BARCELONA, Spain – Nine in the morning is early for most, but, for Team USA’s Brianne Nerud (North Shore, N.Y.), it was the perfect time to demolish the national high school record in the women’s steeplechase. Nerud’s performance was part of a busy morning at the opening session of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona. Also highlighting the morning session, Team USA’s sprinting duo of Tyreek Hill and Aaron Ernest easily advanced in the heats of the men’s 100. Hill equaled with the top qualifying mark of the field, running 10.37 to Ernest’s 10.39.
Women’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase (heats)
Nerud used her experience gained from the 2011 World Youth Championships to finish fourth in her heat, with a personal-best time of 10:08.15 – a new national high school record. Nerud topped the old prep standard by more than seven seconds that was set in 2006 by Mel Lawrence. Nerud took the race out and was the leader through five laps.
“I was expecting it to go out a little faster, but the first two laps were really slow so I wanted to pick it up.” said Nerud. “I was waiting for someone to take it out. I didn’t want it to be a kicker’s race. (My coach) told me to run my own race.”
Nerud was surprised to hear that she had broken the prep record, and by a wide margin nonetheless, “No, I didn’t know that, wow.”
Courtney Frerichs (Nixa, Mo./UMKC) finished eighth in her heat and 16th overall with a time of 10:35.24, seven seconds off a time-qualifying spot.
Kenya’s Daisy Jepkemei claimed the world’s best time by a junior this year to win Frerich’s heat in 9:56.33.
Men’s 100 (heats)
Hill, a high school senior from Douglas, Ga., may have equaled the best time of the day (10.37) in the men’s 100 heats, but overall he knows there’s more to come. “I came out good, but I started staggering (in the lane) and I don’t need that,” said Hill. “(The waiting around between heats) got to my legs, but in the weight room, I stretched it out a little bit and did some moving along. I’m not satisfied (with the performance) overall, because there’s a lot of guys out here that can definitely beat (my time today).”
Great Britain’s Adam Gemili also ran 10.37 out of heat two, proclaiming himself as one to break up the American charge.
LSU freshman Aaron Ernest had a different perspective on his opening round race which he won in 10.39 – the third-best overall time. “I had a conservative start – trying to be conservative as a whole in the first round,” said Ernest. “I just cruised today. I could tell I had the race at around 70 meters, so I let up a little at the end. Overall, I’m happy with the first round and am looking forward towards competing in the semifinal.”
Men’s 110 Hurdles (heats)
The U.S. went two-for-two for advancement in the sprint hurdles. Dondre Echols (Oxen Hill, Md.) won his heat and clocked 13.77 as the seventh-best overall qualifier. As a result of a final lunge for the finish line, University of Pittsburgh frosh Josh Thompson (Stubenville, Ohio) was involved in a dead heat with Poland’s Grzegorz Szade for the final automatic qualifying spot in his heat. The timers could not discern between the two and awarded times of 14.04 seconds to each, resulting in the advancement of both to the semifinal.
Echols ran in the final heat of eight and the waiting around was a bit unnerving. “(The race) felt sluggish – we sat so long, so I wasn’t myself. Hopefully in the finals they don’t make us sit so long and I’ll be ready to go. The start was okay, but it could be better, plus I hit a couple hurdles. Good competition (out here) for sure – I’ve got to be ready the next two rounds”.
Running into a hefty headwind (-2.1 m/s), Thompson clocked a time of 14.04 seconds. Thompson felt his race was not exactly what he wanted, “I was just coming up on the hurdles too quickly. I need to go back to the practice field and work on a couple things, and I’ll be fine.”
There was a call back to the start after the gun initially fired in Thompson’s heat, but that seemed to help the first-time international competitor. “(The call back) calmed me down. I think I was just a little jittery before the gun and it helped me calm down a little bit. (The world-championship atmosphere) and a crowd like this intimidates you, but you just have to work through it and try to go out there and do your best.
Women’s Shot Put (qualification)
Iowa State freshman Christina Hillman (Dover, Del.) produced a solid series of throws to qualify for tonight’s final of the women’s shot put. Although all three throws would have been good enough to reach the final, Hillman said she was nervous and not lining up correctly in the first two rounds. Her adjustments worked in round three when she produced a toss of 16.11/52-10¼ to automatically qualify for the final with the third-best mark of the morning.
“I knew that that my last throw was good and now I’m ready for (tonight’s finals),” said Hillman. “I’m excited about it and really want to PR and be on that award stand, that’s my goal.”
Torie Owers (Athens, Ga.) also qualified for the final with a toss of 14.82/48-7½. Germany’s Shanice Craft had the top qualifier of 16.41/53-10¼.
Both Americans, Ajee Wilson (Neptune, N.J.) and Danielle Aragon (Billings, Mont.), made it through the first round of the women’s 800 by automatically qualifying from their heats for Thursday morning’s semifinal.
Wilson led a comfortable pace to run 2:07.07 and nearly took the tape first in her heat. Running in the lead pack throughout, Wilson ran her type of race, “I normally don’t have a set pace.” Adding, “I let the race and the competitors dictate how I run.”
Aragon was patient despite a blistering qualifying-round pace that produced an opening lap of 1:01.4. Holding towards the back of the pack, Aragon used the final turn to make her move, flying to the outside to place herself in automatic qualifying position and finish in third in the heat, 2:07.84.
“I just wanted to make the semifinals so bad,” said Aragon. “They were going really fast (at the start) and I wanted to hang on and it worked in the end. On the curve, I tried to make sure I didn’t get myself into any trouble and ran on the outside lane – I just wanted to make sure I didn’t box myself in.”
Men’s Pole Vault
It was close, but Team USA’s Nikita Kirillov (Atlanta, Ga./Georgia Tech) advanced to the finals of the men’s pole vault via a third-round clearance of 5.15/16-10¾ -- his opening height. Kirillov’s initial third try was a ruled a miss, but the right-side standard failed while Kirillov was in mid-flight, resulting in the bar to fall. A U.S. protest was upheld for equipment failure and Kirillov was given a second opportunity to make his third attempt.
Casey Bowen (Gardner, Kan./U. of Kansas) and Nikita Kirillov (Atlanta, Ga./Georgia Tech) did not advance from the qualification round. Bowen cleared 4.95/16-2¾, but a clearance of at least 5.05/16-6¾ was needed to move on to the finals.
After the morning session and three events completed in the decathlon, University of Arkansas sophomore Gunnar Nixon (Edmond, Okla.) stands in seventh place overall with 2,413 points. Georgia’s Garrett Scantling (Jacksonville, Fla.) is currently 17th with 2,264 points. Day one will end with the high jump and 400 meters in the evening session.
Haley Crouser (Gresham, Ore.) advanced to the final of the women’s javelin with a first-round toss of 51.04/167-5. Brianna Bain (Beaverton, Ore.) finished 26th overall with a toss of 47.64/156-3.
No luck for Team USA in the men’s 1500. Izaic Yorks (Lakewood, Wash.) was hanging near the front of the chase pack for the first two laps, vying for a fast qualifying time in his heat, but slipped back to seventh at the tape. He finished with a time of 3:49.21. Austin Mudd (Greenwood, Ind./Wisconsin) had difficulty getting the motor started and finished 11th in his heat at 3:54.82.
Nixon, Ashe Named Team Captains
Decathlete Gunnar Nixon (Edmond, Okla./Arkansas) and hammer-thrower Shelby Ashe (Stone Mountain, Ga.) were named captains for the U.S. men’s and women’s teams, respectively, at the squad’s team meeting on Monday evening.
MEN’S RESULTS – ROUNDS
100 METERS (heats)
=Q1 (1h5). Tyreek Hill (USA), 10.37 (-2.3 m/s)
=Q1 (1h2). Adam Gemili (GBR), 10.37 (-2.5 m/s)
Q3 (1h7). Aaron Ernest (USA), 10.39 (-1.6 m/s)
[semifinals and finals Wednesday evening]
1500 METERS (heats)
Q1. Teklit Teweldebrhan (ERI), 3:46.46
19 (7h1). Izaic Yorks (USA), 3:49.21
31 (11h2). Austin Mudd (USA), 3:54.82
[final Thursday evening]
110 METER HURDLES (heats)
Q1 (1h3). Yordan O’Farrill (CUB), 13.44 (-0.8 m/s)
Q (1h8). Dondre Echols (USA), 13.74 (-1.6 m/s)
Q (=2h2). Josh Thompson (USA), 14.04 (-2.1 m/s)
[semifinals Wednesday evening]
POLE VAULT (qualification)
Q. Nikita Kirillov (USA), 5.15/16-10¾
=24. Casey Bowen (USA), 4.95/16-2¾
[final Thursday evening]
DECATHLON (after 3 events)
1. Jake Stein (AUS), 2581 (11.31, 7.41, 16.39)
2. Pieter Braun (NED), 2492 (11.28, 7.25, 15.47)
3. Tim Dekker (NED), 2486 (11.06, 7.23, 14.68)
7. Gunnar Nixon (USA), 2413 (11.23, 7.12, 14.54)
17. Garrett Scantling (USA), 2264 (11.35, 6.61, 14.47)
WOMEN’S RESULTS – ROUNDS
800 METERS (heats)
Q1. Jessica Judd (GBR), 2:02.71
Q (2h4). Ajee Wilson (USA), 2:07.07
Q (3h6). Danielle Aragon (USA), 2:07.84
[semifinals Thursday morning]
3000 METER STEEPLECHASE (heats)
Q1 (1h2). Daisy Jepkemei (KEN), 9:56.33, WJL
Q (4h1). Brianna Nerud (USA), 10:08.15, HSR
16 8h2. Courtney Frerichs (USA), 10:35.24
[final Thursday evening]
SHOT PUT (qualification)
Q1 (1fA). Shanice Craft (GER), 16.41/53-10¼
Q3 (1fB). Christiana Hillman (USA), 16.11/52-10¼ (15.09, 15.36, 16.11)
q10. Tori Owers (USA), 14.82/48-7½ (14.65, 14.82, f)
Q1. Shiying Liu (CHN), 58.47/191-10, WJL
q11. Haley Crouser (USA), 51.04/167-5 (51.04, 50.45, 47.06)
26. Brianna Bain (USA),47.64/156-3 (47.64, f, 47.17)
[final Wednesday evening]
Contact: Tom Lewis (email@example.com)