Team U.S. Pockets 12 Wins On First Day Of Pan Am U20s

MAYAGUEZ, PR -- It was a thoroughly dominating display from the Americans on Day 1 of the Pan American U20 Championships at Jose Figueroa Freire Stadium on Friday, as 11 U.S. athletes claimed gold medals and an American mixed relay added another. 

Among them was Ellie Shea, a rising high school senior from Massachusetts who nabbed her first international win in the 1,500m, clocking a time of 4:16.61. The performance followed a silver medal effort at the NACAC U23 Championships.

"I felt really good," Shea said. 

Only Anita Poma Mendoza of Peru was within an earshot, finishing in 4:18.28, while Cedar Park (TX) High School rising senior Isabel Conde de Frankenberg was fourth for Argentina in 4:30.33. 

Shea built a gap into the third circuit which extended her lead to three seconds on Kyla Martin of Canada, before putting down a 63-second close to shut the door. 

"It's really fun," she added. "Anytime I get to represent my country, I try to do it with honor and try not to take it for granted. You don't know how many teams you're going to make, so really try to compete each time to the fullest and give it your best effort on the day." 

Tyler Azcano, the Floridian who took a gap year after high school graduation in 2022 to build back his form and foundation, completed his remarkable journey to gold, winning the men's 100m in 10.26 (+0.3) seconds. 

"It felt good," Azcano said. "I had to come out and execute and represent my country." 

The performance was doubly impressive, as the Lake Minneola graduate out legged Jamaican Bouwahjgie Nkrumie to the finish by five-hundredths of second. Puerto Rico's Adrian Canales Correa was third in 10.35. 

Azcano has stunned this spring and summer as he's morphed into an athlete who failed to reach his state championships over his time in high school into a legitimate blue-chip prospect who's headed to Florida A&M in the fall. 

Azcano finished second at the U.S. U20 Championships in 10.09 before taking gold on Friday in the 100m.

Mensi Stiff, a recent Brentwood (TN) graduate, found another level, too.

She posted the best throw of her career with a mark of 16.70m, equating to a 54-9.5 throw. That performance moved her up into No. 4 all-time for high schoolers. 

Meanwhile, combo sprint and jump talent Avery Lewis -- being courted by various NCAA Division I universities -- was the second junior to nab an international win, joining Shea as she claimed the long jump title with a mark of 6.22m (20-5). 

The effort was much the same from Lewis, who authored her fifth 20-foot jump of the season. 

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Pan American U20 Championship Results

Gold Medal Winners: 

Mensi Stiff, Brentwood (TN), '23, shot put

Giavonna Meeks, Denver Northfield (CO) '22, hammer, 59.17m (194-1)

Gary Moore, Hillhouse (CT) '22, shot put, 19.60m (64-3.75)

Avery Lewis, Friends' Central '24, long jump, 6.22m (20-5)

Caleb Jarema, Pinckney (MI) '22, 3K steeplechase, 9:05.92

Jack Mann, Austin Lake Travis (TX) '22, pole vault, 5m (16-4.75)

Ellie Shea, Belmont School (MA) '24, 1,500m, 4:16.61

Sanaa Hebron, Neshaminy (PA) '22, 400mH, 56.90

Bryce Tucker, Pennsauken (NJ) '23, 400mH, 51.36

Ethan Coleman, Olympia (WA) '22, 5K, 14:44.58

Tyler Azcano, Lake Minneola (FL) '22, 100m, 10.26 (+0.3)

Mixed Relay: United States, 3:18.07