Cami Chapus Is Fastest American, Finishes Fifth at World Youth Finals

Palisadian and soon-to-be Harvard-Westlake senior Cami Chapus has spent 2011 racking up achievements and reaching running milestones.

  Time to add a few more to the list.

  The 17-year-old raced at the World Youth Track and Field Championships in Lille, France last weekend and in Saturday's 1,500-meter finals, finished fifth with a personal-best time of 4:17.12.

  Her result made her the top U.S. runner in the event and now stands as the fastest American time in the history of the World Youths, besting Oregon junior Jordan Hasay's silver-medal time of 4:17.24 in 2007.

  'That was fun. I'm just really happy I stuck to my race plan,' Chapus told the L.A. Daily News after the race. 'I ended on a good note. Finishing strong was my final goal ' I was actually tearing up before the race, not because of nerves, but excitement to be here with the top 12 girls in the world.'

  Make that the top five. Kenya's Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon won the event with a World Youth-record time of 4:09.48, followed by Senebere Teferi (4:10.54) and Genet Tibieso (4:11.56) of Ethiopia, Georgia Peel (4:16.36) of Great Britain and Chapus. Kenya has now won four straight World Youth gold medals in the 1,500.

  Meanwhile, Hannah Meier of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, who bested Chapus by less than a second at the U.S. qualifier for the championships, was the second-fastest American, finishing ninth at 4:20.65.

  Incredibly, the St. Matthew's school grad finished lower in her heat-preliminaries three days before the final, taking sixth in her heat at 4:22.81. That stood as her personal-best, until her record-breaking time in the finals.

  And don't forget, Chapus still has her senior year at Harvard-Westlake left, following a season in which she won the CIF State title in the 1600 and ran on the national-record breaking distance medley relay team at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Jun