Woods breaks 12-year-old heptathlon record at Junior Olympics
Melvin Jackson II
USA Track & Field
EUGENE, Ore. - Shana Woods of Long Beach Poly High School broke a 12-year-old record in the intermediate girls heptathlon on day 2 at the Junior Olympics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
On a hot and sunny day, the 16-year-old Long Beach, Calif., native scored 5,052 points to better the previous record of 4,986 points set in 1992 by Shaundra Smith of Belle Glade, Fla. "I knew if I did what I was capable of doing, I would come out on top," said Woods. Woods, competing for the Long Beach Sprinters, had personal-bests in every heptathlon event except the 100 hurdles. "I started off good with the hurdles. I just stayed positive and confident throughout the competition."
Alyissa Hasan of the West New York Jets scored 4,784 points to win the young women's heptathlon. Tim Wunderlich of Westminster, Md., won the young men's decathlon with 6,608 points.
The 1992 Olympic decathlon bronze medalist, Dave Johnson, was on hand today assisting with the multi-events. "This is my first Junior Olympics and it's great to see the future of track & field go at it," said Johnson. "I'm glad to be a part of the development of the sport." Johnson also had two athletes that he has worked with who competed in the young men's decathlon -- Justin Chambers of Timberhill Harriers the
runner-up at 6,407, and Eric Snyder who was 18th.
Dana Vered of Paramus, N.J., defended her crown and set a record in the intermediate girls 5,000m race walk in a time of 26:46.00. "I came here to win," said Vered. "My knee started to hurt during the race but I blocked that out as well as the heat and just focused on the win. I wanted to stay ahead of Christina (Peters) because I knew she was my main competition," said Vered.
In a highly anticipated rematch from the USA Juniors in College Station, Texas, Jared Swehosky pulled ahead of 2004 USA Juniors 10,000m race walk champion Zach Pollinger to win the young men's 5,000m race walk in a time of 22:13.12. "I knew we were going to go out fast, I just wanted to keep up with Zach," said Swehosky. "I made my move to take the lead
with three laps to go."
The Harvard-bound Pollinger led most of the race to finish in 22:46.90 to claim the runner-up spot. "I am usually a front runner, but today I let someone else take the lead after the 2,000m mark," said Pollinger."I expected his (Swehosky) laps to fall off. I was not able to hold on long enough to win." A Team USA member from the 2003 Pan Am Junior Championships, Jennifer Reekie of the Race Walker's Club, won the young
women's 5,000m race walk in 26:53.19.
The third leg of USA Track & Field's Verizon Youth Series, the six-day meet will showcase 5,657 youth athletes from across the country in the largest youth athlete developmental program in the world. This year's competition will also serve as one of the selection pool meets for the 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.
In addition to Junior Olympics, t he Verizon Youth Series
includes the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Competition age divisions are: Bantam (10 and under), Midget
(11-12), Youth (13-14), Intermediate (15-16) and Young Men/Women (17-18). There will be a taped delayed broadcast the final three days of the competition on www.usatf.org <http://www.usatf.org/> .
For more information or live results on the 2004 USA Track &
Field Junior Olympic Championships, visit www.2004juniorolympics.com or www.usatf.org.