Wynne sets world youth mark in 400H, Team USA tops medal table at World Youth Champs


Jill Geer
Director of Communications
USA Track & Field

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - William Wynne (Kennesaw, Ga.) smashed the world youth best in the 400hurdles and Team USA romped to four golds Sunday on the final day of the 5th IAAF World Youth Championships.

The U.S. finished atop the medal table with 14, including an all-time high of seven golds.

Wynne sprinted to the front down the backstretch and never relinquished his lead on the way to a stunning 49.01, .85 seconds under the previous record set by South Africa's Marnus Kritzinger in 1999. Reggie Wyatt (Riverside, Calif.) completed the sweep with a 50.33 for silver.

"I was happy to finally run in warm weather," Wynne said. "All week it has been cold. I also wasn't eating right earlier this week, and the coaches straightened that out. Today I just wanted to run fast. It was easier over these shorter hurdles (33 inches)."

Californian Julian Purvis (Oakland) also enjoyed shorter barriers than she is used to in the girls' 100 hurdles, zipping to a 13.41 season best to win the gold. Jasmin Stowers (Liberty, S.C.) was fourth at 13.70. "This was for my sister (Ashton) today," Purvis said. "She didn't medal like she wanted to and I wanted to do this for her. I was a little nervous coming in because my start was shaky in the prelims, but I got it fixed and had a better race. Anything can happen in a hurdles race, and today was a very good day for me."

A pair of Texans anchored the medley relays to gold in dramatic fashion, with Erica Alexander (Friendswood, Texas) splitting a lifetime best 52.1 on the girls' squad to team with Chalonda Goodman (Newnan, Ga.), Ashton Purvis (Oakland, Calif.) and Ryann Krais (Eagleville, Pa.) and win in a world youth leading 2:05.74. Team USA has never lost in the final of the girls' medley relay at the WYC.

Alexander, the Texas state 5A 400 champ, had to run down Jamaica's Latoya McDermott. She said, "I didn't want to go too early because I wanted to save my energy for the last 100. I had the Jamaican girl in my sights, and I knew she was a strong runner."

Danzell Fortson (Fort Worth, Texas), also a state 5A 400 gold medalist, clocked 46.1 on his anchor carry to help his team of Isaiah Sweeney (Missouri City, Texas), Kenneth Gilstrap (Lithonia, Ga.) and Wynne grab the gold in 1:51.34, just .08 in front of a surprising Japanese quartet.

"I knew William (Wynne) was tired after his world record in the 400 hurdles," Fortson said. "When he was coming in and getting passed, I knew I had to go and do what I do. I am known for my anchor legs on the 4x4."

Goodman won the team's other medal on the day with a 23.54 in the girls' 200, run into a 1.9 mps wind. The powerful Georgian had an abysmal start, but stormed down the straight to pass Nivea Smith of the Bahamas. "I knew that to

have a chance to get in the top three, I would have to go hard," Goodman said. "I saw I was behind and just started fighting to get up there. My legs weren't really there, but this is such a great experience." Ashton Purvis was fifth at 23.89.

Before helping the boys' medley relay to gold, Gilstrap picked up a sixth-place finish in the 200 at 21.63. Earlier this week, he was the bronze medalist in the 100.

One disappointing note came in the girls' 800, where world youth leader Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa.) led for 600 meters before fading over the final 150 and ending up seventh at 2:06.55. Blake Shaw (Houston, Texas) ran a valiant 3:53.36 to take ninth in the boys' 1500.

Team USA's 14 total medals ( 7 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze) matched the second highest total ever. Kenya finished second in the medals race with 11, including six golds, and Russia had 10. The U.S. dominated the team scoring with 146, ahead of Russia (99) and Kenya (91). Team USA had 28 top-eight performances in the meet.

For more information on Team USA at the World Youth Championships, including

links to full results, visit www.usatf.org