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Recap of Day 1 of 2008 World Juniors - Evan Jager, Elijah Greer, 100 Favorites Advance
by USATF Communications
July 8, 2008
Bydgoszcz, Poland - Three of the four U.S. sprinters advanced to the final of the 100 meters during Tuesday's evening session to conclude the first day of the World Junior Championships.

There was one casualty, though, with a false start in the men's race. However, in the middle-distance events, the U.S. junior men advanced a runner each in the 800 and 1,500 meters.

Jenaba Tarmoh led the women's qualifiers in the 100 with an 11.38 sprint victory in the semifinals while Shayla Mahan advanced to the final with an 11.66 runner-up effort. Terrell Wilks ran another impressive race in the men's semifinals with a 10.37 win that topped the field in qualifying for the final. Teammate Antonio Sales was disqualified via a false start.

Wisconsin's Evan Jager maintained his position among the leaders in the 1,500 and finished strong for second place and an auto qualifying spot into the final as he posted a time of 3:49.23.

Duncan Phillips of Arkansas set himself up for a kick, but extra bumping on the final lap knocked him off stride enough to allow the top four runners to pull away. Phillips ran 3:55.80 for fifth in his heat.

Running in the last heat of six in the 800 meters, Elijah Greer (Lake Oswego, Oregon) needed a 1:51.8 or better to advance on time if he didn't claim a top three automatic position. A fast race played into Greer's favor when he took fifth in 1:50.73. Delaware State's Donte Holmes raced in the second heat and placed eighth in 1:52.88.

In the high jump, Shanay Briscoe (Houston, Texas) enjoyed a birthday surprise by qualifying for the finals when she cleared 1.81m/5-11.25 on her second attempt. Earlier in the competition, Briscoe needed a second attempt clearance at 1.78m/5-10. Jessica Merriweather reached 1.74m/5-8.5 on her third try, but was unable to clear 5-10.

Penn State's Karlee McQuillen finished seventh in her flight of the javelin with a toss of 49.77m/163-3, but ended up 14th overall with 12 making the final.

Camilla Dencer (2:10.21) of Northridge, California, and Sarah McCurdy (2:12.67) of Brightwaters, New York, both turned in solid performances in the 800, but a tough field required a 2:09.51 to advance on time.

Vashti Thomas (San Jose, California) tried to overcome a recent illness to contend in the triple jump, but only managed a 12.10m/39-8.5 in qualifying while Ti'Ara Walpool of Kansas State reached 12.11m/39-8.75.

The evening's racing came to a close with the women's 5,000-meter final where Arkansas' Catherine White and Princeton's Ashley Higginson placed 11th and 12th, respectively.


Elijah Greer, 800 meters

"I was wanting to get top three, so I'm not sure if I qualified on time. If I didn't, I know I've had a great season. I was pretty sure after Junior Nationals I wouldn't have much left in me. It's been an amazing season.

(Realizing he did advance on time) "I'm in, I qualified. I felt pretty weak in the first round, to be honest. I wasn't that same 1:47 guy. Maybe tomorrow will be my day, we'll find out one way or another. That's cool that I made it to the next round. I'm not sure how calm I am, so maybe I can do some mental prep.

Evan Jager, 1,500 meters

"I wanted to maintain a decent position in the middle of the pack during the first two laps. I got in good position, sitting about third or fourth. Then I was going to move up if I needed to with 600 to go. I kicked with 400 to go and went with whoever else was kicking. Goal was to get top three.

"Running at Wisconsin this past season was great, I got experience from all types of races. Being in the Big 10, unfortunately, our races tend to go out a little bit slower and then tend to be kicker's races. So, I got experience sitting back in a really slow race and then kick in the last 400. Also, running at the NCAAs I gained experience in fast races as well. It helps being able to fine tune racing strategy for both situations.

Karlee McQuillen, Javelin

"Nerves really got to me today. Being in an atmosphere like this you have to go in as you would any other meet. Today wasn't my best throwing day.

"The competition is pretty much the same as the NCAA meet. These girls are amazing. It's kind of the same atmosphere and it's a huge meet. I'd put it on the lines of the NCAA Championships, since they're both such a big meet. It was a great experience.

Shayla Mahan, 100 meters semifinal

"My form was all messed up, I think I was trying a little too hard. It's satisfying to know I advanced to the final. I'll do better the next round, I have to fix some things.

Jenaba Tarmoh, 100 meters semifinal

"My focus was to get out strong and finish hard. The conditions were pretty good and everything went really well with my race. Now I'm aiming for gold in the final.

Shanay Briscoe, High Jump

"I was nervous most of the time, but I made it to the final. Today's my birthday as well, so that made it even more exciting. I didn't want to be crying all day if I didn't make it.

"My coach told me to move my mark back and I missed that one. So I wasn't sure if I needed to keep it there or move it back to where I started. Then I cleared the height that put me in the final.

Terrell Wilks, 100 meters semifinal

"I wanted to get a better start than I had in the first round, but I don't think I did that. So, I'll watch the film and do it again. I made it though, that was the key thing.

"I'm looking forward to the competition in the final. It's a unique situation to compete against everybody in the world. It's going to be fun.


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