Team USA's Five Biggest Moments At Pan American U20s

* The American women's winning Pan American U20 Championship relay that set a new American under-20 record

Photo Credit: Jesus Velez Perez/MileSplit

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There were no shortage of spectacular showings from the Americans at the Pan American U20 Championships this weekend in Puerto Rico. 

Records were broken, gold medals were earned and the U.S. team dominated across the three-day competition at Jose Figueroa Freire Stadium in Mayaguez

We compiled five of the top moments below.

5. Mensi Stiff's No. 4 All-Time Shot Put Throw


Let's not lose Stiff's brilliant performance in the crosshairs. 

The '23 graduate of Brentwood Academy High School (TN) uncorked the No. 4 throw in high school history with a mark of 54 feet, 9.5 inches at the Pan American U20 Championships.

Stiff was consistently the best female shot put thrower in the country this year, with six marks over 52 feet, including one at 53-5. 

She topped that previous best and then some on Friday, adding 16.5 inches to her best throw, which ranks now as a top five effort all-time.

Only Alyssa Wilson (58-1), Raven Saunders (56-8.25) and Michelle Carter (54-10.75) have thrown farther all-time. 

4. Tyler Azcano's Victory In The 100m


Tyler Azcano's latest post on Instagram reads: 'Lately I've been surprising everybody but myself." 


The future Florida A&M athlete won his first major championship of any order on Friday with a wind-legal time of 10.26 (+0.3) seconds in the 100 meters.

In doing so, Azcano, a '22 graduate of Lake Minneola High School who took a gap year in 2023 to improve on his form and find a collegiate suitor, became an unlikely Pan American Champion. 

He had never won a state championship in Florida. He had never won a national title, either. 

But those two steps aren't a prerequisite.

Azcano, 19, continued his rocket-shaped path through the sprint landscape with an important victory. He beat Jamaica's Bouwahjgie Nkrumie, who had run a wind-legal 9.99 (+0.3) seconds in March at the Jamaican Boys and Girls Champs. 

3. Ellie Shea's 1,500m And 3K Double


Two races, two titles. 

Should we remind you that Ellie Shea still has one more year of high school left? 

The Massachusetts-based athlete, who runs for Emerging Elites but attends Belmont High School (MA), walked away with her first two international wins this weekend in Puerto Rico, claiming victories in the 1,500m and 3K. 

On Friday, she won the 1,500m in persistent rain that downplayed her winning-time of 4:16.61, a performance that was her third under 4:20 on the season but just shy of her career-best 4:14.35. 

But on Sunday she revved up, clocking the second-fastest 3K in high school history with a winning time of 9:05.78. It was a new Pan American U20 Championship record and just five seconds shy of the all-time high school national record last set by Katie Rainsberger in 2016 -- from the World U20 Championships.

Shea destroyed the field, beating the next best athlete, Canada's Charlotte Sinke, by a full 45 seconds. 

Her distance double followed a second-place performance in the 1,500m at the NACAC U23 Championships in Costa Rica. She ran 4:14.90 on June 23.

2. Shawnti Jackon's No. 2 All-Time 200m Performance


Shawnti Jackson wasn't finished with 2023. 

The University of Arkansas signee, our MileSplit50 Athlete of the Year for the outdoor season, had one last hurrah at the Pan American U20 Championships. 

And if you weren't already convinced she's had the best outdoor track and field season of 2023 -- and really, why weren't you? -- then Sunday's output should have slammed the door shut with force. 

Jackson closed her high school career with the second-fastest 200 meter time in high school history, clocking a wind-legal 22.35 (+1.6) seconds to win the women's under-20 title. 

That new U.S. No. 1 performance chopped off 0.13 seconds from her previous best of 22.48 seconds, and it gave her five sub-23 performances over her entire 2023 year. Only Allyson Felix has been faster in history. 

Jackson clocked a national record of 10.89 seconds in June, left the season with the U.S. No. 1 mark in the 200m, claimed a gold at the Pan American U20 Championships, a win at the USA U20 Outdoor meet and claimed three North Carolina state records.

1. The U.S. American Women Taking Down A 17-Year-Old Record In The 4x100


Among the more glittering moments at the Pan American U20 Championships was this performance on Saturday, a new American under-20 record in the 4x100 by the likes of Kaila Jackson, Camryn Dickson, Avery Lewis and Shawnti Jackson. 

The group ran a time of 42.88 seconds, an effort just 0.19 seconds shy of a World U20 record. The performance shattered the previous Pan American U20 record of 43.38, which was also set by an American contingent.

The youngest of the group was Lewis, a rising senior at Friends' Central High School in Philadelphia, while Jackson, a high school graduate out of North Carolina, would later win the 200m in the No. 2 prep performance of all-time. 

Saturday's group surpassed the likes of Bianca Knight, Jeneba Tarmoh, Elizabeth Olear and Gabby Mayo, who ran to 43.29 seconds in 2006.

In 2012, Knight would go on to set a World 4x100 record with the United States that still stands today at 40.82 seconds. 

Related Links: 

Watcke's gold-medal effort highlighted Day 3 at the Pan American U20 Championships

Team U.S. pockets 12 gold medals on the first day of Pan Am U20s