A clutch of outstanding sprint performances highlighted the US Junior Championships, which concluded on Sunday (26) after three days of action in Clovis, California.
The most notable of all of the weekend’s performances came in one of the preliminary rounds.
Running in the heats of the 100m hurdles, 15-year-old Tia Jones clocked a sensational 12.84 to equal* the existing world U20 record set by Cuba’s Aliuska Lopez in 1987.
Tobi Amusan of Nigeria clocked 12.83 in El Paso on 30 April, but that mark won’t be ratified as there was no post-race drugs test and a 12.74 clocking by USA’s Dior Hall in 2015 was not ratified as a world U20 record for the same reason.
Jones, whose time was also a world U18 best and a world age-15 best, will be still young enough to compete at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 and will still be a junior up to and including 2019.
Much of her speed carried over to the final, but there she was surprisingly nipped at the line by Alexis Duncan by a scant 0.01, 13.04 to 13.05.
It was a personal best for the 17-year-old Duncan, who will now be targeting a podium finish at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 to make up for a disappointing seventh place finish at last year’s IAAF World U18 Championships in Cali where she started among the favourites.
Sydney McLaughlin’s high powered momentum continued with her 54.54 400m hurdles victory, just outside the 54.46 world U18 best she ran on 19 June.
“I was nervous for the first one hundred, I didn’t get out as I wanted to, but as the race went on I got back to my place and finished well,” McLaughlin said. “This was a good way to get back and run another 54 and get that under my belt.”
Next stop for the 16-year-old world youth champion will be the US Olympic Trials where she’ll be aiming to become one of the youngest ever track and field Olympians.
Her brother Tyler will also be joining her on the team for the World U20 Championships after he won the men’s 400m hurdles in 50.74.