched the Escondido Invitational for weekend DSE bragging rights thus far, with athletes from the 805 area code looking very strong in the dashes. Oak Park's Sydney Lewis led the onslaught with a state-leading mark at 100 meters.

Up the state at the Reedley Invitational, the Central Section's finest turned out en force to achieve eight section-leading marks while accumulating a batch of 124 DyeStateElite marks to trail only the West Coast Relays among local meet tallies this year.

Here's the 2012 updated California list comprised of "The Century Club", which is those meets with at least 100 DyeStatElite marks:

Rankings of 2012 California Meets By DyeStatElite Marks Achieved:

1) Arcadia Invitational 1,482 DyeStatElites

2) Mt. SAC Relays 606 DyeStatElites

3) Sacramento Meet of Champions 478 DyeStatElites

4) Stanford Invitational 259 DyeStatElites

5) Mt. Carmel Invitational 251 DyeStatElites

6) Orange County Champs 228 DyeStatElites

7) Trabuco Hills Invitational 202 DyeStatElites

8 ) California Relays 172 DyeStatElites

9 ) CCS Top 8 166 DyeStatElites

10) Woody Wilson Invitational 156 DyeStatElites

11) West Coast Relays 149 DyeStatElites

12) Inland Empire Champs 144 DyeStatElites

13) Escondido Invitational 136 DyeStatElites

13) Ventura County Championships 136 DyeStatElites

15) Reedley Invitational 124 DyeStatElites

16) Distance Meet of Champs 120 DyeStatElites

17) Pasadena Games 117 DyeStatElites

18) Irvine Invitational 109 DyeStatElites


* DSE's are performance standards for each event based on year-over-year national rating performance cutoffs.

* DyeStat does not currently compute Elite Marks in the 4x1600, 4xMile and Shuttle Hurdles relays.

Washington delivers for Poly in 4x100

April, 28, 2012
Ariana Washington Penn RelaysJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSAriana Washington reacts to her come-from-behind victory on the anchor leg of the 4x100 relay in the Championship of America race at Penn Relays.

PHILADELPHIA – There isn’t another high school in the U.S. that travels 2,400 miles for a “home” meet, but then again, there isn’t another Long Beach Poly.

At the Penn Relays, Poly doesn’t just represent a school on the Pacific Coast. It stands up for the entire country, plays the role of America’s last best hope against the otherworldly fast Jamaicans.

For the second year in a row, the Long Beach Poly girls rose up and beat the best of Jamaica in the 4x100 relay, this time coming from behind on sophomore Ariana Washington’s stirring anchor leg.

“I did what I was trained to do,” said Washington, who took the baton in third or fourth and then flew beneath a roaring wall of noise down the home straightaway to victory in 46.35. “I’m trained to get the baton and go and that’s what I did. I had no thoughts. I knew there was a lot of pressure and I couldn’t let my team down.”

It takes a meet with the enduring stature of Penn Relays to provide the intersection for Long Beach Poly and the Jamaican teams like Vere Tech, which has won here 15 times, or St. Jago, which has won four, or Holmwood Tech (3) or Edwin Allen (2).

Incidentally, Kingston is closer to Philadelphia than Long Beach – by about 900 miles. In a meet that loves to bill its “USA vs. The World” program, it often starts informally with the Jamaicans vs. Poly and the appreciative crowd has come to expect great moments to arise from the competition.

“The feeling you get when people respect you like that, it’s awesome. You can’t put it into words,” said longtime coach Don Norford, architect of the Long Beach Poly dynasty.

Carrying the burden of trying to defend the title, with three newcomers to the lineup, Poly ran the fastest time in qualifying on Thursday. And then in the final, the quartet quickly fell behind on the lead-off. There was a risk of getting buried at that point.

“I was really scared,” said Traci Hicks, making her third appearance in the 4x100 championship. “Diamond (Thomas) and I had a bad hand-off (between legs 2 and 3). I was really worried. But when Ariana got, I felt confident. She doesn’t like to lose.”

Washington erased any mistakes with a scorching anchor.

“It was probably the fastest 100 of my whole life,” she said.

Washington was an alternate for Poly last year. Next year, she will try to help her school win it again. The anticipation of 2013 began before Friday’s celebration died down.

“Just like this year, next year’s team is already ready,” Norford said. “It’s the way we coach them. We know what to do here, what to tell them, and what not to tell them, so they’re physically and spiritually prepared.”

Cheserek too much for CBA

In the highly anticipated distance medley showdown between St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) and Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, N.J.), there was a changing of the guard.

CBA , the reigning champ, built a 10-second gap on St. Benedict’s entering the 1,600-meter anchor legs. But senior George Kelly played the first lap too conservatively and Edward Cheserek caught up with a fast 57.

Then Cheserek settled on Kelly’s shoulder for two laps and patiently waited for the 300-to-go mark, where he flew into the lead and began to sprint for home. Kelly had saved something, but not enough to respond to the Foot Locker champion and 4:02 miler.

Cheserek split 4:06.2 to Kelly’s 4:17.6.

“I was thinking stay with the leader all the way,” he said. “I wanted to take off with 300 meter to go.”

Cheserek anticipated that he might need to make up as much as eight seconds after he got the stick.

“When the announced said (my first lap was) 57, I knew that’s too fast for me,” he said. “I slowed down.”

St. Benedict’s plan was to keep CBA within eyesight on the first three legs.

Penn Relays boys mile 2012
John Nepolitan/ESPNHSCraig Engels (lef) and Jacob Burcham battle over the final 100 meters of the mile at Penn Relays. Engels rallied to win by .07 seconds.
CBA’s Tim Gorman gained a three-second lead on Darien Edwards (3:06.2 to 3:09.2), the 400s were essentially a tie (48.7 for StB, 49.0 for CBA), and CBA padded seven more seconds onto the lead with Clark Mangini’s 1:56.2 for the 800 leg.

Against Cheserek, 10 seconds wasn’t enough cushion.

In the boys mile, Jacob Burcham of Cabell Midland (Ona, W.V.) appeared to be coasting toward victory with 400 meters to go but his 15-meter lead wasn’t safe. Craig Engels of Ronald Reagan (Pfafftown, N.C.) closed the gap on Burcham and then pulled out a narrow victory in 4:09.42 to 4:09.49.

Both Burcham and Engels had participated in their schools’ 4x800 relays eight hours earlier.

To kill some of the time, Engels went to a hotel near Franklin Field that he wasn’t staying at and took a nap in its lobby.

Not only did Engels take down the pre-race favorite, he also outkicked most of the kickers in a race that included 800-meter standouts Ben Malone of Pascack Valley (N.J.), Drew Magaha of Upper Moreland (Pa.) and Zevon Watkins of Liverpool (N.Y.), plus Ahmed Bile of Annandale (Va).

“With 400 to go I was working on cutting down (Burcham’s) lead,” Engels said. “I knew I had some speed and I tried to give everything I had in the last 100. It’s the biggest deal race I’ve ever won. Those guys are better than me. I just got lucky. Burcham would probably win any other day.”

In the 3,000 meters, Thomas Madden of Skyline (Front Royal, Va.) demonstrated his fitness with a fine time of 8:25.54, winning by almost five seconds. In a race supposedly lacking a big-gun talent, 12 runners broke 8:40. Madden, a junior, was 18th in last year’s race.

In the girls 4x800, Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.) fell off the hot pace of Edwin Allen (Clarendon, Jamaica) and was seven seconds back half way through.

Edwin Allen cruised to the title in 8:52.97, anchored by Marleena Eubanks’ 2:09.3. F-M, which won the DMR last year, was second in 9:04.22, roughly the same time it ran in qualifying. Holmwood Tech of Jamaica was eight seconds further back, taking third.

F-M anchor Katie Brislin split 2:12.7.

“I was looking up and looking at (Eubanks) trying to catch up the best I could,” Brislin said. “We wanted to go faster than we did in qualifiers, but we did the best we could.”

Heather Martin led off in 2:18.5, Katie Sischo ran 2:15.8 and Jillian Fanning ran 2:17.2.

“Last year our relay won the DMR and if we’d done that we could have been one of the top contenders,” Brislin said. “We wanted to challenge ourselves in the 4x8 and even though we didn’t win it was a good experience.”

Jamaican schools went 1-2-3 in the girls 4x400 relay, led by winner Edwin Allen (3:42.06). Junipero Serra (Calif.) was fourth in 3:46.43 and Wakefield (N.C.) finished fifth in 3:51.88.

US#1 for Mattis in discus

Breezy conditions may have had something to do with slowing runners down a bit, but it didn’t seem to have an adverse effect at the throwing venue near Franklin Field.

Sam Mattis of East Brunswick (N.J.) hurled a PR 211-11 for his first Penn Relays crown and a new US#1 for 2012.

“I don’t think the wind really helped anyone today,” he said. “It wasn’t particularly wind on that (big) throw.”

Mattis had finished second in the discus in 2010 and 2011.

“Winning here is incredible,” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it.”

Billy Stanley of South Park, Pa. unleashed a meet record throw of 223-3 to win the javelin competition by 22 feet. (The meet record was for the “new” javelin implement that went into use in 2002). It was also a huge personal best for Stanley, who threw 208-8 as a sophomore.

Braheme Days of Bridgetown (N.J.) won the shot put with a mark of 68-8.50, building on what was already a five-year win streak for New Jersey in the event (including the last four by Nick Vena).