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Ford Palmer - By ELLIOTT DENMAN(Jun 29th 2014, 8:54am)



USATF Juniors Previews

Published by
Armory Track News   Jul 7th 2014, 4:48pm

By Jack Pfeifer

PORTLAND, Ore. – After a somewhat low-key spring, Mary Cain returns to the spotlight this weekend as the leading entry in the women’s 3,000 meters at the U.S. Juniors championships, which begin their two-day run Saturday afternoon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

So long as they have meet the international standard, the top two finishers in each event qualify for the U.S. team that will compete in the World Juniors, to be held in the same stadium three weeks from now. It will be the first time those championships have been held in the U.S.

For the internationally experienced Cain, this weekend’s race promises to be an easy jaunt. The next-best competitor is likely to be Hannah DeBalsi, the sophomore from Staples High School (Westport, Conn.) who has run an excellent 9:55 this spring for 3,200 meters. Cain’s 3k PR is 9:02.10, from an indoor race on an oversized track in 2013. That was the national high school record until it was broken this past winter by Alexa Efraimson (Camas, Wash.). Cain has not run farther than one mile so far in 2014.

The all-time U.S. Junior record is 32 years old, 8:57.27 by Ceci Hopp – then a Stanford freshman, originally from Connecticut – in 1982. That remains the only sub-9:00 3k by a U.S. Junior. (For the purposes of this meet, Juniors must be under the age of 20 throughout this calendar year.)

Looking ahead to the World Juniors, Cain faces a formidable road ahead as six athletes internationally have gone under 9:00 so far this season, including 19-year-old Sembera Teferi of Ethiopia, who ran 8:41.54 in the Diamond League meet at Doha. The others are two other Ethiopians, two Kenyans and one from Poland. It is not known yet, however, if any of them will be competing in the World meet.

Efraimson and the other top high school girl miler from this season, Elise Cranny (Niwot, Colo.), will be running the 1,500 in Eugene. Efraimson has run 4:07.05 this spring, Cranny 4:10.92. Only Cain, who set the national high school and U.S. Junior records of 4:04.62 a year ago, has run faster as a prep. The next-leading entrant in the women’s 15 is Catherine Pagano (Northern Highlands, NJ), who has run 4:26.24.

In addition to Pagano and Cain, there are several dozen other top athletes from the New York area who will be contending this weekend for berths on the national team:



Zyaire Clemes (Trenton NJ) and Taylor McLaughlin (Union Catholic NJ) are entered in the 400, where the top seed is Michael Cherry (45.36), Florida State freshman. Clemes, also bound for FSU, has run 46.57 this year, 46.28 last year, while McLaughlin has run 46.94. Chinedu Amonu (Ewing, NJ), freshman at U Conn, has run 47.27. The 100  features Trayvon Bromell, recent NCAA champion for Baylor as a freshman, when he set the new World Junior record of 9.97. He will face the sensational prep from North Carolina, Trentavis Friday, who has run 10.17/20.33. In the 200 Friday will face Kendal Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.), who has run 20.55.


Dylan Capwell, the Monmouth freshman from Hopatcong, N.J., is the top seed in the 800, having run 1:47.68, in a spring capped by repeated PRs. He had never broken 1:50 before this year. Other leading seeds in the 8 are Joe White (DePaul Catholic, Wayne, NJ), 1:48.75, and Princeton-bound Garrett O’Toole (Middlesex, Concord, Mass.), 1:49.68.

The men’s 1,500 field includes Henry Wynne, Virginia freshman from Staples, 3:46.48; Michael O’Donnell, U Conn frosh from Massachusetts, 3:48.47; Eric Holt, Binghamton freshman from Carmel, N.Y., 3:48.94, and Luke Gavigan (Tappan Zee, NY), 4:08.96 for the mile.

Alec Peinkofer, Buffalo freshman from Baldwinsville, N.Y., is the #2 entry in the steeplechase (9:03.45), joined by Mitchell Ryan (SUNY/Cortland), 9:29.35. The nation’s leading prep steeplechaser this season, Tyler Rank (Hilton, NY), at 9:11.24, is also in the field. Spencer Johnson of Marist is in the 10k.

Field events

Braheme Days, the UCLA redshirt freshman from Bridgeton, N.J., is the leading entrant in the shot put (62-3 ¾ international weight). He is also in the disc (179-2).

In some events, the U.S. is in danger of missing the entry standards. In the men’s hammer, no one has met the standard yet of 201-5. Entries in that event include two throwers from Monmouth, Timothy Wilson (Washingtonville, NY), best of 198-11, and Troy Andretta (Kinnelon, NJ), 187-3, along with the Dartmouth freshman Tim Brennan (Princeton, NJ), 183-8.

In the men’s javelin, Curtis Thompson (Memorial HS, Florence Township, NJ) has exceeded the 224-9 standard by 1 inch, one of just two competitors to do so.

The high jump has Kingsley Ogbonna, Albany frosh from Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. (6-10 ¼), the pole vault Binghamton’s Peter Fagan (Westfield, NJ), 16-4 ¾. The HJ standard is 7-1, cleared by only one of the entrants so far.


Track events

The short sprints promise to be a showdown between Ariana Washington (Long Beach Poly, Calif.), 11.22 100, and Kaylin Whitney (Eastridge, Clermont, Fla.), 11.27. Washington is headed to Oregon in the fall.

Olivia Baker (Columbia, Maplewood, NJ), headed for Stanford later this year, is entered in both the 400 (52.71) and 800 (2:06.01). where she will face plenty of competition, including Kendall Baisden (50.46), an NCAA finalist last month for Texas in the 400, and New York City’s own Sabrina Southerland, a freshman this year at Georgetown, in the 800 (2:04.21). Also in these events are Precious Holmes (52.89 400), freshman at South Carolina from Connecticut, and Tionna Garner, Monmouth freshman from Trenton (2:09.17 800).

The steeplechase field includes Kate Zendell (Suffern, NY), 6:51.88 for the 2k distance this spring.

The World Juniors contests the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Those squads will be comprised of the top runners in the dashes this weekend.

The Union Catholic (NJ) frosh phenom Sydney McLaughlin – whose older brother Taylor is in the 400 – is the top prep entrant in the 400 hurdles (56.89), but she will have plenty of competition in Shamier Little, who was NCAA champion this year for Texas A&M, running 55.07 as a freshman. The #3 high school entry is Garden City’s Emma Gallagher (58.87).

Field events

Keturah Orji (Mt Olive, NJ) is the leading entrant in both horizontal jumps, at 20-11 ¾ in the long jump and 44-1 ¼ in the triple.

Faith Blamon, Monmouth freshman from Cinnaminson, N.J., is in the javelin, with a best of 146-10.




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