AAU JO Games Recap: Epic Anchors, Relays And More From Day 6

Photo Credit: David Nguyen/MileSplit

* Recap written by Cory Mull

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Six days are down at the AAU Junior Olympic Games and two more are left to go. 

It's been an eventful week thus far at Drake Stadium, but the best is still to come.

Thursday provided even more fireworks, as rising junior Jonathan Simms, a Texas state champion at 400m, laid down one of the most insane anchor-legs you'll ever see in a 4x400, while electric 100 meter finals were determined across semifinal heats. 

In the 100mH, Makeriah Harris notched her second AAU title of the week, while an upset went down in the 12yo 1,500m final, with Patricio Pardo and Hudson Doll competing through the line for an epic finish -- Bell won in 4:30.61.

The winner in the 17-18yo boys 110mH final was decided by a thousandth of a second as two athletes -- Jayden Douglas and Braxton Brann -- both produced identical times of 13.81. 

For that and more, check out our latest recap. 

Related Links: 

WATCH LIVE: The AAU Junior Olympic Games

Previous Recaps: 

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Every national record broken at this year's AAU Junior Olympic Games

The Scoop:

All Race Archives

All Interviews

All Photos

All Results


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Hudson Doll stole the show in the 12yo boys 1,500m final on Thursday. 

While all eyes may have been on the phenom Patricio Pardo, Doll -- a young athlete from Ann Arbor, Michigan -- took over in the final laps and surged ahead, surpassing the Maryland athlete in the final lap to win in 4:30.61.

Pardo tried making one final move, but Doll held him off. 

Pardo was less than a second behind in 4:31.17. 


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This was the blistering 400 meter split that Impact Track's Jonathan Simms ran on the anchor leg of his team's semifinals of the 4x400 in the 15-16yo boys division on Thursday at the AAU Junior Olympic Games


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* What do you have in your TrackBarn backpack? It's a valid question. 


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We are still ways away from the 26 records that went down in 2022, but two more efforts fell on Thursday, including the first girls record of the Games in 2023.


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Taylor Nunez (Randolph, TX)

The San Antonio, Texas native finished out the girls 15-16yo long jump on Thursday with an epic leap on her sixth attempt, hitting 20-0.5 on the board to win the competition and bump her previous best from that day another inch. Small, incremental changes might not seem like much, but for Nunez, it was her sixth time over 20-feet over the 2023 season and a sign that she will leave the year as one of the country's top leapers. 


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Just how good was the 13yo girls 100mH final on Thursday at the AAU Junior Olympic Games? Well, the top two athletes across the line both surpassed the former national record in the event. 

You can't argue with that result. Ohio Heat's Latorian Freeman claimed the Games' new record with a wind-legal winning time of 14.29 (-0.6) seconds, while Vast Track's Nia Armstrong was just three-hundredths of a second behind in 14.32.


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"I didn't hurdle until the summer time. This is my third meet hurdling. I PR'ed. That's all that mattered."

Braxton Brann, an Ann Arbor Huron graduate, came to the AAU Junior Olympics just months removed from an ACL tear and performed admirably, coming up just a thousandth-of-a-second short of winning the 17-18yo 110mH final on Thursday in 13.81 seconds. Jayden Douglas, the winner out of the division, also ran 13.81 seconds.


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The Motor City Track Club girls scorched the track during the the girls 13yo 4x400 semifinals on Thursday

A runner flies through the line during the boys 4x400 semifinal heats on Thursday

An athlete points before a key competition on Thursday at the AAU Junior Olympic Games

* Taylor Nunez leaps into the long jump pit on Thursday during the 15-16yo girls division. She won with a best of 20-0.5

Photo Credit: David Nguyen