EUGENE -- Hurdlers Kendell Williams
and Kenny Selmon
were named captains for the U.S. team competing at IAAF World Junior Championships, which span July 22-27 at Historic Hayward Field.
Williams (Marietta, Georgia) was a member of two previous U.S. National Teams, competing in both the 2013 Junior Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the 2011 World Youth Championships.
“It means a lot,” said Williams. “It means that people on your team look up to you and trust you to have a leadership role, and they like your personality.”
Williams set a U.S. Junior record in the heptathlon with 5,578 points at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, earning Athlete of the Meet honors. She more recently set an American Junior record of 12.87 in the 100m hurdles at USATF Junior Outdoor Championships.
Selmon (Mableton, Georgia) has international experience representing the red, white and blue at the 2013 World Youth Championships, winning bronze in the 400-meter hurdles.
“People respect you and trust you with this position,” he said. “It’s not just any other team. It’s the USA Junior Team. It’s an honor.”
Both Williams and Selmon are hurdlers from the state of Georgia. Williams competed at Kell High School, where she earned 11 state high school titles and was the GHSA all classes high-point scorer all four years prior to attending UGA. Selmon is a graduate of Pace Academy, where he won Class A-private high school state records in the 110mH (13.96) and 300mH (37.21), and he has signed a national letter of intent to compete at the University of North Carolina.
Selmon faced competition first, qualifying for the semifinals of the 400m hurdles Wednesday. He had a tough last quarter of the semifinal, but notes, “I would much rather be in the final, but this has been a great experience.”
Williams, a World Youth Championships participant, will face competition when the women’s 100mH heats begin Friday, July 25 on Day Four of World Juniors. Semifinals are slated for Saturday, July 26 with finals set for Sunday, July 27.
The two captains took a few minutes for this Q&A with USATF.
(KW is Kendell Williams and KS is Kenny Selmon.)
1. USATF: WHAT’S IT LIKE COMING INTO THIS TEAM WITH PREVIOUS INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE?
It’s a lot easier to jump in and get right to it. You know the rules and what to expect. It’s so fun to make new teams and meet new people. This is my last year of Juniors which is really sad becuase I was a want to be a junior forever. Me and my roommate were talking about it. Last year and the years before, I used to think the veterans were so old, and now it’s me.
2. WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS CAPTAIN?
You make sure you’re available to to help them regardless of how serious people take it. It means upholding your image always no matter where you are or who you are around. You have to be that person people might not like all the time. You have to lay down the law and that just part of being chosen.
3. DO YOU HAVE A NICKNAME? IF SO, HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?
People at school call me KDub because my instagram is KDUb_100. They call me the whole thing too - KDub100! I’ve also gotten Kenny and Kendi. The people that are close to me call me KDub100.
My facebook middle name was DaBoss, but I changed that one when I realized how weird it was. My Twitter name was Kenny the Pooh, so people call me that. My older friends call me Jenny because they its funny to call me girl’s name.
4. WHAT THREE THINGS ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH YOU ON TRIPS?
Gummy bears.. They have to be a particular kind because the flavor is better than any other brand. They are just more flavorful and they’re a lot more gummy. They don’t sell them in Athens, so my dad has to bring them to me sometimes before competition.
Lucky socks. I went to speak at an elementary school for an organization that builds girls’ self esteem, and they wanted me to speak about running and sport of track. They did research on how I always wear my lucky socks, so they bought me some polka dot socks that I wear every meet.
5. DO YOU HAVE ANY SUPERSTITIONS?
: Breakfast. I always eat a bagel and fruit loops and a handful of gummy bears right before I compete. And I drink a half glass of orange juice.
: A big pasta dinner the night before. I have to have pasta within a day before my race, and it has to be shrimp alfredo.
6. DESCRIBE YOUR PRACTICE AND PREPARATION DURING WORLD JUNIORS?
Practice has been a lot about speed and a lot about technique over the top of the hurdles. A lot of people, especially in America, knows that my start is slow. Lifting has been normal with heavy days, and then closer to competition, it gets lower.
Practice has been not too different. It’s way more peak performance, so you want to give yourself hard days and I’ve been working on coming off certain hurdles the right way. I’m keeping my strides since Im a 13 stride pattern, hurdler.
for more athlete features, quotes and session recaps.
for the the schedule and results from IAAF World Junior Championships at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
for the broadcast and live streaming schedule.