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Record breaking performances come early at USATF Hershey National Youth Championships

LISLE, Illinois -- In mild temperatures on Wednesday morning, the USATF Hershey National Youth Outdoor Championships at Benedictine University got off to a record-setting start and continued that trend heading into Thursday.
In Wednesday action, Taylor Ewert (Beavercreek, Ohio) won the 13-14 girls’ 3,000m race walk at 14:42.04, slicing more than four seconds off the previous record, which was set back in 1992 by Anya-Maria Ruoss. Ewert is a four-time USATF race walk champion. 
The first full day of the championships on Thursday saw another record eclipsed in the first event of the day. Daniel Mazzei (Berryhill, Oklahoma) broke the 17-18 men’s 3,000m record with a time of 8:37.63. Mazzei took down the previous record of 8:41.25, held by Jacob Smith since July 2011.
Cameron Reedy (Carpentersville, Illinois) was another 3,000m victory, capturing the15-16 boys’ title with a 9:18.97.
The 800m heats occupied the morning with the majority of age-group, top seeds advancing to finals on Saturday. The top three seeds won their heats for girls in the 11-12 and 13-14 divisions.
Lucea Wright (Los Angeles, California)  had the second fastest time in the 11-12 age group, winning the second heat with a time of 2:26.92. Makayla Browne (Moreno Valley, California) ran 2:28.54 to win the first heat and Emily St. Louis (Brooklyn, New York) took the third heat, finishing at 2:30.15.
Roisin Willis (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) ran 2:25.78 in the fourth heat, earning the fastest time of all heats in the 11-12 girls division. 
Among 13-14-year-olds, Chantae Steele ran the best time of all heats, winning the third heat at 2:21.90. Melissa Kameka’s (Rockville, Maryland) 2:25.74 and Danai Mavhera’s (Moreno Valley, California) time of 2:29.70 set the stage for a competitive final on Saturday.
The 17-18 division saw a great time from top seed Karina Liz (Aurora, Illinois) only to fall short by .29 seconds to Adrena Mazzei (Tulsa, Oklahoma) in a very close finish down the stretch. Second seeded Sydney Gandy (Katy, Texas) and third seeded Alyssa Solberg won the second and third heats respectively.
17-18 men’s division was the only division in 800m that advanced top three seeds via winning heat times.
Eugene Grayson (Glenpool, Oklahoma) ran the fastest time at 1:55.74 to hold off Emmanuel Porquin (Rockville, Maryland). Daniel Galvin (Alabama) finished the third heat at 1:57.25 and Connor McCue (Aurora, Illinois) won the first heat at 1:58.22.

In the 13-14 boys division, Abdiel Melendez-Mestre (The Woodlands, Texas)  won the second heat by more than five seconds, clocking in at 2:04.02. Top-seeded Erick Steward (Carson, California) never broke stride en route to a 2:05.14 winning first-heat time. Third-seeded Joshua White (El Paso, Texas) was edged out by Amir Wallace (Fairfield, California) to win the third heat.
In 200-meters, Tyler Johnson (Dayton, Ohio) ran the fastest time of the day, crossing in 22.22 in the fourth heat. A pair of 22.59 finishes were the cut off times captured by Ronaldo Griffiths (Brooklyn, New York) and Caleb Ogden (Oak Creek, Wisconsin) in the first and seventh heats respectively.
Three long jump titles were handed out Thursday to the 7-8 boys, 7-8 girls and 15-16 boys.
Brandon Adams (Joliet, Illinois) jumped 6.38m/20-11.25 in the 15-16 boys long jump. Jori Logan (San Diego, California) jumped 3.62m/11-10.5 en route to the the 7-8 girls win.
Boys and girls in the 13-14 divisions crowned champions in pole vault. Shelby Tyler (Noblesville, Indiana) was one of only two girls to clear a height as 2.35m/7-8.5 was enough to outlast Jaclyn Barthelme (Newton, Illinois). Thomas Brelage (Fishers, Indiana) won a tiebreaker over Ian Rainsberger (Colorado Springs, Illinois) at 2.65m/8-8.25 to win the morning contest.
The 15-16 girls as well as the 17-18 women divisions posted champions in shot put on Thursday afternoon. Kathleen Young (Decatur, Illinois) threw 13.92m/45-8 in 15-16, and the recently selected World Youth Championships team member Nickolette Dunbar (Whippany, New Jersey) threw 14.57m/47-9.75 in the afternoon to conclude Thursday’s events.
Friday, July 3 will feature the Hershey Welcome Back Celebration held after events have concluded at the Benedictine University Baseball Field for all athletes and coaches with families able to order separate tickets. For more information on the Hershey Welcome Back Celebration, click here.

Ryan Stevens
Communications Intern

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