The top junior athletes, ages 16-19, flocked to Eugene as Historic Hayward Field played host for the USATF Junior Championships Saturday.
The goal for all of the athletes is to qualify for the national team and represent the United States at the World Junior Championships, which is being held for the first time at Hayward Field later this month. To qualify an athlete must finish in the top-two of his or her event, as long as they also have a World Qualifying Standard.
Representing the host town were several current and future Ducks, five Oregon freshmen and six Oregon signees. After the first day of competition the young talent of Tracktown shined bright.
Incoming freshman sprinter Ariana Washington lived up to her expectations in the women’s 100. Washington entered the meet with the top qualifying time in the field (11.22), and by the end of the night not much had changed.
Washington finished second behind Kaylin Whitney as both qualified for the U.S. national team. Whitney, of Star Athletics TC, finished in 11.10 while Washington was right behind her, crossing in 11.30.
Washington’s meet isn’t over yet as she will look to perform well in the women’s 200 tomorrow. She enters that event ranked second.
Oregon freshman Cole Walsh won the men’s pole vault with a final mark of 17-6.25. His mark was a personal record. Walsh will join Washington on the national team as they both will next compete in the World Junior Championships.
Ashlee Moore, another incoming Oregon freshman, had a busy first day. Moore competed in two events, the preliminary heat in the women’s 100 hurdles and the high jump. She advanced through to the finals in the hurdles while placing third in the high jump (5-8.75).
Oregon signee Nate Moore, from Castro Valley High School, jumped well in the men’s long jump despite leaving things to the last minute. He secured a fourth place finish after launching himself 24-8.5 on his final attempt.
Two more Oregon signees competed against one another in the men’s javelin. John Nizich finished second (211-7) while future teammate Jhet Janis came in fifth (204-9). While Nizich’s placing puts him into the Junior World Championships, his qualification is in question as he doesn’t have the standard.
In the men’s discus, Oregon freshman Cullen Prena struggled to record legal marks. He scratched two of his three throws, settling for a best of 168-11 for 11th place. Prena will have a chance to bounce back tomorrow, as he will compete in both the hammer and shot put.
Click here for a complete list of results.
The action will wrap up tomorrow for the conclusion of the USATF Junior Championships. The first event is scheduled to be the women’s discus.
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur