Taylor, Cunliffe, Andrews lead medal haul at National Junior Olympics in North Carolina

Pacific Northwest Results Scoreboard

The 2018 USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships concluded on Sunday (29-Jul) in Greensboro, NC with 184 athletes from the Pacific Northwest association competing in the championships during the seven day competition held at  Irwin Belk Track & Field facility on the campus of North Carolina A&T University.
The Pacific Northwest athletes competed in a total of 333 events.  A total of 8,812 athletes competed, making the 52nd anniversary event the largest USATF Junior Olympics ever.  
Teams with 10 or more athletes competing were: Cascade Striders, South Central AA, Speed Unlimited, Tahoma TC, Team Blackout Elite, Thriller T&F, and and Xtreme Speed TC.
A total of 74 all-American performances were achieved by Pacific Northwest athletes with each earning a trip to the awards podium, a championship medal, and the coveted Junior Olympic All-American hat.  At last year's championships in Kansas "only" 50 all-American honors were garnered by the locals. 
Ten Pacific Northwest athletes won a total of 10 national titles in Greensboro and one local set a new meet record.  Eight different clubs had an athlete win a national title.
The headliners were Tyrone Taylor II (Rainier Beach TC) who won two national spring titles in the boys 13-14 division and Chloe Cunliffe (Seattle Speed TC) who set the meet record in the 17-18 girls Pole Vault.
Taylor first ran to victory in the 200m running 22.02 on Saturday.  He defeated Patrick Ize-Iyamu Jr of California by the narrowest of margins as both recorded official times of 22.02 but Taylor was declared the winner by .001 seconds - 22.019 to 22.020.  Taylor came to Greensboro with a personal best of 22.38 run at the Pacific Northwest championships in June.  On Sunday he ran again earned his spot on the top of the awards podium as he won the 100m in a time of 11.09.  Kendrick Law of Louisiana was second in 11.17 with Ize-Iyamu third in 11.18.
Cunliffe entered the competition as the clear favorite in the girls 17-18 pole vault.  At the Region 13 championships two weeks earlier she cleared 4.27m (14-0") to set a pending national youth record and is tied for the  #1 prep mark in the U.S. in 2018.  In Greensboro, she opened at 3.80m (12-5½") and then cleared 3.95m which secured the victory (12-11½").  She then cleared 4.12m and then the winning height of 4.24m (13-11"); which broke the 10-year old meet record of 4.21m set by Natalie Willer.  She then raised the bar to 4.35m (14-3¼") in an attempt to break her 2-week old national division record but was not successful.  Cunliffe will be a senior at West Seattle High School and expects to be a highly recruited by the major university programs. 
Andrews wins title....... plus three more all-American honors
Kenyon Andrews (South Central Athletic Association) had an extremely busy and successful week in Greensboro. He competed in four events, setting personal bests and earning all-American honors in all of them; including a national title in the Triathlon.  On Monday he won the 9-10 boys Triathlon with a score of 905 points breaking his personal best by 54 points. He was in third place after two events but used a strong 400m performance of 1:02.58 to win the competition by just nine points over Landen Williams of Texas.   Later in the week he would make three more trips to the awards podium as he finished third in the 800m running 2:22.94 and then two fourth place finishes in the 400m and 1500m. In the 800m his time broke his previous personal best of 2:24.69 run at the region 13 championships by 1.75 seconds.  In the 400m he ran 1:01.42 (previous best 1:01.70) and in the 1500m he ran 4:59.71 to break the 5 minute barrier for the first time (previous best 5:03.60).
Brady - National champion PLUS 2
At last year championships in Kansas Alaina Brady (Tahoma TC) finished third in the girls 15-16 Heptathlon scoring 4236 points.  She returned this year and won the competition, over 20 other competitors, with a score of 4694 points.  Going into the last event, the 800, she trailed Tierra Hooker of New Jersey by 18 points but ran five seconds faster than Hooker to secure the win by 48 points over Hooker.  Brady returned to the awards podium two more times later in the week as she finished third in the Long Jump and fifth in the 100m Hurdles.  In the Long Jump she leaped 5.69m (18-8) in the fifth round to move from ninth to third; setting a personal best by 1.5 inches.  In the 100m hurdles she ran 14.12 for her third all-American honor of the week.
National champions  PLUS 1
Three Pacific Northwest athletes won a national title and also earned one more trip to the awards podium.  Elle Borsheim (Federal Way TC) competing in the girls 13-14 division, finished third place in the 800m on Saturday and then came back to win the 1500m the next day; running 4:39.43.  Alyvia Brown (Cascade Striders) finished third in the 1500m running 4:42.77. Borsheim's 800m time of 2:13.14 was a personal best by 2.84 seconds.

Hannah Ganashamoorthy (Speed Unlimited) won the 15-16 girls Long Jump with a leap of 5.92m (19-5¼").  She took the lead in round one with a jump of 5.81m and never relinquished it as she jumped identical marks of 5.92m in rounds four and six to extend her lead.  Ganashamoorthy also picked up a seventh place finish in the 400m hurdles running 1:04.41.

And the third "winner +1" was Karlee Freeman (Team Evolution) who won the Discus Throw for the second year in a row in the 17-18 girls division and then picked up a third place in the Shot Put.  In the Discus got off to a rocky start, fouling in round one, and only mustering a mark of 42.94m (140-10") to sit in second place through the first three rounds.  But as the field narrowed from 40 athletes to 8 for the final three rounds she found her rhythm and took the lead in round four with a throw of 46.59m (152-10) and then extended the lead in the next round throwing 48.38m (158-8"); her winning mark.  Her closest competitor, Kathleen Young of Illinois, was nearly 10 feet back.  
Joran Fong (Tahoma TC) joined Freeman on the awards podium in both the Discus Throw and Shot Put.  More on Fong's performances later. 
Gold for Schmidt and Neiders
Two years ago Valerie Schmidt (unattached) finished 11th in the 15-16 girls Heptathlon in Sacramento.  She returned to the national championships two years later and catapulted herself to the top landing on the podium as she won the 17-18 division this year.  Her score was 4544 points.  She was in second place going into the 800m, the final event, but ran a strong 2:25.68 to move ahead of Jada Green of North Carolina who finished the competition 79 points behind Schmidt.

In her words - - Valerie Schmidt 
The competition was tough, and it came down to the last race. I was in disbelief at first but I think it just started to sink in for me that I won! It was an amazing experience, and it was especially fun to see folks from Oregon and Washington do well in their competitions as well!


While Schmidt had the experience from two years ago to fall back on that was not the case for Allison Neiders (Northwest Pole Vault) who was competing in her first national championships.  Based on her 3.20m winning performance at the region championships, she came into the competition with as the #2 seed but was able to score a personal best of 3.25m (10-8") to win the competition over the 24 other young vaulters.

In her words - Allison Neiders
The national meet was amazing! It was the first nationals I've been to, and I was nervous about the crazy rain after the opening ceremony. We don't get rain like that in Seattle.  I had hoped to beat my PR of 11' but I was happy with my jump of 10'8".  It was nice to come out with so many other girls from Northwest Pole Vault. Having the opportunity to watch them with the older groups taught me the importance of a strong plant and getting up to vertical. I'm so thankful for all the terrific training from Coach Tim Reilly, and can't wait for next season!


We love our silver medalists
Picking up second place finishes in their events were:  Anna Schneidler (Cascade Striders, 9-10 girls 1500m), Caden Ganashamoorthy (Speed Unlimited, 9-10 boys High Jump),
Cass Elliott (Unattached, 17-18 boys 400m Hurdles) and McKenzie Salazar (Osprey TC, 15-16 girls Shot Put).

This was the second year in a row that Elliott was second in the 400m hurdles. 
Where to put all those hats?
Gracie Long (unattached) and Joran Fong (Tahoma TC) each competing in the 17-18 girls division, made three trips to the awards podium to pick up their medals and all-American hats.   On the track, Long finished second in the 2000m Steeplechase (7:25.09) and fifth in the 1500m (4:56.51) and 3000m (11:18.80).  In the field, Fong finished fourth in the Hammer Throw (46.68m), fifth in the Discus Throw (41.49m), and seventh in the Shot Put (12.49m).
All-American x2
Earning two trips to the awards podium were:
  • Aliya Wilson (Tahoma TC) 17-18 girls 100m (2nd place) and 200m (4th place)
  • JaiCieonna Gero-Holt (SeaTown Express TC) 11-12 girls High Jump (2nd place) and Pentathlon (4th place)
  • Kaiha Gayles (unattached) 13-14 girls Pentathlon (2nd place) and 200m Hurdles (7th place)
  • Ava Borsheim (Federal Way TC) 11-12 girls 3000m (2nd place) and 1500m (8th place)
  • Brayley Manning (Cascade Striders) 7-8 boys 100m (3rd place) and Long Jump (8th place)
  • Tasiona Curtis-Ames (Cascade Striders) 7-8 girls 400m (5th place) and 200m (8th place)
  • Donaven Humphries (Tahoma TC) 13-14 boys Shot Put (6th place) and Discus Throw (6th place)
  • Deyondre Davis (Thriller T&F) 15-16 boys 400m Hurdles (6th place) and 110m Hurdles (7th place)
  • Laila Bolton (Top Flight) 9-10 girls Triathlon (6th place) and Shot Put (7th place)
  • Josiah Goode Federal Way Track) 11-12 boys Pentathlon (6th place) and High Jump (8th place)
Making Their Way to the Podium
And our final lists of Junior Olympic All-Americans:
Third Place
  • Alexandra Payne (Kitsap Fliers T&F) 15-16 girls Hammer Throw
  • Alyvia Brown (Cascade Striders) 13-14 girls 1500m
  • Logan Roberts (Thriller T&F) 17-18 boys 3000m Race Walk
  • Lyric Harris (High Voltage) 17-18 girls Triple Jump
  • Zion Craven (Seattle Speed TC) 9-10 girls 100m
Fourth Place
  • Abigail Wallace (Unattached) 7-8 girls 1500m
  • Lauryn Ford (SeaTown Express TC) 17-18 girls Long Jump
  • Nathan Atkinson Jr (Xtreme Speed) 13-14 boys High Jump
  • Rieko Wilford (Flying AJs) 15-16 girls Triple Jump
  • Speed Unlimited 13-14 boys 4x800m Relay
  • Speed Unlimited 15-16 girls 4x800m Relay
Fifth Place
  • Christal Johnson (Xtreme Speed)  17-18 girls 400m
Sixth Place
  • Annie Hatzenbeler (Northwest Pole Vault) 15-16 girls Pole Vault
  • Ava Hagwell (Cascade Striders) 13-14 girls 1500m
Seventh Place
  • Adrean Tafolla (Speed Unlimited) 13-14 boys 800m
  • Aiyah Smart (Cascade Striders) 15-16 girls High Jump
  • Choice Wilkins (South Central AA) 7-8 boys 100m
  • Dawit Davis (Rainier Beach Track) 13-14 boys Long Jump
  • Kai Brown (Tahoma TC) 7-8 boys Long Jump
Eighth Place
  • Aaliyah Khan (Speed Unlimited) 9-10 girls Javelin Throw
  • Adam Johnson (Bremerton Jaguars) 15-16 boys 100m
  • Erica Allyna Cabanos (Flying AJs) 15-16 girls Triple Jump
  • JauVon James-Juneau (Unattached) 15-16 boys Javelin Throw
  • Mena Preston (Seattle Speed TC) 9-10 girls Long Jump
  • Nathan Ivey Jr (Team Evolution) 13-14 boys Shot Put

A complete set of Pacific Northwest performances along with athlete interviews can be viewed here.
Next year’s national championships are slated for Sacramento, California July 22-28.
media services by