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US Team Readies For Opening Day of World Junior Championships

U.S. Junior team ready for opening day of World Junior Championships

Bydgoszcz, Poland – On the eve of the 12th
edition of the World Junior Championship, the United States team is
ready for Tuesday’s opening day at Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak Stadium.

A
record number of nations will be competing in these Championships at a
stadium bearing the name of one of the best Polish post-war distance
runners. Krzyzkowiak was a world record holder as well as an Olympic
and European Champion. Nearly 2,000 athletes, representing more than
150 countries, will compete during the weeklong meet, held from July
8-13.

While the World Junior meet often serves as
a stepping stone to the elite level of the sport and future World and
Olympic medalists on the senior level, the crop of junior athletes
competing now often are already knocking on the door for senior level
events.

Five members of the U.S. Junior team
recently competed at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. A pair of
finalists emerged from that group in Johnny Dutch and Jordan Hasay.
Other athletes who achieved the Olympic Trials standard opted to only
compete at the U.S. Junior Championships in a bid for the World Junior
team.

Dutch, who finished his freshman season at
South Carolina, placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdle final. His time of
48.52 ranks second on the all-time World and American junior list as he
trails only a 48.02 established by Danny Harris in 1984.

Hasay,
who will enter her senior year of high school at Mission in San Luis
Obispo, Calif., in August, broke the American high school record in the
1,500 meters during the semifinals of the Olympic Trials with a
sterling mark of 4:14.50. In the finals Hasay finished 10th in 4:17.36.

Other
individuals who made the journey to Eugene and then completed their
trek to Poland included Jeshua Anderson (Washington State) in the 400
hurdles, Eric Kynard (Toledo, Ohio) in the high jump and Ryann Krais
(Eagleville, Pennsylvania), a heptathlete who qualified for the 400
hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

The U.S.
squad, headed by men’s coach John Moon of Seton Hall University and
women’s coach Patrick Shane of Brigham Young University, enters the
World Championships with 35 athletes ranked among the top 10 in 24
events on the current world junior list for the 2008 season. The
breakdown includes 21 men and 14 women amid 12 events for each gender.

Entering
this meet as a World leader or top seed on the U.S. junior team
include: Florida’s Terrell Wilks (10.19 – 100 top seed); Mississippi
State’s O’Neal Wilder (45.54 – 400 WJL); and South Carolina’s Johnny
Dutch (48.52 – 400H WJL) on the men’s side. The women’s team features
Tennessee’s Jeneba Tarmoh (11.21 – 100 top seed); Baylor’s Tiffany
Townsend (22.75 – 200 top seed); Miami’s Takecia Jameson (56.60 – 400H
WJL); and Anatasia Jelmini of Bakersfield, California (56.06 – Discus
WJL).

Currently the United States holds or
shares nine world junior records, which includes all four relay events
contested at the World Junior Championships.

Tuesday’s
first day of competition includes a pair of finals in the men’s shot
put and women’s 5,000 meters. Wednesday’s events include finals for the
men’s 100, long jump, discus and 10,000 meters, as well as the women’s
100 and hammer throw.

The first day of competition will conclude with an opening ceremony following the women’s 5,000-meter final.

For more information on the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships,visit www.usatf.org.

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