13 Can't Miss USA Athletes At U20s, Plus 6 More Worldwide

Team USA 


Samantha Watson/Caitlin Collier

Event: 800m

School: Texas A & M University/Bolles School (FL)-Stanford signee

Breakdown: The American distance combo could battle it out at the finish, just like USA Juniors. Historically speaking, Watson has the edge in experience. The Texas A&M freshman is coming off an NCAA Championship and ran 2:00.65 in Switzerland last year against senior competition, a year in which she posted three times at 2-flat. Two years ago, Watson also earned a U20 title in Poland, racing to a win in 2:04.52, and four years ago she won a World Youth Championship in 2:03.54. 

But hey, races are races, and history means little if the collective pace of this year's field is much faster. Collier, ranked No. 2 in the world at U20, is a big reason why. The recent Bolles School (FL) graduate and Stanford recruit went toe-to-toe with Watson in the USA Juniors final and finished second in 2:01.66. She ran a career best of 2:00.85 at the Music City Distance Carnival, though, and was third at the Pan American Junior Championships a year ago. Don't be surprised if Collier puts some pressure on Watson early and tries to go for an all-out kick in the final 50 meters. 

Contenders alongside Watson and Collier include Ethiopia's Diribe Welteji, who owns the No. 3 time at U20 in 2:00.89, and Hirut Meshesha, who owns the No. 5 time at 2:01.16. Australia's Keely Small, who ran 2:00.81 at the Gold Coast Games, was not eligible for U20s and will not be competing. 



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