USATF this week announced the selection of seven U.S. prep track and field athletes that will represent Team Americas in the upcoming 2018 Youth Olympic Games – set for Buenos Aires, Argentina from Oct. 6-18 – and it’s a superbly talented and accomplished group, all with strong NSAF ties.
- Skylar Ciccolini, Javelin, Mifflin County (Lewistown), PA senior
- Malcolm Clemons, Long Jump, St. Mary’s (Berkeley), CA junior
- Meghan Hunter, 400m, Provo HS, UT senior
- Charles O. McBride II, High Jump, Apex HS, NC senior
- Athing Mu, 800m, Trenton Central HS, NJ junior
- Nicholas Ramey, 400m, Brookwood HS (Snellville), GA senior
- Grace Stark, 100m hurdles, Lakeland HS (White Lake), MI senior
Skylar Ciccolini is beginning her 3rd year with the NSAF’s Project Javelin Gold, while Malcolm Clemons is starting his 2nd year with the NSAF’s Project Triple Jump. Ciccolini, Meghan Hunter, Charles McBride and Nicholas Ramey all represented the 28-member Team NSAF in its annual Caribbean meet in Freeport, Bahamas this past June and each won their respective events.
Athing Mu and Grace Stark, New Balance Nationals Outdoor champs in the 800m and 100m hurdles, respectively, this past June (Mu won the NBNI 800, too), have each benefitted from the NSAF travel grant program (as have most of the others mentioned above). McBride was also an NBNO champ and three of the others have been NBN All-Americans.
These seven will join other Under-18 athletes from The Americas (Canada, Mexico, South and Central America) to form a team that will compete against other continents. This is the 3rd Youth Olympics, following competitions in Singapore (2010) and Nanjing, China (2014), and includes many other Olympic sports besides track and field.
U.S. prep athletes for previous Youth Olympic Games were selected through a Trials meet, but for 2018 athletes were chosen through a “process based on established 2018 High School athlete rankings” (according to USATF). This was partly due to the mid-fall timing of the meet in the Southern Hemisphere and logistics of creating selection meets for the wide geographic range of the continental team. The track and field events will take place over six days from Oct. 11-17, with prelims and finals in each event, at the Parque Polideportivo Roca track and field stadium.
Here are detailed bios of the U.S. athletes:
Javelin, Mifflin County (Lewistown), PA senior
Achievements: Skylar made stunning progress in her 2nd year with NSAF’s Project Javelin, winning all but one meet (4th at USA Juniors) and improving to 177-0 – US#2 and #5 all-time – to win for Team NSAF in Bahamas … only Project teammate Dana Baker threw further … huge highlight was setting Penn Relays record with then-PR/US#1 172-2 in April … had 2 other meets over 170, including during Project trip to Jena, Germany, and won 2nd USATF JO title.
Long Jump, St. Mary’s (Berkeley), CA junior
Achievements: Selected for the NSAF’s Project Triple Jump after his stellar freshman year in ’17 (46-8.75, plus 23-1 LJ), Malcolm made his biggest impact as a soph in the long jump … he led the nation most of the year, winning CIF state at 25-1w (+2.5) with a 24-11.75 legal PR … he had 6 meets at 24-3 or better, including big Stanford win … after taking 7th at NBNI, he was runner-up at NBNO at 24-3.25 … also improved his TJ to 47-7.5.
400m, Provo HS, UT senior
Achievements: Her great range, highlighted by 52.59 400m PR in April, got Meghan chosen for Team NSAF and she was victorious in the Bahamas at 53.30 … has run 11.96 100m, 24.20 200m, 2:09.26 800m and 18:32 for 3M XC … swept 100-200-400-800 at her state meet … other major meets at 400: 2nd at Simplot, 4th at Arcadia, 3rd at Brooks and 8th at USA Juniors.
Charles O. McBride II
High Jump, Apex HS, NC senior
Achievements: Charles was picked for Team NSAF after his 3rd-place HJ finish at NBNI with indoor PR 7-0.25, then won a dramatic jump-off with teammate and friendly Tar Heel State rival Randolph Ross in the Bahamas … that started spectacular summer, as he won NBNO (6-10.25), his state USATF JO meet (7-0.25), then JO nationals – in another jump-off – with a monster PR 7-2.5 … has also triple jumped 46-3.25.
800m, Trenton Central HS, NJ junior
Achievements: Spectacular soph year for Trenton TC (does not run for HS team) saw Athing sweep both NBN 800m finals with PRs – winning NBNI with 2:06.59, then NBNO with 2:04.51 … also has great range: on one end winning both NBN Freshman miles in ’17 (PR 4:59.48 indoors) and sporting 4:33.04 1,500m PR, then on the other running sprint PRs of 23.63 200m and 52.45 400m this summer … coached by NSAF Mike Byrnes Coach of the Year Al Jennings.
400m, Brookwood HS (Snellville), GA senior
Achievements: Picked for Team NSAF after NBNI runner-up finish in 400 (indoor PR 46.78), Nick then won in the Bahamas with 46.69 … was Georgia 7A state runner-up in 46.90, then set 46.20 outdoor PR at Atlanta Georgia Relays … after Bahamas meet, went on to USA Juniors, where he was 5th in 400 and earned Team USA berth for World U20s (4x400) … ran both semis and finals in Finland, earning 4x400 silver medal with his teammates.
100m hurdles, Lakeland HS (White Lake), MI senior
Achievements: Grace won NBNO 100m hurdles in 13.24 this past spring, and took 3rd in 100m dash … ran a Michigan state record PR 13.16 at D1 state meet, US#2 for ’18 and #11 all-time prep … unbeaten in Michigan this year … also 2nd at Brooks PR and USATF JOs … indoors she came within .003 seconds of winning 60H in photo-finish vs. Tia Jones, but her 8.05 (8.047) was also state record and #3 all-time.