Fast start for Team USA at World Youth Champs
Melvin Jackson II
USA Track & Field
Marrakech, Morocco - Several Team USA members turned in personal best performances on the first day of competition at the 4th IAAF World Youth Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.
Bianca Knight of Ridgeland, Miss., scorched the track in a personal best and world youth leading time of 11.34 in the first round of the girls' 100m dash. "I knew I had to win my heat to be set for the semi-finals," said Knight. "I did not intend to run that fast, but it just happened that way. I should run faster tomorrow when I'm fresh." Later in the evening, Knight ran 11.44 seconds in the semi-finals advancing on to the finals.
Ebony Collins of Los Angeles, Calif., ran 11.53 to overcome a rough start in the semi-final round to advance in the girls' 100m finals. "I had a bad start and almost fell," said Collins. "I am happy that I was able to come back at the end to move on to the finals."
Kamorean Hayes floated on air during her second attempt unleashing a personal best throw of 49.03m/160-10 to qualify in the girls' discus throw final. "I felt like I was floating on air," said Hayes. "I'm pleased that I stuck it on m release, but I know it could do better." The Charlotte, N.C., native Hayes enters the discus throw finals with the best mark. "My performance was excellent and I'm having a lot of fun," Hayes continued.
Paige Newby of Colorado City, Texas tossed 45.80m/150-3.75 to also advance in the girls' discus throw. "For me - it (performance) was not good enough," said Newby. "I just want to focus on my speed in the finals."
Darius Savage was the surprise earlier in the morning during the qualifying round of the boys' shot put. The San Diego, Calif., native Savage threw a personal best of 18.81m/61-8.5 advancing to the finals. Later in the evening, Savage finished in 10th place with a mark of 18.39m/60-4 in the boys' shot put finals. "I could have done better, but I think I did pretty good," said Savage. "It was just a matter of inches (for a medal) on my last few throws.
Cordera Jenkins of Dickinson, Texas cleared every hurdle smoothly to win his heat in 13.64 seconds in the semi-final round of the 110m hurdles. Jenkins enters the finals with the second fastest qualifying time.
It was a close race to reach the final round in the boys' 100m dash as Devin Mays of Stockton, Calif., ran 10.65 seconds to advance. "I felt good about my race," said Mays. "My starts are good, but I just need to work on finishing more because I know I can do better.
Isaiah Green of Long Beach, Calif., missed a spot in the 100m finals, but ran a personal best time of 10.66 in the semi-final round. "The competition was moving real fast," said Green. "I felt good getting out the blocks, but the last 10 meters I was not as relaxed as I wanted while running into a headwind which slowed a lot of us down."
Desirae Gonder of Bakersfield, Calif., cleared 1.74m/5-8.50 to advance in the girls' high jump final.
The magic number was 47.90 in the boys' 400m first round, for Bryshon Nellum of Los Angeles, Calif., and Zach Chandy of Laguna Beach, Calif. Both Team USA members won their heats respectively to advance. Brandi Cross of Missouri City, Texas cruised 53.76 to easily win her heat in the girls' 400m. Cross' performance is the third-fastest time heading into the next round.
Michael Morrison of Chesapeake, Va., currently has 2,929 points after four events in the boys' octathlon and is in 16th place.
Daniel Haddock already accomplished one of his major goals before stepping on the runway in the boys javelin throw. "Just being out there was an accomplishment in itself," said Haddock. "Competing against the best athletes in the world was in irreplaceable experience." The Paradise Valley, Ariz., native tossed 39.57m/129-10 in the first round of the boys javelin throw, but did not advance to the finals. "I did not hit any PRs but it was good to be out there and make friends with potential future Olympians," Haddock continued. "It was great to be associated with that crowd and it is an honor."
Elan Hilaire of Owings Mills, Md., ran a personal best time of 56.92 in the girls' 400m but did not advance. Houston, Texas natives Nicole Jones ran 4:33.31 in the qualifying round of the girls' 1,500m while Quin'Shundalyn McPherson leaped 11.34m/37-2.50 in the qualifying round of the girls' triple jump. Both did not advance to the finals.
For complete Team USA roster and staff listings, and more information on the 2005 World Youth Track & Field Championships, including results, complete coverage and photos of this year's event, please visit the USATF website at www.usatf.org.