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U.S. Juniors 2014 Preview - DyeStat

Published by
DyeStat   on Jul 4 2014, 07:32 AM

Host of US#1s aiming to make U.S. Jr team

 

By Doug Binder, DyeStat Editor


U.S. Juniors is shaping up to be the best high school track and field meet of the year.


It is not exclusively a high school meet. As a "junior" event, and qualifier for IAAF World Juniors, it is open to anyone 19 and under. That means there are a bunch of college freshmen signed up.


However,many of the events that will be contested on Saturday and Sunday at Hayward Field in Eugene will include the national high school leader.


This is the first and only meet of the year that includes the triumvirate of high school girls middle distance running -- Mary Cain, Alexa Efraimson and Elise Cranny. Unfortunately for spectators they will not all be in the same event. Cain has opted for the 3,000 while Efraimson and Cranny get a long-awaited race in the 1,500. The last time Efraimson and Cranny raced was last December at Nike Cross Nationals.


This meet also has Gatorade National High School Track and Field Athletes of the Year -- Trentavis Friday and Raven Saunders -- trying to make the national team for the first time.


Friday, a recent graduate of Cherryville High School (N.C.) will get a chance to go head-to-head with NCAA 100-meter champion Trayvon Bromell of Baylor.


Bromell is clearly the favorite there. And Kendell Williams, the NCAA heptathlon champion from Georgia, is the top seed in the women's 100 hurdles.


Many of the 88 roster spots that have been allotted to the U.S. will go to high school athletes (or recent graduates not yet in college).


A World Juniors meet on home soil -- and the possibility associated with making that team -- has dangled like a carrot all year long. And the top high school athletes in the country seized on that dream during the winter -- or before -- and have had it circled on their calendars. Many of the top athletes trained through their state meets -- and used New Balance Nationals or the Brooks PR Invite as steppingstones -- in order to peak in July.


Cain, the runner-up at last weekend's U.S. Outdoor Championships in the 1,500, was noncommital about an attempt at World Juniors until June. The opportunity to compete in a global meet -- a first for Eugene -- is just too good to pass up.


The two-day meet this weekend will go by in a blur, but it contains some of the most intriguing matchups in the country this year.


Let's start with the men's 100.


Bromell has run 9.97 and is a favorite to win the World Juniors gold medal. His U.S. Juniors matchup with high schoolers Friday, Kendal Williams and Terry Jerningan is not something to take lightly. These guys may be the future of American sprinting.


The women's 100 features the only meeting of the year between US#1 Long Beach Poly CA grad Ariana Washington (an Oregon recruit) and US#2 Kaylin Whitney from East Ridge FL. Ky Westbrook of Chandler AZ, last year's World Youth gold medalist, is also entered.


The entries in the 400 are dominated by college freshmen, including Michael Cherry of Florida State on the men's side and NCAA third place finisher Kendall Baisden of Texas on the women's side. New Balance Nationals Outdoors champion Josephus Lyles VA and Zyaire Clemes NJ are also strong contenders to be up there with Cherry. New Jersey's Olivia Baker has two opportunites to make the team -- in the 400 or the 800.


In the men's 800, US#4 (Joe White NJ), US#5 (Myles Marshall TX), US#6 (Derek Holdsworth VA) and US#8 (Garrett O'Toole MA) are entered, but there are two college guys faster than all four of them. The top seeds are Dylan Capwell of Monmouth and Tre'tez Kinnaird of Indiana.


Georgetown freshman Sabrina Southerland is the fastest entrant in the women's 800, but she will have her hands full with US#4 Raevyn Rogers TX, who was on the Youth team last year, US#5 Rose Christen WA, and Baker.


The are nine college guys in the 1,500 who have run 3:50 or faster. But they will also face Grant Fisher, who has run 4:02.02 for the mile this year, and Bend, Oregon's Matthew Maton, who has run 3:49.38/4:03.23. If this becomes a sit-and-kick affair, don't bet against Fisher.


The women's 1,500 may be the easiest to call right now. If Efraimson and Cranny are both fit, they should secure the two spots available on the U.S. team. They are, after all, No. 2 and 3 all-time in the event in high school history. (Cain is No. 1).


Cain is the class of the 3,000 -- she could have probably picked her spot from 800 to 5,000 -- but the battle for second could come down to high school standouts Stephanie Jenks IA and Audrey Belf MI and a few collegians.


The longer distances are heavily weighted to college entrants. But the men's 5,000 does include high school stars Elijah Armstrong ID, Sydney Gidabuday CA, Albert Meier IA and Levi Thomet AK. And the 10K includes an interesting candidate in Conner Mantz of Utah.


The men's 110 hurdles is topped by four of the five fastest high school performers, inlcuding US#1 Isaiah Moore NC. (Fortunately for this field Devon Allen of Oregon, the NCAA and U.S. champion, turns 20 before Dec. 31). The women's 100 hurdles includes a tantalyzing showdown between Williams and US#1 Dior Hall CO, who have each other many times at national meets.


The women's 400 hurdles is one of the most enticing events of the weekend. NCAA champion Shamier Little of Texas A&M is a big favorite. She has run 55.07. But the field includes co-US#1s Tiana Bonds NV and Reonna Collier CA in the 300 hurdles, and freshman sensation Sydney McLaughlin NJ, the US#1 at 400 hurdles (56.89).


Timothy Holmes of Baylor, fourth at the NCAA championships, is the favorite in the men's 400 hurdles. But it also includes US#1 Kenny Selmon GA and US#1 in the 300 hurdles, Robert Grant AZ.


The men's pole vault features the top high school vaulters in the country, including Devin King LA, Brandon Bray TX, Luke Winder IL and Paolo Benavides TX. Likewise, the women's pole vault is loaded with high school talent, including national record holder Desiree Freier TX.


Nate Moore CA, the California long and triple jump champion, is entered in both events. He'll face Ja'Mari Ward IL, a talented sophomore in both. Joey Souza CA is strong candidate in the long jump. US#1 Keandre Bates TX and US#3 John Warren VA are entered in the triple jump.


Keturah Orji of Mount Olive NJ is the prohibitive favorite in the women's triple jump and a strong contender in the long jump as well. US#2 Margaux Jones CA, US#3 Chyna Ries CO and US#4 Courtney Corrin make the long jump especially competitive.


In the women's shot put, where Raven Saunders of SC made headlines by smashing the national record, she will get her first chance to compete against US#2 Stamatia Scarvelis and US#3 Ashlie Blake since March when they competed at New Balance Nationals Indoor in New York. Scarvelis and Blake take on Stanford freshman Valarie Allman, among others, in the discus.


Kord Ferguson KS, Amir Ali Patterson CA and Reno Tuufuli NV lead a talented group of high school throwers in the shot put and discus. And national discus leader Carlos Davis MO is also entered in his specialty.


Haley Showalter CO, US#1 in the girls hammer, takes on Northern Arizona freshman Brooke Andersen. Seven of the top 10 in the boys hammer are also entered.


US#1 and 2 in the boys javelin, Curtis Thompson NJ and John Nizich OR, get a rematch of NBNO. Nizich won the title in North Carolina and he's on home turf this weekend.


Gabrielle Kearney OR of nearby Roseburg gets a chance in the women's javelin, but she'll have tough competition with five of the top six throwers in the country involved -- and gunning for two precious spots.

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2 comment(s)  
Joe Lanzalotto
Doug, you know that Sydney McLaughlin cannot be on the team because she is too young right?
TrackCoachMJR
Doug - What about the 25 athletes competing in the Race Walks??
History for USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships
YearResultsVideosNewsPhotosBlogs
2014 1 273 20 73  
2013 1 316 12 1  
2012 1 211 4 824  
2011   77      
2010   94      
2009   54      
2003   48      
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