Graham earns three all-American honors at National Junior Olympics in Kansas


The USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships concluded on Sunday in Lawrence, Kansas with fifty (50) New York athletes competing in the championships during the seven day competition held at Rock Chalk Park on the campus of the University of Kansas
The New York athletes competed in a total of 84 events in near ideal conditions during most of the seven days of competition.  Heavy rain and strong winds did cause some delays on days 1 and 2 but the remainder of the meet was held under blue skies and temperatures that never went above ninety degrees.  A total of 8,152 athletes competed, making the 51th anniversary event the largest USATF Junior Olympics ever west of the Mississippi River.
New York athletes earned 12 visits to the awards podium to receive championship medals and all-American hats for placing in the top eight in their events.  Three of the 12 all-American honors were picked up by Alissa Graham (Club44) of Brooklyn.
Graham cracks the top four on three occasions
At last year’s championships in Sacramento Alissa Graham competed in the 9-10 division and won silver medals in both the 800m and 1500m. A year later, having moved up to the 11-12 division, she duplicated her silver medal performance in the 1500m running 4:57.38 as Alyvia Brown of Washington won in 4:54.22.  In the 800m she ran 2:21.61 to finish fourth.  Last year she competed in the 400m but this year she went “long” for her third event as she finished third in the 3000m.  She ran 10:48.31 to trail Cleo Naranjo (10:44.08) of Texas and Rebekah Skandera of California (10:44.65). 
Snow bros run onto podium in combined events
Brothers Kyle and Jaden Snow (Notre Dame TC) used impressive performances in the final event of their combined event competitions to earn trips to the awards podium.  Competing in the boys 9-10 triathlon Kyle scored 660 points to finish third.  In the high jump he leaped 1.15m (3-9¼), followed by a 7.96m (26-1½) shot put and then finished the day running 1:10.73 in the 400m.  He also finished 15th in the shot put.  Kyle’s big brother Jaden finish ninth last year in the 11-12 boys pentathlon missing an all-American spot by just 7 points and came to Lawrence determined to not let history repeat it self.  Despite his determination to make the podium he found himself in 13th place entering the last event, the 1500m.  He was able to run 5:04.23, the fastest time of the 27 competitors, and sling shot himself into sixth place and the coveted podium visit.  Later in the meet he also finished 17th in the high jump and and 32nd in the 800m
Jones is rock solid in hurdles
Louise Jones (Rock City Striders) ran to a fourth place finish in the 17-18 girls 400m hurdles.  Her time of 1:01.44 was a career best by .04 seconds and is the #3 mark for New York preps this year.  Jones came into the competition having won the region 1 championships but only had the #22 seed.
Jumping there way onto the podium
Dakota Hickman (Velocity TF NY) and Amon-Ra Watkins (Eclipse Track & Field) each earned all-American honors in the high jump.  Hickman finished fifth in the girls 9-10 with clearance of 1.20m (3-11¼).  This was her first national championships.  Meanwhile Watkins placed sixth in the boys 13-14 division upping his career best by over 3 inches to 1.75m (5-8¾).   He entered the competition with the 29th best entry mark of the 49 competitors. 
Trio of metric milers nab all-American honors
Joining Graham as a 1500m all-American were the trio of Xaera Mehta, Amos Pres, and Tobias Wolfson.  Mehta and Pres, teammates on the Chelsea Greyhounds, finished 6th in the 7-8 girls and seventh in the 9-10 boys, respectively.  Mehta’s time was 5:57.77 while Pres ran 5:01.37.   Wolfson (MHC TC) ran 4:10.21 to finish seventh in the boys 15-16 1500m race.  All three also competed in the 800m with Mehta finishing 12th, Pres 28th, and Wolfson 9th. 
The lone wolf huffs and puffs his way onto the podium
Jakob Morrissey (Eclipse Track & Field) used a three foot career best throw to earn his way onto the podium to receive his medal for finishing sixth in the boys 15-16 shot put.  His throw of 15.52m (50-11) came in the second round as he smashed through the 50 foot barrier for the first time in his career.
A complete set of New York performances along with athlete interviews can be viewed here.
Next year’s national championships are slated to be held at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina July 23-29.

media services by