Junior Olympics kick off in California

Southern California plays host to the nation's largest and most prestigious youth meet July 24-29 as the 41st USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships take place at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

The USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships is the largest and most visible youth athlete developmental program in the world. Many of today's Olympic stars got their start by competing in the USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships.

The Championships are a national competition with entry based upon qualifying standards for each event. The Junior Olympics feature the following age divisions: Bantam (10 and under), Midget (11-12), Youth (13-14), Intermediate (15-16) and Young Men/Women (17-18). Entry for this championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association, and Regional levels of the 2007 USATF Junior Olympic Program.

USA'S brightest stars headline meet

Many of the country's most outstanding young athletes will compete in Walnut. 2007 USA Junior 400 champion Bryshon Nellum of the Southern Cal Running Cougars won the Pan American Junior gold in the one-lapper, and will also contest the 200 here. He has a best of 45.38 in the 400 and also clocked a world junior-leading 20.43 to win the California state meet in the 200.

IAAF World Youth double gold medalist William Wynne of the Titans in Kennesaw, Ga., is entered in the 400, 110 hurdles and 400 hurdles after racing to a record-setting 49.01 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, two weeks ago. Wynne also won silver in the 110H in Ostrava, and helped Team USA to gold in the medley relay.

Christian Taylor of Quicksilver TC in Atlanta, Ga., won the triple jump at the World Youth Championships and also nabbed bronze in the long jump. He had lifetime bests of 15.98 meters/52-5.25 and 7.29m/23-11 in Ostrava.

In the young women's triple jump, Ke'Nyia Richardson brings impressive credentials. She finished sixth in the open/elite event at theAT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Champoinshipsbefore claiming the Junior national title. The California state champ from EOYDC in Oakland has a best of 13.55m/44-5.5 set in winning the Pan American Junior gold in Brazil.

Jacquelyn Coward of Track Knoxville in Knoxville, Tenn., has the leading times in the young women's 100 hurdles and 400 hurdles at 13.17 and 57.20, and she will be challenged in the short hurdles by World Youth champion Julian Purvis of the EOYDC in Oakland, Calif.

The meet is being webcast at http://usatfyouth.sportnet.com. For more information and complete results, visit www.usatf.org.