Gold medal threats Tia Jones (100H), Lauren Williams (200) lead the way
Here is NSAF Director Jim Spier's recap of Friday morning at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.
Men’s Javelin Qualifying
Group A – Tzuriel Pedigo (Parkview Baptist, Baton Rouge, LA) got the auto qualifier on his first throw. It was 240-04 eclipsing the auto qualifier of 236-03 by over four feet. It was a PB as well, and #4 all-time high school and #7 all-time US Junior. It is only the second time a US athlete has achieved the auto qualifier on his first attempt in this event. Troy Burkholder did so in Sydney in 1996 when the auto distance was 229-08. Art Skipper got it on his on his second attempt in 1988 in Sudbury when the auto distance was 219-10. Those were the only ones ever in the history of the event at this level, including the women
Group B – Taran Taylor (Wichita) is quite an interesting story. He was a 192-03 thrower from Arkansas City HS (KS) last year, 3rd in the Kansas state HS meet.
Here is his high school history
2014 Freshman 160-10
2015 Soph 176-05
2016 Junior 186-05
2017 Senior 192-03
Then on to Wichita State, and in 2018
March 16 Emporia State Spring Invite 215-10 PB, 5th
March 24 Arkansas Spring Inv 220-07 PB, 2nd
May 13 American Conf Champs 243-08 PB, 2nd
He went on to win the US Junior championships and make this team. But we’re not sure what happened here. He fouled, then 194-04 followed by 198-00 and did not advance to the finals.
Women’s 100m Hurdles Round 1
The Jones girls performed well, both winning their heats and advancing to the finals. As it turns out, they are one of a handful of US athletes who have a legitimate chance of winning individual gold medals over the next three days. Tia Jones (Walton, Marietta, GA) was the fastest qualifier in 13.25 and Cortney Jones (Florida State) was fourth overall at 13.53.
Men’s 800m Round 1
Josh Hoey (Bishop Shanahan, Downingtown, PA) ran a strong race to win his heat in 1:48.86, the fourth best performance of his life outdoors. Rey Rivera (Georgetown) almost got outleaned for third in his race but held on to get the auto qualifier. Had he been fourth, he would not have gotten a time qualifier as he ran only 1:49.53.
Women’s 1500m Round 1
The first race was a very tactical (and slow), one that Rachel McArthur (Villanova) could have handled well. But she fell behind early and could not respond, finishing 11th in 4:28.77, nine seconds off her best. Caitlin Collier (Bolles, Jacksonville, FL) redeeming herself after failing to make the 800m final, finished sixth in her race at 4:18.40, a personal best. She was 10th with a lap to go, behind the leaders by 15 meets. She started her sprint then (but so did everyone else) and managed to work herself through the crowd down the home stretch to qualify. All of the time qualifiers came out of her heat.
Women’s High Jump Qualifying
Shelby Tyler cleared 6-00.5 on her first attempt to be one of 11 qualifiers at that height. She is the US Junior Champion. She won the USATF Junior high jump on Saturday, June 16, clearing 6-00.75 for the win, an event that started at 6:20pm. That began her competition odyssey. The event in Bloomington, IN ended around 7:30pm. She was then processed for the U.S. team representation at this meet. We’re not sure how she got to Greensboro, NC the next day for the New Balance Nationals Outdoor. The high jump was scheduled for 2:00pm. Nonetheless, she was the winner there as well, albeit at a lesser height (5-10.5). She will be a senior at Noblesville HS (IN) in the fall.
Sanaa Barnes (Northwest Nelson, Justin, TX) cleared 5-11.5 as did three others. Lamara Destin (JAM) had fewer misses than Sanaa and only Destin advanced to the finals. Sanaa is headed to Villanova in the fall on a track and volleyball scholarship. She was all-state in both sports in Texas.
Women’s 200m Round 1
No problem with US athletes in this event. Jayla Kirkland (Florida State) won her heat in 23.41 and Lauren Rain Williams (Oregon) hers, in 22.98. Both were Team USA World Youth medalists in 2015.
Heptathlon Long Jump
Both Anna Hall (Valor Christian, Highlands Ranch, CO) at 5.74m and Sterling Lester (Marietta, GA) at 5.50m did not quite match their PB’s, with both falling back a bit more in the standings. Anna is now 9th and Sterling 10th.
These are not the best events for Sterling and Anna (to say the least). Both have performed better in the past. Sterling could manage only 85-04, well under her 105-09 best. Anna got a decent throw on her third attempt (106-05) still 15 feet below her best. Anna sits at 12th after 6 events and Sterling 19th. Both are now 170+ points off their PRs with one event to go -- the 800, which is a strength for both.