By Jack Pfeifer
photos by Kim Spir and Tim Fulton
EUGENE, Ore. – Curtis Beach set his third national decathlon record in three months, scoring 7,599 points to win the USATF Juniors championship here at the University of Oregon on Friday.
Beach, a recent graduate of Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico, had second-day performances of 14.64w in the 39” high hurdles, 124-2 with the Junior (1.75k) discus, 15-0 ¾ in the pole vault, a subpar 127-10 in the javelin, and a record-setting 4:07.85 in the 1,500 meters.
Beach’s time in the 1,500 established national high school and world Junior bests for a decathlon. His total is an American Junior record.
“I came in wanting to get a few PRs on Day 2 since I didn’t get any on Day 1,” Beach said. “I did well today, but I feel like I still could have done better in some events.
“I’m really happy about getting the Junior record in the 1,500 today, and I’m really excited about the upcoming Pan-Am Games.” The first two finishers in each event qualify for the U.S. team that will compete in the Pan-Am Juniors later this summer in Trinidad & Tobago.
Earlier this year, Beach broke national high school decathlon records for 10-eventers using both high school implements and international ones. He is set to enroll at Duke in the fall.
Chalonda Goodman, winner of the Nike sprint double last weekend in North Carolina, continued to impress, winning the 100 in a windy 11.19 over local collegian Amber Purvis, an Oregon freshman (11.42), and preps Jessica Davis of California (11.47) and Tasha Allen of Wisconsin (11.54). In the prelims earlier on Friday, Goodman (Newnan, Ga.) ran 11.17w.
“I felt great,” Goodman said. “I’m so excited right now. This is unbelievable. I’m just so excited to make the Junior team.”
The men’s 100 was a thriller by two outstanding college freshmen, with Marcus Rowland of Auburn coming from behind to nip Deangelo Cherry of Mississippi State, 10.02-10.07 wind-aided. The lone preps in the race were Randall Carroll, of Los Angeles, 6th in 10.40, and Ryan Milus, of Chandler, Ariz., 7th in 10.43.
“My first goal was to stay with Deangelo Cherry,” Rowland said. “If I could stay with him, I knew I would run a good time. I wanted to get out of the blocks smooth. I got out hard and just relaxed, and finished strong.”
Natalie Willer, a freshman at Nebraska, won an exhausting marathon pole vault competition from prep Shade Weygandt (Mansfield, Tx.). Both cleared 13-11 ¼ to equal the meet record, but Willer cleared that height on her 2nd attempt, Weygandt on her 3rd. Weygandt cleared eight heights, took 19 vaults and made three different heights on her third attempt before finally succumbing.
Anna Jelmini (Shafter, Calif.) won the girls’ shot put, as expected, at 53-0. She was the sole competitor beyond 50 feet. Jelmini will be going for the discus title later in the meet.
Casey Kraychir, a member of the Throwing Kraychirs from 29 Palms, Calif., won the girls’ hammer on her final throw, 187-9. She upset the yearlong U.S. leader, Lauren Chambers (Kell, Marietta, Ga.), who finished 3rd at 180-1. Three members of the Georgian Throw 1 Deep Club finished in the top six.
The men’s hammer was won by Californian Conor McCullough, whose winning throw of 247-0 broke the meet record but fell short of his own national high school record with the 6K implement.
Shericka Ward, a freshman at Villanova, won the women’s 100 hurdles, running 13.47w to defeat ninth-grader Trinity Wilson (St. Mary’s, Berkeley, Calif.), while Wayne Davis (Southeast, Raleigh, N.C.) won the boys’ hurdles in 13.16w, well under the national record of 13.30 but wind-aided.
Ricky Robertson (Hernando, Miss.) won a lackluster men’s high jump by being the only competitor to clear 7-1 ¾. Erik Kynard (Rogers, Toledo, Ohio) was 2nd at 7-0 ½. The season-long high school leader, James White (Grandview, Mo.), unfortunately did not enter this meet.