What an exciting day the third day of the IAAF World Junior T&F Championships were. Team USA impressed across the board, including the six preps that took part in Thursday's action. Leading the way on the women's side was Florida junior Lanie Whittaker(pictured right by Joy Kamani of NationalScholastic.org), placing seventh in the women's 400m dash final. On the men's side, California junior Conor McCullough topped his group in the men's hammer throw and heads into the final with the third best mark. Prep stars Shanay Briscoe (TX), Christian Taylor (GA), Vashti Thomas (CA) and Ashton Purvis (CA) also competed.
World Junior Champs. Coverage - Thursday (Day 3)
Women's 400m Dash Final
The American dominance in the sprints showed once again Thursday in the women's 400m dash. While collegiate star Jessica Beard finished second overall, high school junior Lanie Whittaker (Miami Booker T. Washington, FL) (pictured left by Joy Kamani of NationalScholastic.org) impressed as well, finishing seventh overall in the field. Whittaker, who proved time and again throughout the rounds that she is one of the best in the world at this age, ran a strong race from start to finish, finishing in 53.98. Whittaker's performance closes out a strong few days of competition and the Florida starlet now looks towards helping Team USA earn gold in the women's 4x400m relay.
Men's Hammer Throw Prelims
After coming up big in the U.S. Junior National Championships, Conor McCullough (Chaminade, CA) had more big goals to go after. It all came out Thursday in the men's hammer throw, where the talented junior threw the farthest throw in Group B, and the third farthest throw overall on the day. His toss opening toss of 238-11 advanced him to the final, where he'll go for World gold over the weekend.
McCullough opened his day with his 238-11 toss, fouled the second throw, then came back to finish his series with a 226-06. His series was one of the best on the day, setting himself up well for the final.
Women's High Jump Final
What a week it's been for Shanay Briscoe (TX). The sophomore high jumper not only qualified for the finals of the Olympic Trials, but took it one step further by qualifying for the World Junior high jump finals. Briscoe cruised threw the first two heights with no misses, but then got stuck at 5-10. Missing both of her first two attempts at the height, Briscoe finally cleared the bar. After 5-10, Briscoe attempted 5-11.75, only to miss all three marks and finish tenth overall. With at least two more years of competition, this is a great first step in Briscoe's young track and field career.
Men's Triple Jump Prelims
After a disappointing seventh place finish the day before in the long jump, Christian Taylor (Sandy Creek, GA) bounced back to qualify for the final of the men's triple jump. After a solid first jump of 50-00, Taylor scratched his second jump, only to leap 51-05 and send himself into the next round with high hopes to earn a personal best and bring home a medal.
Women's 100m Hurdle Prelims
A bad start to her week got a bit rougher for Vashti Thomas (Mt. Pleasant, CA). The senior hurdler/jumper missed the finals of the women's triple jump on Wednesday, then got off to a poor start Thursday in her 100m hurdle heat. A bit slow out of the blocks cost Thomas, finishing sixth in heat two in 14.39, leaving her out of the next round of the event.
Women's 200m Dash Prelims
Ashton Purvis (St. Elizabeth, CA) earned her way into the semi-final of the women's 200m dash Thursday morning, but missed the final by one spot, finishing fifth in her heat with a 23.68 effort. Earlier in the day Purvis finished second in her quarter-final heat, running away from most of the competition to finish up in 23.98. The sophomore sprinter now focuses her attention towards the women's 4x100m relay.