OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - Wayne Davis, II (Raleigh, N.C.) set a World Youth best of 13.18 in the 110 hurdles to capture Team USA's first gold medal, and William Wynne (Kennesaw, Ga.) took silver at 13.44 Thursday at the 5th IAAF World Youth Championships to lead a three-medal performance on day two of the meet.
The youngest member of Team USA's boys' squad had a strong motivation to do well - his father, Wayne Davis, Sr., promised to buy him a car if he won. The 15-year-old added icing to the cake with his record, breaking the old mark of 13.22 by Greece's Konstadinos Douvalidis in 2004.
I was really hoping to get the record, Davis said. That means my name will be in the books for a while. As soon as I crossed the line I wanted to see the time. My start was good as usual and I felt very relaxed, but I expected William to be right there beside me.
Kenny Gilstrap (Lithonia, Ga.) kicked off the medal haul with a surprise bronze in the 100 meters, clocking 10.61 behind the Jamaican pair of Dexter Lee and Nickel Ashmeade. Gilstrap, who was added to the team after Jeremy Rankin was injured, said, All I did was focus on what I needed to do. I didn't think I was supposed to be here, but this has made it real for me.
An inspiring performance in the 1,000m wasn't quite enough to win a medal for Curtis Beach (Albuquerque, N.M.), but the octathlete climbed from sixth to fourth and had a personal best 6,170 points after a 2:35.57 to win the final event. Beach had personal-best performances in the high jump (1.98 meters/6-6) and javelin (42.01m/137-10), but faltered in the 110 hurdles after hitting a barrier hard and finished in 14.82, well off his best. Shane Braithwaite of Barbados won with 6,261 points.
I had too many mental mistakes on the first day, Beach said. I was happy to get PR's in the shot, high jump and javelin, and I did all I could in the 1,000. The top three guys were amazing, and now I have an understanding of my place in the world of multis. When my throws improve to equal my other events, I think I will be pretty unstoppable.
Ashton Purvis (Oakland, Calif.), who celebrated her 15th birthday today, was seventh in the girls' 100 final at 12.04, after teammate Erica Alexander (Friendswood, Texas) was disqualified for a false start.
Hammer thrower Connor McCullough was the brightest spot in the morning session, launching a massive 75.98m/249-3 on his first attempt to lead all qualifiers.
Dalilah Muhammad (Jamaica, N.Y.) and Ryann Krais (Eagleville, Pa.) were impressive winners in the first round of the girls' 400 hurdles, with Muhammad, the world youth leader in 2007, capturing heat two in 59.80 and Krais taking heat three in 58.67.
Team USA advanced runners to the final of the boys' 400 and girls' 400, as Danzell Fortson (Fort Worth, Texas) was second in his semifinal in 47.70, and Meshawn Graham (Toledo, Ohio) took fourth in her semi at 54.96. Brianna Frazier (Jacksonville, Fla.) did not move on after a 55.66 in her section.
Dylan Ferris (Kernersville, N.C.) made it to the boys' 800 final, running a gutsy 1:50.38 to place third in his semifinal and nab one of the time qualifier spots. Ferris, who led through the first 200 in a swift 25.44, said, I was trying to get the lead and slow it down like yesterday. I didn't want to miss out on the final and I kept telling myself 'I gotta go'. Howard Shepard (Dallas, Texas) was seventh in his semi at 1:54.42 and did not advance.
In the boys' long jump, Christian Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) had a personal best of 7.27m/23-10.25, and Bryce Lamb (Chandler, Ariz.) had a windy 7.18m/23-6.75, but neither athlete advanced to the final. Frankie Hammond (Hollywood, Fla.) cleared 2.04m/6-8.25, but also failed to advance.
Competition resumes Friday at 10 a.m. with qualifying in the girls' hammer and the heptathlon 100 hurdles. For more information on Team USA at the World Youth Championships, including links to full results, visit http://www.usatf.org/events/2007/IAAFWorldYouthChampionships/