Indianapolis - More than 2,000 of the top youth track & field athletes in the U.S. will be on hand this week at the 2005 USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 28 through July 3, at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The meet is a national competition with entry based upon qualifying standards for each event. The Youth Outdoor Championships have the same age divisions as the USATF Junior Olympic program: Bantam (10 and under), Midget (11-12), Youth (13-14), Intermediate (15-16) and Young Men/Women (17-18). The Youth Outdoor Championships are also scored for team championships in all age divisions.
The meet also serves as the final tune-up event for the World Youth Team USA that will travel to Marrakech, Morocco July 13-17 to compete at the 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships. The world youth team will feature some of the top female and male youth athletes.
"The USA Track & Field Youth Athletics National Championships give our grassroots athletes a tremendous opportunity to compete against some of the best athletes in their age division," said Andy Martin, USATF Director of Grass Roots Programs and Planning. "This type of meet is an important step toward shaping the next generation of champions and helping to maintain our status as the World's #1 Track & Field Team."
Collins, Cross and Knight among top female competitors
Several top athletes are expected to compete in Knoxville. Eboni Collins was the runner-up in 100m (11.58w) at 2005 Nike Outdoor Nationals earlier this month. She recently completed her sophomore year in high school, running the fastest prep time in the nation this year in the 300-meter hurdles (40.80) at the California CIF State Track and Field Championships.
Texas High School standout, Brandi Cross, comes to Knoxville after finishing her first high school state track championships. She won the 400m in a personal best time of 52.46, setting a new Texas high school state record. Cross recently ran the fourth fastest time in the 400m (53.46) field at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in a field that featured fellow world youth team athletes, Sade Williams and Bianca Knight.
Bianca Knight, of Ridgeland High School in Mississippi, joins Collins and Cross on the world youth team in the 100m and 200m. She ran the fastest 200m (23.06) time ever by a high school freshman during the 2004 USATF Junior Olympics in Eugene, Ore. In addition to the 200m, she was also the 2004 USATF Youth Outdoor intermediate girls champion in the 400m (53.22). In 2003, Knight was name the female athlete of the meet at the USATF Junior Olympics in Miami, Fla.
Men's team shows promise in the field events
Dan Haddock, javelin thrower, holds the Region X Junior Olympic record for the intermediate boys division at 51.40m/168-7. He had a runner-up finish at the 2004 Junior Olympics with a throw of 52.09m/170-11.
After breaking his own national sophomore record of 219 feet in the hammer throw, Walter Henning, also surpassed the NY State Varsity record by tossing the 12-pound hammer 68.49m/224-8.5. He has the 13th farthest throw in U.S. high school history.
Scot Roth won his second straight state pole vault title, breaking the oldest field event standard, at the California CIF Track & Field Championships with a height of 5.20m/17-1.
For more information on the 2005 USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships, including results and complete coverage of this year's event, visit the USATF website at www.usatf.org.