Beach goes for another record in Junior decathlon in Eugene... but more records are in jeopardy.

Beach goes for another record
in Junior decathlon in Eugene

By Jack Pfeifer

PORTLAND, Ore. – Curtis Beach, the decathlon wunderkind from New Mexico, goes for another decathlon record when the U.S. Juniors Championships open on Thursday morning at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

(Photo by Kim Spir)

He is one of a number of high school athletes competing in this Under-20 meet, held in concert with the Seniors championships at legendary Hayward Field. The meet runs through Sunday and will be telecast on ESPN and NBC as well as by webcast on Flotrack.

In many events, high school stars will be competing against outstanding college freshmen -- in some cases athletes who have already been NCAA finalists, such as Deangelo Cherry of Mississippi State and Dalilah Muhammad of USC. 

Beach, however, doesn’t need collegians for competition. He already dominates his event. A recent graduate of Albuquerque Academy and a freshman-to-be at Duke, he did two decathlons this spring and set records both times.

At the Arcadia Invitational in California in April, he scored 7,907 points, using the high school implements and hurdles, to wipe out the 16-year-old national record of 7,417.

At the Great Southwest in June, he got Craig Brigham’s 37-year-old record for a decathlon performed with the international weights and hurdles, scoring 7,466.

This time, he takes aim at the U.S. Juniors record of 7,638, set by Keith Robinson of BYU 26 years ago.

Beach, 18, has been prolific all season. He won five events at the New Mexico state championships – the 200, 400, high jump, long jump and pole vault. At the Great SW, the day after completing his record-setting dec, he jumped onto two relay teams and ran splits of 46/1:50. At the Nike Outdoor meet over the weekend in North Carolina, he finished 2nd to the great Robby Andrews (Manalapan, N.J.) in the 800, running 1:50.75.

The sprints are all intriguing.

In the women’s, Chalonda Goodman (Newnan, Ga.), fresh from her stunning sprint double over the weekend at the Nike meet in Greensboro (11.30/22.94), will face two of the Purvis sisters, Amber and Ashton, along with preps Jessica Davis of California, Tasha Allen of Wisconsin and Kellie Schueler of Oregon. All stars in their own regions, they will now try to assert themselves on the national front.

(Photo by Matt Shatkus)

There are actually three Purvis girls in the meet. Julian Purvis, a freshman at Michigan, runs the 100 hurdles. Her sister Amber is a freshman at Oregon, and their sister Ashton is a star at St. Elizabeth of Oakland, Calif.

In the men’s sprints, state champions Randall Carroll of California and Ryan Milus of Arizona will face collegiate stars Cherry and Auburn’s Marcus Rowland. At the NCAA meet, Cherry ran 10.04 in the 100, not far from the world Junior record of 10.01.

The men’s 800 brings together preps Tommy Brinn of Michigan, Zach Mellon of Minnesota and New Yorker Tyler Stewart against the defending champion, Elijah Greer of Lake Oswego, Ore. Greer won the Oregon state championship on the Oregon track last month and has run 1:47.

In the women’s 8, North Dakotan Laura Roesler, an Olympic Trials semifinalist last year in Eugene as a Fargo high school sophomore, will face two outstanding college freshmen, Chanelle Price of Tennessee and Emily Infeld of Georgetown. Price and Roesler are the #2 and #8 prep 800 performers of all-time with marks of 2:01.61 and 2:03.08, respectively.

(Photo by Victor Sailer,

Infeld is passing up the 1,500, where she made the NCAA finals and ran 4:15.48. Jordan Hasay, the Californian who set the national high school record at last year’s Olympic Trials, has entered both the Junior and Senior meets, and it is not certain which she will run. In the Juniors race, she would have to face new star Morgane Gay, a Virginia frosh who ran 4:15.56 at NC’s.

The men’s 15 field includes Nathan Mathabane of Oregon, Mac Fleet of California and Pat McGregor of Alabama. German Fernandez, who won the NCAA 1,500 this year for Oklahoma State as a freshman, has entered both the Junior and Senior meets.

In the throws, a number of national records could be in jeopardy.

In the girls, Lauren Chambers of Georgia is 1 inch from the national high school record in the hammer of 201-7, while Californian Anna Jelmini tries to improve her U.S.-leading marks in both the shot and disc. Jelmini has broken the national prep record in the disc, throwing 190-3, and is inches away from the Junior record in that event.

In the boys’ throws, Conor McCullough sets aim on the U.S. Junior record in the hammer of 251-4, set by Walter Henning. In the javelin, Justin Shirk of Pennsylvania will face Sam Crouser of Gresham, Ore. Shirk has thrown 235-3, while Crouser recently threw 239-0, just a couple of feet short of the national high school record. They are #3 and #2 all-time preps in the event.

(McCullough and Crouser photos by Kim Spir)

Crouser’s cousin Ryan, who recently broke the national sophomore-class record in the discus, is not competing at the meet, but Sam Crouser’s younger sister, Haley, is. Haley, a 14-year-old 8th-grader, is qualified in the girls’ javelin, in which she has thrown 139-5.

In the 400 hurdles, USC’s Muhammad, 3rd at the NCAA meet, will take on Californian Turquoise Thompson. In the men’s, Reggie Wyatt, who broke the national record in the 300s at the California state meet this spring, will shoot for the record in the 400, where he will be up against collegians William Wynne of Georgia and Duane Walker of Southern Cal.