Flyers runner Hall wins three gold medals at Junior Olympics

By Jaclyn Shambaugh

Philip Hall, one of a group of youth athletes from the Fayetteville Flyers, returned from the USATF National Junior Olympics with a trio of gold medals.

Hall, competing in the youth boys' division, won the 800- and 1,500-meter races and anchored the first-place 3,200-meter relay team.

It was the fourth trip to nationals for Hall, who traveled to Wichita, Kan., this year for the meet, which was held July 26-31.

The 14-year-old finished the 800 in 2:00.92 and the 1,500 in 4:14.96. Both times are listed as the fastest for his age group in the country this year, according to www.eliteyouth.com, which tracks times at USATF, AAU and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) events.

Hall, anchoring the 3,200-meter relay team of William Wicks, Luis Remigio Patrick McCall, helped his team win with a footrace at the end of the event.

The Flyers trailed the lead relay team by a good 80 meters, Hall said, when he got the baton.

We were never out of medal contention, Hall said. But I thought second place was probably the best we could do then.

But Hall and another runner, both trailing behind the lead team's anchor, pushed each other more than Hall anticipated, eventually getting the Fayetteville runner to the lead.

The Flyers finished the race in 8:54.85, two seconds ahead of the second-place team.

Hall said one of the biggest challenges that he and his fellow competitors faced was the heat. Temperatures inside Wichita State's Cessna Stadium rose into triple digits during each day of the championships.

Hall's schedule was so that he ran one race - either a preliminary heat or a final - each day, leaving him with plenty of time to rest and hydrate between events.

I think I drank about eight bottles of water in an hour, Hall said. But I just told myself that I only had to run for two minutes, or I only had to run for four minutes, depending on the event. More honors

Seven other Flyers joined Hall, Wicks, Remigio and McCall at the competition.

Along with his relay gold, Wicks earned a fifth-place finish in the 800.

Chase Helton qualified for the 800, but didn't make it to the finals after the preliminary heat.

The Flyers also grabbed a pair of medals in the long jump event on the legs of Deondre Butler, who finished second, and Frank Quarles, who finished sixth.

Shot putter John Leonard placed 16th.

On the girls' side, Tatyana Bryant placed 15th in the triple jump and sixth in long jump, where teammate Darlene Girardeau finished in 15th place.

Rounding out the performance was Daniela Salas, who finished in the top 20 in the 800-meter and 1500-meter races.

The Hope Mills 12-and-under Dixie Youth state champion baseball team was eliminated from the O Zone World Series in Madison Heights, Va., with a 10-0 loss to Alabama. Staff writer Jaclyn Shambaugh can be reached at 609-0651 or shambaughj@fayobserver.com