These Teenagers Will Compete Against Seniors At USATF Champs

* Simeon Birnbaum (left) will contest the men's 1,500m at the USATF Outdoor Championships; Mia Brahe-Pedersen will race the women's 100m and 200m against the seniors at the USATF Championships.

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Upcoming at Hayward Field in less than 24 hours, a handful of the country's top teenage track and field talents will take their chances competing with the seniors.

Both the USATF Outdoor Championships and USATF U20 Championships take place in Eugene from July 6 - 9, but seven U.S. high school competitors appear on the heat sheets for the senior fields, which determine the senior U.S. champions and qualifiers for the World Championships in Budapest in August.

MileSplit50 Girls Outdoor Athlete Of The Year Shawnti Jackson, recent Nike NIL signee Mia Brahe-Pedersen and South Dakota distance phenom Simeon Birnbaum highlight the contingent of high schoolers seeking PRs and experience at the senior level in the coming days.

U.S. high school girls pole vault record-holder Hana Moll, Harvard signee Sophia Gorriaran, top junior distance athlete Ellie Shea and New Balance Nationals 400m champion Tavon Underwood round out the seven athletes competing up at USAs.

The group includes nearly all recent high school graduates with the exception of Shea and Brahe-Pedersen, both of whom are rising seniors.

For nearly all of them, though, this isn't their first rodeo when it comes to lining up with pros and collegians. 

Star sprinters Brahe-Pedersen and Jackson have spent all year racing both against their peers and the senior women. Both have clocked all-time marks against older competition, from Brahe-Pedersen's U.S. No. 2 all-time indoor 200m of 22.89 at the New Mexico Don Kirby Invitational in February, to Jackson's national high school 100m record of 10.89 (+0.9) at the Music City Track Festival in June.

Gorriran is also no stranger to senior competition -- and at Hayward Field, specifically --  as she finished 19th in the 800m at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021 as the youngest athlete to compete at the event that year.

In the field, Moll, one of two high schoolers to ever clear 15-0 in the pole vault, has shown for quite some time that she belongs in the same conversation with the women years her senior.

She's competed at USAs before, having taken fifth at the USATF Indoor Championships in February with a 14-9.5 clearance. Her impressive resume includes placements at the Millrose Games and National Pole Vault Summitt, too.

Shea, on the other hand, has taken her talents to the roads in plenty of matchups with some of America's top distance women, racing in indoor women's races at Boston University and clocking 34:11 in the top field of the Boston Mini 10k. More recently, she ran 4:17.41 for 1,500m in the women's seeded division at Track Night NYC in May.

Of the group, it's Birnbaum that has only one experience against the seniors with just one pro race under his belt -- the men's 1,500m at Nike Outdoor Nationals -- but he put the distance world on notice with a 3:37.93 third-place effort.

However, it's of note that Birnbaum will also take a shot at making the USA U20 Pan American Games team in the 800m, which he'll contest alongside the men's 1,500m at the senior level.

Fresh to the senior competition is Underwood, who was the top U.S. high schooler at 400m this year with a best of 45.36. The Colorado 200m, 400m and 800m state champion could be a dark horse in a very open men's 400m at the senior level this weekend.

The end goal for these ambitious high schoolers? Not only is it to gain experience and chase after lifetime PRs, but potentially qualify for the World Championships in Budapest or the NACAC U23 Championships to take place July 21 - 23 in Costa Rica.

And for the group of all-time high schoolers, advancing well through rounds isn't out of the question. 

Both Jackson and Brahe-Pedersen, for instance, rank among the top 15 nationally in the 100m for women,  a list which includes the likes of familiar superstars such as Sha'Carri Richardson and Aleia Hobbs. Moll also sits in the U.S. top 10 for the pole vault this year with her 15-0 clearance from this spring.

Action begins on Thursday evening as Jackson, Brahe-Pedersen, Gorriaran, Shea and Birnbaum all compete in the first rounds of their respective events. Field competition for Moll takes place on Sunday on the final day of the USATF Outdoor Championships.

High Schoolers Entered At USATF Outdoor Championships

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Simeon Birnbaum

Rapid City Stevens (SD)Class of 2023Men's 1,500m

Tavon Underwood

Mead (CO)Class of 2023Men's 400m

Sophia Gorriaran

Moses Brown School (RI)Class of 2023Women's 800m

Hana Moll

Capital (WA)Class of 2023
Women's Pole Vault

Ellie Shea

Emerging Elites (MA)Class of 2024
Women's 1,500m

Mia Brahe-Pedersen

Lake Oswego (OR)Class of 2024
Women's 100m, 200m

Shawnti Jackson

South Granville (NC)Class of 2023Women's 100m

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