The USATF Junior Championships are almost here.
Spanning three days in Bloomington, Indiana, high school and collegiate athletes under the age of 20 will compete for a chance to qualify for the U20 Championships in Finland this July. The first day of action begins on Friday at Indiana University and goes through Sunday, with multiple rounds of races and events.
The top two finishers in each event will earn an automatic berth to the World U20 Championships. Check out U20 qualifying standards here.
In the meantime, check out our picks and analysis of the jumps and throwing events.
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Men's High Jump
Analysis: Indiana's all-time prep leader in the boys high jump is looking to bookend his recent form into a U20 berth. Can Nate Patterson do it? It seems pretty likely, especially after his 7-4 clearance at states, though consistency will always be a question. Blake, who just finished his freshman season at LSU, was fourth at the SEC Championships and hit 7-3.5, while Grimsman has been one of the more consistent high jumpers in the country in 2018 -- he hasn't cleared 7-3 since March, though. Conner bested 7-0.25 at his state championships in Nebraska. It will be competitive over 7-feet.
Women's High jump
Analysis: You can't fault Isenbarger, a recent grad of Zionsville Community High School, for being anything other than consistent. She jumped four times in 2018 and cleared 5-11 three times. Her PR was a nation-leading 6 foot, 1 inch clearance, which came in May. That still stands as a US No. 1 mark for high schoolers. Tyler, however, isn't far behind. She's been less steady, though she's cleared 6-0, 5-11, 5-10 and 5-9 twice. Banks, Smalls and Barnes will be in the picture, too.
Men's Pole Vault
Analysis: Lightfoot, a Baylor signee, has had an incredible high school season, so there's no doubt he's the favorite here. He's vaulted a career best 18-5 and has cleared 18 feet in seven straight meets. Who's behind him? Riddle finished his rookie season with Arizona State and finished fourth at Pac-12s and cleared a best of 17-6.5. Bradford went 17-9 in May and Manson nailed a Colorado state record of 17-3.5 recently. It should be a scrum for that second auto qualifier.
Women's Pole Vault
Analysis: This could get interesting! Baxter is the most confident, having finished third at ACCs with a top vault of 14-3.25. She also was fourth at NCAAs. But more than that, she's got that mojo. She qualified at last year's USA Juniors by going 14-1.25 and then PR'ed at Pan Am Juniors with a mark of 14-5.5. Campbell is still the nation's high school leader with a clearance of 14-0, though she did that in March. Fixsen is a week off of her state record of 13-9.25 in Minnesota.
Men's Long Jump
In The Hunt: Travis Hugg, Tyler Jones
Analysis: All eyes will be on Blake. His strongest event could be the long jump, where he was ninth at SECs and finished second at the East Prelims with a mark of 25-8.75. Will he scratch the high jump in favor of a bid here? He's the favorite -- high jump is less of a guarantee. Allen, who finished his freshman season at Wichita State, marked 25-3.5 at the American Athletic Conference Championships, finishing fourth.
Women's Long Jump
Analysis: The same question goes for Moore. Will the nation's top high school triple jumper scratch the long jump to make sure she qualifies in the triple? Or will she double down to give herself more breathing room? Either way, she has a very good shot at qualifying in both, where she's gone an all conditions mark of 21-0.25 and a wind-legal best of 20-7. But there's also Tara Davis. This is the Georgia freshman's best event. She was fifth at NCAAs and marked as far as 21-9 (+1.9) in 2018. Hoosier, about an hour down the road in Indianapolis, has jumped 20-1.25 and could steal an auto qualifier.
Men's Triple Jump
Analysis: This event will be headlined by collegians and perhaps highlighted by Edwards, a recent freshman at Alabama who scored a 53-8.5 mark at NCAAs to finish sixth. He went over 50 feet in his last four competitions. Tate, meanwhille, was ninth at SECs and had two marks over 50.
Women's Triple Jump
Analysis: I'm going to go out on a limb and say the high schoolers dominate this event. While Moore was just a junior in 2018, she was on the cusp of setting a national record with an all conditions jump of 45-4.75 at the state championships in Texas. Sutton, meanwhile, posted a top mark of 42-5 and went over 40 feet in every one of her competitions in 2018.
Men's Shot Put
In The Hunt: Gabe Oladipo, Jordan West
Analysis: 'Pip' had a great debut season for Texas in the shot put, where won an SEC championship with a 66-3 throw. He was also first at the West Prelims and fourth at NCAAs. Oladipo hasn't competed since April. So that might leave room for Meyer, the nation's top high school thrower, to qualify.
Women's Shot Put
MileSplit's Picks: Alyssa Wilson, Lindsay Baker
In The Hunt: Essence Henderson
Analysis: Wilson was arguably the most dominant high schooler of all-time in 2017, and she had a solid debut season for UCLA, finishing sixth in the shot put at NCAAs with her top seasonal mark of 56-5.5. Wilson is entered in three events at USA Juniors, but her best chance is here, where she she's got plenty of experience. She even placed first at the Pan American Junior Championships last year with a throw of 58-1.
Analysis: Washington was the nation's top discus thrower a year ago and finished his freshman season at Arizona with the 36th best mark in the country. He also qualified for NCAAs and finished fourth at PAC-12s with a mark of 178-5. Piperi was ninth at Big-12s -- and had a best of 172-9.5 -- while Oladipo hasn't competed since April. The collegians will dominate here.
In The Hunt: Ashley Anumba
Analysis: Wilson could qualify in the discus as well, but she didn't necessarily have a great year -- at least to her standards. She was fifth at Pac-12s and seventh at the West Prelims. Moran is the top high school thrower of 2018.
In The Hunt: Jason Wright, Erik Ebel
Analysis: Based on both of their MileSplit profiles, Michael and Steven haven't competed in 2018. But Michael was US No. 1 to finish 2017 (242-8) and Steven was US No. 4 (230-7). Can they get auto bids a year later?
In The Hunt: Gianna Rao
Analysis: Forrest was second at the ACC Championships with a PR of 182-4.25, though she struggled at the East Prelims and failed to qualify for NCAAs. Expect that motivation to drive her toward a win here.
In The Hunt: Jackson Morris
Analysis: Pedigo is an obvious favorite. He's bombed two throws over 230 feet in 2018; both came at big invitationals -- the Texas Relays and The Penn Relays. If the Louisiana prep can figure out his steps, he's the easy favorite to claim an auto bid in this event. Everyone else will be battling for second.
Analysis: It's been a battle at the top of the high school rankings for much of 2018. Expect that drama to continue again. Ciccolini eclipsed Baker on June 2 at an invitational in the Bahamas, throwing a US No. 1 mark of 177-0.5. But Baker launched her career best of 175-6 in May. Lest we forget about Wiltrout, too? The national high school record holder finished her freshman year at UNC, though did not compete. Just three years ago, she bombed a high school record of 185-8.25 and in 2017 went 173-10.
MileSplit's Picks: Kyle Garland, Isaiah Martin
In The Hunt: Peyton Davis, Graham Collins
Analysis: If healthy, Garland is an easy pick. He's an absolute stud who is headed to the University of Georgia -- the recent NCAA men's team champion -- where he's scheduled to be one of their top decathletes.
In The Hunt: Alyssa Miller, Allie Jones
Analysis: Hall, the recent national record holder, is a strong favorite to glide through to the U20 championships. But can she improve from her 5,798 performance from the Great Southwest Classic? That will be harder to judge when you consider that Hall had a PR heavy day in Albuquerque. Lester, meanwhile, is probably a great bet to qualify, too.