Marrakech, Morocco - Ebony Collins cruised to a championship record time in winning another gold medal for Team USA at the 2005 World Youth Championships at Sidi Youssef Ben Ali Stadium in Morocco.
Collins of Los Angeles, Calif., ran smoothly over each hurdle in 55.96 seconds to win her second medal in a personal best time by two seconds in girls 400m hurdles. "I ran over the hurdles instead of just jumping over them like I did in the prelims," said Collins. "I figured if I got a good start and maintain my speed to keep up with the others."
The 16-year-old Collins bettered the girls' 400m hurdles championship record time of 57.54 seconds set in 2003 by Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic. The current world youth record is 55.20 set in 1984 by Leslie Maxie of the U.S. "I saved my energy until the 150/250 mark because I knew I could out sprint the others," Collins continued. On Thursday, Collins helped Team USA give a 1-2 punch in the girls 100m finals as she won silver.
Bryshon Nellum is not used to running in lane #1 in the 400m, but it seemed to work as he ran a personal best to win a bronze medal for Team USA. "Coming out of lane one took a lot of energy and it was hard," said Nellum. "I had to break the stagger from the start just to get in the race." A Los Angeles, Calif., native Nellum finished in 46.81 seconds followed by Zach Chandy (47.29) in fourth place. "I had a great time and surprised that I made the top four," said Chandy. "I was happy just making the finals."
Brandi Cross of Missouri City, Texas just missed a spot on the medal stand in the girls' 400m final finishing in 53.34 seconds. "I'm proud of my accomplishment," said Cross. "I feel like the 400m is the hardest race, but all I can do is learn from this experience and work harder the next go around."
Keeping hope alive, Kamorean Hayes advanced in the girls shot put after she tossed 14.58 meteres/47 feet, 10 inches. "I was very tired today, but I did good enough to get in the finals," said Hayes. A of Charlotte, N.C., native Hayes won Group B heading into the finals with the second best mark. Jenny Svoboda of Howells, Neb., also advanced in the girls' shot put competition with a mark of 12.80m/42-0.
Walter Henning of Long Island, NY tossed a personal best of 70.91m/232-7 to finish eighth in the boys' hammer throw (5kg) final. Desirae Gonder of Bakersfield, Calif., cleared 1.70m/5-7 to finish 12th in the girls' high jump final.
David Klech of San Ramon, Calif., leaped 7.16m/23-6 in the boys' long jump final to finish in ninth-place. Earlier in the evening he ran a world youth leading mark at the time of 51.84 to advance in the boys' 400m hurdles. Timothy Grier of Powder Springs, Ga., also advanced after he ran 53.09 in the 400m hurdles.
In the boys' pole vault competition, Scott Roth of Granite Bay, Calif., and Jordan Scott of Watkinsville, Ga., only had one day to practice on their poles which arrived the day before their competition. Both Roth and Scott cleared 4.80m/15-9 to advance in the boys' pole vault final.
In the qualifying round of the girls' 800m, LaTavia Thomas of Philadelphia, Pa., ran 2:10.17. "My race seemed to be fastest one," said Thomas. "I was just trying to make it to the finish without anyone passing me. The girl from behind kept tapping me on my shoulder to pass me." Devon Williams of Baltimore, Md., ran a personal best time in 2:11.04 to finish second in her heat. Both Thomas and Williams advanced to the next round in the girls 800m.
Darius Savage of San Diego, Calif., tossed 45.32m/148-8 in the qualifying round of the boys' discus throw, but did not advance.
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.
TEAM USA MEDALISTS
GOLD: Bianca Knight (100m); Cordera Jenkins (110m hurdles); Ebony Collins (400m hurdles).
SILVER: Ebony Collins (100m).
BRONZE: Kamorean Hayes (discus throw); Bryshon Nellum (400m).
MEDAL COUNT (Top 3 nations): #1, Kenya 8; #2, USA 6; #3 Australia 4.