Francis, Rogers set national 800 records on day 5 of Junior Olympics


Glen McMicken
USA Track & Field

OMAHA -- Brooklyn's Phyllis Francis smashed the national youth record in the intermediate girls' 800-meters with a stunning 2:04.83 Saturday on a record-ravaged day five of the 42nd USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Championships at Burke High School. The Team Evolution member, who ran 2:08.36 to win the intermediate title last year, clipped almost two seconds off the previous record of 2:06.64, set in 2006 by Chanelle Price.

In the midget girls' 800, Raevyn Rogers of Wings TC in Houston set a national youth record with her 2:13.12, besting the previous record of 2:13.56 in 2005 by Claudia Francis.

Dallas Gold TC showed its dominance in the sprints by breaking the meet record in the intermediate girls' 4x100 relay, notching a 45.51 with a team of Keondra Mallard, Tiffany Hines, Jerneshia Mergerson and Ashley Collier. The previous best was 45.57 by Visions TC in 1996.

One other individual meet record fell on the track, as Dior Hall of the Colorado Flyers zipped to a 12.25 in the midget girls' 80-meter hurdles. Hall had earlier won the 200 in 25.33.

In field event action, Ashlie Blake of the PS Vegas Flyers added a meet record in the midget girls' shot put with a throw of 13.51m/44-4 with the six-pound ball, and Otis Statum of the 3M TC set a meet record in the bantam boys' javelin with a toss of 40.47m/132-9.

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.

After seeing their younger clubmates set the intermediate meet record in the 4x100, the Dallas Gold TC used a stellar anchor from Texas sprint queen Victoria Jordan to repeat as champions in the young women's division, cracking the 45-second barrier with a 44.91.

Jordan's swift anchor leg made up for her fourth-place finish in the 200, where Chalonda Goodman of New Horizon just missed the national youth record with her dominating 23.29 into a 1.1 wind.

Trinity Wilson of the EOYDC would have had a national youth record in the youth girls' 100 hurdles if not for a bit too much wind assistance, clocking 13.76 with a +2.6 wind in the prelims. The national youth record is 14.01.

Jumps gold medals were won by Tessa Runnels of the Mission Valley TC in the youth girls' long jump; Ronald Geohaghan of Lowcountry in the youth boys' triple jump; Marquis Mack of Florida Express in the young men's high jump; Stephen Greer in the intermediate boys' pole vault; Ty Horne in the bantam girls' long jump; Margaux Jones of Cal Rising Stars in the midget girls' long jump; and Maya Pressley of the City of Lauderhill in the young women's high jump.

In the throws, winning efforts were produced by Kennedy Estelle of the C.L. Athletic Stars in the youth boys' shot put and Hannah Carson of the Arizona Cheetahs in the intermediate girls' javelin.

Six golds were awarded in the 3000-meters on the day, going to Rebekah Topham of the Cornhusker Flyers in the midget girls; Bailey Roth of Track Monkeys in the midget boys; Amy-Eloise Neale of Snohomish TC in the youth girls; Tate Schienbein of Fast Feat in the youth boys; steeplechase champion Eleanor Fulton of Zoom TC in the intermediate girls; and Katharine Showalter of Quicksilver in the young women.

Besides Goodman's near-record dash, winners in the 200 were: Victoria Powell of Jaguar TC in the bantam girls; Nikalos Harell of Houston Heat in the bantam boys; Darian Trout-Brown of Midwest Elite in the midget boys; Aaliyah Brown of Illinois Elite in the youth girls; Brandon Sanders of Palmetto Speed in the youth boys; Ashley Collier of Dallas Gold in the intermediate girls; Nycole Griffin of Allegiance AC in the intermediate boys; and Fuquan Greene of Track Eastern Carolina in the young men.

Thrilling finishes were the order of the day in the 800, with wins going to Julia Heymach of Texas Storm with a dive at the line in the bantam girls; Bryan Morris of 3M TC in the bantam boys; Michael Shelton of Track Xplosion in the midget boys; Laura McDowell of California in the youth girls; James Muniz of Cool Running in the youth boys; Elias Gedyon of Quiet Fire in the intermediate boys; Victoria Gocht of United Stars in the young women; and Anthony Hendrix of Track Eastern Carolina in the young men.

The day reached a crescendo with the ever-popular 4x100's, where golds were won by: Cedar Hills Blaze TC in the bantam girls; Quiet Fire in the bantam boys; Cal Rising Stars in the midget girls; C.L. Athletic Stars in the midget boys; Illinois Elite Youth TC in the youth girls; So Cal Running Cougars in the youth boys; Track Houston in the intermediate boys; and Worldwide AC in the young men.

Competition concludes Sunday, with the first event scheduled for 8 a.m. For more information and complete results, visit