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Competition gears up in Sacramento on Day Two of USATF JOTF Champs


SACRAMENTO -- Multi events culminated in several first-time national champions and an established race walker achieved her sixth title at day two of USATF Junior Olympics at Sacramento State.

Starting the day off right with a speedy 14.77 to win the 110m hurdles, Ayden Owens (Wexford, Pennsylvania; USATF Three Rivers) scored 6,201 points to take the boys’ 15-16 decathlon title by 268 points. Owens also had the fourth best throw overall in the discus.

Clearing 4.70m/15-5 in the pole vault gave first-day leader Ryan Thomsen (Escondido, California; USATF San Diego-Imperial) 819 points and a cushion big enough to carry him to gold with a score of 6,412 points in the men’s 17-18 decathlon. The top six finishers topped the 6000-point mark, and fifth-placer Hunter Drops had the best individual event mark with a 5.00m/16-4.75 in the pole vault.

Sterling Lester (Marietta, Georgia; USATF Georgia), building on her first-day lead of 395 points, clocked 2:17.36 in the 800 to total 4,817 points and take the girls’ 15-16 heptathlon gold by more than 700 points. Lester was more than six seconds faster than anyone else in the final event.

Nicole Stephens (Seattle, Washington; USATF Pacific Northwest) used a stellar 800m to cap off her winning effort in the women’s 17-18 heptathlon, tallying 4,857 points to edge Ariel Okorie (Springfield, Missouri; USATF Missouri) by 29. The leader at the end of day one, Stephens overcame a subpar javelin that put her behind Okorie by 114, running 2:17.84 in the 800 to put her 11 seconds ahead of Okorie in the final event.

Clara Snelling (Eugene, Oregon; USATF Oregon) captured gold in the girls’ 11-12 pentathlon, hot off her Region 13 USATF Junior Olympic Championship win. In the boys’ division, the second-fastest time of the day in the 80m hurdles was enough of an edge to lift Cesare Rednour-Bruckman (Lafayette, California; USATF Pacific) to gold with 2,225 points. Rednour-Bruckman, who ran 13.31 over the barriers, also had the second-highest clearance in the high jump on the way to his win.

Winning the shot put by more than 10 feet gave Kori Martin (Pasadena, California; USATF Southern California) a comfortable margin of victory in the girls’ 9-10 triathlon, where she scored 1,468 points to win by almost 300 points.

Maceo Rivers (Seattle, Washington; USATF Pacific Northwest) successfully maneuvered through all three events in the boys’ 9-10 triathlon to win the title with 824 points, nearly 100 points ahead of second place.


Taylor Ewert (Yellow Spring, Ohio; USATF Ohio) set a national youth record last July with her 14:42.04 in the girls’ 13-14 3000m race walk, and she added a national Junior Olympic 15-16 title to that today with an easy win in 15:01.96. Ewert won by almost three minutes as she garnered her sixth lifetime Junior Olympic walk crown.

Nayeli Cisneros (Elgin, Illinois; USATF Illinois) took gold in the women’s 17-18 3000m after race leader Amberly Melendez (Pharr, Texas; USATF South Texas) received a one-minute penalty after crossing the finish line. This is the second major win for the Cisneros family this year. Nayeli’s older sister, Anali, broke the American Junior record in the 10,000m race walk at IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in May.

In the boys’ 15-16 3000m race walk, Jonathan Aguilar (Ponder, Texas; USATF South Texas) lapped several competitors to win in 14:50.51, just four seconds ahead of fellow 2015 USATF National Youth Race Walk Honor Roll recipient Jordan Crawford (Douglasville, Georgia; USATF Georgia).

Steven Berry (Highland, Utah; USATF Utah) won in 14:40.60, nearly one minute ahead of second place finisher Eduardo Uria in men’s 17-18 3000m race walk.

Rhode Island’s Garrett Doyle (Lincoln, Rhode Island; USATF New England) added more than four feet to his 2016 best in the hammer to win the 15-16 boys’ competition with a throw of 51.19m/167-11.

Opening ceremonies capped off the day with outstanding performances from Dem Bogue Boys, the Grant High School drumline, and a performance from America’s Got Talent group The Gentlemen. Speakers included Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen; Steve Hammond, President and CEO of Visit Sacramento; and Dr. Dave Shrock, USATF Pacific President and National Association vice chair.  

Tomorrow’s events begin at 8:00 a.m. PT with the first round of boys’ 15-16 and men’s 17-18 400m hurdles. Follow along with the action on and join the conversation by following USATF on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #JOTF and #USATFuturestars.

A total of 7,524 athletes will compete this week at Sacramento State, making the 50th anniversary event the largest USATF Junior Olympics ever west of the Mississippi.

For more information on the 2016 USATF Junior Olympics National Championships, visit:

National Champions

Triathlon (9-10B) Finals

Gabriel Lewis, 432 pts.

Triathlon (9-10G) Finals

Kori Martin, 533 pts.

Decathlon (15-16B) Finals

Ayden Owens, 5,239 pts.

Decathlon (17-18M) Finals

Noah Swaby, 4,737 pts.

Heptathlon (15-16G) Finals

Lester Sterling, 4,817 pts.

Heptathlon (17-18W) Finals

Nicole Stephens, 4,857 pts.

Pentathlon (11-12B) Finals

Cesare Rednour-Bruckman, 2,225 pts.

Pentathlon (11-12G) Finals

Clara Snelling, 2,361 pts.

3000M Race Walk (15-16G) Finals

Taylor Ewert, 15:01.96

3000M Race Walk (17-18W) Finals

Nayeli Cisneros, 15:46.64

3000M Race Walk (15-16B) Finals

Jonathan Aguilar, 14:50.51

3000M Race Walk (17-18M) Finals

Steven Berry, 14:40.60

USATF.TV Schedule

7/27 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

7/28 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

7/29 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

7/30 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

7/31 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

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