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

Jennifer Madu scored an upset win in the triple jump to add to her 100 runnerup finish and to make Team USA in two events for the 2012 World Juniors. John Nepolitan/ESPNHS


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

Women’s High Jump

WJR: 6-7, Olga Turchak, URS, 1986 and Heike Balck GDR, 1989

AJR: 6-4.25, Tanya Hughes, U. of Ariz., 1991

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

2010: Marija Vukovic, MNE, 6-3.25 (5-Hannah Willms, 8-Q/Grp A-Maya Pressley)

2008: Kimberly Jess, GER, 6-1.25 (10-Shanay Briscoe, 12-Q/GrpA-Jessica Merriweather)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 6-2.25/ 5-10

2008: 6-1.25 / 5-10

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

1. Alessia Trost, ITA, 6-3.5

2. Iryna Herashchenko, UKR, 6-2.75

3. Mariya Kuchina, RUS, 6-2.25

3. Gabby Williams, Sparks NV, 6-2.25

-- Taylor Burke, U. of Florida, 6-0

-- Maddie Morrow, Hoover OH sr, 5-10

Analysis: It would be wonderful to have Nevada prep prodigy Gabby Williams representing Team USA after her US#1 6-2.25 soph class record at the Olympic Trials, but that was the end of her campaign. Still, with old Ohio rivals Taylor Burke (now at U. of Florida) and Maddie Morrow (still a prep), there are two Americans who could make the final. Burke could possibly medal if she can get up to 6-1 or 6-2. The best-ever U.S. finish was a bronze by Sharon Day in 2004. Italy’s World #1 Alessia Trost has won the 2009 World Youth champs. ahead of #3 Mariya Kuchina RUS (whose PR is 6-4.75), but Kuchina returned the favor at the 2010 Youth Olympics. World #2 Iryna Herashchenko UKR was the World Youth runner-up last summer.

Women’s Pole Vault

WJR: 15-2.25, Angelica Bengtsson, SWE, 2011

AJR: 14-4.5, Natalie Willer, U. of Neb., 2009

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

2010: Angelica Bengtsson, SWE, 13-11.25 (7 tie-Kelsie Ahbe, 7 tie-Shade Weygandt)

2008: Valeriya Volik, RUS, 14-5.25 (4-Rachel Laurent, 8-Leslie Brost)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 13-7.25 / 12-7.5

2008: 13-11.25 / 12-9.5

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

1. Angelica Bengtsson, SWE, 15-0.25

2. Liz Parnov, AUS, 14-9

3. Katie Byres, GBR, 14-3.5

5. Emily Grove, S. Dakota U., 14-2

-- Sydney White, East Forsyth NC, 13-3.5

Analysis: Angelica Bengtsson SWE has been the pole vault queen on the Youth and Junior scene the last few years. She won WY and WJ titles in 2009 and 2010, plus the Youth Olympic crown in 2010, and no one in Junior history has gone higher than her 15-2.25 indoors. Australian Liz Parnov was runner-up in both Singapore and at the 2011 WY champs. They are the big faves for gold and silver. For bronze, though, American Emily Grove at 14-2 certainly has a shot at becoming the first from Team USA to medal here. The former IL prep, now at South Dakota, has improved nine inches this year. Having made her second US team, NC prep Sydney White was eighth in Lille last year. She has a history of vaulting best in the biggest meets, with her new PR coming at US Juniors. She should make the final, but contending for a medal might take another foot. Rachel Laurent’s fourth in 2008 is the best finish ever by an American.

Women’s Long Jump

WJR: 23-5.25, Heike Drechsler, GDR, 1983

AJR: 22-3.75, Carol Lewis, USA, 1982

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

2010: Irisdaymi Herrera, CUB, 6.41 (11-Karynn Dunn, 7-Q/Grp A-Andrea Geubelle)

2008: Ivana Spanovic, SRB, 21-8.25 (7-Q/GrpB-Jamesha Youngblood, 10-Q/GrpA-Shakia Forbes)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 20-4.25 / 18-10.5

2008: 21-0.5 / 19-9.75

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

1. Jazmin Sawyers, GBR, 21-9.5

2. Jessica Carolina dos Reis, BRA, 21-7.25

3. Alina Rotaru, ROU, 21-6.75

3. Lena Malkus, GER, 21-6.75

-- Robin Reynolds, Miami Jackson FL sr, 20-6.25

-- Le’Tristan Pledger, Texas Tech, 20-5.25

Analysis: In 2011, Jazmin Sawyers GBR competed in the World Youth heptathlon. With a World #1 21-9.5 PR now, however, she’s going for the long jump title. World #2 Jessica Carolina dos Reis BRA is less experienced at this level, but #3 Alina Rotaru ROU had runner-finishes both at 2009 WY and 2010 Youth Olympics, the latter behind #4 Lena Malcus GER. 2011 WY champ Chanice Porter JAM is World #7. Meanwhile, FL prep Robin Reynolds and Texas Tech frosh Le’Tristan Pledger are about a foot behind the medal contenders. Should be enough to make the final, but to really contend they’ll need to add at least a half foot to their PRs and hope for some luck. Team USA has never medaled in this event, with the best finish being fourth by Julia Yendork in 1990.

Women’s Triple Jump

WJR: 47-11.75, Tereza Marinova, BUL, 1996

AJR: 45-11.75, Erica McLain, Stanford, 2005

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

2010: Dailenys Alcantara, CUB, 46-2.75 (9-Andrea Geubelle)

2008: Dailenys Alcantara, CUB, 46-9 (15-Q/GrpA-Ti’Ara Walpool, 13-Q/GrpB-Vashti Thomas)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 45-0.25 / 42-2

2008: 45-1 / 42-11.75

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

1. Liuba M. Zaldivar, CUB, 45-7.75

2. Dovile Dzindzaletaite, LTU, 45-0.25

3. Mudan Chen, CHN, 45-0.25

4. Ciarra Brewer, U. of Florida, 44-9.5

-- Jennifer Madu, Plano East TX sr, 42-9.75

Analysis: U. of Florida frosh Ciarra Brewer won the World Youth Trials in 2009 and placed seventh at the championships in Bressanone. She was a CA prep soph then and had ups and downs the next few years with injuries. But she’s made a big jump deep into the 44s as a Gator and that gives her a chance to medal in Spain. Brewer was about two feet off her best at the US Juniors, though, and TX prep Jennifer Madu used a 42-9.75 to pull the big upset and add that berth to what she earned in the 100. But while that kind of distance could make the final, it will take a few more feet to contend for a medal. Cuban World #1 Liuba M. Zaldivar is talented, but very inexperienced, as are generally the other two ranked ahead of Brewer.

Women’s Shot Put

WJR: 67-4.75, Astrid Kumbernuss, GDR, 1989

AJR: 57-9, Eileen Vanisi, U. of Texas, 1991

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

2010: Qiangian Meng, CHN, 55-7 (6-Brittany Smith, 9-Q/GrpA-Rachel Roberts)

2008: Natalia Duco, CHI, 56-6.5 (10-Chinwe Okoro, 9-Q/GrpA-Rebecca O’Brien)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 51-8.25 / 48-5.25

2008: 54-3.75 / 49-4.25

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

1. Tianqian Guo, CHN, 56-1.25

2. Yang Gao, CHN, 56-0

3. Ka Bian, CHN, 55-8.25

5. Christina Hillman, Iowa State, 53-8.25

9. Torie Owers, Athens Acad. GA sr, 52-6

Analysis: Chinese putters have been dominant in World Junior and Youth competition the last few years. They went 1-2 at Moncton in 2010, then current World #1 Tianqian Guo won at Lille in 2011. But Guo is not listed on the team, as World #2 and #3 teammates Yang Gao and Ka Bian are slotted in to try and top the medal stand again. Iowa State frosh Christina Hillman, who had a breakout spring as a DE prep in 2011 and has kept on improving, looks like a sure finalist with her 53-8.25 PR (World #5), but needs another foot or two for true medal contention. GA prep Torie Owers, who made the WY final in 2011, should do the same here. Team USA has two medals in this event, ever, including Michelle Carter's victory in 2004.

Women’s Discus

WJR: 244-1, Ilke Wyludda, GDR, 1988

AJR: 198-9, Shelbi Vaughan, TX HS, 2012

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

2010: Yaime Perez, CUB, 183-9 (2-Erin Pendleton, 8-Q/GrpA-Alyssa Hasslen)

2008: Shanqxue Xi, CHN, 180-3 (7-Anna Jelmini, 11-Erin Pendleton)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 177-0 / 161-11

2008: 177-11 / 163-10

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

1. Anna Ruh, GER, 207-2

2. Shanice Craft, GER, 206-5

3. Shelbi Vaughan, Mansfield Legacy TX sr, 198-9

3. Siyu Gu, CHN, 198-9

13. Alex Collatz, Southern Cal, 177-11

Analysis: The way Texas prep Shelbi Vaughan has been throwing in this greatest of history’s high school discus seasons, paced by her fourth USR of 198-9, it’s hard to believe there’s even another girl her age on the planet who could be her match. But Anna Ruh is kind of the German Shelbi Vaughan, except a little better. Her PR is 207-2 and she’s had similar consistency with several meets at 198 or better. Her World #2 teammate Shanice Craft – 2010 Youth Olympic champ – is nearly as good, though not as consistent. Vaughan has surpassed the girls who beat her when she won bronze in Lille, but Siyu Gu of China, with the same PR, will be another block in the path to a medal. Vaughan has said she’s capable of more than 200 feet and now would be the time. Like triple jumper Ciarra Brewer, Southern Cal frosh Alex Collatz competed at the 2009 World Youth champs – and she actually won silver. In 2010, she PR’d early at 180-9, but much of the rest of her prep career was riddled with injuries. Barcelona may be where she finally breaks her two-year-old PR. Seilala Sua (second in 1996) and Suzy Powell (third in 1994) account for Team USA’s only medalists in this meet.

Women’s Javelin

WJR: 206-8, Vira Rebryk, UKR, 2008

AJR: 181-2, Haley Crouser, OR HS, 2012

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

2010: Sanni Utriainen, FIN, 186-0 (8-Allison Updike, )

2008: Vira Rebryk, UKR, 206-8 (7-Q/GrpA-Karlee McQuillen)

2006: Sandra Schaffarzik, GER, 198-4 (12-Q/GrpB-Rebekah Stolz)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 178-11 / 159-0

2008: 192-9 / 167-3

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

1. Shiying Liu, CHN, 188-8

2. Kiho Kuze, JPN, 186-5

3. Ismaray Armentero, CUB, 184-10

9. Haley Crouser, Gresham OR jr, 181-2

11. Brianna Bain, Stanford, 180-2

Analysis: As is the case with the above-mentioned Vaughan, it’s easy to watch OR prep Haley Crouser with her 181-2 USR and Olympic Trials final placing, and forget there’s other juniors out there who could actually beat her. Of course, Crouser IS only a prep junior and one of the younger athletes in a meet where she’ll come in as World #9. It won’t be easy to fight for a medal, though the WL is just seven feet ahead of her, and Crouser seems to be just getting her groove back at the Trials – where she threw the furthest since her April 13 USR. After placing fourth in Lille last summer, though, Crouser is really hungry for a medal. The best PR in the field actually belongs to Christin Hussong GER, who threw 196-0 last year in winning WY, but has hit just 182-10 in 2012. Still, she’s very dangerous. Team USA has never medaled in the jav, with the best finish being 7th by Lyndsay Johnson in 2002. Stanford frosh Brianna Bain, who also prepped in Oregon, has a PR within a foot of Crouser and could similarly push for a medal if she can breakout.

Women’s Hammer

WJR: 240-3, Wenxiu Zhang, CHN, 2005

AJR: 223-6, Shelby Ashe, Throw 1 Deep, 2012

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

2010: Sophie Hitchon, GBR, 66.01 (13-Q/GrpA-Shelby Ashe, 14-Q/GrpB-Lauren Chambers)

2008: Bianca Perie, ROU, 222-11 (12-Q/GrpA-D’Ana McCarty, NM-Q/GrpB-Lauren Chambers)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 209-10 / 175-2

2008: 199-5 / 189-8

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

1. Alexandra Tavernier, FRA, 224-6

2. Shelby Ashe, Throw 1 Deep, 223-6

3. Alexia Sedykh, FRA, 221-8

17. DeAnna Price, Southern Ill., 205-5

Analysis: Shelby Ashe would probably just as soon forget the last team she represented Team USA at a world meet, as she could not get it going in Moncton in 2010 in the rain and was 13th in her group in qualifying. But after a strong prep senior year in 2011, she’s improved even more while competing for her club this spring and the peak came at US Juniors where she smashed the AJR. Only France’s Alexandra Tavernier has thrown further this year at 224-6. And actually Ashe could be battling for gold with two Frenchwomen as Alexia Sedykh – the daughter of legendary WR holder and two-time Olympic champ Yuriy Sedykh – is World #3 and was the 2010 Youth Olympic champ.

Women’s Heptathlon

WJR: 6,542 pts, Carolina Kluft, SWE, 2002

AJR: 5,678 pts, Ellannee Richardson, Wash. State, 1999

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

2010: Dafne Schippers, NED, 5,967 (10-Alex Gochenour, DNF-Ashley Smith)

2008: Carolin Schafer, GER, 5,833 (9-Ryann Krais, DNF-Erin Sampley)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 5,706 / (straight final)

2008: 5,765 / (straight final)

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

1. Katarina Johnson-Thompson, GBR, 6,248

2. Yorgelis Rodriguez, CUB, 5,994

3. Ivona Dadic, AUT, 5,959

13. Erica Bougard, Miss. St., 5,547

15. Kendell Williams, Kell GA jr, 5,481

Analysis: Erica Bougard of Mississippi State and GA prep Kendell Williams had a fine battle at the US Juniors, with Williams leading almost all the way before Bougard pulled it out with a great 800. Bougard was US#1 the year before as a prep senior, but Williams’ mark surpassed her and went all the way up to #2 all-time. Both will hope to improve and maybe set a new standard for US heptathletes at WJ. Seventh by Kendra Reimer in 1998 is the top finish ever from Team USA and when you look at the scores the rest of the world puts up, you can see why. World #1 Katarina Johnson-Thompson would be contending for an Olympic berth with the 6,248 she has put up. And with the next two on the list over 5,900, it’s hard to imagine the USA ever contending for a medal as they’re able to do as Olympians when they “catch up” somewhat. Williams was 11th at World Youths last summer, but has improved significantly since then. In second that day was Yorgelis Rodriquez from Cuba, who has since added 300 points and is World #2. Her countrywoman and WY champ Yusleidys Mendieta hasn’t improved quite as much and is World #8.