In 2011, the United States won its sixth straight World Youth (under 18) championships in Lille, France. There are almost two complete seasons until the 2013 championships (for athletes born in 1996 and 1997), but it is not too soon to begin planning. To that end, here is a look at the prospects of winning a seventh team championship in Donetsk, Ukraine.
At this time the IAAF (the world governing body for track and field) and USATF (the U.S. track federation) have not set qualifying standards. Those standards will be set in late 2012, but a good indication of what those standards might be can be gleaned from the standards used in 2011. In 2011 the U.S. sent a team of 41 athletes that demonstrated, by performance, they could make the finals at the WYC. Even with those tough standards—standards that were much tougher than the IAAF standards—a number of athletes who met those standards were not selected for the U.S. team. Hopefully, in 2013, ALL athletes who meet predetermined standards and finish in the top two at the U.S. trials will be named to the team.
Here is a look at the leading U.S. prospects and leading world candidates for the 2013 WYC for athletes born in 1996-1997.
Dior Hall and Mary Cain Lead the U.S. Girls
In 2011, the U.S. World Youth team was led by gold medalists Trinity Wilson in the 100-meter high hurdles and Ajee’ Wilson in the 800. The same two events could yield the same results in 2013 with Dior Hall of Washington (Denver, Co.) in the hurdles and Mary Cain of Bronxville (N.Y.) in the 800—and if not there, the 1,500.
Hall burst onto the national and international scene with a 13.18 at the Great Southwest Invitational as a freshman to set national class and world age-15 records. She later finished third in the U.S. Junior (under 20) national championships. Those marks were made over the 33-inch hurdles, so the 30-inch hurdles used in the World Youth championships should allow her to challenge the World Youth record of 13.08 set by Adrianna Lamalle of France in the first WYC in Bydgoszcz, Poland in 1999.
Yanique Thompson of Jamaica has the second best time in the world over the 30-inch hurdles at 13.76. Daria Cook of Vacaville (Ca.) at 14.35 is the second best in the world over the higher hurdles. At the New Balance Nationals Indoor, Hall continued to impress, defeating Wilson in the 60 hurdles in 8.19 to become the second-fastest high school runner of all time.
Cain has had just two quality races at 800 meters, but her 2:06.44 ranks No. 3 in the world behind Johanna Matintalo of Finland at 2:05.87 and Anita Hinriksdottir of Iceland, who recently ran 2:05.96 indoors. Cain also ran 1,500 in 4:17.84 at the 2011 New York State meet to rank No. 1 in the world. Ayaka Nakagawa of Japan is second at 4:19.93. Cain is also the U.S. leader in the 3,000 at 9:28.6. Nakagawa is the world leader at 9:17.46.
In the girls sprints, Ky Westbrook of Chandler (Az.) is the world leader in the 100 at 11.73, closely followed by Aleia Hobbs of McMain (New Orleans, La.) and Bruna Ortega of Ecuador, both at 11.75. Westbrook was the State Div. I champion and Hobbs won the State 3A title with an 11.84. Arianna Washington of Poly (Long Beach, Ca.) and Deanna Hill of Lake Highlands Prep, Orlando, Fl.) lead the world at 200 at 23.83. Washington has been outstanding indoors with her personal best of 23.83. Earlier, Hill had run 23.83 and finished second in the national AAU JO 15-16 championships. Irene Ekelund of Sweden is third at 24.11.
In the girls 400, Aliyah Abrams, a freshman at Grayson (Ga.), leads the U.S. at 54.14 and is just behind World Youth leader Yanique McNeil of Jamaica, who has run 54.02. The unlikely world leader in the 400 low hurdles is Nguyen Thi Oanh of Vietnam, who ran 60.47 in her national championships. Amber Lewis of Roswell (Ga.) at 61.25 and Kimani Austin-Reese of Central (Miami, Fl.) at 61.69 are second and third. Lewis finished third in the national AAU JO 15-16 division and Austin-Reese won the USATF JO 15-16 division.
Kennedy Blahnik of Algoma (Wi.) won her state D-II discus competition at 150-7 and threw a world leading 155-9 in a USATF Regional JO meet. Ashlie Blake of Legacy (North Las Vegas, Nv.) is second at 152-11 and Yasenaca Denicaucau of Australia is third at 148-9. Blake set a national freshman shot put record at 49-5¾ at the USATF National JO 15-16 division, but she will likely face Emel Dereli of Turkey who had a best of 53-4 ¼ in 201,1 but then improved to a world leading 54-11 ¼ with an indoor effort this year. Blahnik won the State Division III title at 47-0¼ to rank No. 4 in the world. Freshman Nia Britt of Alemany (Mission Hills, Ca.) threw 51-6¼ last year with the 6 lb. shot, but has made a dramatic improvement indoors this year with a 48-9 effort with the 4-kilo shot.
Chyna Ries of Washington (Denver, Co.) popped a personal long jump best of 20-5 ¾ indoors to rank second in the world behind Daizy Issa of Bulgaria, who had a world leading 20-8 three days before winning her national age-15 championship. Gabrielle Williams of Reed (Sparks, Nv.) is the U.S. youth high jump leader at 5-10 and ranks fourth in the world behind leader Eleanor Patterson of Australia, who has jumped 5-11½. Reena Koll of Estonia is the world pole vault leader at 13-6¼. Desiree Freier of Northwest (Justin, Tx.) is the U.S. leader at 12-9.
Freshman Emma Fitzgerald of Waltham (Ma.), who won the USATF National JO Youth javelin title at 138-8 and had a best of 145-8, ranks No. 2 in the world behind the 169-5 of Marie-Therese Obst of Germany. Alexa Harmon-Thomas of Lawrence (Ks.) is the world leader in the heptathlon at 4,760.
Xavier Atkins and Bryce Love Lead the U.S. Boys
Freshman Xavier Atkins of Spruce Creek (Port Orange, Fl.) is the boys’ world youth leader for athletes born in 1996-1997 in both the 100 and 200. In the 100, Atkins ran 10.73 to win the Coach O Youth Invitational. Freshman Bryce Love of Rolesville (Raleigh, N.C.) also ran 10.73 in the USATF Region III JO meet in Georgia. Ranking third in the world were Kenzo Cotton of Papillion-La Vista (Papillion, Nb.) and Nicholas Douglas of Trinidad, both at 10.87.
In the 200 Atkins ran 21.52 in the heats of the national AAU Club (15-16) championships, and then finished second in the final in a wind-aided 21.52. Cotton was second in the world with a 21.77 win in the Nebraska State A final. Silva dos Santos of Brazil was third at 21.79 and Love was fourth at 21.81. Love was also the world leader in the 400 at 48.27 run in the USATF Region III JO meet in Georgia. Joshua Robinson of Australia ranks No. 2 at 48.68 and Naija Omari of St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, N.J.) is fourth at 48.93 run indoors in the Eastern States meet.
William Levay of Sweden is the world leader in the 800 at 1:55.07. Matthew Rosen of Jefferson (Bloomington, Mn.) is second at 1:56.13 run in a 2A regional meet. Adrian Mangoba of Vista (Ca.) is fourth with a 1:56.40 with a seventh place finish in the San Diego Section final. Leavy also leads the world at 3,000 with an 8:29.03 last August. Bailey Roth of Eagles Landing (McDonough, Ga.) is second at 8:43.65 with a win in the USATF National JO (15-16) race and Blair Hurlock of De La Salle (Concord, Ca.) is third at 8:43.73 in winning the Super 7 Invitational this February.
Running comparable two-mile times to Roth and Hurlock are Elijah Armstrong of Pocatello (Id.), who has run 9:24.05, and Luis Colson of Edison (Alexandria, Va.), who ran 9:24.82 last spring. Roth is the world 1,500 leader at 3:59.86 followed by Daniel Wallis of Great Britain at 3:59.81. However, Blake Haney of Stockdale (Bakersfield, Ca.) has a best of 4:12.34 for 1,600, which is worth 3:53.6 for 1,500. Armstrong was also very impressive in winning the freshman mile at the the New Balance Indoor nationals in 4:18.09. Ryan Thomas of Albemarle, Charlottesville, Va.) Has the second fastest 1,600 with an indoor 4:18.60 this winter.
In the 110-meter 39-inch hurdles, Isaiah Moore of Williams (Burlington, N.C.) is the U.S. leader at 14.18 and Marlon Humphrey of Hoover (Al.) is second at 14.49. The rest of the world athletes born in 1996-1997 rarely run 39-inch hurdles over 110 meters, so no comparisons are possible. In the 400-meter 36 inch hurdles, Obafemi Animashaun of Union Catholic (Scotch Plains, N.J.) is the world leader at 54.68 but again the rest of the world athletes in this age group are running different hurdle heights and distances. John Lint of Columbus Academy (Gahanna, Oh.) is the U.S. leader in the 300 intermediate hurdles at 38.99.
Gavin Gautreaux of Catholic (New Iberia, La.) is the world pole vault leader at 15-8, followed by Hunter Carlton of Legacy (Mansfield, Tx.) at 15-6, also indoors. Hawk Griffin of Little Elm (Tx.) is third at 14-11¼. Christopher Bryan of Jamaica is the world high jump leader at 7-2½ and Henry Smith of Australia is second at 6-8 ¾. The U.S. leaders are Randall Cunningham of Silverado (Las Vegas, Nv.) and Stephen Kolbe of Warsaw (In.), both at 6-7, but given Cunningham’s pedigree his future is likely in football. His father is Randall—a 16-year NFL quarterbacks—and his uncle is Sam, an all-American running back at USC, who played 10 years in the NFL.
Henry Smith of Australia is the world leader in the long jump at 22-11¾ closely followed by Dimitri Antonov of Germany a 22-10¾. Nate Moore of Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Ca.) is the U.S. leader at 22-8 ¾ and Craig Jones of Central (Baton Rouge, La.) is next at 22-7¾. Antonov is the triple jump leader at 50-0 ¾ with an indoor jump in 2012. Montel Nevers of Great Britain is next at 46-8 ¼. John Warren of Killeen (Tx.) third at 46-7, but he does have a wind-aided 48-4¼, and Keandre Bates of Burges (El Paso, Tx.) is fourth at 46-9½.
Andrew Trumbetti of Demarest (N.J.) is the U.S. leader with the 12-lb shot at 57-03.75 indoors and Amir Patterson of Crespi (Encino, Ca.) is next at 54-10¼ outdoors. The rest of the world uses the 5-kg (11-lb) shot and Henning Prufer of Germany is the leader at 59-5 ½. Matthew Zajac of E.C. Glass (Lynchburg, Va.) is the U.S. leader at 174-11 with the high school 1.62-kg discus and Anthony Dudley of Parkland (El Paso, Tx.) is next at 169-04. The rest of the world uses the 1.5-kg discus and Patrick Muller of Germany is the leader at 177-2. Prufer is second at 175-6.
In the javelin, the world youth leader with the 800g javelin is Robert Toth of Hungary at 199-6. The U.S. is led by Denham Patricelli of Tahoma (Maple Valley, Wa.) at 191-4 and Curtis Thompson of Holy Cross (Lumberton, N.J.) at 175-7. Outside the U.S., athletes born in 1996-1997 rarely, if ever, throw the 800g or 700g javelin in 2011. The U.S. throws the 12-lb hammer and is led by Colin Minor of South Brunswick (Southport, N.C.) at 174-3. The rest of the worlds youth throwers use the 5-kg (11-lb) ball and are led by Joaquin Gomez of Argentina at 240-7.
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