OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - Dalilah Muhammad (Jamaica, N.Y.) won the girls' 400 meter hurdles and Ryann Krais (Eagleville, Pa.) was third to lead Team USA to a strong performance Friday at the 5th IAAF World Youth Championships in Ostrava. The U.S. tops the medal table after three days with seven.
Muhammad, the owner of the fastest youth time in the world this year, had to overcome a personal best by Romania's Andreea Ionescu, edging past the Romanian in the final 10 meters to stop the clock at 57.25. Krais was third in 57.50.
"It was a hard race," Muhammad said. "Every race, I try to push hard, and I did what I came to do. I knew the Romanian girl was very strong after the prelims, and coming off the final hurdle behind her I knew I just had to go as hard as I could to the line."
California distance star Jordan Hasay (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) ran a savvy race on the way to her second-fastest time ever, winning silver in the 1,500m with a time of 4:17.24. Hasay ran at the front of the pack for most of the race and had to escape the team tactics of Kenyans Sheila Kiprotich and Sammary Cherotich midway through the first lap. The 15-year-old U.S. junior 1,500 champion surged to the front through 800 in 2:16.08, and ran a 2:18.6 final 800 to finish second to Kiprotich.
"This didn't really go according to my race plan," Hasay said. "I was going to let the Kenyans lead, but I just kind of went for it when I saw they were teaming up on me. My legs were getting pretty heavy at the end and I just tried to hang on. It is my first international trip, and it is a good experience. It's good to be here away from the usual pressure."
A surprise bronze medal in the boys' long jump came from Christian Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.), who spanned a personal best 7.29 meters/23-11. Taylor, who earlier in the day was the leading qualifier in the triple jump with a big personal best of 15.76m/51-8.5, said, "I love being that underdog guy. It was a good day, and my PR this morning gave me an extra push to come in and win this long jump medal. Now I want to win the gold in the triple jump."
Connor McCullough (Canoga Park, Calif.) just missed the medal stand in the boys' hammer, placing fourth with a toss of 74.54m/244-7 in one of the greatest youth competitions ever. Eleven of the 12 finalists surpassed the 70-meter mark. McCullough had to unleash a clutch throw on his third attempt after fouling his first two into the cage, and he came through with a 73.03m/239-7 effort.
In other finals action, Meshawn Graham (Toledo, Ohio) was sixth in the girls' 400 at 55.18, and Danzell Fortson (Fort Worth, Texas) was seventh in the boys' 400 at 48.13. Dylan Ferris (Kernersville, N.C.) ran a valiant 800, leading through 600 in 1:23.26, but ran out of steam down the stretch and finished eighth at 1:51.91.
Taylor and Bryce Lamb (Chandler, Ariz.) both produce big lifetime bests in the boys' triple jump qualifying, with Lamb notching the third-best mark of the day at 15.54m/51-0. Becky O'Brien (Cumberland, Maine), who was eighth in the discus, needed only one throw in shot put qualifying as she hit the auto mark with a 14.48m/47-6.25, the third best throw overall.
Cameron Tabor (Norman, Okla.) was an automatic qualifier in the boys' discus, hitting 56.88m/186-7 on his second attempt, but Michael Barbas (Houston, Texas) missed the final by one spot with a 52.66m/172-9 toss.
The girls' 800 featured world-leading Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa.), and the Pennsylvanian did not disappoint as she dashed to the front and ran away with her heat in 2:07.82. "I wanted to go out and show myself, not anyone else, that I am ready to run," Price said. Blaire Dinsdale (Traer, Iowa), did not advance after clocking 2:15.94 in her section.
Blake Shaw (Houston, Texas) was an unknown quantity in the boys' 1,500 coming into the meet, but the tall Texan ran a great tactical race to finish second in a lifetime-best 3:52.57 and earn an automatic qualifying berth. "I knew I had more speed than most of the guys in the field," Shaw said. "So I just planned to stay in position to finish in the top three and stay out of trouble."
First round action in the 200 meters saw Chalonda Goodman (Newnan, Ga.) run the fastest girls' time at 23.87, and Ashton Purvis (Oakland, Calif.) also advanced with a 24.12. In the boys' heats, Fortson and 100 bronze medalist Kenneth Gilstrap (Lithonia, Ga.) easily advanced.
In the boys' 400 hurdles, Reggie Wyatt (Riverside, Calif.) led all qualifiers with a 51.69, but pre-meet favorite and world leader William Wynne (Kennesaw, Ga.) ran an inexplicable race and just managed to sneak in to the semifinals as a time qualifier after placing third in his heat at 53.42.
Competition resumes Saturday at 9 a.m. with the boys' 10-kilometer walk and qualifying in the girls' javelin. For more information on Team USA at the World Youth Championships, including links to full results, visit http://www.usatf.org/events/2007/IAAFWorldYouthChampionships/