Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Michigan juniors in Poland

When we say "juniors" we usually mean 11th graders. However, in the rest of the track world, "juniors" means athletes who are 19 & under (technically, they must not turn 20 during the year). So virtually all high schoolers are eligible for these competitions, as are most college freshmen.

The World Junior Championships are going on in Bydgoszcz, Poland, a town in desperate need of more vowels. We have two former Michigan high schoolers on the roster. Shayla Mahan, a Mumford alum running for South Carolina, and Elizabeth Graney, from Grosse Pointe North and William & Mary.

Graney had placed second at USA Juniors in the steeplechase, running a fine 10:34.11 (her best is 10:31.97). Mahan placed third in the 100 at 11.39.

On the first day of competition in Poland, Graney clocked 10:37.96 for 6th in her heat and 16th overall. She did not advance to the final. Mahan's 11.61 won her heat and puts her fourth overall, so she made it to the semifinals. In the semis, she clocked 11.66 and qualified for the finals, as the slowest seed in the field.

Said Mahan, "I wasn't really nervous, but I couldn't get my starts right during the warmup. I didn't want to really get out on my start in case it wasn't right. Waiting around for the last heat was okay, it just gave me extra time to think about it... Running in the SEC this season at South Carolina really prepares you for a meet like this. I'm looking forward to the second round, I know I have to stay calm and get out."

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