* Patricio Pardo returns to the AAU Junior Olympics as one of the top distance runners for the 12yo age group.
Photo Credit: David Nguyen/MileSplit
WATCH LIVE: THE 2023 AAU JUNIOR OLYMPIC GAMES
BEGINS AIRING LIVE JULY 29-AUGUST 5
Only a few days away from a clash of youth titans in Des Moines, Iowa, it's time we take a look at the distance events set for the AAU Junior Olympics.
Several young stars, as well as former AAU champions and high school talents, will compete across the 800m, 1,500m, 3,000m and 2K steeplechase events with the potential to set national records and earn Junior Olympic medals.
We analyzed the top athletes and matchups to look out for at the premiere event.
Continue below for our top storylines in the distance events at the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
HOW TO WATCH:
Streaming: You can watch the 2023 AAU Junior Olympic Games LIVE on FloTrack. MileSplit subscribers will need to upgrade to the Universal plan to access the livestream.
On Your TV: Now available on Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast and Apple TV.
Cast: Cast to your smart TV, including Vizio, Samsung and LG TVs.
On The Go: Download the FloSports app on iOS or Android
Video footage from the event will be archived and stored in a video library for both MileSplit and FloSports subscribers to watch fro the duration of their subscription.
FIVE ATHLETES TO WATCH
Patricio Pardo, Seven Locks Running (MD), Class of 2029, 12yo: Pardo took the AAU Junior Olympic Games by storm in 2022 as he went on the set an AAU national record of 9:48.00 in the 11yo 3,000m. Pardo bumps up to the 12yo age division this year looking to repeat as a champion in the 3K and he could potentially pull off a distance triple in the 800m, 1,500m and 3K. Pardo has clocked 4:36.19 this season in the 1,500m to rank as the top entrant in the event, and he also enters as a top-10 seed for the 800m.
Adayaleise Trumpower, Mansfield Christian (OH), Class of 2030, 11yo: If anyone can threaten national records on the distance side, it's Trumpower. The young Ohio star has already clocked PRs in the 800m (2:23.97), 1,500m (4:51.28) and 3,000m (10:35.14) this season, and her 1,500m mark ranks as one of the fastest times ever for her age group in our database. The phenom, who will enter sixth grade this year, could very likely chase the 4:45.65 1,500m AAU record for the 11yo division and potentially challenge the 2:19.27 800m mark as well.
Mariana Chapa, High Velocity TC (TX), 17-18yo: Chapa finished inside the top 10 in both the 1,500m and 3,000m at the 2022 AAU Junior Olympics and she will look to upgrade her hardware as the top entry in both events for the 17-18yo division in 2023. She logged efforts of 2:13.21 for 800m and 4:37.90 for 1,500m at the AAU Region 17 Qualifier in June and recently set a new 3K career best of 10:12.84 at the AAU Gulf Primary District Qualifier. She'll be one of the favorites in all three events in Des Moines in the coming days.
Joshua Gammage, Dillard (FL), Class of 2025, 15-16yo: Gammage has a long history with the AAU Junior Olympic Games, dating back to 2017 when he won a 1,500m title as a 10-year-old. Flash forward six years and Gammage is a key part of the Dillard (FL) distance squad. He set new PRs of 4:21.55 for 1,600m and 9:39.67 for 3,200m during the spring. Leading into JOs, Gammage has already notched a new best of 4:08.50 for 1,500m from the AAU Region 10 Qualifier, which puts him as the top seed in the 1,500m for the 15-16yo age group.
Lucy McLean, New England Elite TC (MA), Class of 2025, 15-16yo: McLean has developed into a mid-distance star in the Northeast and this week she'll look to earn the first AAU Junior Olympic title of her career. This spring on the track, McLean took fifth in the 800m and Nike Outdoor Nationals and recently set a new 800m personal best of 2:12.56 at the AAU Primary & Club Nationals, which should be great momentum for her going into JOs. She'll be the top seed in the 15-16yo 800m and will duke it out against fellow star underclassman Charlize-Trinity McKenzie.
TOP EVENT TO WATCH
You may know him as one of the top quarter-milers from the high school outdoor season.
But Jonathan Simms will return to the 800m at the Junior Olympics after a two-year hiatus.
The last time Simms -- who owns 800m national records for the 9yo, 10yo, 11yo and 12yo age groups -- toed the line in the two-lap race at AAU was in 2021 when he won the 14yo title in 1:57.32.
After focusing on the 200m and 400m last year in Greensboro, Simms makes a highly-anticipated return to the event where he has made a mark in the AAU record books.
The question, though, may be what exactly he has in store considering his strong focus on the 400m this outdoor season. The Allen (TX) rising junior clocked a U.S. No. 6 45.90 for second at Brooks PR and was one of just seven boys to dip under 46 seconds for 400m this season.
However, Simms did log a 1:55.16 800m PR at the AAU Region 18 Qualifier in one of his first competitions back at the distance, so that endurance for the half-mile certainly seems to still be relatively intact.
Simms will face a variety of tough challengers.
Drew Johnson, who won the 14yo 800m title last year in 1:56.70, will look to earn a second-straight win at the event. Stefon Dodoo is the defending champion in the age division, having won this same event last year in 1:53.60.
AN AAU THROWBACK
Brandon Miller demolished the track and field records books beginning at 9 years old. In 2011, MileSplit profiled a 15-year-old Miller as he embarked on another AAU Junior Olympic Games with the potential to score his fourth straight world age group record in the 800m.
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8-and-under Girls: Damira Allen, Chester, PA, 2:32.00, 2016; 8-and-under Boys: Naye'Ron Hudson-McGlown, Hampton, VA, 2:27.02, 2016; 9yo Girls: Damira Allen, Chester, PA, 2:26.36, 2017; 9yo Boys: Jonathan Simms, Plano, TX, 2:19.43, 2016; 10yo Girls: Sherrise Peterson, Philadelphia, PA, 2:22.51, 2013; 10yo Boys: Jonathan Simms, Plano, TX, 2:16.44, 2017; 11yo Girls: Quantikia Stepney, Baltimore, MD, 2:19.27, 2000; 11yo Boys: Jonathan Simms, Plano, TX, 2:11.58, 2018; 12yo Girls: Daesha Rogers, Miami, FL, 2:13.30, 2011; 12yo Boys: Jonathan Simms, Plano, TX, 2:02.97, 2019; 13yo Girls: Daesha Rogers, Miami Gardens, FL, 2:07.65, 2012; 13yo Boys: Brandon Miller, O'Fallon, MO, 1:56.41, 2015; 14yo Girls: Daesha Rogers, Miami, FL, 2:08.15, 2013; 14yo Boys: Brandon Miller, O'Fallon, MO, 1:51.23, 2016; 15-16yo Girls: Michaela Rose, Suffolk, VA, 2:05.53, 2019; 15-16yo Boys: Brandon Miller, O'Fallon, MO, 1:49.87, 2017; 17-18yo Women: Gabrielle Wilkinson, Philadelphia, PA, 2:07.04, 2016; 17-18yo Men: Charles Jones, Ferguson, MO, 1:49.78, 2012.
8-and-under Girls: Damira Allen, Chester, PA, 5:18.44, 2016; 8-and-under Boys: Victor Jaimez-Solorio, Apple Valley, CA, 5:07.14, 2019; 9yo Girls: Daesha Rogers, Miami, FL, 5:08.05, 2008; 9yo Boys: Victor Jaimez-Solorio, Apple Valley, CA, 4:42.97, 2020; 10yo Girls: Daesha Rogers, Miami, FL, 4:54.59, 2009; 10yo Boys: Victor Jaimez-Solorio, Apple Valley, CA, 4:46.84; 2021; 11yo Girls: Daesha Rogers, Miami, FL, 4:45.65, 2010; 11yo Boys: Brandon Miller, O'Fallon, MO, 4:37.24, 2013; 12yo Girls: Danae Rivers, Derby, CT, 4:41.14, 2010; 12yo Boys: Manny Putz, Onalaska, WI, 4:18.10, 2019; 13yo Girls: Daesha Rogers, Miami, FL, 4:36.79, 2012; 13yo Boys: Brandon Miller, O'Fallon, MO, 4:13.65, 2015; 14yo Girls: Sadie Engelhardt, Ventura, CA, 4:34.18, 2020; 14yo Boys: Brandon Miller, O'Fallon, MO, 4:02.09, 2016; 15-16yo Girls: Gabrielle Wilkinson, Philadelphia, PA, 4:32.59, 2014; 15-16yo Boys: Brandon Miller, O'Fallon, MO, 3:58.10, 2018; 17-18yo Women: Anastacia Gonzales, Philadelphia, PA, 4:22.91, 2021; 17-18yo Men: John Hinton, Danville, VA, 3:51.4h, 1980.
11yo Girls: Aurora Scott, Portsmouth, VA, 10:22.97, 2001; 11yo Boys: Patricio Pardo, Bethesda, MD, 9:48.26, 2022; 12yo Girls: Krianne McBride, Elgin, TX, 10:11.30, 2017; 12yo Boys: James Garritson, Fullerton, CA, 9:40.8h, 1984; 13yo Girls: Sophie Atkinson, Katy, TX, 10:03.41, 2016; 13yo Boys: Riley Nedrow, Highland Village, TX, 9:14.84, 2018; 14yo Girls: Addison Moore, Versailles, NY, 9:57.45, 2022; 14yo Boys: Gannon Dolan, Fort Worth, TX, 8:59.75, 2022; 15-16yo Girls: Karlene Erickson, Ericson, NE, 9:40.4h, 1984; 15-16yo Boys: Chris Borsa, St. Louis, MO, 8:42.5h, 1983; 17-18yo Women: Denise Marini, Wilmington, DE, 9:39.7h, 1980; 17-18yo Men: Tom Kringstad, Bismarck, NC< 8:19.2h, 1982.
FOUR BIG MATCHUPS
Category: 15-16yo Girls 3,000m
Seed Marks: 9:58.13 & 9:59.08
Category: 13yo Boys 3,000m
Seed Marks: 9:31.08 & 9:33.46
Category: 14yo Girls 1,500m
Seed Marks: 4:47.78 and 4:49.44
Category: 9yo Boys 800m
Seed Marks: 2:31.17 & 2:31.41