INDIANAPOLIS - On the final day of competition at the Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium, World Youth team members Ebony Collins, Bianca Knight, Bryshon Nellum, and Nicole Jones all finished the Junior Olympic meet with gold medals in their respective events.
World Youth 400m hurdles gold medalist, Collins separated herself from the from the field after the third hurdle enroute to a Junior Olympic intermediate girls 400m hurdles, record with a time of 58.26 seconds. Her time eclipsed not only the previous record of 58.84 set by Talia Stewart of Richmond, Calif., in 2001, but also the winning time of 59.97 by Heather Trimiew in the young women's division. "The record was the only thing I was going for," said Collins.
World Youth team 100m gold medalist Knight, made good on her promise, winning the intermediate girls 100 meters in time of 11.57. Similar to Collins' performance in the 400 meter hurdles, Knight's time also bettered the winning time of 11.63 by Kennyanna Wilson in the young women's division. "I really wasn't too worried about the record but I'm satisfied with my time," said Knight.
After finishing in what Nellum called a 'disappointing third' in the 200 meter final his main goal for today was redemption. Clocking a time of 47.16 seconds Nellum redeemed himself with a victory in the 400 meter finals. He concluded his day with two stellar performances running the anchor leg on both the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay. Nellum's 4x400 meter relay team missed the Junior Olympic record by a mere .25 hundredths of a second. "I got out on a strategy pace in the 400 (meters) but then everyone started to leave me at the 200 mark," said Nellum. "After that I had to use my inside lane to catch everybody at the home stretch."
After a string of impressive performances in the 4x800m, 800m, and 3,000m World Youth team member, Jones, finished her meet on high note by winning the intermediate girls' 1,500 meter run in a time of 4:27.35. She also collected a silver medal in the 4x800m (9:23.74), a bronze in the 800m (2:10.86), fourth in the 3,000m (9:53.82), and gold in the 1,500m (4:27.35). "My goal this year was to make the World Youth team and I'm going to keep the faith that I will make the 2006 (Pan Am) Junior team next time around," said Jones.
In the intermediate boys 110 meter hurdles race, Johnny Dutch, of Clayton, N.C., ran away from the field to set a meet record in a time of 13.92. "I'm excited because I worked pretty hard, and I want to thank my competition because they pushed me to the record," said Dutch following the race. Dutch also ran a time of 52.10, to finish first in the 400 meter hurdles, but after it was decided that the race would need to be run again due to interference he opted not to compete.
Also impressive in the 100m field was Antonio Sales of N.C., winning the intermediate boys division in a time of 10.64, just .01 hundredths of a second ahead of the runner-up Donald Moore.
In the midget girls 400m finals, Robin Reynolds of Miami, Fla., set a meet record in the midget girls division in a time of 55.01. The previous record of 55.54 set in 2001was held by World Youth team gold medalist Ebony Collins, whom congratulated the winner shortly following the race.
In the 800m finals, after setting a Junior Olympic record on Saturday, Claudia Francis, held off a strong challenge by runner-up, Danielle Menlove, to set another meet record in the midget girls' 1,500m run in a time of 4:41.62. The previous record of 4:42.58 was set in 1988 by the legendary Heather Boroughs of Kansas City, Mo.
Also in the midget division, Elias Gedyon, with a time of 4:30.87 set his second meet record on the boy's side. The previous record (4:32.18) was set by Eugene Roberts of Eugene, Oregon in 1994. In addition to his performance today, Geydon also set a meet record Saturday in the midget boys 800 meter (2:06.51).
In the youth girls' division, Jordan Hassay of Arroyo Grande, Calif., collected her second gold medal of the meet in the 1,500m final in a time of 4:31.24.
Tavaris Washington, of Atlanta, Ga., won the young men's division of the 400m hurdles in a time of 51.10. "I had a lot of pressure on me going in because I had the second fastest (qualifying) time in this race and the fastest (qualifying) in the 110 hurdles," said Washington. "I wanted to win this event to give myself momentum going into the 110 hurdles."
Concluding the meet were the fan favorite 4x100m and 4x400m relays. Leading the way in team medals were the LA Jets track club of Los Angeles taking four total gold medals.
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.