World Youth Outlook for 2017 by Mike Kennedy

Eighth-grader Tia Jones was the youngest New Balance Nationals champion last June when she won the 100-meter hurdle Finals in 13.08. The Georgia sprinter is a top contender for the World Youth Championships in 2017. Mike Kennedy of Track & Field News reports on top prospects for the biannual event.


At Nairobi, Kenya, July 12-16, 2017


At TBA, June, 2017

           To be eligible to compete you must 1) be a U.S. citizen with a valid passport; 2) be born in 2000 or 2001; and 3) have met two qualifying standards, one standard for the U.S. World Youth Championship trials and a second standard for the World Youth Championships (there are two separate standards and two different time frames when marks must be achieved). The 2015 U.S. Trials standards for the World Youth Championships and the 2015 World Youth championship standards are listed for reference and will be updated in late 2016 (WYC) and early 2017 (U.S. Trials).

First in a Series-
Compiled by Mike Kennedy (e-mail  )

All Marks Through Feb 1.


                 In 2015, the United States won its eighth straight IAAF World Youth Championships team title in Cali, Colombia. In contrast to 2013, when the U.S. totaled a 152 points (scoring the top eight finishers) but won just two gold medals and 17 overall), the Americans upped its totaled to 163 points, eight gold medals and 19 medals overall. The eight gold medals and 19 gold-silver-bronze total are also all-time World Youth Championship bests. Since 2009 the U.S. teams have been about 40 strong and made up  almost exclusively of athletes that had shown, by performance, the ability to make a WYC final. The limit of about 40 has resulted in a number of athletes who had demonstrated that ability to make a final not being selected.

             This year the USATF Youth selection body took 40 athletes who met that standard but also added eight additional athletes who, although not achieving that standard, were very close. Most of the additional athletes performed very well including Phillip Rocha of Arcadia (Ca.), who finished ninth in the 1,500 final.  Liam Christiansen of Academic Magnet (North Charleston, S.C.), a javelin thrower from a school with no track or track team, entered the U.S. trails with a best of 194-10 with the 800 gram javelin and won with a 224-2  with the Youth 700 gram javelin. That mark was equivalent to 238-4 which would likely make a WYC final. At the WYC qualifying Christensen improved to a U.S. Youth record of  238-2 to just miss making the final by l8 inches. The standard of making the WYC final has been an excellent guide in selecting a team but it's great to see that the Youth committee was willing to extend invitations to additional athletes.

      The performances of the 2013 and especially the 2015 U.S. teams at future WYC will be very tough to match given the fact the rest of the world is now fully committed to sending athletes to the WYC. With nineteen months-almost two full seasons, before the championships in Nairobi, Kenya, identifying prospects for the U.S. team is difficult, especially for the boys, who show so much improvement when they turn 16 and 17. Also keep in mind that birthdates for many athletes are not always available and there for not always known. A list of U.S. prospects for both boys and girls can be accompanying this file.



      Tyrese Cooper.

      Get used to the name because you are going to hear it and read it........a lot in the next two years and beyond. In 2015 he dominated the Youth division sprinters with bests of 10.61 in the 100, 20.94 in the 200 and 46.44 in the 400 running for Miami Express Track Club. He won the Florida State Middle Schools championships in all three events. His bests in the 200 and 400 led the world Youth division for athletes born in 2000-01 and broke the national eighth grade record in all three events. This year he is a freshman at American (Hialeah, Fl.). Cooper's time of 10.61 ranks him just behind the U.S. Youth leader Terrence Horne of Miramar (Fl.), who ran 10.58 and finished sixth in the state high school 4A Division. Dejour Russell of  Jamaica was the world leader at 10.54. Tyreke Wilson of Jamaica was the non-U.S. world leader in the 200 at 21.11 and has a best of 10.55 in the 100. Marcellus  Boykin of Columbia (Decatur, Ga.) is second in the U.S. with a best of 21.57. Brian Herron of Lakeside (Atlanta, Ga.) and Justin Long of Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.) are co-second fastest world Youth at 47.82. Both Cooper and Herron are off to a fast start indoors. Cooper has run 21.54 and 47.97 while Herron has bests of 21.84 and 48.76.

      Charlie Kern of York (Elmhurst, Il.) is the best overall Youth distance with a nation-leading bests of 1:55.10 in the 800 and 4:18.44 in the 1,600. He also ranks third in the 3,200 with a 9:31.01. Josh Cable of Rochester (Il) ranks just behind Kern in the 800 with his 1:55.72.  Raymon Ornelas of Roosevelt (Eastvale, Ca.) is 3,200 leader at 9:24.87. Andy Monroe of Crater (Central Point, Or.) is the U.S. leader at 3,000 with a fourth place finish in the State 5A meet at 8:45.12, which is equivalent to 9:23.7 for 3,200 meters. He also as a U.S. best of 4:04.46 for 1,600. Anthony Giannobile of Skyline (Ann Arbor, Mi.) at 4:20.14 and Drew Thompson of Fairfield Prep, Fairfield, Ct.) at 9:26.68 both rank No. 2 in the U.S. Rainey Anderson of Westlake, Atlanta, Ga.) is the world Youth leader in the 39-inch 110 high hurdles with a best of 14.15. Naoki Takahashi of Japan is the leader over the 36-inch Youth 110 hurdles at 14.08. The difference between the two heights is about .30 seconds. Jamal Safo of University Park (Il.) ran 14.20 in a summer AAU meet where no wind gauge was in use. Anderson also is the U.S. leader in the 36-inch 300 meter hurdles with his 37.96 in finishing second at the state 6A final. Anderson is also the world Youth leader at the 300 low hurdles with his 37.96 in finishing second at the state 6A 300 final. Reed VanderHeyden of Genesco(Il.) is the only other hurdler under 39.00 with a time of 38.53 to finish fifth in the State 2A final. There are no other notable times in the 300 or 400 hurdles.

         Last year Sean Lee of Trabuco Hills (Mission Viejo, Ca.) finished second in the state meet with personal best 6-9. This January the 6-5 ½ sophomore opened up with a 6-10 clearance in an all-comers meet for the best jump in the world for Youth athletes born in 2000-01. K.S. Anandhu of India ranks No. 2 at 6-9 ½. Kyle Garland of Germantown Academy, Ft. Washington, Pa.) is second nationally at 6-6 indoors. In the pole vault,  Colton Crum of Frankfort (In.) cleared 16-7 in a state regional meet before finishing second at state clearing 16-3. His best also is a world Youth leader. No other vaulter has cleared 16-0 ¾. The second best U.S. vaulter is freshman Max Manson of Monarch (Louisville, Co.), who cleared 14-1 ½ in a 2016 indoor meet at Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Max is the son of Pat Manson who set a national high school indoor record of 17-6 ½ in 1986 and had a career best of 19-0 ¾ indoors and 19-2 ½ outdoors. There are three other U.S. vaulters over 14-0.

           James Brown of Drew (Riverdale, Ga.) is the U.S. leader in the long jump with his winning 23-4 at the AAU National Junior Olympic championship 15-16 division. Seneca Milledge of Fort. Myers Academy (Fort Myers, Fl.) has jumped 22-1 ½ with legal wind and 22-7 ½ where no wind reading were available. However, he has a best of 10.76 in the 100 at the state middle school championship. The world Youth leader is Jarod Biya of Switzerland at 24-0 ½.  Maurice Robinson of Murphy (Mobile, Al.) is the U.S. triple jump leader at 43-10 ½ indoors. Emmanuel Oyetunde of Franklin (El Paso, Tx.) has jumped 47-0 ¼ and Robinson has a best of 44-6 but no wind readings were taken. Maykel Vidal of Cuba is the world Youth leader at 50-9 ½. Joshua Sobota of Bearden (Knoxville, Tn.) is the U.S. shot put leader at 51-6 ½  with the 12-lb. shot. Arttu Koskeasolo of Finland  is the world Youth leader at 64-1 ½ with the 5-kilo (11-lb).shot. Generally there is about a three-foot difference between the two implements.

       LeeRoi Johnson of Tonganoixie (Ks.) is the U.S. leader at 162-4 with the high school  (1.62 kilo) discus. Keep an eye out for Bryan Hudson, a freshman from Williamstown (Ky.), who has thrown the 1-kilo discus 198-4. James Tomlinson of Great Britain is the world Youth leader at 184-2 with the 1.5-kilo Youth discus. The difference between high school and Youth discus is about 10 feet. Donat Varga of Hungary is the world Youth leader at 231-11 with the 5-kilo (11-lb) hammer. The U.S. has no one over 150-0 with either the 5-kilo or high school (12-lb) hammer. Tyriq Horsford of Trinidad is world Youth leader with the 700-gram javelin at 232-0. The U.S. has no one over 193-0 with the high school (800-gram) or the Youth javelin. Kyle Garland of Germantown Academy, Washington, Pa.) has a best of 5,543 in the decathlon with the high school implements.                                


       Last year Tia Jones was an eighth grader at Dickerson middle school in Marietta (Ga.). Facing stacked 100-meter hurdle field running over 33-inch hurdles at the New Balance nationals in Greensboro (N.C.), she would be meeting many of the best high school hurdlers in the nation. No Problem. Jones qualified for the final finishing second in her heat to Tonea Marshall of Seguin (Arlington, Tx.), 13.53 to 13.64 with legal wind. In the final, it was again  Jones vs. Marshall but this time Jones prevailed 13.08 to 13.12. The race was wind-aided at 2.5 meter per second breeze but it made Jones the eighth fastest high schooler of all-time under all conditions, despite her not being technically in high school. She remained undefeated in finals in the summer and finished the season with a legal best of 13.45 in winning the USATF National Junior Olympic (14-15) title. On the high school year-end wind legal list six of the top eight high school runners in the nation had run in the New Balance final. Finishing fifth in that race was Alexis Duncan of DeSoto (Tx.), who would later that summer run 12.95 at the World Youth championships for the second fastest Youth time ever run over the 30-inch hurdles.

         Jones was not at the World Youth championships because.............she was too young. For the year, Jones ranked as fastest Youth athlete running over the high school  hurdles with her 13.45. She was followed by  Jada Hicks of Upland (Ca.) and Maria Vincente of Spain, both at 14.05. The fastest times for  Youth division athletes was 13.50 by Daszay Freeman of Jamaica. Jones best time for the Youth hurdles came in 2014 when she ran 13.40-a time that would have placed her fifth at the  last years World Youth championships.  Earlier in her career in 2013, Jones demonstrated her flat speed when she ran 23.81 for 200 meters at the USATF National JO (13-14) division, as a sixth grader. In the 400 hurdles, Sydni Townsend of Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Masai Russell of The Bullis School, Potomac, Md.) were two-three in the AAU National JO (15-16), running 60.99 and 61.00 for the second and third fastest Youth in the world behind Sanique Walker of Jamaica, who had a best of 59.04. Walker has a best of 53.59 in the flat 400. Kennedy Simon of  Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.) is the U.S. Youth leader over in the  300 hurdles in finishing second at state 6A meet at 42.85. She also has a best of  53.27 in the flat 400. Frida Hamalainen of Finland is the world leader at 42.85 in winning the national under-15 championships.

         Daloria Boone of Baldwin (Milledgeville, Ga.) won the state 3A 100 title in 11.71 after running 11.67 in the heats for the top Youth Division time in the world. Kiara Grant of Jamaica had a best 11.74 to rank No. 2. Jada Hicks of Upland (Ca.) was third in the state meet to rank No. 3 and Kynnedy Flannel of Alvin (Tx.) won the USATF National JO (15-16) championships in 12.02 after running 11.85 in the heats to rank No. 4. Earlier in the meet Flannel ran a wind-aided 11.56. In the 200 Flannel of Alvin (Tx.) could not get out of the State 6A 200 regional's despite running 24.44 but later ran 24.09 in the USATF National Junior Olympic championship to rank as the world Youth division leader. Jayana Webb (Norristown, Pa.) was third in the State 3A meet in 24.11 to rank No. 2 and freshman Arria Minor of East (Denver, Co.) ran  24.16 indoors at the Air Force Academy in late January to rank No. 3. Shamarah Shannon of Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) was third in her state 3A meet in 24.21 after running 24.20 to give the U.S. a sweep of the top four spots. The rest of the world was led by Joanne Reid of Jamaica, who ran 24.21 at the ISSA schools championship. Boone backed up her world Youth leading 100 time with a 24.21 in winning the state 3A final to rank No. 5. Ariyonna Augustine of Poly (Long Beach, Ca.) had wind aided times of 11.58 and 24.09. Kennedy Simon of Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.) won the state 6A 400 in 53.72 to lead the U.S. and rank No. 3 on the world Youth list followed by freshman Dajour Miles of Aurora (Il) and eighth grader Shaniya Hall from Glen Burnie (Md.), who finished first and second in the AAU National JO (14) division, at 54.08 and 54.32, respectively. Jamaican's Anna-Kay Allen and  Saniqua Walker are 1-2 in the world with times of 53.46 and 53.59 at the ISSA schools championship.

      Last year as freshman Rylee Penn of Centennial (Corona, Ca.) made one of the most dramatic improvements in the nation. In her first high school race in late February she won the 800 at the Laguna Beach distance invitational running 2:25.34. A little more than three months later she finished second at California state meet running 2:07.43 to rank as the No. 1 U.S. runner in the Youth division for athletes born in 2000-01. Great Britain has the top two running in the world in Tally Simpson at 2:06.22 and Kelly-Ann at 2:06.82. Penn stands fourth. Keep eye out for Dorian Coleman of Oak Park (Mi.) who ran a best of 2:11.44 in finishing second in the State Division I race. Freshman Taylor Roe of  Kamiah (Mukilteo, Way.) is the U.S. leader for both the 1.500 at 4:31.31 and the 1,600 at 4:47.6. Catherine Miller of Australia is the world leader at 4:20.24 and 4:42.57 for a mile. Freshman Kelsye Chmiel of Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) is the U.S. leader at 3,000 meters with her 9:50.10 for 3,000 meters in January. She also has a best of 4:35.71 in the 1,500.  Another freshman, Amaris Tyynismaa of Montgomery Catholic (Montgomery, Al.) leads the 3,200 with her indoor 10:32.94 to win the 2015 state indoor meet. Tomomi Takamatsu of Japan is the world Youth 3,000 leader at 9:13.35 and Miller is second at 9:14.96 run November. Peyton Engborg of Saratoga Springs is the U.S. leader in the 2,000 steeplechase at 7:03.77 and Crystal Ortiz of Hudson Catholic, Jersey City, N.J.) is second at 7:04.41. Anna Helwigh of Denmark is the world leader at 6:50.26. 

       Daloria Boone, the world Youth leader at 100 meters, is also second in the long jump with a winning 20-4 at the Taco Bell Invitational, followed by Lanae Tave-Thomas of Rush-Henrietta (Henrietta, N.Y.) with 20-0 effort in winning the Jackson-Walker indoor meet in January and Kynnedy Flannel at 19-9 ½.. The world Youth leader is Holly Mills of Great Britain at 20-7 ¾. Sanaa Barnes of Bryon Nelson (Trophy Club, Tx.) is the U.S. Youth high jump leader at 5-9 with state regional win and Marisa Gwimmer of Galion (Oh.) is second at 5-8 ½. Valentina Ulyanova of Russia is the world leader at 5-11 ½. Barnes best ranks No. 7 among world Youth. Freshman Mackenzie Hayward of Marcus (Flower Mound, Tx.) is the U.S. Youth pole vault leader with a 12-9 vault in January and ranks sixth in the world behind Aksana Gataullina of Russia, who has cleared 13-5 ¼ this winter. In the triple jump, the U.S. leaders are freshman Jasmine Moore of Grand Prairie (Tx.), who won the USATF National JO (13-14) division at 40-1 ½ . Sophomore Saudia James-Heard of Curtis (University Place, Wa.) is second at 39-11 ¾ and has a wind-aided 40-3 ¼. The world leader is Sonya Kussekala of Ukraine, who finished second in the European Youth Olympic festival with a wind-aided 43-7 ¾ and a legal best of 42-6 ½.

          Amaya King of Mason (Oh.) is the U.S. Youth leader at 44-8 ¾ with the high school 4-kilo shot. Talya Schwarz of Dixon (Il.) is second at 43-7. Ioana Tiganasu of Romania is the world Youth leader with the 4-kilo shot and  Trinity Tutti of Canada is the world leader with the Youth 3-kilo  shot at 54-2 indoors in January. The difference between the two implements is about six feet.  Makayla Kelby of West (Lee's Summit, Mo.) is the U.S. Youth discus leader at 148-5 followed by Karlee Freeman of Raymond (Wa.) at 148-0.  Jessica Slagus of North Pocono (Moscow, Pa.) is the U.S. Youth hammer leader with the high school  4-kilo at 158-8 and the Youth 3-kilo implement at 172-0. Tatsiana Ramanourich of Belarus is the world leader with both weights at 192-7 and 216-4. The difference between the two is about 20 feet.  Freshman Meghan Owens of Harroldsburg (Ky.) is U.S. javelin leader with the high school 600-gram implement. Carolina Viscu of Italy has thrown 169-4 with the high school javelin and 197-1 with the Youth 500-gram implement. Freshman Sterling Lester of Kennesaw, Ga.) lead the U.S. Youth heptathletes with 4,665 points using high school implements. Annik Kalin of Switzerland  is world leader with Youth implements at 5,451. Scores tend to be about 250 points higher with Youth implements. 

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