* An ecstatic Kyle Goodman raises in his hands in triumph after the 17-18yo 800m final
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"You still kind of get the same rush." -- Jonathan Simms
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GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA -- Impact Track's Jonathan Simms pumped his fist in the air as he crossed the finish with thousands of spectators cheering him on.
Simms, now 12, had set yet another age group record at the 800 meter distance.
"[I'm] feeling pretty good," Simms said.
On day five of the AAU Junior Olympic Games on Wednesday, Simm's record-breaking run of 2:02.97 in the 12-year-old 800m surprised both the crowd and Simms himself. He can't even recall a previous time that he had closed so fast in a race before.
"It felt faster than ever in the last 200," said Simms.
He holds the 9-year-old record. He holds the 10-year-old record. He holds the 11-year-old record.
Now with the 12-year-old record under his belt, Simms said he still feels elated after each new record-breaking performance. He broke Brandon Miller's record from 2014 that stood at 2:03.09.
"You still kind of get the same rush," said Simms.
One thing is certain: after Simm's stellar race on Wednesday, it wouldn't be surprising to see him continue to break 800m records in future years.
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Girls 15-16yo 2,000m Steeplechase: An impressive performance from Corinn Brewer of Valley Speedsters resulted in a dominant win in the first race of the day. Brewer's time of 7:13.07 was just six seconds off of the meet record set all the way back in 2004. In a tight race for second, Meadow Millett finished just ahead of Triangle Champions' Victoria Swepson.
Girls 17-18yo 2,000m Steeplechase: After a second-place finish in the 1,500m on Tuesday, Jennifer Ohlsson of Elite Performance XL came back on Wednesday to win the steeplechase convincingly. Ohlsson's time of 7:18.09 beat out Hill Country Comets Track Club's Kaycee Keller, whom Ohlsson lost to in the 1,500m yesterday, by over three seconds.
Boys 15-16yo 2,000m Steeplechase: Pearland Track Xpress' Noah Haileab was moving on the last lap of the grueling race, and it certainly payed dividends. His impressive finish helped him break the national record set in 2007, running a time of 6:12.33. In just his second try at the distance. Just fractions of a second separated second and third place as Okaloosa Xpress Track Club's Ryan Sloan gained the slight advantage over Kendall Phillips of Marlboro Boys and Girls Track Club.
Girls 8-under 800m: Young Kyann Craig led for much of the race to run 2:39.65, picking up a dominant win in the middle distance race. Madisyn Scott (Texas Thunder Track Club) and Sarah Foad (Mississippi Valley Track Club) came in second and third, both breaking 2:50.
Boys 8-under 800m: Xcel's Victor Jaimez-Solorio was met with rousing applause as he crossed the finish line for the win in 2:32.47 after a huge come-from-behind effort. With 300 meters to go, Jaimez-Solorio sprinted past the handful of runners in the lead and opened up a large gap over the last 200 meters. BeastMode's Jacob Shelton placed second in 2:39.21.
Girls 9yo 800m: Defending champion Jada Harper of Awesome Athletics finished five hundredths of a second off of the the national record to win the title in 2:26.41. Harper led wire-to-wire to have the near record-setting performance.
Boys 9yo 800m: Jasen Johnson-Lockhart (Charlotte Panthers) won the triathlon over the weekend, but he didn't stop there. His stellar kick over the final 200 meters helped him add an 800m AAU Junior Olympic Games title to his belt in a time of 2:30.61. Jaidyn Mott (Motor City Track Club) finished closely behind in 2:31.58 for second.
Girls 10yo 800m: It was a battle to the finish between Tiana Welbon (Firebirds Track Club) and Paige Sheppard (Speed Skills Track Club), but Welbon edged out Sheppard to win in 2:25.27. Welbon surged to the lead on the bell lap and never looked back, even when Sheppard came up to challenge her with 200 meters to go.
Boys 10yo 800m: It was Infinity Track Club's Kaleb Young out of section 6 of 7 that shocked the rest of the field to win in a time of 2:23.96. William Sharpe of Mark Trail Flying Eagles ran 2:24.84 to win the seventh and final section, but it was only enough for second place.
Girls 11yo 800m: Kaddel Howard (High Level Track Club) led for more than half the race, opening up a large lead over the course of the bell lap to take the win in 2:20.40 over 8yo and 9yo national record holder Damira Allen (Chester Cheetahs Track Club). Allen ran 2:23.11 for second, followed by Zoe Dorsey (Fayetteville Flyers Track Club) in 2:24.85 for third place.
Boys 11yo 800m: Naye'Ron Hudson-McGlown (Virginia Elite Sports League) and Elijah Price (My Brother's Keeper) ran stride-for-stride down the final straightaway toward the finish, but it was Hudson-McGlown who crossed the finish line first to beat out Price for the event title in 2:15.56. Drew Johnson (Charlotte Panthers) came in slightly behind the two leaders in 2:17.93 for third.
Girls 12yo 800m: After a fast split of 1:05 for the first 400 meters, Five Star General Athletic's Kashia Hoo held on to the lead to win in a quick time of 2:18.31 over Solano Elite Track Club's Ruby Ford. Track Life University's Lauren Bickerdt ran 2:21.31 in the sixth section to come away with third place.
Boys 12yo 800m: Three-time national record holder Jonathan Simms (Impact Track) split 57 seconds on the opening lap, and that fast start propelled him to a new national record in the age group for the event---2:02.97. Second and third place were separated by just one hundredth of a second as Brandon Leacock (Rolesville Lightning Track Club) gained the advantage over Amanuel Putz (La Crosse Track Club).
Girls 13yo 800m: Kailey Littlefield (West Baptist Church Track Club) came all the way from the middle of the pack over the course of the last lap to take the lead on the homestretch and win the title in 2:13.26. With the 800m win, Littlefield successfully completed the middle distance double, having won the 1,500m on Tuesday morning.
Boys 13yo 800m: Shannon Robbins (Family Point Speed Track Club) had the most left in the tank among the handful of competitors in the lead down the final straightaway and came away with the win in 2:02.99. Ja'kwon Downing (San Antonio Swift Track Club) finished second in 2:04.04 just ahead of bronze medalist Jamari McIvory.
Girls 14yo 800m: It was all Cha'iel Johnson (Miami Gardens Xpress) in the star-studded race, running 59 seconds for the first 400m to easily win the 800m title--and it added to her 1,500m win from Tuesday. Johnson dipped under 2:10 for the win in 2:09.38, and 1,500m runner-up Krianne McBride (Texas Thunder Track Club) ran 2:11.80 to again win a silver medal.
Boys 14yo 800m: A sub-two minute performance from Nathan Cumberbatch of Milwaukee Mustangs Track Club won him the AAU JO Games title in 1:59.18.
Girls 15-16yo 800m: Michaela Rose (Virginia Elite Sports League) looked like she was coasting as she split 1:00 going into the bell lap, and she continued to coast to the finish as she broke Ajee Wilson's national record with a time of 2:05.53. Rose won yet again another AAU Junior Olympic Games title, adding to the 400m hurdle win she easily earned yesterday with a US No. 3 time. Micah Trusty (Infinity Price) got up for second place.
Boys 15-16yo 800m: Miles Brown's (Str8 Smokin Track Club) gutsy move at the 550 meter mark stole the show as he turned a close race into a blowout, running 1:52.56 to leave the rest of the field in the dust. Daniel Armstrong (Jacobs Sports Academy) finished second in a solid time of 1:55.59.
Girls 17-18yo 800m: Clare Pitcher of Milwaukee Mustangs Track Club ran 2:12.18 to win the AAU JO Games title. Beach Striders' Jermaisha Arnold finished not too far behind Pitcher in a second-place time of 2:14.42.
Boys 17-18yo 800m: John Castro from Puerto Rico led for most of the race and seemed to have the race in the bag, but it was Kyle Goodman (Purpose Driven NC Elite Track) who caught and surged past Castro with 100 meters to go to win the title in 1:50.83. Castro held on for second and Marcus Freeman Jr. (Wildcat Youth Sports) placed third.
Girls 12yo Turbo Javelin: It was Cameron Chapman who dominated the event, the only thrower hitting over 100 feet en route to a win; her winning mark came in at 102-0. Chayanne Gordon of Throwers Respect Track Club earned the silver medal with a throw of 95-2.
Girls 13yo Shot Put: By just over five inches, Hill Country Comets Track Club's Alexis Owens won the event with a solid throw of 40-7.75. Madelaine Fischer of Iowa Speed Track and Field Club threw 40-2 for second, and Sho Up N Sho Out's Averie Barefield hit a mark of 38-7.75 for third place.
Girls 14yo Discus: Camryn Messey's (Gastonia Jaguars Track Club)
Girls 14yo High Jump: Sky Schuller of Prime Time Elite doubled back from the pole vault on Tuesday to win the high jump on Wednesday with a jump of 5-5. There was a two-way tie for second place--Alanna Woolfolk of Camden Track Club and 36elite Moves' Kamille Cunningham both cleared 5-5 like Schuller, but ended up tied for second on the basis of number of missed attempts.
Girls 14yo Triple Jump: Alexandria Kennedy's (Tallahassee Zoom Track Club) jump of 37-3.25 was enough to win the competition by around half a foot. Jordyn Taylor jumped 36-9.5 to finish second and Camryn Clark (Jacobs Sports Academy) hit a mark of 36-4 to place third.
Boys 14yo Triple Jump: Damarion Dean's (Beast Mode Arkansas Track Club) fourth round jump of 41-11.25 was the winning mark in the competition. Jayshawn Smith (E.O.T.O. Elite) jumped 41-3.25 to finish second, an inch ahead of third-place finisher Jey Brown.
Girls 14yo Discus: Camryn Massey (Gastonia Eagles) threw a 5-foot season-best to bring home the gold medal in the Discus. Massey exceeded her previous PR of 124-7 three times in the competition. She got off to a hot start with a 126-9 on her first throw, which would have been good enough to win the competition. She'd hit her best mark on her 6th throw with a mark of 129-7 to confirm her national championship!
Boys 15-16yo Discus: Kevin Adams II (Central Texas Elite Track Club) crushed the field with his winning throw of 174-1, nearly twenty feet farther than second place finisher Daniel Krynzel (Throwers Respect Track Club). Adams was the only competitor to surpass the 160-foot mark, a feat he accomplished in all six rounds.
Girls 17-18yo Shot Put: Paige Low (Midland Crusaders Track Club) came off her win in the discus on Tuesday to take the win on Wednesday in the shot put. With a winning throw of 43-3, Low out-threw second-place finisher Myejoi Williams (Rantoul Rockets Track Club) by about a foot and a half.
Girls 17-18yo Triple Jump: Morgan Smalls (Carolina Allstars Track Club) could not be stopped in one of her best events as she jumped 41-08 to win by a significant margin. Jasmine Claunch (Cky Heat) had a great second round jump of 39-2.25 to earn the second place spot on the podium and Christelle Bonzil (Charger Elite)'s mark of 38-11.5 was enough for third place.
Boys 17-18yo Shot Put: Angel Robles of Rodz Throw Crew threw 55-7 to win the event, beating second place Alex Rodriguez by over two feet.
Boys 17-18yo Triple Jump: Stacy Brown Jr. beat the rest of the competition by over a foot to win the triple jump with a solid mark of 49-3.5. With a few inches to spare, Marquise Kinley of Cky Heat finished second ahead of Durham Striders Track Club's Jordan Purvis with his 48-0.75 jump
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TOP PERFORMER OF THE DAY
She didn't just break the girls 15-16yo 800m national record--she smashed it. Michaela Rose made it look to easy as she glided around the blue track looking as calm as ever. Her time beat all-time great Ajee Wilson's previous record by two seconds--that's a pretty big margin in the 800m.
Michaela Rose, 16, Virginia Elite Sports League
New national record
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INTERVIEW OF THE DAY
Liam Neidig, Johnson County Comets
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
On competing in the steeplechase
"The barriers and the water is an obstacle. And that's how life is--it's obstacles. So you've just got to overcome it and try and see where you can go from there."
-- Noah Haileab, 15, Pearland, TX
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Hurdles will take center stage on Thursday, with finals for the 80m hurdles, 100m hurdles, and 110m hurdles all set to start at 11:45 AM. But the distance athletes will kick off the day at 8:00 AM in the 1,500m for the younger age groups--the last heats of the 1,500m at the AAU Junior Olympic Games. Semifinal heats in the 100m and the 4x400m relays will cap off the track action in the afternoon. And then in the field events, multiple rounds of the long jump will highlight the day, as well as the high jump, pole vault, discus, and the javelin throw. Keep an eye on New Balance high jump meet record holder Morgan Smalls in her signature event.