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Future stars to compete at Junior Nationals


Nearly 700 up-and-coming athletes vying to be a member of Team USA will compete at the 2002 U.S. Junior National Championships, June 20-21 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Part of the Verizon Youth Series, this meet will serve as the selection competition for the 2002 World Junior Track & Field Championships, July 16-21 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Junior Nationals are being held in conjunction with the 2002 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Stanford. The U.S. Junior Combined Events National Championships are June 18-19 at the University of California-Berkeley.

In order to qualify to compete at the Junior National Championships, an athlete must meet certain performance standards and be between the ages of 14-19 in the calendar year of 2002.

Leading the field of competitors is the newly crowned 400mH world junior record holder Lashinda Demus (University of South Carolina) and the American junior pole vault record holder, Lacy Janson (Florida State U.). The NCAA 400mH champion, Demus helped South Carolina to its first-ever track & field title at the NCAA Championships in early June. She ran the anchor leg on the team’s winning 4x400m relay, which set an American collegiate record and a championships record of 3:26.46. Demus also finished third in the 400m dash. Janson eclipsed the 14-foot barrier earlier this season, when she cleared 4.27m/14-0 at a collegiate meet in Charlottesville, Va. Janson won gold at the 2001 Junior Pan American Games in Sante Fe, Argentina.

Top prep throwers Kevin Bookout (Stroud, Okla.) and Adam Midles (Olympia, Wash.) join the nation’s best prep pole vaulter, Tommy Skipper (Sandy, Ore.), who cleared 5.37m/17-7.5 earlier this season. Bookout owns the longest shot put for a high schooler this year (21.36m/70-1) and the fourth best discus high school mark (61.92m/203-2). Midles is one of the top prep hammer throwers in the nation and will be making his U.S. Junior Nationals debut at this year’s championships.

Returning to this year’s championships will be high school phenom Janice Davis (Natchez, Miss.). As a freshman and sophomore at Natchez HS, Davis pulled off triple wins at the Mississippi state meet, winning the 100, 200 and 400. Her 100m time of 11.44 in 2001 set a state record and tied the 2001 national prep best. At age 13, Davis broke the 19-foot mark in the long jump. The defending 2001 U.S. Junior 200m champion, Davis is scheduled to compete in the 100 and 200 meters in Palo Alto.

Top race walker Robyn Stevens (Wisconsin-Parkside) looks for an unprecedented fourth U.S. Junior title in the race walk. If Stevens wins the 10,000m race walk title on Friday, June 21, she will be the third athlete to win four consecutive titles. Julia Stamps won four consecutive 3000m junior titles from 1994-1997 and Cathy Sulinski won four consecutive javelin junior titles from 1974-1977. Angela Williams won four 100m junior titles in her career, but not consecutively, winning her first title in 1995 and then winning 1997-1999. Stevens also holds the championship record for the 10 km RW, which she lowered to 53:19.50 at the 2001 U.S. Junior Championships.

The top two finishers in each event at the Junior Championships will be eligible for the selection pool for the World Junior Championships in Jamaica. The selection of teams will be at the sole discretion of USATF and its committees. In the week prior to the World Juniors Championships, Team USA will compete in a training meet in Nassau, Bahamas, against athletes from Russia, Saudi Arabia and the Bahamas.

The U.S. Junior program has contributed greatly in the development of many of America’s finest track and field athletes. Past junior champions include all-time greats Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Marion Jones, Lynn Jennings, Mike Conley and Renaldo Nehemiah, among many others.

For more information on the 2002 U.S. Junior Championships and the Verizon Youth Series, including results and a complete list of the athletes entered in the event, visit the USATF Web site at

The 2002 U.S. Outdoor Track & Field National Championships will be televised on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 23, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Selected U.S. Junior Championship events will be included in the television broadcast. Check your local listings in your area.

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