EUGENE Ore. - Kenneth Hall broke a national high school record to win the young men's triple jump to highlight the third day of competition at the Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships.
Hall, a Baton Rouge, La., native leaped 16.72 meters/54 feet, 10.25 inches without touching the board on his third attempt to break the previous high school triple jump record of 16.44m/53-11.25 set by Greg Yeldell (E. Spencer, N.C.) at the 1998 World Junior Championships in Annecy, France. "I can't believe I just broke the record," said Hall. "I can't imagine the mark I could have if I would have hit the board on my third jump that (legally) broke the record."
Hall also bettered the long standing young men's triple jump record of 16.01m/52-6.50 set in 1991 by Ron Jones of Dallas, Texas. The 18-year-old wowed the crowd on his fourth attempt with a windy mark of 17.13m/56-2.50 (+4.6). "I tried to stretch my steps every jump," said Hall. The Tara High School senior smashed his personal-best by three feet with today's performance, which also ranks fourth on the American junior records all-time list.
DeeDee Robinson tossed 35.44m/116-03 to set a record in the midget girls javelin throw on the same field where her great grandfather Mack Robinson competed in track & field as an Oregon Duck. Mack Robinson won a silver medal at the 1936 Olympics and also won the 200m at the 1938 NCAA Championships. "I felt strong and was not tight," said Robinson. "I am excited to win." A San Bernardino County, Calif., native, Robinson bettered the previous record of 35.32m/115-10 set in 2001 by Leigh Petranoff of Cranston R.I.
The 11-year-old Robinson edged runner-up Amethyst Boyd (34.75m/114-00) and third-place finisher Hannah Carson (34.43m/112-11) of the Arizona Cheetahs. Both Boyd and Carson were sharing each other spikes to compete in today's finals.
Allsion Stokke set an intermediate girls pole vault record with her clearance of 3.81m/12-06.00 to win. The member of the High Flyers TC bettered the intermediate girls pole vault record of 3.80m/12.5-50 set in 2001 by Julene Bailey of Nampa, Idaho.
World Juniors 4x400m gold medalist Alexandria Anderson cruised to the fastest qualifying time (23.54 seconds) in the young women's 200m dash. "I just ran to qualify for the finals. I did not get the draft I wanted coming out of the blocks," said Anderson. "I want to push harder out of the blocks for the finals." The Verizon female Athlete of the Meet from last year's Junior Olympics, Bianca Knight (Jackson, Miss.) clocked the fastest qualifying time of 23.33 seconds in the intermediate girls 200m.
With 11 athletes running under 22 seconds, Wopamo Osaisai of the Classic TC leads all times with his 21.19 second performance in the young men's 200m preliminaries. In the young men's 800m preliminaries, Karjuan Williams of the New Orleans Come TC ran 1:50.87 to lead all times.
In the young women's shot put, Emilee Strot of Cool Running TC tossed 14.74m/48-4.50 to win while World Juniors Team USA member Michaela Wallerstedt of Omaha, Neb., finished second with a mark of 14.33m/47-0.25.
The third leg of USA Track & Field's Verizon Youth Series 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 tape delayed broadcast the last three days of competition.
For more information on the 2004 USA Track & Field Junior Olympic Championships, all USATF Youth programs and the Verizon Youth Series, visit the USATF website at www.usatf.org.