A blog of the experiences of Jim Spier throughout the World Juniors.
Getting here — I had spent the week prior in Warsaw and other places in Poland with my wife. Warsaw is becoming a great European city; the Polish people are wonderful.
I met Joy Kamani at the Warsaw airport on Monday, July 7. I had spoken with the volunteers at the welcome desk and arranged to get two seats on the bus going directly to Bydgoszcz. What a coup! We didn't have to take a taxi to the train station and then a 3 Â½ hour train ride to Byd (I'm going to abbreviate it from now on, for obvious reasons).
Note to me and others: reminder that there are NO expressways in all of Poland. At best, there are 2 lane highways, but mostly one lane highways.
To get to the road to Byd from the airport, one must go directly through Warsaw. So already, we're 45 minutes down. Along the way, we had to stop no less than 5 times, 5 to 10 minutes at a time, for road construction. The kind of wait where the traffic from one direction goes and those from the other direction has to wait for 10 minutes until it's clear to go.
In short, it took over 6 hours to get to Byd. Then we had to go 15 minutes outside of town to let off the Romanian team at their hotel. The next stop was the stadium for a "10 minute break" according to the bus driver. We decided to hop out and get our credentials and then hop a cab to the hotel. With luggage in tow, we went to the credentialing office and got them.
Joy then had to rush to the photo briefing which started 20 minutes earlier. They had misplaced her photo credential application so she did not get a bib. That was almost an hour wasted with no success.
We finally decided to get the "M-1" bus to the hotel. But it never came. So we hopped a taxi. The driver was not familiar with our hotel, but managed to find it.
We checked in and headed to dinner.
Day 1 — morning
3000SC Becky Wade (Rice) just missed qualifying yet got a PR (10:24.14). She was 13th on time and she had to be in the top 12 to qualify.
400m women — qualifying: Lanie Whitaker went out a bit too hard, yet managed to hang on to qualify relatively easily. Jessica Beard ran a very even race and had no problem in winning her heat. The class of the field (besides Beard) appears to be Rachel Nachula of Zambia, a very powerful runner who ran to an easy 52.65 qualifying win.
400 men — qualifying: We get spoiled with the amount of incredible quarter milers in the U.S. When one sits here and sees developed countries who have a hard time finding a kid who can run under 47 seconds, one wonders what they must think about the American never ending stream 45 and 46 pointers. O'Neal Wilder of Mississippi State jogged to a 46.82 round 1 win, well ahead of everyone else. He's a 6'5, 200 pounder and a good looking physical specimen (and was all state in football last year at Carthage, MS). His high school best was 47.85
Kirani James of Grenada sort of woke me up in heat 4. He cruised to a 46.64 win, 3 tenths better than his prior PR.
Marcus Boyd ran a smooth and controlled race to easily win heat 6.
Field events — It was not an especially good day for the Americans, except for the Men's long jump —
Men's LJ — Marquise Goodwin (24-11.25) and Christian Taylor (25-2.5) to finish 3 and 2 in the qualifying round.
Men's DT — Geoffrey Tabor finished 14th of 15 in his group with a throw of 161.-6. Brian Bishop had a better throw, 168-0, but still finished 12th of 15 in his group. Both did not advance.
Men's SP — Both Americans were just outside qualifying, with Eric Plummer throwing 60-0.25, and Daniel Block at 60-3.75.
Women's Hammer — D'ana Mc Carty threw 177-0, finished 12th of 14 in Group A. Lauren Chambers had no mark in Group B.
Off to lunch. It's an easy trolley ride to Old Town. Zip down there in the number 2, 4 or 6 trolley. Whoops. The trolley just outside the stadium crashed into a minibus and everything is shut down. So much for a quick lunch. We managed to hail a taxi and did have a nice lunch. Everything was working by the time we finished. Now we're ready for the evening session.
Day 1 afternoon —
800m men - The World Junior record holder, Abubaker Kaki Khamis of Sudan (1:42.69) cruised to an easy 1:50. win in heat 1. Heat 2 saw one of the Americans, Donte Holmes, competing for a spot in round 2. The pack went through the 400m in 55., so it became a kickers race (like so many of the 800 meter races, the race only starts at 600 meters). It looked like Donte thought he could outkick the rest of the field. But they all have equal or better kicks at this level. Donte finished last in 1:52.88 without any hope of advancing.
Elijah Greer, the other American, seemed very loose at the start, waving to his American teammates. He started his kick with 280 meters to go which, as it turned out, was a smart move. He got into the pack of 5 by the top of the final turn and hung with the leaders, finishing fifth in 1:50.73, good enough to advance him to the next round.
800m women - Camilla Dencer made a run at it but lack of quarter mile speed was obvious at the end of the race, with Dencer finishing 10th 2:10.32. Sarah Mc Curdy tried to stay with the leaders thorugh 500 meters, but faded at the end, running 2:12,67.
1500m men — Evan Jager ran a very intelligent race, finishing second in his heat and automatically qualifying for the final. Duncan Phillips kick in his race was not enough and he did not advance., 100m women semis — Shayla Mahan finished second in her heat to automatically qualify for the final. Jeneba Tarmoh cruised to a relatively easy win and appears to be the one to beat, along with Great Britain's Ashlee Nelson.
100m men semis — Terrell Wilks had an easy time of it, winning his semi heat and advancing. Antonio Sales, one of the favorites for a medal, lost his focus after a false start was charged to the field, and jumped out of the blocks prior prior to the second gun, eliminating himself.
5000 women — A painfully slow pace kept all runners together. At about 3000 meters, the pace picked up and the race was on between the Kenyans and the Ethiopians. Catherine White finished 11th in 16:48.70 and Ashley Higginson 12th and last at 17:19.54.
Field events —
Women's Triple Jump — Both Americans, Tiara Walpool and Vashti Thomas, finished at the bottom of their groups, with neither breaking 40 feet.
Women's High Jump — Shanay Briscoe made it to the final, qualifying =6th with a jump of 5-11.25. Jessica Merriweather did not make it, jumping 5-8.5.
Women's Javelin — our only entrant, Karlee Mc Quillan, could manage only 163-3 and not advance.