The Amazing Eight: Top 8 Performances at the World Junior Champs.

With all the athletes home safe and sound after competing in the World Junior T&F Championships this past week, we take a look back at the top performances by prep athletes in the competition. While performances were abundant, we single out the top eight, led by none other than new national high school hammer throw record holder Conor McCullough (CA) (pictured right by Joy Kamani of We break down performances and discuss their significance, as the track and field season nears the finish line.

The Amazing Eight

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8. Lanie Whittaker (FL) Pulls Double Duty at 400m

It was hard to pick only eight performers to make this list, but in only eight could make it. Starting the list this time around was Florida's Lanie Whittaker (Jr., Miami Booker T. Washington, FL). Whittaker starts the list for two reasons. First, she made the final of the women's 400m dash, finishing seventh overall in 53.68, while showing consistency through the rounds. Second, she helped guide Team USA to gold in the 4x400m relay, dominating the rest of the field and helping the U.S. earn nearly a dozen gold medal performances. Whittaker, who's only a junior, will be able to use this international experience next spring when she's one of the favorites to top the 400m rankings yet again.

7. Ryann Krais (PA) Eighth in Hept., U.S. #5 A-T

The nationanl record was the goal. However, a slow start to day one kept Ryann Krais (Sr., Methacton, PA) from accomplishing that goal. The UCLA-bound senior still competed well, especially considering the fact that her 5457 point total earned her yet another U.S. top five all-time distinction. Krais had a special senior season, showcasing her skills over the long hurdles, heptathlon and the occasional sprinting and jumping events. Earning a U.S. #2 ranking earlier in the summer at the Great Southwest Class, Krais proved that with even the slightest improvement she could snag the U.S. record all for herself. While this wasn't the case in Poland, earning the U.S. #5 all-time mark and earning a world top ten finish should suffice at capping a senior season to remember.

6. Rachel Laurent (LA) Soars 13-11.25, Finishes Fourth

An overlooked performance to say the least, Rachel Laurent (Sr., Vanderbilt Catholic, LA) flew of 13-11.25 in the women's pole vault, a mark good enough to earn the senior a fourth place finish. Laurent's mark gave her another performance over 13-10, something she's done a few times this season. The consistency she showed during the second day of the event proves why she's one of the best female prep vaulters of all-time. Taking her skills to Louisiana State University next fall, Laurent will look to crack the 14 foot barrier again, push towards 14-06 and test her limits against more experienced collegiate competition.

5. Jordan Hasay (CA) Continues Her Magical Run

What a wild ride for Jordan Hasay (Jr., Mission Prep, CA). Less than three weeks ago she wasn't sure she was going to be able to compete in the Olympic Trials. Then she received word that she made it into the first round but couldn't run in the semi-final due to her commitments to the Junior squad. When Hasay made the semi-final USATF relented, letting the talented junior test her limits against America's best, while booking her on a flight to Poland early the next week.

From there Hasay made the final of the Olympic Trials, placing tenth, while also breaking the prep high school 1,500m record in the semi-final and becoming the crowd favorite in Eugene, Oregon. Hasay had been noticed before, but her rock-star status at the Trials was simply awe-inspiring.

After finishing up at the Trials, Hasay jumped on a plane to Poland, making three stops and finally arriving at her destination. With only a few days to rest and prepare, Hasay made it to the final of the World Junior 1,500m run, ran with the leaders and showed incredible drive and she finished fourth overall in 4:19.02 in the final. While Hasay didn't achieve her goal of medaling, this performance and that at the Trials sets her up well for next season when she'll be a senior and look to finish her high school career on top.

4. Laurynne Chetelat (CA) Surprises in Women's 3,000m

Surprise, surprise! If there was a national headline for Laurynne Chetelat's (Sr., Davis, CA) performance in the women's 3,000m run, that's what it should have been. The California senior ran strong throughout her entire race, never looking out of place, finishing in a strong sixth place overall. While a sixth place finish is great, her finishing time is just as impressive. Chetelat ran a smart race and finished in 9:15.11, U.S. #5 all-time. With that performance, Chetelat now holds two U.S. top five performances, one in the 3k and one in the 3,200m run.

It doesn't happen often that a U.S. distance runner finishes that high, especially in a long distance event (not the 800m or 1,500m). The Stanford-bound senior closed out her career with one of the highest notes one could and now shifts her focus to the cross country course. It will be fun to see how she translates such amazing success on the track this spring to the fields this fall.

3. Booker Nunley (NC) Earns 110m Hurdle Silver

While the United States took home nearly 20 medals, one of the most impressive came from Booker Nunley (Sr., Garner, NC). Only three prep athletes earned individual medals and Nunley was one of them. Despite a slow start in the final, the South Carolina commit showed his incredible power, catching and passing most of the field with 20 meters to go. While he couldn't catch the eventual race winner from Russia, finishing in 13.45, Nunley proved that he belonged after getting looked over time and again this spring when some other athletes were running in larger, more nationally recognized meets.

2. Marquise Goodwin (TX) Brings Home Double Gold

The United States squad took home eleven gold medals at the World Junior Championships. That is quite a collection and marked one of the best showings ever for Team USA. Leading the way, and earning two of the golds, was Texas junior Marquise Goodwin (Jr., Rowlett, TX). In the competitions first few days Goodwin took part in the men's long jump, leaping with fellow U.S. prep Christian Taylor, as the two looked to put their stamp on the event. While Taylor struggled on the final day, Goodwin rose to the occasion, leaping 25-04.75 to earn himself the top spot.

While his leaping abilities were golden, Goodwin also showed his ability to sprint. Running as part of the U.S. 4x100m relay squad, Goodwin helped the squad finish first in the final, kissing another gold around his neck on the awards stand. It's hard to beat double gold, but with one more track and field season left in his talented career, it is now just a matter of time to see if Goodwin can earn triple gold next summer.

1. Conor McCullough (CA) Earns Silver and Record

It seemed to be only a matter of time before Conor McCullough (Jr., Chaminade, CA) snatched up a high school record or two. The junior standout has dominated the hammer throw at the prep level for the past two seasons, although last year he was consistently following Walter Henning in the rankings. While Henning moved on to college, McCullough knew his time to shine was finally upon him and on the second to last day at the World Junior Championships, the California-native launched the device 248-11.50 to earn himself a silver medal and a new high school record.

While McCullough still followed the shadow of Henning, who won the event with a new American junior record toss, the significant improvement McCullough's shown over the past few months has been amazing. Perhaps he only needed time to warm up, but he competed like a pro, going through the prelims with tremendous velocity and showing consistency in the final with four throws over 240 feet. The future is bright for McCullough and one can bet he'll be going after Henning's new national junior record next year.