Pan Am Juniors Women’s Previews: Update

by Steve Underwood

The following are the previously published mini-previews (Aug. 9-10) -- plus updates when available -- for Team USA women and other leading athletes for the 2013 Pan American Junior Championships, August 23-25 in Medellin, Columbia.  For Team USA stat bios from the USATF, check out the Men's and Women's pages.  For more about the team and the meet, go to the home page for the meet HERE.

Prep athletes on the roster are listed in bold.

Place(at USA Juniors), Athlete Name, School


1. Morolake Akinosun, Illinois
2. Jennifer Madu, Texas A+M
Relay: MaryBeth Sant, Valor Christian, Highlands Ranch, CO, Senior

1. Ana Holland, Regis Jesuit, Aurora, CO, Senior
2. Morolake Akinosun, Illinois
Relay: Destinee Gause, Florida

1. Courtney Okolo, Texas
2.  Kendall Baisden, Detroit Country Day, Bloomfield Hills, MI Senior
Relay: Robin Reynolds, Florida
Relay: Breigh Jones, Austin Peay

Preview (see UPDATES below): After sweeping the 100/200 golds in 2007 and 2009 in this meet, Team USA was shut out in 2011, even at home (Florida).  Meanwhile, there hasn’t been a U.S. 400 winner since Natasha Hastings in 2005.  Chances look strong in the 100 this time, but 200/400 hopes could be contingent on what one of the world’s best young sprinters does. 

That sprinter is Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas, the World #1 Junior at both long dashes (22.45/50.70).  She’s also entered for her country at this week’s IAAF World Champs in Moscow, so whether she come to Medellin, too, is questionable.  She was the 2010 World Junior and 2011 World Youth 400 champ, but then just 4th at last summer’s WJ.  Team USA is hardly short of talent in Miller’s events, though.  They will counter with collegian Courtney Okolo, who hit a super World #2 51.04 at USA Jrs, and US#2 prep Kendall Baisden, who is World #7 at 52.03.  Also well worth watching is U.S. prep Kadecia Baird, running for Guyana.  She was the WJ silver medalist last year with 51.04, had significant ups and downs her senior year here, but then recently ran 51.32.

In the 200, medal threats include Miller, World #2 Shericka Jackson of Jamaica (22.84), and WY silver medalist Angela Tenorio of Ecuador (23.13).  At USA Juniors, prep Ana Holland impressed with 23.04w in her first major meet and will hope to battle for a medal here (23.29 legal best).  Collegian Morolake Akinosun (23.26/23.18w) will be in the hunt, too.  Americans will be favored in the century, though, even with World #1 MaryBeth Sant having been just 6th at USA Juniors and only here on relay duty.  Collegian Jennifer Madu (pictured, above right, photo by Joy Kamani) is the second fastest entry at 11.31 and was the 2011 World Youth champ, while Akinosun was actually the US champ in this one even her 11.45 PR is further down the list.

Update: Angela Tenorio ECU has a 11.30A best in the 100, so will possibly be a leading threat in both short sprints.  As expected, 200/400 favorite Shaunae Miller BAH competed in the WCs in Moscow (4th 22.74), so whether she comes back here is uncertain. Also look for Arialis J. Gandulla Martinez CUB 23.32 and Monique Spencer JAM 23.44.  A big question in the 400 is, will Kadecia Baird GUY (Medgar Evers NY grad) compete?  She bowed out in the first round of WCs with a 53-point after her 51.32 to make it there.

UPDATE 2: World 200/400 leader Shaunae Miller BAH is not here after all, so that changes everything in those races.  In the 200, also missing are Shericka Jackson and Monique Spencer (both JAM) are not in, so Arialis J. Gandulla Martinez CUB, Angela Tenorio ECU and Ana Holland USA look to be fastest.  In the 400, Friday morning qualifying saw the absence of Kadecia Baird GUY, as well, so Americans Kendall Baisden and Courtney Okolo look like strong favorites.  Then 100 qualifying saw Team USA's Jennifer Madu win one heat (by .01 over Tenorio) and the other was a close battle between four runners, with the aforementioned Martinez winning and Omhunique Brown SKN 2nd and American Morolake Akinosun 3rd, .02 back.   


1. Olicia Williams, Baylor
2. Claudia Saunders, Stanford

1. Kelsey Margey, Villanova
2. Rachel Stewart, BYU

3. Hannah Oneda, Johns Hopkins

3000m SC
1. Brianna Nerud, Syracuse
2. Bethany Neeley, Eastern, Greentown, IN, Senior

Preview (see UPDATE below): In 2011, Team USA captured all five women’s races between 800 and 5,000 meters and added four other silver or bronze medals.  This year, it’s more likely that the American haul will revert back to the norm from the three previous PAJs of a couple golds and 2-4 other medals – especially because there’s just one entrant between the 3k and 5k races.  The strongest U.S. threat is World #7 steepler Brianna Nerud, who set two HSRs last year at World Juniors in taking 5th at 10:00.72.  She was also a World Youth finalist in 2011.  Prep Bethany Neeley, with a 10:19.83 best, also has a medal shot.  1500 prospects also look good as collegian Kelsey Margey (4:17.14 PR) basically shares a favorite role with Canadian Julia Zrinyi (4:16.48).

In the 800, Cuban Sahily Diago has run 2:01.30, #8 in the world and likely the best in this field.  Jamaican Simoya Campbell is a 2:03.08 performer and Americans collegians Olicia Williams (2:05.20 best) and Claudia Saunders (2:06.46) should be in the fight for at least bronze.  Team USA has no one in the 3,000, but collegian Hannah Oneda in the 5,000 – while just the #3 finisher at USA Juniors – should have a shot at a medal if she can run around 17:00.

UPDATE: In the 800, Cuban Sahily Diago is indeed entered and the clear favorite.  2:03 performer Simoya Campbell JAM is not, so other runners in the 2:05 range should fight it out for the lesser medals.  Along with aforementioned Americans Williams and Sanders, sub-2:05 Canadians Vanessa McLeod and Jenna Westaway will be in the mix.  In the 1500, it should still be Canadian Julia Zrinyi and the American Kelsey Margey, with a few others in the low 4:20s range.  Team USA's Brianna Nerud looks to be the best of the steeple field and in the 5000, Canadian Madeline Yungblut is the only seed under 17:00 with 16:19.50.


1. Sasha Wallace, Castro Valley, CA, Senior
2. Alexis Perry North Carolina State

1. Autumne Franklin, Harvard
2. Jade Miller, Great Oak, Temecula, CA, Senior

Preview (see UPDATE below): The hurdle races have been high-octane battles, usually between Americans and Jamaicans – who have captured 18 of 24 medals in the past four PAJs.  That could continue this year.  In the 400H, current and future Harvard stars Autumne Franklin and Jade Miller are 1-2 in the world with 57.10 and 57.21 marks from USA Juniors.  Canadian Sage Watson is next among the likely entries, with Jamaicans Camira Haughton and Kimone Green following.  In the 100H, Jamaican Megan Simmonds has run a World #3 13.33, a tenth faster than unbeaten U.S. prep Sasha Wallace (pictured, at right, photo by Joy Kamani).  Collegian Alexis Perry, with a 13.70 PR, might also contend for a medal. 

UPDATE: In the 100H, Nicole Setherington CAN vaulted into a contender's role with a Friday morning prelim of 13.64 over favorite Sasha Wallace USA.  Megan Simmonds JAM is not here, so Setherington, Wallace and Team USA's Alexis Perry (H2 winner) should be the women to beat.  In the 400H, Americans Autumne Franklin and Jade Miller still look like the top two.  Again, the top 2 Jamaicans are not here, but Canadian Sage Watson will be a medal contender.


High Jump
1. Rachel Proteau, West Albany, OR, Senior
4. Claire Kieffer-Wright, South Pasadena, Pasadena, CA, Junior

Pole Vault
1. Megan Clark, Duke
2. Bonnie Draxler, Wrightstown, WI, Junior

Long Jump
1. Alexis Faulknor, Central Florida
3. Mimieux Land, Clemson

Triple Jump
1. Brianna Richardson, Baylor

Mini-Preview: The most successful Team USA jumps event in recent PAJs has been the pole vault, with golds earned in the past three meets.  But 2013 will be tougher with Venezuelan vaulter Robeilys Peinado the newly crowned WY champ with a best of WJ#5 14-3.25.  The top four on the U.S. Junior list didn’t compete at USAs, but collegian Megan Clark (13-7.25) is still a solid medal contender, with prep Bonnie Draxler four inches back at that meet but with the same PR.  A short streak of two straight HJ wins for Americans in this meet might be in jeopardy, too, especially if St. Lucia’s WJ#1 Jeanelle Scheper (6-3.5) competes after having jumped for her country at the IAAF WCs in Moscow.  Prep Rachel Proteau is the only athlete who was also on the 2011 squad (5th) and, with a 6-1 PR, has a great chance at a medal.  Prep Claire Kieffer-Wright is a 6-footer in the running, too.

Other than the LJ/TJ sweep by Jamesha Youngblood and Ke’Nyia Richardson in 2007, horizontal jump medals have been harder to come by for Team USA in recent years.  Collegian Alexis Faulknor could change that, though, with her 21-4.75 best likely to lead the field.  She’ll duel with Cuban Paula Beatriz Alvarez (21-3) for the gold, while collegian Mimi Land (20-4.25) also in the thick of it.  The triple jump will be the toughest event for Team USA with 42-6 performer and collegian Brianna Richardson ranking 9th among likely entrants.

UPDATE: In the horizontals, Team USA's Alexis Faulknor and Cuba's Paula Beatriz Alvarez Ross are still the two to beat in the LJ, almost a foot up on the field.  In the TJ, Brazilians Nubia Aparecida Soares and Gabriele dos Santos have the best marks, followed by Venezuela's Ariana Gutierrez.  HJ'er Jeanelle Scheper LCA, the WJ#1, is not here, so the favorite's role falls on Daniellys Dutil Garay of Cuba at 6-2.75, followed by Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas, with 2011 PAJ finalist Rachel Proteau of Team USA in the same ballpark at 6-1.  Venezuela will be tough to beat in the PV, too, with WY champ Robeilys Peinado leading the way.  Canada's Robin Bone, one of two from her country with strong medal hopes, former competed with Darien CT as a prep.


Shot Put
1. Stamatia Scarvelis, Dos Pueblos, Goleta, CA, Junior
2. Chase Ealey, Oklahoma State

1. Magdalyn Ewen, St. Francis, MN, Junior
2. Rebecca Famurewa, Kentucky

1. Cara McClain, Modeso JC (CA)
2. Avana Story, North Carolina

1. Megan Glasmann, Park City, UT, Senior

Mini-Preview: Team USA grabbed three throws golds with a trio of current or would-be prep record-holders in 2011, one of its best hauls in meet history.  The lineup isn’t quite as strong this time, but results should still be strong.  With its duo of collegian Chase Ealey (52-6.5) and prep Stamatia Scarvelis (52-1.75) that ranks 6-10 globally, the U.S. is in good position to sweep the shot put.  Cuban Saily Viart looks like the third best, with a 51-7.75 PR.  While Shelbi Vaughan – the HSR-holder, World Junior medalist and World #2 – did not compete in the USA Juniors, fellow collegian WJ#4 Rebecca Famurewa is a strong gold threat with a 187-4 best.  She threw just 171-10 at USA Juniors behind prep leader Maggie Ewen (179-6), who ranks #3 among likely entrants.  Splitting them is Cuban Rosalia Vazquez, the 2011 World Youth titlist, at 181-0. 

The Cubans, traditionally strong in the hammer, look to lead the field for that event with the 1-2 punch of Hassana Divo (210-8) and Elianne Despaigne (203-4), #7 and #13 on the WJ list. Collegiate Americans Cara McClain (190-11) and Avana Story (190-4) will hope to challenge at least for bronze.  Prep Megan Glasmann, off her recent US prep #2 168-1 with the Kultan Keihas Project at the Pitapudas Javelin in Finland, is the leading entrant in the javelin – followed closely by Puerto Rico’s Odalys Romero (167-3).

UPDATE: US duo Chase Ealey and Stamatia Scarvelis are still the top two.


1. Kendell Williams, Kell, Marietta, GA, Senior
2. Kendall Gustafson, Palisades, Pacific Palisades, CA, Senior

Mini-Preview: Team USA hasn’t won a hept gold since 2005 and it will be tough to do so again this year.  World Junior #2 Yorgelis Rodriguez (6,186) will be with Cuba’s team for the IAAF WCs, but even if she doesn’t come back for PAJs, her teammate Yusleidys Mendieta has scored 6,024 and is WJ#4.  Canadian Niki Oudenaarden is also ranked very high with her 5,774 best.  Top prep Kendell Williams scored a HSR 5,578 at World Juniors last year, giving her 8th.  Here, she’ll be 3rd or 4th seeded, with teammate Kendall Gustafson 5th or 6th.


Mini-Preview: Only a DNF in the 2011 women’s 4x100 has kept Team USA from a clean sweep of both relays since 2001.  A high 43s or low 44s will typically do it in the 4x100 and, with veterans collegians like Jennifer Madu and Morolake Akinosun, and the 11.25 and 11.33 talents of Colorado preps MaryBeth Sant and Ana Holland, Team USA should again be golden – provided it can get the stick around.  The Bahamas (defending champs) and Jamaica, though, are certainly capable of competing with them.  In the 4x400, the Americans haven’t really even been pushed in recent PAJs and with a group mostly in the 51s and 52s – Courtney Okolo, Kendall Baisden, Robin Reynolds and Breigh Jones – the prospects look very good again.

Our Partners