INDIANAPOLIS - The 39th USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships began with the steeplechase, race walk and multi-events Tuesday at the Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium, located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus.
Taylor Morgan of Oregon had to regain his composure after falling down on the fourth lap to win the intermediate boys' 2,000m steeplechase title. Aiming for the intermediate boys' record, Morgan ran 6:08.46 which was also better than Jared Swehosky's time of 6:13.24 who successfully defended his young men's division title. "I was going for the record (6:02.84, Jason Brown, '88)," said Morgan. "I wanted to take the lead from the beginning but, the wind was terrible on the backstretch. I got sixth last year and I wouldn't let myself loose this year," Morgan continued.
Nefeteri Williams of the Chicagoland Track Club won the 2,000m steeplechase young women's division in a time of 7:30.48. "I kept hearing them (the field) splash behind me but I took off and today's time was faster than my regional time," said Williams. Ashlyn Sinclair of the Vienna Youth track club finished in a time of 7:33.53 to grab the 2,000m steeplechase intermediate girls' crown.
Hard work paid off for Steven Valadez of the South Texas Walking Club. He walked 8:44.63 to win the bantam boys' division. "I felt good at the end of the race. I was just praying that all my hard work was going to pay off," said Valadez. Jessica Reybal of SoTX Walk Club won the midget girls' 1,500m race walk crown with a time of 8:05.45.
It is a close competition in the young men's decathlon, Mathew Clark of the Iowa United track club leads after the first day with 3,655 points followed by Duane Hynes (2nd - 3,641) of the Ambler Olympic Club, Tony Dallavalle (3rd- 3,618) of the Central Illinois track club and Tim Wunderlich (4th - 3,527) of Westminster, Md. "My 100 meters wasn't very good, long jump was better, but shot put was solid. I am ready for a big finish tomorrow," said Wunderlich.
The USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships is the largest and most visible youth athlete developmental program in the world. The Junior Olympics feature the following age division: Bantam (10 and under), Midget (11-12), Youth (13-14), Intermediate (15-16) and Young Men/Women (17-18).
For more information on the 2005 USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, including results, athlete quotes, photos and complete coverage of this year's event, please visit the USATF website at www.usatf.org.