IAAF World Juniors Day 3 Recap

Notre Dame HS senior Khalfani Muhammad advanced to the 200m semis, but not the finals.

Slow Times, Rough Times Continue For Californians in Spain

By Rich Gonzalez
Editor, ESPNHS/DyeStatCal
(July 12, 2012)
- Some of the California's top preps continued finding it hard to measure up against the globe's best teens in latest action at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Spain. It was so humbling that even one if America's top high schoolers not in Europe took an indirect lump.

With sprinter Khalfani Muhammad coming up short in his bid to advance to the finals of the 200-meter dash, the Golden State has yet to have one of its athletes make the final round of prestigious biennial gathering of 14- to 19-year-olds, this time taking place in Barcelona.

Muhammad, who attends Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks (CIF-SS), is representing the nation of Puerto Rico at the World Juniors meet, unable to advance out of the first round in the 100m on Tuesday and making it into the semis in the 200 on Thursday.

But Muhammad's effort of 21.45 amid a slight headwind was only good for fifth place in his heat of the three-heat semifinal round. The slowest qualifier was timed in 21.06. Earlier in the meet, Muhammad was only able to muster a 10.76 clocking against a debilitating headwind in the first round of the 100, where he failed to advance.

Oaks Christian (CIF-SS) sprinter Danni Alakija didn't advance past the opening round of Wednesday's 400-meter dash qualifying, timed in 56.69 while representing the island nation of the Republic of Fiji., where the qualifying cutoff to the semifinal round was 55.04.

Even the stature of Harvard-Westlake mid-distance phenom Amy Weissenbach, who skipped a chance to qualify for the World Juniors meet in favor of participating at the U.S. Olympic Trials earlier this month, took a hit.

New Jersey prep Ajee Wilson won the gold medal in the 800-meter run finals on Thursday, clocking 2:00.91 for the two-lap challenge to move to #2 on the all-time U.S. prep list and post the fastest time in 30 years. The performance dropped Weissenbach from third to fourth on the all-time American outdoor prep lists, although she still holds the American record for the fastest time ever in a high-school only race.

Two California preps remain on the schedule in the coming days, with recent La Costa Canyon HS graduate Darren Fahy set to see action in Friday's opening round of the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Torrey Pines HS grad Tyler Sorenson partaking in the 10,000-meter Race Walk final (no prelims in that event) earlier that same day.

With the meet schedule now halfway done, the United States is among four nations tied for the lead with two gold medals apiece. Ethiopia, Kenya and Russia also have two apiece. With six total medals (including two silver and two bronze), the U.S currently trails only Kenya's total of seven in the overall medals count.

The meet concludes on Sunday.