AAU Junior Olympics Profile: Khaleb McRae


WATCH LIVE: AAU JUNIOR OLYMPICS

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Khaleb McRae, 18, of the Durham Striders Track Club (NC), will compete in his first AAU Junior Olympics. While McRae is new to the AAU scene, he's no novice to the national scene. McRae has competed in the USATF Junior Olympics twice before, back in 2016 and 2017. Since then, he's added three North Carolina state titles during his tenure at Southern Durham High School and is doing it over a wide range of events. He has a diverse skill set, showing off serious speed in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 300H and 400mH. In three of those events -- the 200m, 400m and 400mH -- he ranks in the top two in the state. At the AAU Junior Olympics, McRae will run in the 400m and 400mH, according to Durham Striders coach James Issac. Look for McRae to make a sneaky attempt at a podium spot in the 400m; his time of 46.54 is US No. 8, which is only 0.21 seconds behind the US No. 3 mark.

Who: Khaleb McRae

Age Group: 17-18

Events: 400 meters, 400 meter hurdles

Where: AAU Junior Olympics, Greensboro, North Carolina

When: July 29-August 3

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WATCH LIVE: AAU JUNIOR OLYMPICS


Breakdown: McRae is on the heels of some of the best running in his life. His PR in the 400m, which came at the AAU Region 25 Qualifier at the end of June, has vaulted him up the national rankings and into the top portion of high schoolers. He's also set four other PRs in the 100m (10.86), 200m (21.23), 300mH (36.78) and 400mH (52.78) this outdoor track season alone. He's peaking at the optimal time with the AAU Junior Olympics coming up shortly.

His recent streak of high-level running can be traced back to practice. McRae has focused on increasing his short sprint speed while honing his hurdle and running mechanics. And the results speak for themselves. The 400mH field will indeed be tough for McRae to crack as he enters with a time of 52.78, which is US No. 18. But there's still a real shot at glory here. He has a legitimate chance to nab a top-three finish in the 400m.

As mentioned previously, less than a quarter of a second separates himself (46.54) and the US No. 3 mark. For reference, last year's third-place finisher (Hasani Barr, who should also be competing here) ran 47.99. With McRae's rapid progression, and with this season's work to be calculated within his performance, be on the watch for him in the 400m as he aims to end his high school career on a positive note.


Note: 

If you have an athlete headed to the AAU Junior Olympics with national title aspirations and has a good story to tell, email cory.mull@flosports.tv. 


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