The first day of the USATF Junior National T&F Championships got off to a great start Friday as athletes from across the country conviened at Ohio State University. Leading the way on Day 1 was Roxi Grizzle (Tonganoxie, KS). Grizzle (pictured left by Margot Kelly) placed second in the womens javelin competition with a U.S. #5 all-time effort of 170-03. Elsehwere, Booker Nunley (Garner, NC) ran one of the fastest prep marks ever in the 110m hurdles, taking home the title with his 13.40 effort. With two more days of competition remaining, this weekend in Ohio promises to be exciting.
USATF Junior National T&F Champs - Friday Highlights
From the first to the last event Friday, the first day of the USATF Junior National T&F Championships lived up to its billing. All week long enthusiasts of the meet were promoting just how many great athletes were attending and these fans were right. The list of high school athletes is simply outstanding and numerous results showed why this meet might just be better than Nike Outdoor Nationals this year.
The top performance of the entire day came from Roxi Grizzle (Tonganoxie, KS), who threw so well in the womens javelin that she became the U.S. #5 athlete in the event all-time. Grizzle's (pictured left by Margot Kelly) mark of 170-03 was good enough for second, and furthered her personal best. Grizzle also proved that she is the best high school athlete in the event, after being viewed as second string when compared to freshman phenom Hannah Carson (Dobson, AZ). Carson performed well Friday, placing third behind Grizzle in 163-05.
Elsewhere in the field event action, Anna Jelmini (Shafter, CA) continued her impressive season in the womens discus, placing first amongst a strong field of competitors. The California junior won the event with yet another mark of 170 feet, this time producing a 173-01 winning effort.
Another top field event performance came from Marquise Goodwin (Rowlett, TX) in the mens long jump. Goodwin tied for first (winning on the tie-breaker) with a leap of 25-00, beating a strong Christian Taylor (Sandy Creek, GA) who placed a close third in 24-11.25. Bryce Lamb (Chandler, AZ) was another prep in the mens long jump competing well, placing in the top six with his 24-00.75 performance.
On the track the best performance of the day, and perhaps the weekend, came from Booker Nunley (Garner, NC) in the mens 110m hurdles. The University of South Carolina-bound Nunley (pictured right by Margot Kelly) ran 13.49 in the prelims, one of the better times ever. Well, Nunley ran even faster in the finals, placing first in an exceptional time of 13.40.
Following Nunley's lead in the hurdles was William Wynne (McEachern, GA). Wynne earned the number two seed heading into the finals of the 400m hurdles. During Friday's prelims Wynne ran 50.76, improving his seasonal personal best and moving closer to obtaining the national record. On the girls side Jacquelyn Coward (Knoxville West, TN) looked great, leading the womens 400m hurdle prelims with a best time of 59.21. California sophomore Kori Carter (Claremont, CA) also produced in the event, earning one of the top seeds with her 1:00.26 performance.
The top distance event of the day for prep athletes came in the boys 800m dash. Elijah Greer (Lake Oswego, OR) led the way with a top prelim time of 1:50.15, looking relaxed and fast according to observer Thomas Johanssen. Johanssen noted that, "I've seen some great high school aged half milers before, but Greer looked better than all of them." Greer's 1:50.15 left him well ahead of the next prep, Dylan Ferris (East Forsyth, NC), who still enters Saturday's final with an excellent seed time of 1:51.00. Zachary Mellon (Buffalo, MN) and Blake Shaw (Cypress Park, TX) also advanced with times of 1:51.22 and 1:52.15 respectively.