Knoxville, Tenn., - Walter Henning improved his intermediate boys hammer throw record to start the first day of competition at the 2005 USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The 16-year-old Henning tossed 65.66 meters/215 feet, 5 inches to win the intermediate boys hammer throw. "It was a good competition. My first goal is always to win, the second is to improve on my best," said Henning.
The Long Island, N.Y., native bettered his previous record of 56.15m/184-03 set last year at Morgan State in Baltimore, Md. "I was a little nervous because I changed my technique from four turns to three turns. I felt good as I was sticking my release," continued Henning. The St. Anthony High School junior plans to better his performance for Team USA at the upcoming World Youth Championships in Morocco.
Kim Williams of Douglasville, Ga., tossed 48.15m/158-0 on her first attempt to win the young women's division of the hammer throw. "My win came from my first throw and I am satisfied. I was definitely going for a PR. I'm having a fun time here," said the 17-year-old Williams. Buck Sullivan tossed 58.86m/193-01 to win the young mens division in the hammer throw.
In only her second steeplechase competition, 15-year-old Emily Reese won the intermediate girls 2,000m steeplechase in a time of 7:14.99. "The start of the race was faster than I expected. This is only my second time competing in the steeplechase and it is much harder than my other events," said Reese. An Atlanta, Ga., native, Reese plans to specialize in the steeplechase events even though she has competed in the 1,500m and 3,000m since she was nine-years-old. "My goal was to just come out here and have fun," continued Reese, a sophomore at Chamblee High School.
Morganfield, Ky., natives Kelli Johnson, Amanda Huff and Evan Crowdus finished strong as they all won their age divisions in the race walking events. The 18-year-old Johnson won the young womens division in 31:00.04. Johnson's strategy was to pace off her 15-year-old training partner Crowdus who led the pack. "I was pacing off of Evan (Crowdus) and just tried to stay with him. I started kind of fast because I know if I start too slow - then I can never catch up," said Johnson.
Crowdus won the intermediate boys division in 29:24.17. His goal for today's competition was to lap as many competitors from all age groups. "I like to start off behind people and then make my move to take the lead. My goal is to lap as many people that I can," said Crowdus. The 16-year-old Huff endured the hot weather to win the intermediate girls division in 31:42.95. "I started off at a good pace. Factoring in the heat, it was a decent race for me," said Huff.
Following in her older sister's winning footsteps, Katie Michta won the race walk bantam girls division in 10:46.44. Katie's older sister Maria set an American junior record in the 10,000m race walk (50:24.54) this past Saturday at the 2005 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Carson, Calif.
In the pentathlon events, Neamen Wise and Sydney Haydel won their respective age group divisions. Wise of the Central Florida Gliders finished with 2,646 points to win the youth boys division as 13-year-old Haydel ofLos Angeles,Calif.,scored 2,657 points to win the youth girls division. "I was not performing at my best, but I did get a PR in the 800. I am happy with that," said Haydel.
This championship also serves as the final tune-up event for the 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.
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.