3rd int'l medal for Team USA putter, within 1cm of gold!
Here is NSAF Director Jim Spier's recap of the first evening of the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.
Men’s Shot Put Final
Wow! After qualifying (first three rounds), Adrian Piperi (Texas) was in third by 11 centimeters. Leading was world leader Kyle Blignaut (RSA) at 69-3.5, with Odysseas Mouzenidis second at 69-1.5 and Piperi at 68-11.25.
In round 5, Piperi threw an American Junior record of 22.06 (72-04.5) which led by almost a meter. Blignaut responded two throws later with 22.07 (72-05) to regain the advantage by .01m, or ½ inch! Neither thrower could improve in the final round, giving Blignaut the gold – the first ever in the World U20 shot by an African putter – and Piperi the silver. The second American, Jordan West (Tennessee), had four fouls, but reached 19.86 on his first attempt for 6th place.
Piperi was hoping to complete his Youth/Junior career with bookend titles after taking the IAAF World U18 gold in Cali, Columbia three years ago. Nonetheless, he continues an outstanding career that includes a 4th place finish in the 2016 World U20 Champs in Poland and a silver medal at the Pan American U20 Champs last year – four top-4 finishes for Team USA in four years! The previous American Junior record, by the way, was set by Jordan Geist in '17 -- he threw 22.04 in the Pan Am Jrs for gold ahead of Piperi's silver.
Decathlon High Jump
Kyle Garland (Germantown Academy, Philadelphia, PA) was more in his element here, jumping the second best height of all competitors (6-07). He improved from 8th to 7th place with that performance. Ayden Owens (Puerto Rico/North Allegheny, PA) was at 6-03.5. He is in 6th. Here are the top 8 after 4 events:
1 Ashley Moloney AUS 3354
2 Makenson Gletty FRA 3348
3 Simon Ehammer SUI 3259
4 Gary Haasbroeck AUS 3251
5 Finley Gaio SUI 3191
6 Ayden Owens PUR 3176
7 Kyle Garland USA 3151
8 Stepan Kekin ANA 3034
Decathlon 400m (end of day 1)
Ashley Moloney (AUS) ran 46.86 for a World U20 Decathlon record. That propelled him in to the overall lead. Ayden Owens got a PB 48.70, and Kyle Garland ran 50.59. Previous second placer Makenson Gletty did not finish, so the standings after day 1 are:
1 Ashley Moloney AUS 4319
2 Gary Hasbroeck AUS 4103
3 Simon Ehammer SUI 4067
4 Ayden Owens PUR 4052
5 Finley Gaio SUI 4008
6 Kyle Garland USA 3939
7 Andreas Bechmann GER 3899
8 Stepan Kekin ANA 3812
Women’s Pole Vault Qualifying
Both Americans advanced. Rachel Baxter (Virginia Tech) jumped 13-09.25 (as did 10 others) and Julia Fixsen (Mounds View, St. Paul, MN) cleared 13-05.25, one of the remaining 2 of the 12 qualifiers at that height.
Women’s Discus Qualifying
Group A – Obiageri Ameachi (Princeton) put herself in good position to make the final, finishing fourth (160-07). But that wasn’t enough as she finished 14th overall. She is the US Junior leader at 186-11.
Group B – The auto qualifier is 173-11 and Alyssa Wilson (UCLA) eclipsed that on her first throw by exactly one foot. She goes into the final ranked 5th overall. It will be the first final of her three events in this competition, the first person to ever qualify in the shot put, discus and hammer.
The world leader, Alexandra Emilianov (Moldova – 197-04) was the leader here at 187-02) and is the obvious favorite in the final.
Women’s 400m Round 1
Hima Das (India) lived up to her billing, running the fastest time of all the qualifiers. She is #2 in the world at 51.13 behind Sydney Mc Laughlin (50.07). She ran 52.25 here. Taylor Manson (Florida) was second overall at 52.68. We’re not sure what happened to Symone Mason (Miami) who could manage only 55.66 after posting a best of 51.53 this year.
Other qualifiers of note: Roxana Gomez (Cuba) who won the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational (CSI) in Cuba in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and is still the meet record holder at 52.90. She ran 53.19 here. Ashlan Best (Canada) competed in the 60m and 200m in the 2016 New Balance Nationals Indoor not advancing out of the prelims. She advanced at 53.91. Amanda Crawford (Grenada/Paul Robeson, Brooklyn, NY/Alabama through 2017) ran 54.37 to advance as well. Milagros Duran (Dominican Republic) was a finisher at the 2016 CSI. She did not qualify to round 2.
Women’s 5000m Final
Tomomi Takamatsu (Japan) took early lead, separating herself from the pack by 20 meters for the first third of the race. Then it was a pack for much of the rest of the race, with Emily Venters (Boise State) leading for a short spell. Then the inevitable took place at about the 12 minute mark: the two Kenyans and two Ethiopians separated themselves from the pack. Then, with 220 meters to go, it was a race to the finish between Beatrice Chebet (KEN) and Eigayehu Taye (Ethiopia), with Chebet winning by .1 in 15:30.77, a PB. Callie Logue (Iowa State) was 8th in 15:56.00, a personal best, with Venters finishing 9th.
Men’s 10000m Final
It didn’t take long for two packs to develop, maybe 1 ½ laps. As the public address announcer said, “there will be three medals going back to Africa”. The leader was Rhonex Kipruto (KEN), the seventeen year old who will turn eighteen in October, in a meet record 27:21.08. The lone American, Will Merritt (Mt. St. Mary’s) finished 25th in 31:58.71, more than a minute off his personal best.
On another note, the NSAF has something called the Kenyan Project where it helps athletes financially with school tuition. Solomon Boit is one of the those athletes. He finished fourth in a PB 27:57.44.
Day 1 qualifying Summary for US Athletes
W 400m -- Taylor Manson advanced and Symone Mason did not
W 800m -- Samantha Watson and Caitlin Collier advanced
W 3000m St -- Kristlin Gear and Alice Hill advanced
W PV -- Rachel Baxter and Julia Fixsen advanced
W DT -- Alyssa Wilson advanced and Obigeri Amaechi did not
W JT -- Dana Baker advanced and Maura Fiamoncini did not
M 100m -- Anthony Schwartz and Eric Harrison advanced
M 1500m -- Cooper Teare advanced and Jared Nuguse did not
M LJ -- Juvaughn Blake and Rayvon Allen advanced