* Correction: A previous version of this story said that Walton is 19-years-old. While official results state Walton's age at 19, his birthday is in November, according to the IAAF, and he will be turning 19 by the end of the year.
Miramar (Fl.) High rising senior Jamal Walton, 18, became just the second high school athlete to go sub-45 seconds in the 400 meters at the Pan American U20 Junior Championships, winning gold in 44.99 seconds in Trujillo, Peru.
The time gives Walton a US No. 2 all-time HS mark and is a junior class record, besting the former mark of 45.17 seconds. The World Junior record belongs to Steve Lewis, who ran 43.87 in Seoul, Korea, in 1988.
"My game plan was to get out smooth and relax my shoulder a little bit and don't let them get away from me," Walton told Flrunners.com. "And yes, I knew it was going be a fast race when I crossed the finish line. I was so pumped because I broke Obea Moore's 22-year-old record and qualified for the World Championships.
"It's a blessing to be one of the top athletes to run under 45 in high school, it's a honor," Walton wrote. "It was very important for me to maintain my title. I had to give my last year at the Pan Am Juniors a BANG."
(Video courtesy: Steve Underwood/NSAF)
Walton, who won the Brooks PR Invitational in 46.04 in June, had a previous best of 45.70 at the Florida High School Athletic Association Region 4A-4 Championships.
Stay tuned for more information from the Pan American Junior Championships.
American Josephus Lyles, a professional runner with adidas, finished second and ran a PB of 45.03.