Team USA ready for opening day of IAAF World Junior Championships
MONCTON, CANADA -- When the 13th IAAF World Junior Championships get under way Monday at Stade Moncton 2010 with the opening ceremonies and the women's 3000-meters, the flagbearer for Team USA will have more than just waving the red, white and blue on his mind. Conor McCullough, the silver medalist in the men's hammer at the 2008 WJC, passed up competing in the NCAA championships for Princeton in June to focus on winning the gold here.
McCullough, who set an American Junior record in Des Moines at the national championships last month, was also selected as a team captain by his peers, along with Oregon distance runner Jordan Hasay.
More than 2,000 athletes from more than 170 nations will compete over the next seven days at the brand-new stadium in the Canadian maritime province of New Brunswick. The World Junior meet, last held in Canada in 1988 at Sudbury, Ontario, is a stepping-stone for future Olympians, and Team USA is stocked with a mix of newcomers and veterans of international competition.
Besides McCullough, U.S. men's head coach Ed Gorman will also have American record-setting race walker Trevor Barron and 2009 World Youth 400 silver medalist Joshua Mance, along with NCAA indoor 800 champion Robby Andrews of Virginia. Andrews has the fastest time in the world by a junior this year at 1:45.54.
Karen Dennis of Ohio State will head a women's team that includes double World Youth bronze medalist Ashton Purvis in the sprints and American Junior record holders Shelby Greany (3000 steeplechase) and Shelby Ashe (hammer). Purvis leads the '10 world junior 100 list at 11.17, and ranks second in the 200 at 22.90.
Team USA won 17 total medals at the '08 meet, including 11 golds and a sweep of the relays, and nabbed 16 medals at the '09 WYC, six of them gold.
Hasay will be joined in Monday's 3000 by Missouri high schooler Emily Sisson, who won the U.S. junior title over Hasay in a scintillating battle to the tape.
For more information on the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships, visit www.usatf.org.