2012 IAAF World Junior Championships Preview: Men's Field Events

Sean Keller, who unleashed the second best throw in prep history at the Olympic Trials, is ranked 3rd in the world in the jav. Robert Rosenberg/ESPNHS


Event-by-event capsule previews of the men's field events, noting Team USA hopes and leading global contenders for the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships:

Men’s High Jump

WJR: 7-9.25, Dragutin Topic, YUG, 1990 and Steve Smith, GBR, 1992

AJR: 7-7, Andra Manson Team USA/TX, 2002

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)

2010: Mutaz E. Barshim, QAT, 7-6.5 (2-David Smith, 11-Q/Grp A-Maalik Reynolds)

2008: Bohdon Bondarenko, UKR, 7-05 (10-Q/GrpA-Erik Kynard, 11-Q/GrpB-Ryan Fleck)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 7-3 / 7-0.25

2008: 7-3 / 7.0.25

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)

1. Ryan Ingraham, BAH, 7-5.75

1. Andrei Churyla, BLR, 7-5.75

3. Eure Yanez, VEN, 7-3.75

4. Dmitry Kroyter, ISR, 7-3.75

15. Dartis Willis, Stanford, 7-1.5

17. Trey McRae, UNC-Charlotte, 7-1

Analysis: When GA prep David Smith won silver (at 7-4.25) for Team USA at the 2010 WJC, he was one of the top men’s team performers of the meet and the first US medalist in the event since Andra Manson in 2002. While the two Americans entered this time are collegians, both are still just in the 7-1 range. In fact, the US junior high jump was a disappointment as only seven athletes competed and only five cleared a height. Dartis Willis no-heighted and Trae McRae cleared just 6-8.25 for third, but both made the team since the top two failed to make the ‘A’ standard. MS prep Justin Fondren, who cleared 7-2.25 and won World Youth bronze last year, was just fourth. Dmitry Kroyter ISL, who won WY gold back in 2009 and cleared 7-5.75 last year (7-3.75 this year) is one of the favorites, as are fellow 7-5.75 jumpers Ryan Ingraham BAH and Andrei Churyla BLR.

Men’s Pole Vault

WJR: 19-0.25, Maksim Tarasov, URS, 1989 and Raphael Holzdeppe, GER, 2008

AJR: 18-8.75, Lawrence Johnson, U. Tenn., 1993

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)

2010: Anton Ivakin, RUS, 18-0.5 (7-Kyle Ballew, 8-Q/Grp B-Mark Thomas)

2008: Raphael Holzdeppe, GER, 18-0.25 (7-Joe Berry, 10-Maston Wallace)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 17-6.5 / 16-6.75

2008: 17-4.5 / 16-4.75

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)

1. Andrew Irwin, U. of Arkansas, 18-9.25

2. Ivan Horvat, CRO, 18-4.5

3. Didac Salas, ESP, 18-2.5

4. Nikita Kirillov, Ga. Tech, 18-2

16. Casey Bowen, U. of Kansas, 17-0.75

Analysis: It’s a shame Team USA doesn’t have the services of injured Andrew Irwin, the Arkansas frosh who’s improved a foot since high school and leads the world’s juniors by five inches at 18-9.25. But in Georgia Tech’s Nikita Kirillov, the Americans still have a vaulter who was a 17-footer in college and has improved dramatically in college – up to 18-2 and World #4 in Kirillov’s case. The former GA prep’s parents are from Russia and the Ukraine, and lived in and competed for Kyrgystan in international competition when he was younger. His father coaches at Tech. Kirillov will contend for a medal, possibly gold, while Kansas frosh Casey Bowen will hope to make the final. Ivan Horvat CRO is the top seed and another contender is 2011 World Youth champ Robert Renner SLO, who is ranked fifth.

Men’s Long Jump

WJR, 27-4.75, Sergey Morgunov, RUS, 2012

AJR: 27-4.5, Randy Williams, Team USA, 1972

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)

2010: Luvo Manyonga, RSA, 26-2.75 (6-Justin Hunter, 15-Q/Grp B-Carlton Lavong)

2008: Marquise Goodwin, USA, 25-04.75 (7-Christian Taylor)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 25-0.5 / 24-6.25

2008: 24-11 / 23-11.5

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)

1. Sergey Morgunov, RUS, 27-4.75

2. Qing Lin, CHN, 26-6.25

3. Kumaraver P. Kumar, 26-0

6. Jarrett Samuels, Miss. State, 25-8.25

8. Jarrion Lawson, Liberty-Eylau TX sr, 25-8

Analysis: For the first time in meet history, a reigning world junior record holder will compete in the WJC LJ, with Sergey Morgunov RUS having leapt a to-be-ratified 27-4.75 in June. That wiped out the oldest mark on the books: American Randy Williams’ 27-4.5 from 1972. Of course, there was no WJC in ’72. Morgunov has some good backup marks and is the favorite, but World #2 Qing Lin won’t be easy to beat after winning the World Youth title last summer. Both Americans should make the final and contend for medals, too. US#1 prep Jarrion Lawson TX was an impressive horizontal jumps doubler in the US Juniors and Miss. State frosh Jarrett Samuels, in addition to his World #6 PR, also won the Texas Relays with a windy 26-2.25, the second best all-conditions mark globally. The last US champ here was in 2008 when prep Marquise Goodwin TX struck gold a year before he would set the USR.

Men’s Triple Jump

WJR: 57-5, Volker Mai, GDR, 1985

AJR: 56-4.75, Will Claye, U. of Okla., 2009

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)

2010: Aleksey Fedorov, RUS, 54-8.75 (3-Omar Craddock, 8-Marquis Dendy)

2008: Teddy Tamgho, FRA, 56-10.25 (6-Austin Davis, 8-Christian Taylor)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 53-3 / 50-10.25

2008: 54-5.25 / 51-1

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)

1. Artem Primak, RUS, 55-0

2. Pedro Pichardo, CUB, 54-8

3. Latario Collie-Minns, BAH, 54-7.25

18. Jarrion Lawson, Liberty-Eylau TX sr, 51-10

-- John Horton, U. of Houston, 51-1.5

Analysis: Bahamian twins Latario and Lathone Collin-Minns won gold and bronze at the World Youths last summer and they will be prime medal contenders here. World junior leader Artem Primak RUS has improved more than three feet this year, but is inexperienced at this level. World #2 Pichardo Pedro is also in his first IAAF meet. Texas prep and US#1 Jarrion Lawson is not as highly ranked here as he is in the long jump. Something close to his PR could get him in the final, but it takes at least 53 feet to be in medal contention – like Omar Craddock did (53-3) when he took bronze two years ago.

Men’s Shot Put

WJR: 74-7, David Storl, GER, 2009

AJR: 67-9, Sean Shields, Team USA, 2002

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)

2010: Jacko Gill, NZL, 68-1.5 (4-Nick Vena, 12-Hayden Baillio)

2008: David Storl, GER, 69-02 (8-Q/GrpB-Dan Block, 9-Q/GrpA-Eric Plummer)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 66-1 / 61-11

2008: 65-4.75 / 60-10.75

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)

1. Jacko Gill, NZL, 73-2

2. Krzysztof Brzozowski, POL, 69-4.25

3. Damien Birkinhead, AUS, 69-3.5

5. Stephen Mozia, Cornell U., 66-3.25

13. Nicholas Scarvelis, UCLA, 63-6.75

Analysis: It would be fair to say that it was two years ago in Moncton that the international legend of Jacko Gill truly began, as the New Zealand shot prodigy took the WJC title at age 15. Last year at the World YOUTH champs, he dominated with a world youth record and now he returns to defend his title and chase the world junior record. He has more than three feet on the field. Neither of the U.S. preps who went 2-3 behind Gill at Lille contested the US junior meet, despite the fact that they had great seasons, but collegian Stephen Mozia of Cornell might be a medal contender if he has a great day. The other U.S. entry, Nicholas Scarvelis of UCLA, should make the final. NJ prep Nick Vena just missed medaling here in 2010.

Men’s Discus

WJR: 230-1, Mykyta Nesterenko, UKR, 2008

AJR: 214-4, Mason Finley, Team USA/CO, 2009

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)

2010: Andrius Gudzius, LTU, 209-3 (10-Andrew Evans, 10-Q/Grp A-Alex Rose)

2008: Gordon Wolf, GER, 203-05 (12-Q/GrpB-Brian Bishop, 15-Q/GrpA-Geoffrey Tabor)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 200-5 / 186-11

2008: 200-2 / 175-11

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)

1. Wojciech Praczyk, POL, 210-8

2. Rodney Brown, LSU, 206-9

2. Victor Butenko, RUS, 203-8

3. Gerhard de Beer, RSA, 202-2

7. Dalton Rowan, Texas A&M, 201-2

Analysis: The marks aren’t on the IAAF world lists because the US Junior results for the discus weren’t originally posted with the other results, but the marks of 206-9 by Rodney Brown of LSU and 201-2 by Dalton Rowan of Texas A&M put them at #2 and #7 in the world for the junior weight discus. This puts Team USA in a chance to get their first medal in the event. World #4 Fedrick Dacres JAM won the 2011 World Youth title and has competed at Penn, while World #3 Gerhard de Beer was third in Lille. World leader Wojciech Praczyk didn’t fare well in his World Youth and Youth Olympic outings in 2009 and 2010, but has improved since.

Men’s Javelin

WJR: 277-10, Zigismunds Sirmais, LAT, 2011

AJR: 255-4, Sam Crouser OR, 2010

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)

2010: Till Woschler, GER, 270-9 (5-Joseph Zimmerman, 13-Q/Grp A-Derek Eager)

2008: Rober Szpak, POL, 255-11 (9-Q/GrpA-Luke Laird)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 250-8 / 222-9

2008: 247-1 / 222-1

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)

1. Keshorn Walcott, TRI, 271-9

2. Braian Toledo, ARG, 261-7

3. Sean Keller, Heritage WA sr, 253-0

18. Devin Bogert, Texas A&M, 236-1

Analysis: With his mighty 253-0 at the Olympic Trials, WA prep Sean Keller not only became the #2 prep in history, but vaulted himself up to #3 on the world list and into medal contention. If he could get bronze or better, he’d be the first U.S. medalist in the event here. It will be tough to break into the top two, though. World leader Keshorn Walcott is at 277-10, having improved more than 20 feet this year. He never got out of qualifying in 2009 WY or 2010 WJ. World #2 Braian Toledo was the Youth Olympic champ in 2010. The second American, Devin Bogert of Texas A&M, was second behind Toledo in that meet and also represented Team USA in the 2009 World Youths where he was seventh.

Men’s Hammer

WJR: 272-2, Javier Cienfuego, ESP, 2009

AJR: 265-0, Conor McCullough, Team USA/Princeton, 2010

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)

2010: Conor McCullough, USA, 265-0 (10-Justin Welch)

2008: Walter Henning, USA, 252-4 (2-Conor McCullough)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 251-6 / 219-2

2008: 247-5 / 229-5

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)

1. Ashraf A. Elseify, QAT, 265-3

2. Valeriy Pronkin, RUS, 260-5

3. Alexandros Poursanidis, CYP, 255-5

19. Rudy Winkler, Averill Park NY jr, 237-3

-- Matthias Tayala, Kent State, 223-3

Analysis: Talk about a tough act to follow – or predecessors to inspire. The last two IAAF World Junior champs in this event have been Americans Walter Henning (2008) and Conor McCullough (2010). Each won as college frosh, following prep careers where they set U.S. records – and where they had placed eighth and second, respectively, in their initial World Junior appearance two years previous. Enter Rudy Winkler, like Henning a New Yorker, who is #3 behind these legends now on the all-time prep list. He’s also got a solid mark with the heavier junior hammer, but has just cracked the World top 20. He’s not quite at McCullough’s and Hennings’ level yet, but he’s just a HS junior and may have a shot again in 2014 after hopefully making the final. World #1 Ashraf Elseify is in his first IAAF meet, while #2 Valeriy Pronkin is trying to rebound from a disappointing WYC in Lille last year. 2011 WY champ Bence Pasztor HUN is #5 on this year’s WJ list.

Men’s Decathlon

WJR: 8,397 pts, Torsten Voss, GDR, 1982

AJR: 8,016 pts, Kevin Lazas, U. of Arkansas, 2011

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)

2010: Kevin Mayer, FRA, 7,928 (12-Neaman Wise, 14-Kevin Lazas)

2008: Jan Felix Knobel, GER, 7,896 (10-Weston Leutz, 11-Chase Dalton)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 7,751 / (straight final)

2008: 7,663 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)

1. Pieter Braun, NED, 7,953

2. Jake Stein, AUS, 7,886

3. Gunnar Nixon, U. of Arkansas, 7,760

8. Garrett Scantling, U. of Georgia, 7,434

Analysis: For DyeStat Alum watchers, it doesn’t get much better than this. Former OK prep Gunnar Nixon, who reset US HS decathlon records with all three sets of implements in 2011, is finally in his first IAAF world meet. While Nixon’s best with junior implements is 7.760, he’s scored 7,892 this spring with senior implements at the NCAA meet. He’s a great bet to medal and possibly win. Australia’s World #2 Jake Stein, who took the WY octathlon last year with a record 6,491, should be a great challenger. So should World #1 Pieter Braun NED, who has scored 7,593, but also has no international experience.