LILLE, FRANCE – Team USA continues to excel in the early rounds of competition during the Thursday morning session of the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships.
More updates will be posted later in the day.
Tyler Schultz (Custer, S.D.) started the morning off on a good note for the U.S. squad. Schultz lobbed the shot 19.70m/64-7.75 on his second throw to earn an automatic advancement to the finals to be held later today.
Both Amy Weissenbach (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Ajee Wilson (Neptune, N.J.) coasted through the first round of the girls’ 800m. Weissenbach rolled through a moderately paced heat to finish third in 2:08.09. Wilson’s heat ran a slow first lap of 69-seconds. At the bell, the entire field was still bunched together with Wilson in the back; however, over the last lap Wilson moved from last to first to win her heat in 2:14.07.
Facing stiff competition in the 1500m, Jacob Burcham (Barboursville, W.V.) used the field’s momentum to carry him to a personal best of 3:51.22 to better his previous time by three seconds. Burcham sprinted down the final straight with Emilio Perco of Italy, and at the line Burcham’s lean turned into a dive across the finish line. Burcham finished fourth and advanced to the final based on time.
The girl’s 400m hurdles brought mixed results for the Georgia girls on Team USA. Nnenya Hailey (Marietta, Ga.) ran not only a personal best, but also the fastest youth time in the world youth this year. Hailey won her heat in 58.44 to qualify for Saturday’s final. In the third heat, Amber Bryant-Brock (Marietta, Ga.) narrowly missed qualifying for finals. Bryant-Brock placed fourth in her heat in 1:00.18.
Todd Gurley (Tarboro, N.C.) ran smoothly in the first round of the 110m hurdles to finish third in his heat in 13.86. The top four in each heat advance, so Gurley will return to semifinal action tomorrow.
In the girls’ pole vault, Sydney White (Kearnersville, N.C.) cleared four consecutive heights on her first attempt to earn her way to the finals. White stopped at 3.85m/12-7.5, as she only needed to place in the top-12 to qualify for the finals.
In the boy’s hammer, Rudy Winkler threw 69.09 on his first attempt to take fifth in his group. While he did not hit the automatic qualifying mark of 70.m, he will advance to the finals based on his place.
Amy Weissenbach – Girls’ 800m
“ That was perfect! I just wanted to qualify as easily as possible to be ready for the next couple of days that where I will run harder. It was great that someone took us out fast and I could just ride in.”
Ajee Wilson – Girls’ 800m
“I wasn’t worried by the [slow] pace at all. The slower we ran, the better it will be for the next day.”
Jake Burcham – Boys’ 1500m
“I wasn’t nervous. I just had fun…It is awesome to be here with the fastest kids my age in the world.
I’m going to PR again in the finals.”
On his dive at the finish – “ At the end of the race, I didn’t even feel it.”
Todd Gurley – Boys’ 110m Hurdles
“I’m ready. It felt good and I’m glad I got the first race out of the race. I wanted the race to be yesterday. I was hype watching my teammates run.”
Sydney White – Girls’Pole Vault
“Today built my confidence. Getting higher and higher in the placing makes me more confident to medal in the finals. Back home pole vault never gets this much attention. A little girl asked me for my autograph – it’s great!”
Nnenya Hailey – Girls’ 400m Hurdles
“After running so fast yesterday, I was nervous for today. But I’m so happy I ran a PR today. Saturday is gonna be a horse race. I just have to run my race and do what I do and keep going.
Amber Bryant Brock – Girls’ 400m Hurdles
“I was fine and I could have run better, but today wasn’t my day.”
Rudy Winkler – Boys’ Hammer
“My throws weren’t uncomfortable, but I didn’t feel quite right. There were multiple times they had to fix the net, and it just messed with the flow of the event. I want to PR tomorrow in the finals.”