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Three records fall on day three of Junior Olympics

WICHITA, KAN. - Three national youth records fell as competition continued on day three of the USATF National Junior Olympics Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Marcus Krah of the Durham Striders leapt to a record-setting distance in the youth boys' triple jump. Krah won the competition with a jump of 13.54m/44-5.25, but because the mark was heavily wind-aided, it was ineligible for the record. Instead, another mark from the competition, 13.43m/44-0.75, was submitted for the record.

Another national record fell in the youth boys' pole vault, as Adam Coulon of Flying Dragons Track Club cleared 4.30m/14-1.25 to collect the win. The previous record of 4.28m/14-0.5 stood for 34 years and was set by Bill Lange.

Gray vaults to national record

Lone Star Pole Vault Club competitor Meagan Gray set a youth girls' pole vault national record with her height of 3.50m/11-5.75. Gray's mark exceeded Carissa Culver's previous record of 3.41m/11-2.25 set back in 2007. Gray, who will enter high school in the fall, was competing in her first National Junior Olympics competition,

"I was kind of looking to break the record, but I just wanted to come in here and have fun since it's the first time I [competed at Junior Olympics]," Gray said. "I was nervous at first because all of these girls have been doing for it a long time, but I felt very confident in the surroundings. The weather was perfect, and everybody was there to support me."

Gray, a former gymnast, is a relative newcomer to the pole vault. She started in seventh grade and has excelled quickly in the event.

"The first time I [pole vaulted], I jumped like eight or nine [feet]," she said. "I thought that was super high, but now it seems like super low compared to what I'm jumping now."

Although Gray fell short of the next height in the progression, she's confident that it's within reach.

"I've tried to clear 11-10 for the past week now, but I think I might get it soon," Gray said. "I think I might get it at the next meet."

Blake sets PR and meet record
Ashlie Blake's winning toss in the intermediate girls' discus throw earned her a National Junior Olympics meet record and personal best. Blake set the record on her third throw, only to improve that mark in finals, finishing with a best toss of 46.61m/152-11.

"I felt nervous because [second place finisher Kennedy Blahnik] has been beating me for the last few years," Blake said. "I just went out there and tried to throw my best."

Although Blake was seeded third in the event, she entered the competition with lofty goals.

"My goal was to PR, get the record, and come away with the win," she said.

Blake, who competes in all the throwing events, considers the discus and shot put her favorite events. Friday, she will contend for the shot put title as the top-ranked competitor.

"Discus is all technique," Blake said. "You got to have it precise, or it just won't go far."

Kline brothers finish 1-2 in shot put
Jeremy and Jermaine Kline, twin brothers who hail from Illinois, were the top two finishers in the young men's shot put. Jeremy came out on top with his toss of 19.95m/65-5.5, while Jermaine finished close behind with a mark of 19.71m/64-8.

"I had higher hopes for what I want to do today, but I felt good kind of overall," Jermaine said. "The ring was really slippery and I didn't expect that."

"I just wanted to beat him," said Jeremy of his brother. "I did, so I'm good."

Jeremy and Jermaine, who compete for Dupage Track Club, can't help but be competitive in everything they do.

"We're always competing cause he thinks he's better," Jeremy joked. "We'll like see who can lift more or eat more."

Regardless of their competitive natures, both brothers help push each other in training and competition.

"It kind of just like motivates you to work harder than the other person, but I think that's how a person gets better" Jermaine said. "If you have someone that you're like close to or admire a lot, you try to work twice as hard. In the long run it pays off."

Below are some other highlights and notable performances from day three of the meet:

Laque Moen-Davis of the Midwest Striders earned her second gold medal of the meet with a win in the young women's long jump. Moen-Davis, who won the heptathlon competition on Wednesday, finished with a mark of 5.94m/19-6. One of her jumps appeared to surpass the national youth record for the event, but was called a foul.

Margaux Jones was another competitor to claim her second national title. Her clearance of 1.65m/5-5 in the youth girls' high jump was good for first place. Jones was the pentathlon champion for her age group. Later in the week, she will compete as one of the top-ranked entrants in the 100m hurdles and long jump competitions.

Brothers Marcus and Carlan Naisant of the Arizona Flames claimed a 1-2 finish in the midget boys' 300g javelin throw. Marcus was the top competitor with a throw of 46.06m/151-1, while Carlan finished the competition in second with his toss of 42.96m/140-11).

Other event winners from today's competition include the following:

-Blake Hurlock, Pleasanton Heat Running Club-intermediate boys' 3,000m (8:55.62)
-Jacob Smith-young men's 3,000m (8:41.25)
-Mykhiyah Williams, Metropolis TC-bantam girls' high jump (1.35m/4-5)
-Nataliyah Friar, St. Louis Lightning-intermediate girls' triple jump (12.17m/39-11.25)
-Bryan Bjerk-intermediate boys' discus throw (47.47m/155-9)
-Jamichael Henry, Spar TC-intermediate boys' long jump (7.00m/22-11.75)
-Caleb Cavanaugh, Track Houston-bantam boys' high jump (1.45m/4-9)
-Carlie Queen-midget girls' high jump (1.60m/5-3)
-Daia Hansford, Bowie Boys & Girls Club-sub-bantam girls 300g javelin throw (18.13m/59-6)
-Tera Novy, Team Evolution-young women's shot put (13.67m/44-10.25)
-Marquis Dendy-young men's triple jump (15.62m/51-3)
-Damon Bonds, St. Louis Flames TC-midget boys' long jump (5.37m/17-7.5)
-Maalik Murphy, Speed City TC-sub-bantam boys' 300g javelin throw (25.10/82-4)
-Mikayla Dishazer-bantam girls' 6 lb. shot put (9.64m/31-7.5)
-Addyson Smith-Central Valley Roadrunners-midget girls' discus throw (32.32m/106-0)

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