Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan, Mixed 4x4 win GOLD for Team USA: NSAF @ World U20s, Day 2 P.M.

by Jim Spier

It turned into an outstanding afternoon for Team USA on Day 2 of the World U20 Championships here in Cali, with the Mixed 4x400 Relay and thrower Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan claiming the squad’s first gold medals (and first of any color) of the meet.

Team USA Mixed 4x400 and Tarik Robinson-O'Hagan photos by Joy Kamani.

Following is a recap of the afternoon’s session in chronological order.

Men 110m Hurdles Semi Final

(3 semis, top 2 in each heat and next 2 fastest qualifiers)

It was not pretty, but Malik Mixon (Westlake, Atlanta, GA), the USATF Junior champ, managed to automatically qualify.  He was in 4th or 5th place through 6 hurdles, but came on strong at the end, getting a .03 second PB (13.52).

Unlike Mixon, TJ Caldwell (Pittsburg State U./Northwest Nelson, Trophy Club, TX) was leading through 7 hurdles.  He sensed the athlete to his left at that point, and hit the final three hurdles.  He finished 6th overall and did not advance.

Men 100m Semi Final

Laurenz Colbert (Baylor/Eleanor Roosevelt, Greenbelt, MD) finished 3rd in his heat but ran fast enough (10.29) as a non-auto qualifier to advance.

Michael Gizzi (U of Alabama-Huntsville/Alcovy, Covington, GA) ran 10.30 finished 4th in his heat and missed advancing by .01.

The leaders, who both set national U20 records were 16 year old Pumpol Boonson of Thailand (10.09). and Bouwahjgie Nkrumoe of Jamaica (10.11).  The U20 World Record Holder, Letsile Tebogo of Botswana, won his heat easily in 10.14.

Men 100m Final

Lesile Tebogo broke his own World U20 record, running 9.91 to win.  He “shut it down” at 70 meters and pointed back at the rest of the runners.  The 9.91 could have been much faster.  And most of the crowd did not appreciate his antics.  Laurenz Colbert finished 7th in 10.24, not too far off his 10.21 PB.

Women 800m Semi Final

Juliette Whittaker (Mount de Sales, Catonsville, MD) had her hands full, but hung on to win her semi and automatically qualify.  The splits for the leader (not Juliette) were 29.07, 60.84 and 1:31.71.  Nelly Chipchirchir (Kenya) set the pace and led most of the way.  Abigail Ives (Great Britain) challenged Juliette down the home stretch, with Ives edging Juliette and both running 2:01.92.  Chipchirchir was a close third in 2:02.03.

Roisin Willis (Stevens Point, WI) led her semi from start to finish.  It appeared that her opening 200m opener of 27.63 might have been a bit ambitious, but by 300m the pack closed and she was still in control of the race.  She passed 400m at 59.60, almost 1.5 seconds prior than Whittaker’s race, then 1:31.64 at 600m (about the same as Whittaker’s). Then Willis actually increased her lead down the homestretch, winning in 2:02.49.

Men Long Jump Final

Curtis Williams (Florida State U/Leon, Tallahassee, FL) got a PB of 25-09.5 but that just missed the podium in 4th.  He was just 1-½” out of the bronze medal position.

Johnny Brackins (USC/Lees Summit, MO), who was the World Junior leader at 26-05.5, finished 6th with a jump of 25-07.5.  The winner, Erwan Konate, supplanted Brackins at the World Junior leader, winning with a jump of 26-06.25.

Mixed 4x400m Mixed Relay

The U.S. earlier set a meet record in winning Heat 2 in 3:18.65.  They broke that in the final, improving to 3:17.69.  It was the team of Charlie Bartholomew (Oklahoma State U./Boyd Mc Kinney TX), Madison Whyte (Heritage, Newport News, VA), Will Sumner (Woodstock, GA)  and Kennedy Wade (Texas A+M/Clear Falls, League City, TX.  (Wade replaced Kaylyn Brown in the final). 

Bartholomew started strongly and handed off the stick first.  Each leg maintained the U.S. lead, with Whyte holding on strong and then Sumner increasing the gap with a tremendous finish.  Wade quickly saw the lead evaporate, as Rupal of India closed.  But Wade held off her rival’s advances on the final curve and would not be beaten in the home stretch.  India’s silver medal performance was still impressive, though, as they also broke the old record with 3:17.76.

Men Shot Put Final

Who would have thought?  Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan (Woonsocket, RI), did not come in as a favorite, but he came out as the World U20 Champion with a stunning 3-1/2’ PR!

He opened the competition with a PB of 66-07.25 and took the early lead.  His prior PB was 64-5.25 in qualifying yesterday.  (This is a 6kg shot so there is not much opportunity during the year to throw it).  He slipped to 2nd in the second round, with Kobe Lawrence of Jamaica now leading.  That throw was 65-08.75. 

Tarik fouled in round 3, then had his winning throw in round 4 – a monster 68-00.25!  His final two throws were 65-10.5 and 66-03.25.  The winning throw moved Tarik to #2 in the world, behind Tizian Laura (Germany – 69-04.5) who finished third in this competition.  The American also moved to #4 all-time on the U.S. list for the U20 implement, trailing only Jordan Geist, Bronson Osborn and Tripp Piperi – all stellar prep throwers in recent years.


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