8 NSAF Champs/All-Americans among qualifiers: NSAF @ World U20s, Day 2 A.M.
Mia Brahe-Pedersen, Shawnti Jackson (both 100m) and Ashton Schwartzman (400) were all among morning qualifiers to the World U20 semis. Photos by Joy Kamani.
Men’s Pole Vault Qualifying
Garrett Brown (Stanford/La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad, CA), 2021 Nike Outdoor Nationals runner-up, was equal first in qualifying, clearing 17-00.75 with no misses on the way (as did four other athletes).
Justin Rogers (Hershey, PA), 7th at the 2021 Nike Outdoor Nationals, was =9th overall, clearing 16-06.75.
Both were part of a 13 athlete field that advanced to the final.
Women’s 400m Round 1
Mekenze Kelley (Coastal Carolina/Campbell, Smyrna, GA), 11th at the 2019 NBNO, finished third in her heat in 53.59 (top 4 automatically qualify). We’re not sure if she was relaxing or just not especially in top form. She is one of the leading entrants with a lifetime best of 51.98. She ran 52.20 in winning the USATF Junior meet.
Zaya Akins (South, Raytown, MO), the 2022 Nike Indoor Nationals 400m Champion, fifth in her heat (55.23) did not qualify automatically, but was the 2nd of 4 time qualifiers and will advance to the semis.
Men’s 400m Round 1
Steven McElroy (U of Cincinnati/Pickerington North, Pickerington, OH), 19th at the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Championships and USATF Junior champion ran an even-paced race and easily qualified, winning his heat in 46.38. He looks to be the class of the field so far and will be a heavy medal favorite.
Ashton Schwartzman (Texas A+M/Wautoma, WI), 4th at the 2021 Nike Outdoor Nationals, looked to be struggling over the first half of the race, but regained his composure and easily qualified, finishing 2nd in his heat at 46.76.
Women’s 400m Hurdles Round 1
Akala Garrett (Harding, Charlotte), 2021 and 2022 Nike Outdoor Nationals Champion, cruised to an easy qualifying mark, finishing second to the Virgin Island’s Michelle Smith, 58.40 to 58.25. Smith just finished her sophomore year at Montverde Academy in Montverde, FL. In the 2022 Nike Indoor Nationals 400m, it was Zaya Akins first, Akala Garrett second, and Michelle Smith fourth.
Michaela Rose (LSU/Landry Academy, Suffolk, VA), runner-up in both the 2019 NBNO and 2022 USATF U20 400m Hurdles, had an easy time of it even after hitting the first hurdle, winning her heat in 58.44.
The fastest qualifier was Ludovica Cavo of Italy with a PB of 57.77. The next 3 were Smith, Garrett and Rose.
Women’s 100m Round 1
Shawnti Jackson (Wakefield, Raleigh, NC), 2019 NBNO Freshman 400m champ ran very comfortably, winning her heat and running 11.28, a PB by .02.
Mia Brahe Pedersen (Lake Oswego, OR), 2022 Nike Outdoor Nationals 100m runner-up and current U.S. High school leader at 11.25, also won her heat, running 11.45. Mia was also the 200m champ at NON.
Both obviously advance to the semifinals. Some other athletes were quite impressive – none moreso than Tima Godbless of Nigeria, who set a national junior record of 11.09. Tina Clayton of Jamaica is the defending champion, running 11.38 here and 11.09 last year in Nairobi. Godbless’ teammate, Praise Ofoku, fourth in Nairobi last year, also was an auto qualifier, running 11.55.
Men’s Hammer Throw Qualifying
Tarik O’Hagan (Woonsocket, RI), the 2022 Nike Indoor Nationals Weight Throw champion, knows how to conserve energy. Yesterday he got the auto qualifier in the Shot Put on his first throw. He did the same today in the Hammer qualifying. The U of Mississippi-bound thrower hit 241-02 (73.51m; the auto qualifier is 73.50m, and they both convert to 241-02).
Yesterday in the shot he needed to throw 64-03.75 (19.60m) and threw 64-05.75 (19.65m)! He'll be competing in the shot final later today.
Collin Burkhart (Penn State/Nazareth, PA), 2021 Nike Outdoor Nationals Javelin Champion, was 6th in his group, throwing 232-05. He then had to wait until the conclusion of Group B to see if he would be one of the top 12 advancing. He held 12th position through 2 rounds of Group B. Then Emri Ciftci of Turkey, the fourth from last thrower in the competition overcame Collin by less than 2 feet, throwing 234-01.