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USA Junior National Championships

Hayward Field, University of Oregon, Eugene OR
June 25-28, 2009

DyeStat on-site with Dave Devine and John Nepolitan

USATF Junior Women - 9 Burning Questions

By SteveU, DyeStat/ESPN RISE Senior Editor

Can Anna Jelmini add the shot put USR to her discus USR?  This might be the question of the meet for prep track and field fans.  It’s been a long, exciting season for the just-named Gatorade Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year, one where she has – amazingly – been able to make 50 feet and 180 feet totally routine in the shot and discus.  Given that Anna Jelmini was already at 183-11 going into 2009, it wasn’t a big surprise that she was able to nail Suzy Powell’s HSR in the discus, tying it then breaking it in meets a few weeks apart.  But her development from a “very good” 50-04 putter to #2 all-time at 54-04.75 has been mind-boggling.

Thus, Jelmini has become the only prep track athlete, male or female, to be as high as #2 all-time in two different events.  You may think it wouldn’t be a big deal for a great thrower to be highly ranked in both, but Jelmini is actually the only girl even in the all-time top 10 in both throws.  There’s one thing missing, though, and that’s the high school record in the shot.  She has six inches to go to match Michelle Carter’s mark from 2003 and this will be one of her last chances to get it.  Of course, she could also improve her DT USR of 190-03; she is entered right now in both the junior and senior discus events.  With Anna Collatz CA stunning with a US soph record 177-00 in the CIF prelims three weeks ago, Jelmini might want to put that discus mark WAY out there.

Can Jordan Hasay break her own 1500 USR?  Only for Jordan Hasay could you look at a slate of season bests of 2:09.12, 4:16.80, 4:44.28, and 10:05.29 and call them something like “modest” or “less than hoped for.”  But for the 2008 DyeStat AOY, it’s an apt description.  Moderate injury and illness issues which have popped up at inopportune times have combined with actual race issues (bad weather, bad pacing by Jordan, bad pacing by others) to make it tough to hit those PR watermarks that she has set so high. 

The bottom line, though, is that Jordan is still unbeaten this year by preps and her 4:16.80 is the best of any prep distance mark this year.  She is in great shape and competing on the track she will call her home, starting this fall, it is quite possible her USR could get a revision that will again set the track world on its ear.  Jordan has always been money in late June and July the last three years and 2009 will likely be no different.  She is entered in both the senior and junior 1500s, with the expected scenario being that she would only run the junior race if she didn’t qualify for the senior final.  Even if she runs the junior race, she could get a great battle for collegiate freshman Morgane Gay, who has improved dramatically at UVA from 4:52 for 1600 to 4:15.56 for 1500.

Who will win the Laura Roesler-Chanelle Price 800 battle?  One great battle we didn’t get to see last year in the girls prep ranks was Chanelle Price vs. Laura Roesler in the 800.  Both bypassed the NON and USATF Jr. meets in 2008 to compete in the Olympic Trials.  For Price, who had run US#1 2:01.61 at Pre, it was a rare low point in an otherwise great career as she didn’t make it out of the first round.  But the Trials were a coming out party for soph sensation Roesler, who advanced to the semis after having run a US#2 2:03.08 a few weeks earlier. 

Neither has improved on her PR, but have each had their share of highlights in ’09, with Price part of collegiate record relays at Penn as a U. of Tennessee frosh, and Roesler winning the NIN 800 as a Fargo South ND junior.  Now they are the favorites in a strong 800 field that also includes NON runner-up Charlene Lipsey and 2008 NON runner-up Becca Addison.  Interestingly, Price won this race all the way back in 2006(!), after her soph season in HS.  The next two years she focused on NON and USATF Seniors (07) and the Trials (08).

Can Shade Weygandt take down the PV USR?  One of the best post-season moments leading up to NON was the return of Shade Weygandt TX to the vault wars with her emotional 14-00 PR at Great Southwest, moving her to #2 all-time.  At NON, vaulters had all sorts of problems with the conditions, but Weygandt survived best and won, even though it was “just” 13-03.  In Eugene, the question will be how well she responds to the impetus of collegiate competition.  Natalie Willer actually just completed her soph year at U. of Nebraska, but is still young enough for this meet.  She vaulted 13-01 as a HS senior in 2007, but is now up to 14-04.50. 

Can anyone touch Chalonda Goodman in the dashes?  If Chalonda Goodman thought she was challenged last week by Florida super soph Octavious Freeman, she’d better be ready for California’s experienced junior standout Ashton Purvis.  No, Purvis hasn’t blazed the track quite as fast this spring as Freeman, but she’s a savvy veteran who knows how to win.  Her problem, though, will be that Goodman will be ready for her and is in the best form of her life.  To catch the Newnan GA senior, Purvis will have to run like never before.  Goodman will also have to deal with Purvis’s half-sister, Amber, who has run well at U. of Oregon this spring and is #2 among entries in both races.

Can Lauren Chambers get that final inch for the HT USR?  Throw1Deep veteran Lauren Chambers hit 201-06 on March 8, coming within an inch of Maureen Griffin’s USR.  Since then she’s had some other meets where she was very close, and some that were not – like last weekend’s NON victory.  She is unbeaten, though, and will get great competition this weekend from prep Casey Kraychir CA and UConn collegian Victoria Flowers, who set the prep weight throw record in 2008.  Maybe this will be the day Chambers finally gets a long-sought after listing in the prep record books.

Who will win the terrific West Coast  triple jump battle?  It’s a perfect storm for the women’s triple jump in this meet.  In one of the best state rivalries of the year around the USA, Californians Ciarra Brewer and Alitta Boyd have been slugging it out, having met in various invites, section and state meets.  At state, James Logan soph sensation Brewer got within a hair of the 43-foot barrier with 42-10.50.  Last weekend at NON, Curtis WA sr Andrea Geubelle exploded to a PR 42-10.25; now she's here, too.  Not to be forgotten is Boyd, who won this meet last year with 43-01w.

Can Turquoise Thompson stay with Dalilah Muhammad in the 400H?  Another good prep vs. collegian fight will come in the 400H.  2007 World Youth champ Dalilah Muhammad, now a Southern Cal frosh, paced the prep list in the 400H most of 2008 before Turquoise Thompson came up and claimed the USATF JOs title with 57.67.  Thompson’s mark followed a season where she was ineligible for prep competition in California because of a transfer, but she has come back as a senior with a strong season at Serra HS.  Muhammad has gotten her time down to 56.49 in a strong freshman year and will be very hard to beat.

Who will lead the way among preps in the Hept?  Precious Selmon MO was 3rd at Great Southwest at 4674, but it was on Saturday that she really shone, hitting 13.67w in the 100H and 20-06w in the LJ.  Those were well above her hept totals and it stands to reason that if she puts it altogether, she could threaten 5000 points.  Then there’s Shakeia Pinnick IL, who hit 5053 last year, but she has not made a declaration yet.