Incoming Stanford freshman wins junior decathlon title

Stanford recruit Harrison Williams clears the pole vault at just over 16 feet on Thursday at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento. Photo by Spencer Allen/


Stanford-bound Harrison Williams won the junior national championship in the decathlon on Thursday, scoring the second-highest total in U.S. history.


Williams, who signed a national letter of intent with Stanford in February, scored 7,734 points in the USA Track and Field Championships at Hornet Stadium and qualified for the IAAF World Junior Championships on July 22-27 in Eugene, Ore., by finishing among the top two.


"It's very motivating going into world junior," Williams said. "Last year was a little bit of a disappointment. I only got third at youth trials and that gave me a lot of motivation to come back and get a spot on the team."


The score for the Memphis, Tenn., native was second only to the 7,748 by Gunnar Nixon of Santa Fe High (Edmond, Okla.) in 2011 on the U.S. list for those 19 and under.


"My highlights were definitely the long jump, where I PR'ed by a foot, and the 400, where I PRed by more than a second," Williams said.


The heptathlon and decathlon are the only junior championship events being contested in conjunction with USATF's national championships, which run through Sunday afternoon and feature most of the USA's current Olympians, including gold medalists.


Stanford grad Chris Derrick finished second in the 10,000 meters in 28:18.18 and Cardinal grad Garrett Heath qualified in the 1,500 meters by finishing 13th overall.


"I wanted to try to run hard at the front; that's something I need to practice," Derrick said. "I think I did okay. I kind of took stock of the situation with about six to go. I figured he (Galen Rupp) might sit on that and kick. I got heavy and for about 30 meters I tried to hold him off as he was preparing to pass and it was over pretty quick. I tried to get my legs moving, they were just a little dead."


Two current Stanford athletes, each a 2014 NCAA outdoor finalist, competed on Thursday: junior Luke Lefebure in the men's 800 and senior Michael Atchoo in the men's 1,500.


Lefebure ran 1:48.37, his second-fastest ever, to finish sixth in his heat and 15th overall, 0.35 from the final qualifying spot on time. Atchoo ran 3:48.47 to finish 12th in his heat and 24th overall.


Stanford grads Brendan Gregg finished seventh and Jacob Riley was ninth in the 10,000 meters.


Williams, a recent graduate of Memphis University School, shattered his previous best of 7,181 set in the USA Junior Olympic championships last year.


He beat runner-up Gabriel Moore, who is headed to Arkansas, by 140 points. Williams' won only one event, his specialty, the pole vault (16-0 ¾). However, he was second in the long jump, high jump, and 400.

- Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics