Young Track & Field Standouts Headed to Junior Olympics
In the next two weeks, some of the best track and field athletes in the nation will converge on the track at California State University, Sacramento to see who are the best American athletes in a number of different disciplines, and to earn the right to represent team USA in the World Championships scheduled for later this summer.
Many of the familiar faces and American favorites won’t be on the track competing. Fan favorites like Allyson Felix recently retired after a successful 2016 Summer Olympic Games. However, track and field fans will get a good mix of veterans such as gold medal winner LaShawn Merritt, along with some new faces that will be the future of U.S. Track and Field. National women’s 400 meter hurdle champion Shamier Little, who is still a student at Texas A&M, and Jasmine Todd, a junior at the University Oregon, who took second in the 100 meters will be new faces to keep an eye on.
Before the World Championships take place later this summer, some of the area’s best young track and field athletes will be competing in the USATF Region 15 Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships scheduled for June 23-25 at Orange Glen High School in Escondido. The youth track and field event will feature some of the best young track and field athletes in the West Region. Those that qualify will go on to compete in the Nationals in Kansas in late July.
Jerry Mason, founder and coach of the TJ Striders will be taking some of his best athletes to Escondido to compete in the Junior Olympics. Mason and some of his current athletes are familiar with big meet experience. Mason has led a number of his athletes to Junior Olympics level as well as the Nationals. Although the TJ Striders have yet to bring home gold from National, they can boast of a third place bronze finish in the Javelin by Tyquan Nephew in the in 9-10 year old division. Mason also had a couple of athletes just miss out on the medal stand with fourth place finishes in 400 meters and the 4×100 meter relay.
Many of the TJ Striders just earned top State rankings in their most recent qualifying meet, so they are expected to do well and bring home gold in the upcoming Regional 15 Junior Olympics. Trayvon Flournoy will be competing in the 100 meters and 200 meters 9-10 year division. Dillion Carolina will be competing in the 11-12 year old division. Carolina will competing in the long jump and the 80 meter hurdles. Carolina was part of a TJ Striders 4×100 meter team that just missed on the medal stand. He’s used to the big meets and expected to show why he is ranked No. 1 in both of his events. Amaliyah Smith will be competing in the 80 meter hurdles in 11-12 year old division. Other TJ Striders athletes that are expected to post strong performances include Ryan Bambino 9-10 age group, 400 meters; Devyn Key 17-18 age group, 800 meters; Jeremiah Burgess 15-16 age group, 200 meters; Tamia Strokes 17-18 age group, 100 meters; Chynah Stanfield 17-18 age group, 100 meters; and Davien Witherspoon 7-8 age group 200 meters.