The last day of the USATF Junior National T&F Championships took place Sunday and the results presented were the perfect way to end an excellent weekend. Six Junior National champions Sunday were high school athletes, including Jordan Hasay (CA), Rachel Laurent (LA), Ryan Fleck (OH), Ryann Krais (PA), Geoffrey Tabor (OK) and Laurynne Chetelat (CA). Each one booked their ticket to Poland to compete at the World Junior T&F Championships, July 8-13. See who brought their best on the final day.
USATF Junior National Champs - Sunday Highlights
It's not a surprise that Jordan Hasay (Mission Prep, CA) (pictured left leading the pack, #260, photo by Margot Kelly) won the women's 1500m run Sunday afternoon in Columbus. The California prep distance runner won the race last year as a sophomore. Since then Hasay has only stepped up her game, winning numerous state titles and lowering her personal bests. This time around Hasay used a strong kick to take home the junior national title in the event once again, running 4:18.44.
Afterwards Hasay said, "Two girls passed me in the last lap and I definitely didn't want to get third, so I decided to move out into lane two and pressed to get the win."
With this win and locking up a spot on the World Junior team, Hasay now looks forward to the Olympic Trials and testing her skills against the countries best professional and collegiate runners.
Two other distance runners that qualified for the World Championships were Ohioans Stephanie Morgan (Barnesville, OH) and Cory Leslie (Sandusky-Perkins, OH). Both athletes finished third in the 1500m, Morgan running 4:21.52 in the women's race, while Leslie ran 3:49.51 against an incredibly strong field.
In the sprints Victoria Jordan (Fort Worth Dunbar, TX) and Ashton Purvis (St. Elizabeth, CA) placed 2-3 in the women's 200m dash, both extending their seasons. Jordan proved to be the top senior sprinter this season in the short sprints, this time finishing in 23.73, while sophomore Purvis ran 23.80.
One of the more impressive performances of the day came in the women's 400m dash. Freshman phenom Akawkaw Ndipagbor (Long Beach Poly, CA) ran a gutsy race from start to finish, holding on at the line to finish third in 53.62. Ndipagbor finished only .03 ahead of fourth place finisher Arkansas' Shelise Williams.
The top field event performances of the day came from Ryan Fleck (Napoleon, OH) in the men's high jump and Rachel Laurent (Vanderbilt Catholic, LA) (pictured right by Margot Kelly) in the women's pole vault. Both athletes showed incredible consistency and strength, best the rest of the fields in their respective events. Fleck cleared 7-01.50 to beat in-state rival Erik Kynard (Rogers, OH), who finished in the runner-up spot with his 7-00.25 effort. Meanwhile, Laurent won the pole vault with an exceptional mark of 13-10, just missing her attempts of over 14-00. South Dakota prepster Leslie Brost (Watertown, SD) finished second in 13-05.50.
In other field event action, Conor McCullough (Claremont, CA) showed that he is still the best high school hammer thrower this season, placing second behind LSU's Walter Henning in the men's hammer throw. McCullough threw an impressive mark of 233-05, earning his trip to Poland and earning the pre-meet favorite in '09 since he is only a junior.
Geoffrey Tabor (Ardmore, OK) also threw well by winning the men's discus throw in 195-05. Tabor had a long evening, driving from Nike Team Nationals in North Carolina where he placed second in the discus, to Ohio to compete in this competition. The Stanford-bound senior had an excellent season and will look to continue it through the World Junior Championships.
With the decathlon wrapped up the day before, the women's heptathlon became Ryann Krais' (Methacton, PA) (pictured left by Margot Kelly) place to shine. Krais, who'd set the U.S. #2 all-time mark in the event a few weeks prior at the Great Southwest Classic, worked her way through day one in good standing and really attacked it Sunday. Crossing the finish line in third place for the 800m dash, the last event of the heptathlon, Krais could breathe a little easier knowing she was going to Poland, scoring 5217 points for first, and had one more shot to get the national record in the event.
The last event of the day, the women's 3,000m, pitted some of the best young female distance talent in the country against one another. Sub-10 3200m runner Laurynne Chetelat (Davis, CA) was considered the heavy favorite coming in, especially after Jordan Hasay (Mission Prep, CA) dropped out and in the end Chetelat showed her dominance winning by 13 seconds. Chetelat set a solid opening pace and broke the field fairly early while on her way to a 9:29.45 time. High school athletes swept the top three spots, as Kathleen McCafferty (Oak Knoll, NJ) and Alex Banfich (Culver Academies, IN) finished second and third respectively in 9:42.82 and 9:56.94.