Fans will be treated to a glimpse of the future of USA Track & Field as the best high school standouts and the most promising college freshmen meet at Hayward Field for the 2011 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene Ore. June 22-26.
The USA Junior Championships serve as the selection meet for the 2011 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, July 22-24, in Miramar, Fla. The top two finishers in each event in Eugene will be invited to compete as members of Team USA.
It will be a battle between the Texans in the men’s 100m. Texas A&M freshman and 2009 World Youth Champ Prezel Hardy boasts the best 100m time of the field in 10.13. Hardy will be challenged by the best high schooler in the lone star state, Jaylon Hicks. With a wind-aided time of 10.15, Hicks ranks first among high schoolers this outdoor season.
In the 400m, Ronell Mance looks to capture his first USA Junior win. As a freshman from the University of South Carolina, Mance recently earned All-American honors at NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400m. His seed time of 45.29 is almost a full second faster than the rest of the field, and faster than the winning time at this event for the past 15 years.
Two of the nation’s best high school hurdlers are set to battle in the 110m hurdles. University of Oregon recruit Jonathan Cabral enters with a wind-aided best time of 13.27. He’ll face off against Demetrius Lindo who ran his best time of 13.58 to win this weekend’s New Balance Outdoor Nationals.
The men’s high jump will feature a competitive field with three athletes entered with marks over 2.20m/7-2.5 University of Pennsylvania freshman and NCAA Outdoor All-American Maalik Reynolds tops the list with a best of 2.28m/7-5.75. Lake Erie College’s Edward Dudley and Auburn’s David Smith sit close behind, both seeded at 2.22m/7-3.25.
Future Florida Gator Marquis Dendy looks to dominate in both of the horizontal jumps. His marks in the long jump (7.86m/25-9.5) and triple jump (15.88m/52-1.5) were the number one ranked high school jumps indoors and earn him the top seeds in both events entering the competition.
High school decathlon record holder Gunnar Nixon will face stiff competition from his future teammate, University of Arkansas freshman Kevin Lazas. Nixon holds the high school records with both high school implements (8,035) and international implements (7,577), but Lazas is coming off a personal best performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships (7,802) that earned him a tenth place finish.
Also competing in the meet will be defending USA Junior Outdoor 10,000m champion Parker Stinson (29:14.35), number one ranked high school hammer thrower Greg Skipper (69.88m/229-3), and number one ranked high school javelin thrower Sean Keller (70.74/232-1).
Oregon’s English Gardner will have the fans of Hayward Field behind her in the women’s 100m. Gardner made headlines earlier this year when she ran a personal best of 11.03 at the Pac-10 Championships and earned her spot in the history books with the fastest time ever in the event by a U.S. junior. Southern California’s Jessica Davis and Central Florida’s Aurieyall Scott will look to challenge Gardner. The trio will face off again in the 200m, where they own the top three seeds as well.
Kansas Jayhawk Diamond Dixon highlighted her freshman season with a third place finish at NCAA Outdoors in the 400m. Her seed time of 51.55 makes her the favorite in the event by nearly a full second.
In the women’s 1,500m and 100m hurdles, high school freshmen will set out to prove that their their youth is not a barrier as they challenge for the win.
The 1,500m will pit University of Florida freshman Cory McGee against New York’s high school freshman sensation Mary Cain. McGee (4:16.39) earned a tenth place finish at NCAA Outdoors in the event, but Cain’s best time of 4:17.84 ranks number one among high schoolers this season.
In the 100m hurdles, Clemson’s Bridgette Owens owns the best time going into the meet (13.08). Colorado high school freshman Dior Hall, whose time of 13.18 leads the nation in the event, will be Owens’ biggest challenger.
The junior women’s pole vault features Morgann LeLeux, the Louisiana high school senior who leads the nation with a mark of 4.34m/14-2.75. University of North Carolina freshman Sandi Morris has also cleared the 14-foot mark with a best of 4.30m/14-1.25.
Georgia prep star Shelbey Ashe should dominate the hammer throw with her seed of 64.35m/211-1. Ashe, the national high school weight and hammer throw record holder, leads her nearest competitor by almost 10 meters.
Also competing in the meet will be University of Texas high jumper Shanay Briscoe (1.86m/6-1.25), number one ranked high school triple jumper Ciarra Brewer (13.17/43-2.5), and number one ranked high school javelin thrower Avione Allgood (53.66/176-0).
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