Future Stars: Underclassmen Win Big At National Champs

* Skyler Franklin helped Montverde break the 4x400m national record

Photo Credit: Kyle Brazeil/MileSplit

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Just as fast as it arrived, it's basically done. Aside from a few high schoolers competing at the US Olympic Trials over the next week and a half, the 2024 high school track and field season is all wrapped up.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel to hold onto, and that's the amount of talent we'll get to see next year from the best up-and-coming stars throughout the sport. 

Over the weekend at both New Balance Nationals Outdoor and Nike Outdoor Nationals, young sprinters, throwers and pole vaulters showed grit against the upperclassmen, walking away with a few national titles and records. 

Here are five future stars to keep an eye on over the next few years.

Demare Dezeurn

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Bishop Alemany (CA)

Class of 2027

The freshman standout's first year of high school competition finished with a trip up to Eugene, Oregon, for Nike Outdoor Nationals, where Dezeurn finished fifth in the boys 100m championship, clocking a time of 10.54.

The young sprinter had a tremendous spring and he produced a wind-legal 10.47, which is a top 10 performance in class history.

Additionally, he won eight of his 12 races on the season. 

 One of nine freshman to ever break 10.5, Dezeurn sits No. 8 all-time in the freshman class, alongside some historically fast guys.

Skyler Franklin

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Montverde Academy (FL)

Class of 2026

An integral piece to the Montverde Academy sprinting powerhouse, Franklin kept her composure all year as if she was an upperclassmen.

Over the weekend at New Balance Nationals Outdoor, Franklin threw down times of 23.22 and 23.00 seconds across both rounds of the 200m, finishing runner-up to West Warwick sophomore Lisa Raye.

Franklin also ran a leg on the the 4x400m, which broke the national record yet again in 3:31.68. She ends her second year of high school track as the fastest 400m runner in the country (51.57) and the high school record holder. 

Jackson Cantwell

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Nixa (MO)

Class of 2026

One of the top offensive lineman in the country and now one of the best all-time shot putters, Cantwell finished one of the greatest high school campaigns in history.

Dating back to the first week of April, Cantwell won all nine of his shot put competitions, and eight of nine in the discus. However, his last win of the season may be the sweetest, as he won the Nike Outdoor National title with a heave of 73-05.25, a new Hayward Field high school record.

He heads into the latter half of his high school career as the No. 8 shot-putter in prep history and the sophomore class record-holder.

Somto Igwilo

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Walton (GA)

Class of 2007

In her first New Balance Nationals Outdoor competition, the freshman out of Marietta, Georgia held her own with the bigs dogs, finishing sixth in the 100m in 11.71.

During her freshman campaign, Igwilo raced the 100m distance 14 different times and only one of those was ever not under 12.00. She finished runner-up at the GHSA Class 7A State Championships and ran a PB of 11.38 the week prior.

She caps off her debut season of high school track as the fastest freshman in the country and the third-fastest in history.

Victor Olesen

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St. Christopher's (VA)

Class of 2026

The country's top pole vaulter has been firing on all cylinders over the last month, clearing 17-9.5, 17-5.75 and 17-8.5 across three straight competitions. 

His first clearance of 17-9.5 was good enough for the national lead and the 15th-best jump in history. His last two performances saw him win both the USATF U20 title and the Nike Outdoor National title.

The cherry on top of it all is that Olesen will be heading down to Lima, Peru later this summer for a chance at gold in the World Athletics U20 Championships. 

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