LILLE, FRANCE – Nnenya Hailey won gold in the girls’ 400m hurdles, while Justin Fondren and Shelbi Vaughn claimed bronze in the high jump and discus on day four of the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France.
Team USA maintains the top spot on the medal table with four gold, three silver and four bronze medals, for a total of 11 medals. Kenya is the closest nation, with six total medals.
In the girls’ 400m hurdle finals, Hailey (Marietta, Ga.) had a lead of several meters as she ran down the home stretch. On the final hurdle, Hailey clipped her foot but was able to remain upright and still hold on to the lead to cross the line in first. Hailey won in a world leading youth time and personal best of 50.97.
In the boys’ high jump competition, Justin Fondren (Oxford, Miss.) was one of three competitors to clear 2.13m/6-11.75; however, none were able to clear the next height of 2.16m. Fondren had two misses at the 2.13m/7-1 height, and was awarded the bronze medal as the tie was broken on missed attempts.
Shelbi Vaughn (Mansfield, Texas) won bronze in the girls’ discus on her first throw of the day. Vaughn’s winning throw came on her first attempt when she sent the disc sailing 52.58m/172-6. In total, Vaughn had three throws beyond the 50 meter mark.
Tyler Sorensen (San Diego, Calif.) walked a smart race as he started out towards the back of the field and worked his way up on each consecutive lap of the boys’ 10,000m racewalk. By the halfway mark, Sorensen found himself in eighth place. From there he passed two more competitors to cross the line in sixth. However, in a dramatic turn of events, the first place athlete was disqualified after crossing the line, and Sorensen moved to fifth place. Sorensen finished in a personal best time of 41:23.14, set a new American Junior record and was faster than the previous meet record by 12 seconds.
The girls’ 1500m final went out in a blazing 2:12 through 800m, and the U.S. girls hung on in the middle of the pack to ride the effort to personal best times. Cami Chapus (Costa Mesa, Calif.) unleashed a strong kick to pass one of the Kenyan athletes at the line and cross the finish line in 4:17.12 and take fifth place. Hannah Meier (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) ran only a stride behind Chapus through most of the race, and was not far behind in ninth place in 4:20.62.
In the girls’ heptathlon, Kendell Williams (Marietta, Ga.) started the day with a long jump of 5.81m/19-0.75 to bring her five event total to 4,081 points for sixth place. Williams faltered a bit in the javelin with a toss of 19.98 meters/65-6 , which dropped her to 11th place. In the final discipline of the heptathlon, Williams ran the 800m in personal best time of 2:26.99, and maintained her overall position of 11th place. Williams ended the competition with 5,101 points.
Sydney White (Kernersville, N.C.) cleared the 13-foot mark for the third time in her career and finished her first international competition in eighth place. White cleared three increases of the bar, with her final clearance coming at 4.00/13-1.5.
Both the girls’ and boys’ relay teams advanced to Sunday’s final. The medley relay includes 100, 200, 300 and 400m legs. The girls’ team of Jennifer Madu, Myasia Jacobs, Kendall Baisden and Robin Reynolds won the third heat in 2:09.39 with a victory over Romania by one second. In the boys’ relay, the team of Cameron Burrell, Aldrich Bailey, Arman Hall and Najee Glass turned in the fastest time of the day to win the first heat in 1:51.53.
In other qualifying rounds, all three American athletes in the 200m semifinals advanced to the finals on Sunday. Bealoved Brown (Desoto, Texas) ran a personal best time of 23.80 in the girls race to finish fourth, but advance with her fast time. Ronald Darby (Oxon Hill, Md.) ran 21.08 to take second in his heat of the boys’ race, while Aldrich Bailey (Arlington, Texas) won his heat in a personal best of 21.29.
The final day of competition will be webcast live by Universal Sports from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET. The webcast can be viewed at www.UniversalSports.com.
Tyler Sorensen – Boys’ 10,000m Racewalk “I was faster than the meet record in fifth place, any other year I would have gotten gold, and here I got 5th. The junior record is all I thought about for the second 5k. I’m used to international competition now, and I was mentally into it this time. I smiled at my parents with 400m to go and then I kicked.”
Shelbi Vaughn – Girls’ Discus “I was a little shaky at first. I was expecting first, but two girls passed me. I had one good throw, my first was the best of the day.”
Kendell Williams – Girls’ Heptathlon “I knew I wasn’ going to be on the podium, but I wanted to finish with a strong run. The performances didn’t go the way I wanted, but you have to move on.”
Nnenya Hailey – Girls’ 400m Hurdles “I’m super tired. I had a tummy ache this morning, and I’m just glad it is over. I’m happy to get add a gold medal to our count and help the team.”
Justin Fondren – Boys’ High Jump “I hate losing on misses, but it happens. I wish I had one more attempt. I didn’t have enough speed going into the jump. I need to go back home and work on my technique. It feels great to medal – I came out here to help the team win, and I accomplished something.”
Hannah Meier – Girls’ 1500m “Wow, that was fast! These girls pushed me to a best time. I’m gald I got a PR. I’m also glad for my teammate Cami, she did great.”
Cami Chapus – Girls’ 1500m “That was fun. I’m just really happy I stuck to my race plan. I ended on a good note finishing strong was my final goal. I can’t believe it is over. I was excited to leave everything on the track today. I was actually tearing up before the race, not because of nerve, but excitement to be here with the top 12 girls in the world.
Sydney White – Girls’ Pole Vault “I was happy to PR. It was different to be vaulting near the big crowd. It helped me a lot to hear my teammates while I was down there. It is always good to be around girls vaulting higher than you, it helped me to PR.