Steeplechase records highlight first day of Junior Olympics


Glen McMicken
Special to USATF
USA Track & Field

OMAHA -- National youth records fell in the intermediate girls' and young women's 2000-meter steeplechase races, and a meet record went down in the race walk to highlight opening day action Tuesday at the 42nd USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships at Burke High School.

Eleanor Fulton of the Zoom Track Club in Lone Tree, Colo., eclipsed the intermediate girls' national youth record with her 6:56.97 clocking, besting the previous record of 6:57.46 set in 2004 by Ashley Sinclair. In the young women's race, Alyssa Allison of Team Missouri dominated the field with a time of 6:54.37 to knock more than 10 seconds off the previous record of 7:05.14 set by Nefeteri Williams of the Chicago Zephyrs in 2006.

Defending the title he won last year, Tyler Sorensen of the Pleasanton Heat in Lafayette, Calif., lowered the meet record in the youth boys' 3000-meter race walk with a 13:42.07, five minutes faster than his nearest challenger. His younger sister, Nicolette, added the youth girls' 3000-meter walk gold to the midget girls' title she won last year.

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 divisions: 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 2008 USATF Junior Olympic Program.

One more record fell in the intermediate boys' hammer, which was held at Fremont, as Bradley Bolton of the Wildcats TC launched a 63.73m/209-1 toss to break the meet record. Justin Welch won the young men's hammer at 59.41m/194-11, while Ashley Clasen took top honors in the young women's event and Shana Flanary won the intermediate girls' title.

Two multi-event titles were up for grabs Tuesday, with Joseph Delgado of YMCA Team Idaho winning the youth boys' pentathlon with 3,061 points and Tika Slay of Villa Rica, Ga., topping the youth girls with 3,070 points.

Bantam girls' race walk gold went to Caitlin Palacio of San Jose, Calif., as she covered the 1500-meters in 8:01.73, and Ashley Jacobs of Athlete TC in Arlington, Texas, clocked 8:02.11 for gold in the midget girls' event.

Justin Liedke of the Cornhusker Flyers pleased the home crowd with his 9:20.78 win in the bantam boys' 1500-meter walk, with midget boys' gold going to Nathaniel Roberts of Oregon's Salem TC in 7:22.25.

In the young men's 2000-meter steeplechase, Michael Williams of Peak Distance in Colorado Springs dipped under six minutes to win in 5:57.63, while Parker Bowles of Jenks America TC finished atop the intermediate boys' medal stand with his 6:21.15 effort.

Dakotah Keys of Sweet Home, Ore., had an impressive first day in the young men's decathlon, scoring 3,558 points to lead after five events. The lead in the intermediate boys' ten-eventer is held by Justin Gross of Randallstown, Md., with 3,135 points.

After four events in the intermediate girls' heptathlon, Lorraine Graham of Vision Elite TC leads with 3,009 points, and Precious Selmon is the young women's leader with 2,845 points.

Competition resumes Wednesday at 8 a.m. with the young men's decathlon 110 hurdles. For more information and complete results, visit