INDIANAPOLIS - IAAF World Junior Championships gold and silver medalist Gabrielle Mayo of Raleigh, N.C., has been named the 2006 Youth Athlete of the Year by USA Track & Field. Mayo will be honored December 2 at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind. The ceremony is held in conjunction with USA Track & Field's 2006 Annual Meeting November 29-December 3 in Indianapolis.
In the lead-up to the World Junior Championships, Mayo anchored the American 4x100-meter relay team that broke the World Junior record August 6 at the Road to Eugene '08, getting the baton around the track in 43.29 seconds. The previous record of 43.38 was set by Team USA in 1999.
At the 2006 IAAF World Junior Championships later in August, Mayo claimed the silver medal in the women's 100 meter final with a time of 11.42 seconds. She then placed fifth in the women's 200m in 23.84 and finished out her time in Beijing by anchoring the 4x100m relay team to a gold medal in 43.49 seconds.
Mayo easily transitioned into the national scene after ruling at the high school level with her 200 meter win at the Finish Line USA Junior Track & Field Championships in June, besting the field in a meet record 22.88 seconds. She also was the runner-up in the 100m, crossing the line in 11.16. Both marks were the fastest recorded by a high schooler in 2006.
At the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, Mayo again won the 200 meter race, this time in a National Youth record of 23.27 seconds, and took third in the 100m in 11.59.
"It feels great to be honored by USA Track & Field with this award," said Mayo, who currently is a senior at Southeast High School and whose summertime exploits landed her in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd." "I couldn't have gotten here without the help of my family and coaches."
"The future of Team USA is bright with athletes such as Gabby," said USATF CEO Craig Masback. "Her accomplishments have proven the benefit of USATF's Youth and Junior programs within the U.S. as well as on the world stage."
Mayo dominated on the high school level as well as she took home three North Carolina indoor state titles and four outdoor state crowns, setting state records in the 55 meter dash (6.87), 55m hurdles (7.92), 300m (38.94), 100 meters (11.14w), 200m (23.51), 300m hurdles (43.56) and winning the 100m hurdles (13.60). Mayo also claimed victory at the Nike Outdoor National Championships in June, where she won the 100m in 11.42 seconds and placed third in the 200m in 23.55.