Team USA Begins Its Medal Count

by Joy Kamani
2011 Pan American Junior Championships — Miramar, FL

July 22-24, 2011

Story by Jim Spier

Photos by Joy Kamani

Morning Session

We are in South Florida, not far from Fort Lauderdale and Miami. It's hot and humid (but probably less so than the rest of the country!), and there has already been a lightening delay, taking 1:20 out of the morning session (day 1 of 3).

This is one of the largest Pan Am Junior events ever, with 400 athletes from 34 nations. Most countries cannot field teams as large as the U.S. for a variety of reasons, but there are some outstanding non-US athletes here, including NCAA 400 meter champion Kirani James (Grenada) and 17 year old Puerto Rican 800 meter phenom (1:47.28) Wesley Vazquez.

Women's Hammer

US HS leader Shelby Ashe (St. Pius X, Atlanta, GA) won the event on her first throw, tossing the hammer 174-1. She improved to 194-5 on her final throw to win by over 11 feet over her Throw1Deep teammate Daina Adaira Levy (Kennesaw Mountain, Kennesaw, GA) of Jamaica (formerly of Canada — her parents are Jamaican).

Karen Henning of the US (LSU and St. Anthony's HS, South Huntington, NY) took the bronze at 177-8.

Women's 100m Trials

Michelle-Lee Ayhe of Trinidad set herself up as the favorite with a convincing semis win of 11.15w (+2.6) over Jenna Prandini (Clovis, CA, soon to be at the U of Oregon). Keilah Tyson (Western Branch, Chesapeake, VA) won her semi in a wind-legal 11.46 (0.9) so both advance to tonight's finals.

Men's 100m Trials

It will be quite a battle between each of the heat winners, Keenan Brock (Auburn; Carver, Birmingham, AL) 10.17w, Marvin Bracy (Boone, Orlando, FL) 10.28w and Aaron Brown (Canada — the 2010 Nike Indoor Nationals 60m champion) 10.29w. All were convincing in winning each of the three semis.

Men's 400m Trials

William Henry (Arizona State; Trotwood-Madison, Trotwood, OH) won his heat in 46.90. Josh Mance (USC; Don Lugo, Chino, CA) was given a run by Deon Lendore of Trindad who had nearly a half-second PR, edging Mance, 46.86 to 47.13. Both will be the final.

Women's Pole Vault

Morgan Leleux (Catholic, New Iberia, LA — will be at the U of Georgia in the fall) continued her domination on the high school and junior level, winning at 13-7.25. She attempted a meet record and PR of 14-3.25 but was unsuccessful. Sandi Morris (North Carolina; Greenville, SC) was second at 13-3.5, with 2 Canadians rounding out a four women field.

Evening Session

Men's Discus

World Junior leader Travis Smikle (Jamaica) got the meet record on his fifth attempt, throwing 218-5. Gabe Hull (South, Bloomington, IN) was second 189-7, just ahead of World Youth leader and champion Fedrick Dacres (Jamaica), 189-7 to 187-9. Alexander Thompson (Wisconsin; Winnebago, IL) was 6th at 177-10.

Women's 400m

Late entry Chrisann Gordon (Jamaica), from lane 8, surprised the field with a 52.62 win. Gordon had been 7th in the recent World Youth championship. Diamond Dixon (Kansas; Westside, Houston, TX) made up some ground down the stretch but could not catch Gordon, running 53.10 for second. Third was Phyllis Francis (Oregon; Cardozo, Queens, NY) in 53.81. Mariah Claudio (St. John Villa, Staten Island, NY), representing Haiti, finished 6th in 58.32.

Men's 400m

Josh Mance (USC; Don Lugo, Chino, CA) "took no prisoners", leading from the gun for a convincing win at 46.14. Deon Lendore (Trinidad) continued to improve, taking second at 46.50. William Henry (Arizona State; Trotwood-Madison, Trotwood, OH) was just out of the medals, finishing fourth in 46.80.

Women's 100m Hurdles

Trinity Wilson (St. Mary's, Berkeley, CA) continued her hurdle domination, leading from start to finish in 13.17, just off her US high school leading 13.15. Danielle Williams of Jamaica edge Bridgette Owens (Clemson; Southfield, MI) for second 13.32 to 13.34.

Men's Pole Vault

The favored Thiago da Silva of Brazil took the gold at 17-0.75. Jonathan Juilfs (Sheldon, Eugene, OR), with a best of 17-2.75 in winning the USATF Junior championships, was second in 16-8.75. Cody Marshall (Ohio State; East Canton, OH) no heighted at his opening height of 15-7.

Men's Long Jump

High school sophomore, Devin Field, won the event with a leap of 24-10.50. Terrance Williams was second just an inch and a half behind and Royce Boston of Guyana was third.

Women's 100m

Michelle-Lee Ayhe, the pre-meet favorite, made it look easy with a 11.25 win. Keilah Tyson (Western Branch, Chesapeake, VA) equaled her PR with a second place 11.39. Jenna Prandini (Clovis, CA) was fourth in 11.56.

Men's 100m

It seemed that your last name should begin with "Br" in order to get a medal, as Bracy, Brock and Brown took 1-2-3. It was a fast final, thanks in part to a 2.4 trailing win with Marvin Bracy (Boone, Orlando, FL) running 10.09, Keenan Brock (Auburn; Carver, Birmingham, AL) 10.12, and Aaron Brown (Canada) 10.25 for third.

Women's 3000m

Kayla Beattie (Woodstock, IL) and Allison Woodward (Notre Dame, Green Bay, WI) made it a two person race, with them "neck and neck" for virtually the entire race. Woodward was drafting on Beattie though the final backstretch where Beattie held her off to eventually win in 9:30.63 with Woodward second in a PR 9:31.83.

A rain/lightening delay began as the 3000 meter runners took the bell lap. Fortunately they finished the race, but the Women's Shot Put, Men's 5000m and Decathlon 400m have been postponed until Saturday.

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