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Young Track Stars Converge In Sacramento for Opening Day of USATF Junior Olympics


Young Track Stars Converge In Sacramento for Opening Day of USATF Junior Olympics

SACRAMENTO -- Nearly 8,000 future track stars are set to compete this week at Sacramento State for the historic 50th USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships. Opening day began with a multitude of events including heptathlon, pentathlon, decathlon, hammer and race walking.

Jacob Wickey (Medina, Ohio; USATF Ohio), the No. 9-ranked high school thrower in the U.S., set a personal best to win the men’s 17-18 hammer by more than nine feet, throwing the 12-pound ball 65.68m/215-6. In the girls’ 15-16 competition, Shelby Moran (Sherwood, Oregon; USATF Oregon) took top honors with her throw of 46.58m/152-10. The final hammer gold of the day went to Sydnee Walker (Alpharetta, Georgia; USATF Georgia), who won the women’s 17-18 crown by almost 11 feet with her 51.00m/167-4 toss.

Opening up a sizable lead over the first few laps, Camila Vicens (Houston; USATF Gulf) took gold in the girls’ 13-14 3000m race walk in 15:34.47. Vicens had a 24-second margin after 1000m and stretched that gap to 1:37 with a lap to go. Alvaro Dorantes (Elgin, Illinois; USATF Illinois) was down by seven seconds after 600m of the boys’ 13-14 race, but made up ground and added to his lead over the next five circuits on the way to a winning 18:40.11.

In the 1500m race walk, Smooth Watkins (Highland, California; USATF Southern California) dominated the 9-10 boys division in 9:50.17 and Reese Gentry (Pasadena, California; USATF Southern California) won first place with a time of 7:48.11 in the respective girls division.

A photo-finish in the girls’ 11-12 1500m walk saw Raquel Lopez Tiznado (Goodyear, Arizona; USATF Arizona) outlean Carolina Hernandez (Pharr, Texas; USATF South Texas) to win by .01 in 8:31.32 after the duo had traded the lead over the first three laps. The boys’ 11-12 race was not as close, as Christopher Renn (Haworth, New Jersey; USATF New Jersey) led from the start on the way to gold in 9:12.40.

Three individual event wins gave Sean Burrell (Clinton, Louisiana; USATF Southern) a 238-point margin of victory in the boys’ 13-14 pentathlon, where he scored 3,299 points. Burrell won the long jump by more than a foot and had the top marks in the 100m hurdles and high jump. Strong 100m hurdles and a 5.34m/17-6.25 long jump win were enough for Ashton Lindley (Marietta, Georgia; USATF Georgia) to capture the gold in the girls’ 13-14 pentathlon with 3,250 points.

Sterling Lester (Marietta, Georgia; USATF Georgia) finished strong in the girls’ 15-16 heptathlon to lead the competition with 3042 points, nearly 400 ahead of second place. Lester is one of the top 400m runners in the country with a best of 52.69, and was runner-up in the high school race at the Pre Classic.

Running the fastest times overall in the 100m hurdles and 200m propelled Nicole Stephens (Seattle, Washington; USATF Pacific Northwest) to the top of the point standings with 3,053 after the first day of the women’s 17-18 heptathlon. Stephens clocked 14.51 in the hurdles and was the only sub-25 finisher in the 200m in 24.93.

Ayden Owens (Wexford, Pennsylvania; USATF Three Rivers), who placed third in last year’s USATF Junior Olympics 15-16 boys’ decathlon, is well on his way to gold in 2016 by leading after the first day with 3,403 points. Meanwhile, Ryan Thomsen (Escondido, California; San Diego-Imperial Association) led the 17-18 men’s decathlon with 3,417 points, only 13 ahead of two-sport athlete Marcus Naisant (Mesa, Arizona; USATF Arizona).

Tuesday’s events kick off with the boys’ 15-16 decathlon 110m hurdles at 8:00 a.m. PT. Live coverage will be available on USATF.TV +PLUS On Demand only.

The Opening Ceremonies will follow field events at 7:30 p.m. PT. All participating youth and track teams are invited to participate in the celebration on Hornet field. Youth athletes can come and represent their region and team. The Opening Ceremonies will be broadcast live on

Follow along with the action on and join the conversation by following USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #JOTF and #USATFuturestars.

For more information on the 2016 USATF Junior Olympics National Championships, visit:

National Champions

3000M Race Walk (13-14G) Finals

Camila Vicens, 15:34.47

3000M Race Walk (13-14B) Finals

Alvaro Dorantes Jr, 18:40.11

1500M Race Walk (9-10G) Finals

Calley Starr, 11:36.91

1500M Race Walk (9-10B) Finals

Smooth Watkins, 9:50.70  

1500M Race Walk (11-12G) Finals

Sonia Katahdin, 9:30.87

1500M Race Walk (11-12B) Finals

Christopher Renn, 9:12.40

Hammer Throw (15-16G) Finals

Shelby Moran, 46.58m/152-10

Hammer Throw (17-18W) Finals

Sydnee Walker, 51.00m/167-04

Hammer Throw (17-18M) Finals

Jacob Wickey, 65.68m/215-06

Pentathlon (13-14G) Finals

Ashton Lindley, 3,250 pts.

Pentathlon (13-14B) Finals

Sean Burrell, 3,299 pts.


Heptathlon (15-16G) after four events

Sterling Lester, 3,042 pts.

Sophia Myers, 2,647 pts.

Haley Gonzalez, 2,506 pts.

Heptathlon (17-18W) after four events

Nicole Stephens, 3,053 pts.

Grenetria Shell, 2,895 pts.

Antonia Frazier, 2,892 pts.

Decathlon (15-16B) after five events

Ayden Owens, 3,403 pts.

Daniel Spejcher, 3,344 pts.

Anthony Bryan, 3,220 pts.

Decathlon (17-18M) after five events

Ryan Thomsen, 3,417 pts.

Marcus Naisant, 3,404 pts.

Denzel Harper, 3,338 pts.

USATF.TV Schedule

7/26 - USATF.TV +PLUS On Demand only, Opening Ceremonies live at 7:30 PM PT on USATF.TV

7/27 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

7/28 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

7/29 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

7/30 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

7/31 - USATF.TV +PLUS LIVE @ 8:00 AM

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