June 16-17, 2001 at Richmond VA

USATF Junior Nationals

Preview by USATF

Preps include Laura Gerraughty, Kate Johnston,
Ychlindria Spears, Janice Davis, and Samantha Shepard


The future stars of Team USA will compete at the 2001 U.S. Junior National
Championships, June 16-17 at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.
Part of the Verizon Youth Series, this meet will serve as the selection
competition for two U.S. Junior teams that will compete internationally this

In order to qualify to compete at the Junior National Championships, an athlete
must meet certain performance standards and be between the ages of 14-19 in the
calendar year of 2001.

Leading the field of competitors are three defending champions: Jeff Chakouian
of Seekonk, Mass., in the men’s shot put, Josh McCaughey of W. Kingston, R.I.,
in the men’s hammer, and Laura Gerraughty of Nashua, N.H., in the women’s shot

NCAA sprint champion Justin Gatlin of Tennessee will compete in the 100, 200 and
110m hurdles. Jessica Cosby and Kate Johnston, both members of Team USA at the
2000 World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile, will compete in the hammer
throw, with Cosby also throwing the shot put. Many top prep U.S. athletes are
scheduled to compete, including Massachusetts pole vaulter Samantha Shepard and
Texas prep star Ychlindria Spears, who is entered in three events, the long and
triple jumps and the 200m. Mississippi sprinter Janice Davis is expected to
compete in the 100 and 200 meters.

Chakouian, a freshman at the University of Kentucky, rewrote the UK record books
with his first collegiate throw (20.08m/65-10.50) in December 2000. The toss
broke the UK freshman record and was the farthest throw in the world by a junior
athlete in 2000. A two-time All American as a freshman, he finished fourth at
NCAA Outdoors in the shot put (19.59m/64-03.25) and third at NCAA Indoors. The
Southeastern Conference indoor shot put champion, Chakouian was the
Massachusetts state shot put champion as a senior in 2000 with a state record

McCaughey is the national high school record holder in the 25-lb. weight and
just completed his freshman season at Princeton. He boasts a personal best of
61.78m/202-8 with the 16-lb.hammer.

Gerraughty owns the New Hampshire state outdoor record (15.63m/51-3.5), the New
England outdoor record (16.21m/53-2.25) and national indoor record
(16.43m/53-11) in the shot put. She also holds the New Hampshire state record in
the discus at 45.32m/148-8. She will attend the University of North Carolina in
the fall.

Gatlin became this month first freshman sprinter since 1976 to win the 100 and
200 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He clocked an American Junior
Record-tying 10.08 in the 100 and ran an electrifying 19.86 wind-aided time in
the 200 prelims, the fastest time ever by a Junior athlete under any conditions.
He ran 20.11 to win the final. His double sprint victory led the University of
Tennessee to its first team title since 1991.

Cosby, last year’s shot put runner-up at the U.S. Junior meet with a mark of
15.33m/50-3.50, just finished a successful freshman season at UCLA. Her throw of
14.93m/48-11.75 earned her ninth place at the 2000 World Junior Championships in
Santiago. A native of Mission Hills, Calif., Cosby finished fifth at this year's
NCAA Indoors Championships with mark of 16.28m/53-5.

Johnston finished second in the weight throw (16.41m/53-10.25) at the 2001 Rhode
Island state indoor meet. At the 2000 state outdoor meet, she won the hammer
throw with a meet record 55.48m/182-0 toss. As a sophomore in 1999, she set a
national record for the 20 lb. weight throw at 16.35m/53-7.75. Johnston will be
a freshman at Penn State in the fall.

Spears set national high school record in the triple jump with a leap of
13.47m/44-2.25 at the Texas state meet earlier this month. She also won the long
jump at 6.48m/21-03.25, the 100 in 11.88, and the 200 in 24.16. She will be a
senior at Luling High School this fall.

Shephard owns the sixth-best height in the pole vault for prep girls this season
at 3.83m/12-6.75, a height she cleared at the Penn Relays. She won the 2001
Massachusetts state title in the vault with a 3.81m/12-6 clearance and was part
of the third-place 4x400 team at the state meet. She will be a senior at Weston
HS in the fall.

As a freshman and sophomore at Natchez HS, Davis pulled off triple wins at the
Mississippi state meet, winning the 100, 200 and 400. Her 100m time of 11.44 in
2001 set a state record and tied the 2001 national prep best. At 13, Davis broke
the 19-foot mark in the long jump. She will be a junior at Natchez in the fall.

The top two highest place finishers in each event at the Junior Championships
will be eligible for the selection pool for competitions in Europe and
Argentina. The selection of teams will be at the sole discretion of USATF and
its committees.

The first meet, a dual meet with Great Britain, is scheduled for
August 18 at Stoke-on-Trent, England. Following that meet, the national
champions in selected events will have the opportunity for an additional
competition in Edinburgh, Scotland on August 25. The final international
competition for Team USA junior athletes will be the 2001 Junior Pan American
Games, held this year in Sante Fe, Argentina, October 18-20.

Due to the time of
the year that this meet is being held, USATF will take a limited team,
consisting primarily of jumpers, throwers and racewalkers.

The U.S. Junior program has contributed greatly in the development of many of
America’s finest track and field athletes. Past junior champions include
all-time greats Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Marion Jones, Lynn Jennings,
Mike Conley and Renaldo Nehemiah, among many others.

For more information on the 2001 U.S. Junior Championships and the Verizon Youth
Series, including results and a complete list of the athletes entered in the
event, visit the USATF Web site .

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