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"It came down to a few seconds in the 800, just like last year. The 800 won it for me." -- Sky Schuller
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GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA -- Sky Schuller was rounding the last curve of her final race in the 14-year-old pentathlon -- the 800 meters -- on Saturday when she had a thought.
"I just really need to push it," she told herself.
Ultimately, every second counted for Schuller, who won her second straight age group championship in the pentathlon at the AAU Junior Olympics. Her finishing time of 2:31.20 placed her eighth overall in the event, but those vital seconds gave her a 23-point cushion on second-place Nonah Waldron, who was second in the 800m in 2:23.04.
"It came down to a few seconds in the 800, just like last year. The 800 won it for me," she said.
Schuller scored 3,193 points overall, edging Motor City Track Club's Waldron's 3,170 points. Orlando, Florida-native Omari'A Gordon was third with 2,997 points.
Schuller, a rising high school freshman with New Coppell High School in Frisco, Texas, won her second straight pentathlon title after winning the 13-year-old age group. Her best effort came in the high jump, where she leapt 1.60 meters (5 feet, 3 inches). She also recorded a time of 15.45 seconds in the 100mH.
Waldron, meanwhile, ran the fastest overall time in the 100mH in 14.51 seconds -- 907 points -- and secured two solid performances in the high jump and 800m.
Girls 13yo Pentathlon: Falyn Lott, a rising eighth-grader in DeSoto, Texas, won the multis event with 2,969 points, a comfortable 100-point margin over Mabelton, Georgia's Kayleigh Stargell, who scored 2,869.
Boys 13yo Pentathlon: Ja'Kwon Downing was dominant in the category, winning by over 200 points with 2,714 points. The San Antonio, Texas-native went 15.15 in the 100mH and 4:49.92 in the 1,500m.
Boys 14yo Pentathlon: Bryce Tucker of Pennsauken, New Jersey, put together the top overall performance with 2,955 points, using a very good last effort in the 1,500m to score a 21-point victory over Kahneil Budham of Miami Gardens Xpress. Tucker went 4:42.76 to seal the victory.
Girls 9yo Race Walk: By nearly a minute, Severn Highsteppers Track Club's Taylor Gross executed on the track for a win, scoring a finishing time of 8:45.87.
Boys 11yo Race Walk: The blue-and-red mohawk sporting adolescent Casey Anderson won his second race walk title in three years, crossing the line in 9:12.85. "I just knew I had to come out hard," Anderson said afterward.
Boys 12yo Race Walk: The Blue Thunder Track Club dominated at the front as teammates Collin Wise and Brock Schweikert went 1-2 in the race. Wise, a winner of his age-group last year, went 8:54.42 to win. Schweikert finished in 8:28.18.
Girls 12yo Race Walk: It was a race to the line as Abigail Quinn, a native of Sharpsburg, Georgia, narrowly edged Chiasia Maxwell to the finish in a winning time of 7:54.56. Maxwell was second in 7:57.10. It was Quinn's second straight race walk championship following her 1,500m win at the AAU National Club Championships in 8:11.22.