BALTIMORE - Records abounded Friday at the 2006 USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Hughes Stadium at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.
The Championships are a national competition with entry based upon qualifying standards for each event. 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). Entry for this championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association, and Regional levels of the 2006 USATF Junior Olympic Program.
Ashton Henderson of Tulsa Express, who took eighth at last year's Junior Olympics, broke the Junior Olympics record in the Midget Boys shot put with his winning heave of 14.70 meters/48 feet 2.75 inches. The previous record of 14.64m/48-0.5 was set in 1993 by Charles Simpson.
2006 USA Youth pentathlon champion Nefertiti Smith of Portsmouth, Va., won the Youth Girls triple jump in a Junior Olympic record leap of 11.68 meters/38 feet 4 inches. The previous record of 11.67m/38 feet 3.5 inches was set in 1992 by Michelle Hickman.
Jeremy Rankin of Aurora, Colo., set a Junior Olympic record of 10.51 seconds in the Intermediate Boys 100 meter first round. It is the fastest qualifying time heading into the finals.
Alexa Harmon-Thomas, who won the high jump yesterday, tied the Junior Olympic record in the Bantam Girls long jump with her leap of 4.45 meters/14 feet 7.25 inches. The record was set in 1996 by Gayle Hunter. Ladaisha Yates of Trac Tactics was the runner-up with her jump of 4.44m/14-6.75.
2006 USA Junior champion Emily Pendleton of Elmore, Ohio, stole the show in the Young Women's discus throw with her winning toss of 51.57 meters/169 feet 2 inches. Runner-up Katherine Tripp of Sutherlin, Ore., had a best toss of 45.51m/149-3. Pendleton will next compete at the Road to Eugene '08 as part of the U.S. World Junior team training camp before heading to Beijing for the 2006 IAAF World Junior Championships.
Abby Schaffer of Easton, Pa., who finished sixth at the 2005 Junior Olympics, won the Intermediate Girls pole vault with a height of 3.70 meters/12 feet 1.5 inches. "I wasn't really worried even though I didn't know a lot of the girls," Schaffer said. "It was fun to compete against them and make new friends. They were really good to." 2005 Junior Olympic third place finisher Mauri Peoples of Carrollton, Ga., was the runner-up with a clearance of 3.53m/11-7.
2005 Junior Olympic Intermediate Boys shot put champion Benjamin Stephens dominated the Young Men's shot put with a heave of 19.71m/64-8, over one meter ahead of the rest of the field. Colin Boevers of Salt Lake City, Utah was second with a toss of 18.41m/60-4.75.
Other winners include Melissa Gergel, the fourth place finisher in the Intermediate Girls pole vault at the 2005 Junior Olympics, who won the Young Women's pole vault with a clearance of 3.80 meters/12 feet 5.5 inches. Daren Fahey of San Diego, Calif., won the Midget Boys 3,000m in 10:03.55 while Nicole Carpio of Miami, Fla., won the Midget Girls 3,000m in a personal best 10:42.54.
First rounds were completed in the 100m, 400m, 200m hurdles, 400m hurdles, and 1,500m. 2006 USA Youth champion Robin Reynolds has the fastest qualifier in the Midget Girls 400m of 54.73. Bronx, N.Y. native Whitney Fountain ran 27.48 in the 200m hurdles and will lead the field in the finals on Sunday. 2005 World Youth champion Ebony Collins is leading the way into the finals of the Young Women's 400m hurdles with her time of 58.47 seconds. 2006 USA Junior Championships third place finisher Samuel Borchers has the fastest time in the Young Men's 1,500m heading into the final, crossing the line in 4 minutes 01.95 seconds.
For more information on the 2006 USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, including results, photos and complete coverage of this year's event, please visit the USATF website at www.usatf.org.