– Three medals, including the squad’s second gold, plus a new American junior record – all in a day’s work for Team USA at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona. High school senior Ajee Wilson (Neptune, N.J.) claimed the gold medal in the women’s 800 meters with the best time by an American junior since 1982 – 2:00.91. Two more outgoing high schoolers Arman Hall and Aldrich Bailey grabbed silver and bronze in the men’s 400. And, Brianna Nerud ran another huge personal best (10:00.72) to finish fifth in the steeplechase, resetting the American junior record along with toppling the high school record for a second time in these championships.
Women’s 800 Meters
The Florida State-bound Wilson claimed the U.S.’ first gold in the history of the event at a World Junior Championships. She also became the third-fastest U.S. junior and second fastest high schooler in history with her sub-2:01 run.
Wilson ran in similar fashion in the final as she did the earlier two rounds. She let the race dictate her running in the first 500 meters, and then she made the race her own in the final 300. She was sixth at the bell, and started to make her move at the end of the third turn. By the 600-meter mark Wilson was past the field except for Great Britain’s Jessica Judd. On the final turn, Wilson caught Judd from the outside and overtook the Brit right before the straight. Down the final 100 meters, Wilson was running with no intention of slowing, but Judd was battling. Wilson kept the final charge strong but controlled as she took held off Judd by five thousandths of a second.
“It’s amazing (to win here),” said Wilson. “I’m so happy I PR-ed and do what I was able to do. I noticed the first lap was fast, so I stayed back in striking distance. The last 300, I wanted to put myself in good position. At 200, I felt good, but I wanted to face-off the leader (Judd) because I didn’t know what she had. In the last 100, I just went all out. I wasn’t sure how far (Judd) was behind me, but I maintained my form and was prepared if she came I would be able to switch to another gear. When I was at the meet last time, (the 2010 World Junior Championships in Moncton), I placed fifth and I remember telling myself that I wanted to be the one on top of the podium.”
Men’s 400 Meters
The U.S. duo of Arman Hall (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Aldrich Bailey (Arlington, Texas) claimed silver and bronze in the men’s 400. Hall clocked a personal best 45.39 to win his first international medal. For Bailey, he was involved in a situation widely well known by Americans – a dead heat. Bailey shared the bronze with Aussie Steven Solomon as both had an official time of 45.52 seconds.
At the end of the day, fierce competitors Hall and Bailey were happy to medal, but felt melancholy overall as both had a real desire to win. Nonetheless, they are poised to come back stronger in championships to come.
“I was happy I PR-ed, but I really wanted to win,” said Hall. “It was my best race to this point, but I feel I have some work to do to get to that next level.”
"I'm not happy with this result," stated Bailey. "There is nothing on my mind at the moment. In the next championship I will come back and take my revenge."
With the exception of two times (1998 and 2000), the U.S. has medaled in the men’s 400 in each World Junior Championships dating back to 1990.
Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic finished as the winner in a time 44.85.
Women’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase
Brianna Nerud (North Shore, N.Y.) set a new American Junior Record – and, for the second time in these championships – broke the national high school record in the women’s steeplechase. Nerud finished fifth in the event’s final with a run of 10:00.72, topping the previous AJR held by Providence’s Shelby Greany of 10:00.88 set at the 2010 NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Nerud wanted to break away from a tepid pace at the start and moved to the front of the pack for the first two laps. Eventually, the chasers kept up which included gold medalist Daisy Jepkemei of Kenya. Nerud broke away from that pack with a little more than a lap to go.
“I didn’t realize I was so close to breaking ten (minutes),” said Nerud. “Overall, it was a tough race. Everyone was really going for it. Even if I missed the medals, I ran as fast as I could, and I got a PR.
“It started a little slow, then I picked up the pace and then they took it, and I tried to hang on to them and do whatever I could. In the last two laps, I knew I had a little more left and I tried to pick off those last two girls (for a medal).”
When it comes to women’s American distance running, the U.S. Junior team in 2012 could be remembered as the squad that sparked the fire to a bright future. With Wilson’s win in the 800 meters, a 4-8 finish in last night’s women’s 5000 final, and now Nerud’s American junior record, these young runners are thinking about the future.
Men’s 110 Meter Hurdles
High school senior Dondre Echols (Oxon Hill, Md.) placed sixth in the finals of the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 13.71 seconds. Cuba’s Yordan L. O’Farrill won in a championships record of 13.18. Australia’s Nicholas Hough was second in 13.27 and France’s Wilhem Belocian claimed the bronze in 13.29.
Men’s Pole Vault
Georgia Tech’s Nikita Kirillov (Atlanta, Ga.) placed eighth in the men’s pole vault with a third-attempt clearance of 5.30/17-4¾ . He also made first-attempt clears at 5.10/16-8¾ and 5.20/17-¾. Brazil’s Thiago Braz da Silva was declared the winner based on misses. He and two others, Croatia’s Ivan Horvat and Canada’s Shawnacy Barber – a U.S. high schooler – cleared 5.55/18-2½.
Texas A&M freshman Dalton Rowan (Spring, Texas) took seventh in the discus, marking a best throw of the day of 59.31/194-7.
Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres claimed gold with a throw of 206-0/62.80. Poland’s Wojciech Praczyk of Poland won the silver while South Africa’s Gerhard de Beer took the bronze.
Women’s Triple Jump
Florida’s Ciarra Brewer (Milwaukee, Wis.) placed sixth in the women’s triple jump with a second-round mark of 13.38/43-10¾. Ana Peleteiro of Spain thrilled the home crowd by claiming gold with a world junior-leading mark of 14.17/46-6. Dovile Dzindzaletaite of Lithuania equaled Peleteiro’s best mark, but lost on a second-best attempt.
Men’s 200 Meters (
Tyreek Hill (Douglas, Ga.) and Aaron Ernest (New Orleans, La./LSU) advanced to the finals of the men’s 200 to be held tomorrow. Hill finished second in his heat in 21.00, behind overall Great Britain’s David Bolarinwa 20.85. Ernest was second in his heat with a 21.06, trailing only overall top-qualifier Julian Forte of Jamaica (20.83). Ernest’s heat had to overcome a 2.8 m/s headwind.
“I just had to get that second spot,” said Ernest. “Hopefully I get more than four hours of sleep tonight. After the medal ceremony (for his silver won yesterday), I’m going to get to the hotel as quick as possible, take an ice bath, and hopefully I’ll be prepared for tomorrow’s final. In the final, I don’t know what to expect. I hope it is like the 100 finals where I can have a PB and there will be no problems.”
Women’s 200 Meters
Dezerea Bryant (Milwaukee, Wis./Clemson) won her semifinal of the women’s 200 meters in 23.11, the best qualifying time among the field. Bryant beat the stagger almost immediately and came off the turn with a sizeable lead.
“I just tried to execute the best way I can,” said Bryant. “I just wanted to win my heat and get a fast time for a good lane. I have a plan, get out hard, hold, and just run through the line. I love the curve – I don’t know why. It helps me relax and not go all out. The curve is more of a relaxed stage for me. Winning – that’s all I look forward to do in the final.”
Olivia Ekponé (Germantown, Md./Texas A&M) ran a solid race that resulted in a heat-one win in 23.49. Ekpone had a strong start and led from the beginning. Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson finished second in the heat as the other auto qualifier (23.58).
“I just really wanted to make sure to make this final. I kept telling myself to keep pushing and accelerate the run. You don’t want to mess up in the semis and try to coast. For the finals, I’m feeling pretty confident right now and I got to keep it going.”
The finals are slated for Friday evening.
Women’s 400 Meters
Erica Rucker (Lithonia, Ga./South Carolina) and Ashley Spencer (Indianapolis, Ind./Illinois) advanced to tomorrow evening’s final of the women’s 400 meters. Rucker led all qualifiers with a 52.05, personal-best run from winning heat one. Spencer had the second best clocking – a 52.24 to win heat three.
Rucker led gun-to-tape, running consistent and smooth throughout. She was the clear leader at the halfway mark and never looked back. Her time moves her to fifth on the world junior list for the 2012 season.
“I felt really smooth. Coach told me to go out in the first 200 and move. Start felt good – I’ve been working hard on that for a couple weeks, just trying to keep my speed up. Yesterday, I felt like I didn’t give my best effort, knowing I could possibly have two races to come.”
(after 4 events)
After day one of the heptathlon, high school junior Kendell Williams (Marietta, Ga.) sits in fourth place overall with 3,473 points, 125 points behind leader Tamara De Sousa of Brazil. Mississippi State’s Erica Bougard is 13th at 3,360.
IAAF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS – BARCELONA, SPAIN
Thursday, July 12 – Evening Session
OVERALL MEDAL COUNT
(after 18 of 44 events)
1. Ethiopia – 2 gold, 3 silver (5 total)
2. Kenya – 2 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze (7 total)
3. UNITED STATES – 2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze (6 total)
4. Russia – 2 gold, 1 silver (3 total)
5. Great Britain – 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze (3 total)
OVERALL POINTS TABLE LEADERS
(after 18 of 44 events)
1. UNITED STATES – 80
2. Kenya – 64
3. Ethopia – 48
4. Great Britain – 47
5. Russia – 41
MEN’S 400 METERS
1. Luguelin Santos (DOM) 44.85
2. Arman Hall (USA), 45.39 PB
=3. Aldrich Bailey (USA), 45.
=3. Steven Solomon (AUS), 45.52
MEN’S 1500 METERS
1. Hamza Driouch (QAT), 3:39.04
2. Hillary Cheruiyot Ngetich (KEN), 3:40.39
3. Abdelhadi Labali (MAR), 3:40.60
MEN’S 110 METER HURDLES
1. Yordan L. O’Farrill (CUB), 13.18 CR
2. Nicholas Hough (AUS), 13.27
3. Wilhem Belocian (FRA), 13.29
6. Dondre Echols (USA), 13.71
MEN’S POLE VAULT
1. Thaigo Braz da Silva (BRA), 5.55/18-2½
2. Ivan Horvat (CRO), 5.55/18-2½
3. Shawnacy Barber (CAN), 5.55/18-2½
8. Nikita Kirillov (USA), 5.30/17-3¼
1. Fedrick Dacres (JAM), 62.80/206-0
2. Wojciech Praczyk (POL), 62.75/205-10
3. Gerhard de Beer (RSA), 61.57/202-0
7. Dalton Rowan (USA), 59.31/194-7
WOMEN’S 800 METERS
1. Ajee Wilson (USA), 2:00.91 PB
2. Jessica Judd (GBR), 2:00.96
3. Manal El Bahraoui (MAR), 2:03.09
WOMEN’S 3000 METER STEEPLECHASE
1. Daisy Jepkemei (KEN), 9:47.22 WJL
2. Tejinesh Gebisa (ETH), 9:50.51
3. Stella Jepkosgei Rutto (KEN), 9:50.58
5. Brianna Nerud (USA), 10:00.72 AJR, HSR, PB
WOMEN’S TRIPLE JUMP
1. Ana Peleteiro (ESP), 14.17/46-6 =WJL
2. Dovile Dzindzaletaite (LTU), 14.17/46-6 =WJL
3. Liuba Zaldivar (CUB), 13.90/45-7¼
6. Ciarra Brewer (USA), 13.38/43-10¾
Q1 (1h1). Julian Forte (JAM), 20.83 (-2.8 m/s)
Q5 (2h3). Tyreek Hill (USA), 21.00 (-0.5 m/s)
=Q6 (2h1). Aaron Ernest (USA), 21.06 (-2.8 m/s)
[final Friday evening]
Q1 (1h3). Dezerea Bryant (USA), 23.11 (-0.8 m/s)
=Q4 (1h1). Olivia Ekponé (USA), 23.49 (-2.4 m/s)
[final Friday evening]
Q1 (1h1). Erica Rucker (USA), 52.05 PB
Q2 (1h3). Ashley Spencer (USA), 52.24
[final Friday evening]
(after 4 events)
1. Tamara De Sousa (BRA), 3638 (14.13, 1.75, 13.89, 24.06)
2. Yorgelis Rodriguez (CUB), 3553 (14.10, 1.81, 11.92, 24.41)
3. Nafissatour Thiam (BEL), 3529 (14.44, 1.81, 13.52, 25.81)
4. Kendell Williams (USA), 3473 (13.74, 1.81, 10.70, 24.94)
13. Erica Bougard (USA), 3360, (13.73, 1.72, 10.22, 24.64)
Contact: Tom Lewis (email@example.com