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U.S. Athletes Impress on Final Day of Youth Olympic Selection Trials


MIRAMAR -- With a spirit of sportsmanship, camaraderie and international competition, the second day of U.S. Area Youth Olympic Trials - Track & Field showcased young athletes, ages 15-17, competing from 10 different countries for a nomination to the Americas Team heading to the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, Aug. 16-28.   

In arguably one of the most exciting races of the day, Noah Lyles (USA) won the men’s 200 meters in a wind-legal 20.89 (+1.3). He was neck-and-neck with countryman Amir Rasul, who crossed in 21.12 for silver. Lyles was the only athlete of the day to run sub-21 in both the prelim (20.95 [+2.3]) and the final. Fellow U.S. athlete Andrew James, the gold medalist in the men’s 400m Saturday, earned bronze in the 200, finishing in 21.50 for an American sweep in the event.

James led from start to finish in the men’s 400m. He moved to the front after the second curve and steadily extended his lead for a comfortable 48.25 finish and the gold medal. Ezequiel Suarez (PUR) won silver, crossing the line in 48.76 ahead of Jorge Sanches (PUR) who took bronze in 49.19.

The entire North American continent gained recognition in the women’s javelin as Emma Fitzgerald (USA) took the top prize with her best throw soaring to 51.25m/168-2 on her last attempt heading into finals. Brittni Woczyk (CAN), took the silver medal with her mark of 48.02/157-6 and bronze medalist Luz Mariana Castro Jr., (MEX) earned the third podium spot with her toss of 47.57m/156-1.

U.S. athletes led a clean sweep of the medal stand in women’s triple jump, where Chinne Okoronkwo saved the best for last on her way to a first-place leap of 12.66m/41-6.50. Asa Garcia won silver with her jump of 12.49m/40-11.75, and the bronze went to Kimani Rushing’s 12.09/39-8.

Haley Showalter (USA) complemented Friday’s hammer throw gold medal with a second, first-place finish in women’s discus. Showalter’s 46.77m/153-5 was a personal best for the 16-year-old by more than a foot. The next closest competitors, Phoebe Gustely (USA) and Leena Morris (USA) rounded out the podium sweep for the U.S., turning in marks of 44.66m/146-6 and 41.45m/136-0 for silver and bronze, respectively.

In the women’s 1,500 meters, Madeline Sumner (CAN) led for nearly the entire race and into the final two laps, until Malia Ellington (USA) used her kick for a come from behind victory to take the gold medal in 4:36.56. Ellington, who credits running indoors with improving her fitness this season, followed up her first-place finish with a bronze in the women’s 3,000m in 10:35.77.

The pack remained together for much of the early going in the men’s 3,000 meters as Jeremiah Ort (CAN), Michel Tona Ramirez Jr., (MEX) and Miler Haller (USA) pulled away to remain within reach of the podium. In the final stages of the race, they battled stride for stride but Ort had already made his move to the front, finishing in 8:39.25. Ramirez (8:40.41) and Haller (8:41.22) earned silver and bronze to round out the medal stand.

Other medalists for the U.S. Saturday included Myles Marshall (gold - men’s 800m - 1:51.53), Robert Denning (gold - men’s HJ - 1.95m/6-4.75), Alexander McCord (silver - men’s HJ - 1.90m/6-2.75), Rai Benjamin (gold - men’s 400mH - 53.32), Rhea Foster (silver - women’s LJ - 5.86m/19-2.75), Chinne Okoronkwo (bronze - women’s LJ - 5.77m/18-11.25), Janae Moffit (silver - women’s HJ - 1.79m/5-10.50), Valerie Wierenga (silver - women’s 3,000m - 10:10.68), Brittny Ellis (silver - women’s 400m - 54.67), Maiya Dendy (bronze - women’s 400m - 55.12).

The U.S. Olympic Committee has awarded USATF with 14 Youth Olympic Games athlete nomination slots, allocated specifically to U.S. athletes placing highest in their events. Only one athlete per country earns a place in any single event, and any athlete making the team may only compete in one individual event at the Youth Olympic Games in addition to a possible appearance on the 8x100m mixed relay team.

There will be a total of three Americas Team Area Youth Olympic Trials - Track & Field events, featuring the first at Miramar in the U.S., one in the Caribbean and another in South America. U.S. Athletes may only compete in the U.S. event as nominations for the Americas Youth Olympic Team are determined following the third and final trials event.

Athletes at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games will compete in 28 sports while also taking part in a Culture and Education program. At the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, Team USA collected eight medals: three gold, two silver and three bronze.

Click here for complete results from the U.S. Area Youth Olympic Selection Trials - Track & Field and here for quotes from U.S. gold medalists.

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