Team USA to take on the World at IAAF Youth Championships
DONETSK, UKRAINE - Forty-three of the top youth athletes from the U.S. kickoff their international careers as competition begins tomorrow at the IAAF World Youth Championships which runs from July 10-14th.
Competing in the IAAF’s youngest age group, the 16- and 17-year-old athletes were selected to represent Team USA after competing in the World Youth Track & Field Trials in Edwardsville, Ill., on June 25-26. The athletes have been busy preparing for more than a week as they first gathered in Chicago at team training camp before traveling to Ukraine.
Team USA looks to improve on the impressive showing from 2011, where 16 medals were won. Some of the top athletes aiming for podium finishes include:
Jack Lint (Westerville, Ohio) and Gabe Moore (Freeport, Fla.) look to be the next Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee as Team USA’s rising multi-event stars. The two athletes are only 10 points apart in their best octathlon scores of the season. Lint won the U.S. trials with 6,088 points, with Moore close behind in 6,078. The Americans trail only Santiago Ford of Cuba on the current youth world list with 6,392 points.
Louisiana state champion Devin King (Kentwood, La.) has cleared 5.26m/17-3 this year in the pole vault, and is a favorite to take the win in Donetsk. King’s best mark is higher than any winning height in the history of the World Youth Championships.
Ariana Washington (Signal Hill, Calif.) spoke at today’s IAAF press conference as one of the top young women entered in the 100m and 200m. Washington has run a wind aided 11.18 (+3.4) in the 100m, and owns five of the top seven youth times run in the world this year in the 200m, with a best of 23.18.
Olivia Baker (South Orange, N.J.) is a multi-talented viola player who has dominated the 400m as the only youth athlete to break the 53-second mark this year. Baker owns the top two times on the world list, with a best of 52.71.
Team USA could sweep the men’s 400m hurdles, with the top three entrants in the Youth Championships all wearing the USA singlet. Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala.) leads the pack with his season best mark of 50.75. Kenny Selmon (Mableton, Ga.) is close behind with a best of 50.90, and Taylor McLaughlin (Dunellen, N.J.) rounds out the trio with his time of 51.69. The Americans are the only athletes in the meet to run under 52 seconds this season.
Humphrey, who celebrated his 17th birthday on Monday in Donetsk, could stand atop the podium twice, as he is also a contender in the 110m hurdles. Humphrey enters the competition with the 6th best time of the field with his mark of 13.67. If Humphrey is able to complete the double-win, he will join good company as Team USA’s reigning senior world champion Jason Richardson successfully completed the same double in the 2003.
A complete roster for Team USA can be found at www.USATF.org. For more information and live results of the IAAF World Youth Championships, visit www.IAAF.org.