What are the Junior Nationals?
The U.S. Junior National Track & Field Championships are open to athletes who will not turn 20 during the year of competition (for 1999 that would be athletes who were born in 1980 or later). The fields of competition are typically made up of about one-half first year collegians and about one-half high school athletes.
This mixture has proven to be a good one for high school athletes. The 1998 Junior Championship Meet in Edwardsville, Illionois at Southern Illinois University, was headlined by the presence of Track & Field News Prep Male and Female Athletes of the Year, Greg Yeldell of North Carolina and Angela Williams of Chino, California. Both athletes went on to star for the U.S. Junior National team in the World Junior Championships in Annecy, France, with both setting U.S. High Schools records during involvement with the 1998 Junior program (Williams set the High School 100 Meter record of 11.11 at the U.S. Junior Meet, with Yeldell extending the U.S. High School best in the Triple Jump with a 53-11.25 at the World Junior Championships). Williams came home from the World Junior Championships with a gold (relay) and silver (100m) medal, with Yeldell securing a bronze medal in the Triple Jump.
Members on the U.S. Junior team typically come from all across the nation. A number of National High School Records have been set in recent years in the USA Track & Field Junior National Championships or by members of the U.S. Junior National team chosen from that competition during summer international meets.
Seven of the top ten on the Boys' side in voting for 1998 US Prep Male Athlete of the Year, and the top ten on the Girls' side for that honor were all participants in the U.S. Junior National Championships during their prep careers. Many of these athletes were members of the U.S. Junior National team in summer meets, picking up invaluable international experience.
The presence at the U.S. Junior Nationals of these top male and female stars shows the importance of that competition in the seasonal plan of top prep athletes. Many college coaches follow the Junior Championships to discover future recruits.
The U.S. Junior National Championships are the qualifying competition for membership on a U.S. Junior National team. Every two years there is a World Junior Championship in the sport (even years), with Pan-American Junior Track & Field Championships held on the alternate years (odd years, such as 1999). Expenses of the competition tour as a member of the U.S. Junior National team will be paid by USA Track & Field. Between one-half and two-thirds of the U.S. Junior National teams are made up of high-school age athletes.
A significant number of Americans who have been members of and award winners on Pan-American, World University, World Championship, and Olympic Teams have come up through the U.S. National Junior program. A survey of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team showed that one-half of that special group of athletes had competed in the Junior National Championships while eligible at that level. Carl Lewis and Jackie Joyner-Kersee had their first taste of international experience as part of a U.S. Junior National team after qualification in the U.S. Junior National Championships.
USA Track & Field USA Track & Field is a 1992 name change of The Athletics Congress/USA (TAC/USA), the organization that replaced the AAU as national governing body for Athletics (track and field, race walking, and long distance running) in 1979 by mandate of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978.
USA Track & Field is responsible for coordinating Athletics programs at all levels of competition, including Junior Nationals. USA Track & Field is the United States' member of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), the world governing body for Athletics.
USA Track & Field has a membership of 2,500 clubs and schools, with more than 150,000 member- athletes with an age range of 10-under to 80-plus. Its responsibilities include promoting programs of training and competition for its members, as well as protecting athletes' eligibility and establishing and maintaining the sport's rules of competition.
USA Track & Field is made up of 56 local Associations; each Association's territory represents a geographic area defined by the Congress' Bylaws. Each Association establishes its own Bylaws, and elects its own officers. Association responsibilities include registering member-athletes, club enrollment, and sanctioning events in its geographic area.
Hopefully you are having a fine spring Track &
Field season. As a
Remember--the time to start planning is now--See you in Denton!!!!
Doug Speck - USA Track & Field
Consultant to Juniors
P. Duffy Mahoney - Director of Operations - USA Track & Field -
Cathy Sellers - Manager of Operations Programs
(317) 261-0500 Ext 312
web site: http://www.usatf.org
This Web site is maintained by
John Dye [email protected]