EUGENE, Ore. – The agony and ecstasy of track and field was on full display on the first day of competition at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field on Saturday.
In the men’s 100 meters, Trentavis Friday, of Gastonia, N.C., wowed a crowd of 2,500 spectators by shattering the national high school record in the 100 meters with a blazing time of 10.00 seconds in the first semifinal.
In the second semifinal, World Junior record-holder and reigning NCAA champion Trayvon Bromell, a freshman at Baylor, jetted to victory in 10.08, setting up a tantalizing final.
Unfortunately for Friday, he was too quick out of the blocks, and was disqualified for a false start. Bromell, who set the World Junior record of 9.97 at the NCAA Championships last month, went on to win the race in 10.07, while Kendal Williams took second at 10.27.
“He’s like a little brother to me,” said Bromell of Friday’s false start. “He’s a great runner and his time will come. I told him to have faith in God and he’ll put you where you want to be.”
Bromell, who has a wind-aided 9.77 to his credit this year, will return to Hayward Field for the third time this season, July 22-27, as the clear favorite in the 100m at the IAAF World Junior Championships.
“I really appreciate the atmosphere here,” he said. “The fans cheer for all the athletes, not just Oregon athletes. It’s just a great place to run fast times.”
There was plenty of speed in the women’s 100m as well.
Sixteen-year-old Kaylin Whitney, of Clermont, Fla., set a national prep record and clocked the fifth-fastest U.S. junior time in history at 11.10 to win the 100m and become the World Junior leader in that event. The high school sophomore held off Oregon signee Ariana Washington, who also earned a spot on Team USA with a second-place finish of 11.30.
Those two will square off again in today’s 200 meters.
“(Kaylin) was just phenomenal,” Washington said. “She was out of this world. I’m excited for her, I’m excited for me and I’m excited to race again.”
Perhaps the most experienced runner at the U.S. junior meet, which features the nation’s best athletes age 19 and under, was Mary Cain, of Bronxville, N.Y., who has already competed at both the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, and the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
Cain, who holds national prep and junior records from 800m to 5,000m, chose the 3,000 to test herself at a seldom-run distance as she prepares for some Diamond League races in August.
She easily earned her second trip to World Juniors with a winning time of 9:15.81 followed by Stephanie Jenks, a sophomore at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa, at 9:28.00.
“I personally felt I would be more challenged in the 3,000,” Cain said. “I wasn’t as familiar with it because I don’t race it as often … this was a real fun way to keep in shape.”
Besides the World Junior meet, Jenks, a talented triathlete, will also compete in the Youth Olympic Games triathlon this summer in Nanjing, China.The biggest surprise of the day came from UO redshirt freshman Cole Walsh, who was crowned U.S. junior champion in the pole vault with a huge PR of 17 feet, 6 ½ inches. His previous best was 16-10 ½.
Walsh said he was inspired by Devon Allen, a former high school teammate at Brophy Prep in Phoenix, who is the reigning U.S. and NCAA champion in the 110-meter high hurdles, and the MVP of Oregon’s spring football game as a wide receiver.
“I’m always trying to live up to his reputation,” Walsh said. “I’ve been working very hard these past couple weeks and had really good practices with my coach and I’m feeling really fit. The wind conditions were really good and my whole family came out and cheered me on.”
Other notable winners included Travonn White, of Central Arizona College, in the long jump at 26-4 ½, the best junior mark in the U.S. this year and No. 2 in the world; Raven Saunders, of Charleston, S.C., took first in the shot put at 55-10 ¼; Haley Showalter, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., won the hammer on her sixth and final attempt at 188-8; and Kord Ferguson, of Ottawa, Kansas, claimed the discus at 201-0.
Today’s action gets under way at 2:15 p.m. with the women’s discus. The first event on the track will be the semifinal heats of the women’s 200 meters at 2:45 p.m.
UO athletes in action include former Sheldon High standout Maggie Schmaedick in the 5,000m; Chris Mulverhill in the 3,000m steeplechase and Cullen Prena in the shot put and hammer throw.
Also competing will be four future Ducks: Washington in the 200m; Raevyn Rogers in the 800m; Nate Moore in the triple jump and Ashlee Moore in the 100m hurdles. Nate Moore placed fourth in the long jump on Saturday at 24-8 ½ and Ashlee Moore has already secured a spot on Team USA as the heptathlon champion.