MIRAMAR, Florida -- Top U.S. athletes earned coveted national titles and spots on Team USATF as the first four events kicked off the 2019 USATF U20 (formerly known as Junior) Outdoor Championships at Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar, Florida.
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Ole Miss rising sophomore Joseph Benedetto (Middletown, New York) began the meet by clinching the men’s hammer throw competition during his third round attempt, throwing 66.99m. The next closest competitor, Garrett Doyle (Lincoln, Rhode Island), threw a best of 64.73m.
Following an hourlong weather delay, Ava Curry (Liberty, Missouri) of the University of Missouri claimed the women’s javelin title with a best of 48.89m. Incoming Mizzou freshman Skylar Ciccolini (Lewistown, Pennsylvania), who represented USA at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, took second at 48.15m.
In the women’s 5,000m, the pack of five stayed close together for the first portion of the race. 2018-2019 Gatorade Indiana Girls Cross Country Player of the Year Emma Wilson (Greencastle, Indiana) established a lead with six laps to go and the top four pulled away until, with less than a mile remaining, Jessi Larson (Saline, Michigan) of Michigan kicked into another gear. Last weekend’s adidas Boost Boston Games Girls Dream Mile winner Heidi Nielson (Cinco Ranch, Texas) maintained speed behind Larson however, she soon took off and extended a substantial distance that only grew as the race progressed. For the final 800m, Larson was in a race all her own as the remaining competitors spread out behind her. She brought home the win in 16:47.66, followed by Nielson in 16:64.02.
The men’s 10,000m final closed out Day One’s events, with Notre Dame’s Daniel Kilrea (LaGrange Park, Illinois) dominating the race from the gun. The rising sophomore maintained a consistent, sizable lead ahead of the next closest runners. Kilrea held his own throughout and ultimately finished first in 31:38.35, ahead of second place’s Nicholas Yanek (Bettendorf, Iowa) of Michigan in 31:59.89.
Ashley Mitchell, USATF Marketing & Communications