A powerful 84-member Team USA squad – including 10 with previous national team experience and 64 veterans of NSAF and NBN teams and competition – will explode into three days of competition this weekend (July 19-21) at the 20th Pan American U-20 Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica.
As is most often the case with its U-20 squads, this Team USA is an exciting blend of experienced veterans and bracing newcomers to this level. For starters, in Eric Edwards, Jr. and Masai Russell, Team USA has athletes that actually medaled two years ago during the 2017 Pan Am U20s in Peru – Edwards winning 110H gold and Russell 400H bronze. Six more competed on the outstanding U.S. team at the IAAF World U20 Champs last summer in Finland – including men’s 4x400 relay silver medalists Matthew Boling and Justin Robinson, men’s javelin silver medalist Tzuriel Pedigo, 10k race walk finalist Taylor Ewert, women’s high jump finalist Shelby Tyler and heptathlon finalist Anna Hall. And not to be forgotten are two who repped Team USA at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last fall – 800 silver medalist Athing Mu and javelin finalist Skylar Ciccolini.
Meanwhile, the 64 Team USA athletes with NBN and Team NSAF experience includes the following individual NBN champions:
- 2019 NBNO: Skylar Ciccolini (girls’ javelin), Justin Robinson (boys’ 400), Kayla Davis (girls’ 400), Jasmine Jones (100m hurdles), Britton Wilson (400m hurdles), Taylor Ewert (girls’ steeple, plus 4 other steeple and indoor/outdoor race walk titles), Thelma Davies (girls’ 200), Marlee Starliper (girls’ mile) and Samuel Allen (boys’ 3k racewalk);
- 2019 NBNI: Anna Hall (pentathlon; also 2017-18 champ), Kimberly Harris (girls’ 400), Jett Kinder (boys’ pentathlon) and Max Manson (boys’ pole vault);
- 2018 NBNO: Athing Mu (girls’ 800, also ’18 NBNI champ), Alexis Holmes (girls’ 400), Charles McBride (boys’ high jump), Veronica Fraley (girls’ discus) and Shelby Tyler (girls’ high jump);
- 2018 NBNI: Nastassja Campbell (girls’ pole vault).
Numerous others have been All-Americans and otherwise strong performers in NBN meets, including national relay titlists like Masai Russell (while with Bullis School) and Lanae-Tava Thomas (while with Rush-Henrietta) and individual All-Americans going as far back as the 2016 100m (Quincy Mitchell 2nd in 100m, while an S.C prep soph).
Team USA members Matthew Boling, Justin Robinson, Eric Edwards Jr., Marcellus Moore, Charles McBride, Jasmine Jones, Kimberly Harris, Claire Bryant, Veronica Fraley and Anna Hall have all been part of Team NSAF for one of its international team meets the past three years in Cuba, the Bahamas or Iceland. Skylar Ciccolini, Shelby Moran, Joshua Sobota, Joseph Bendetto and Fraley have all competed with Team NSAF at the Iron Wood Throws Classic. Ciccolini has been a 3-year member of Project Javelin Gold, with Hall having trained with the group as well. Finally, Marc Anthony Minechello – the USA U20 javelin champ – was our American JavFest HS Elite champ last year.
The USATF Under-20 Championships at Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar, Florida last month (#USATFU20) yielded some fantastic results -- some expected and some quite surprising -- and an intriguing mix of student-athletes for the U.S. Pan American Under-20 squad. Our version of the Team USA roster (PDF) for the July 19-21 event in San Jose, Costa Rica, based on the results of three days of action, also is loaded with athletes having strong NSAF and NBN connections -- as displayed in this outstanding infographic (PDF) from our partners at TRACS, Inc. The infographic is also displayed in image (.jpg) form further down this page.
The Team USA roster graphics, compiled by the NSAF's Jim Spier, breaks down the team in three ways. First, the men's and women's rosters are listed by event. Then follows a list of the athletes ordered by university (including just graduated seniors entering college this fall) and then high school -- for those underclassmen that made the squad. Finally, there is a third list ordered by state (where each athlete is originally from).
The list-by-event is also accompanied by athletes' top finishes at New Balance Nationals Outdoor and the NCAA Championships, where applicable, and reveals a fascinating blend of champions and All-American finishers with those who did excel at that level -- but have since made great improvements that have elevated them to championship levels. A total of 64 of the 84 athletes on the team competed in at least one NBN indoor or outdoor championship.
Team USA also includes 14 athletes who have been part of either Team NSAF squads for international outdoor meets in Cuba and the Bahamas the past three years and a 2019 indoor meet in Iceland, the past three Iron Wood Throws Classics, or trained with the NSAF's Project Javelin and Triple Jump.
The TRACS, Inc. infographic focuses on the Team USA experiences in NSAF(NBN) competition and Team NSAF events, displayed in a very attractive style that makes abundantly clear how connected participation is between NSAF events and Team USA qualification. In summary, more than 75 percent of Team USA athletes had NSAF experience.