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Shamier Little wins USATF Junior 400 hurdle title in meet record 55.43

July 06, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

EUGENE – Texas A&M’s Shamier Little claimed her second junior title in the 400 hurdles over the past three seasons on Sunday when she won the 2014 version in a meet record of 55.43 seconds at the USA Track & Field Junior Championships held at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.

Aggies in action on the second day of the meet also included Cameron Villarreal, who finished third in the 1,500 meters with a 3:51.76, and Austin Wells, who ran 31:21.39 for fifth in the 10,000 meters.

Jeffrey Prothro placed ninth in the triple jump (48-11.5w) as incoming A&M freshmen Sara-Kathryn Stevens finished tied for eighth in the pole vault, clearing the opening height of 12-5.5, while Emily Gunderson didn’t clear the opening height.

Little, who won the 2012 junior title in 57.44, ran a time of 55.43 to capture the victory over a 55.63 from 14-year-old Sydney McLaughlin, who is too young to make the US squad that will compete at the World Junior Championships held later this month. Placing third in 57.27 was Jade Miller of Harvard.

McLaughlin held the lead over Little coming off the eighth hurdle as the race entered the home stretch. After clearing the 10th hurdle Little passed McLaughlin in the final meters to the finish line.

The previous US Junior meet record of 55.63 was set by Nicole Leach of UCLA in 2006. Little is the current world junior leader in 2014 with a 55.07 from her NCAA victory. Today she produced the No. 7 performance on the US all-time junior list and the No. 5 performance on the Aggie all-time list.

In competing at Hayward Field for the first time this season, Little will have three meets at the venue within a month and a half. Little won the NCAA title in the 400 hurdles in June. Then she added the US Junior title this weekend. Later this month she will be part of the United States team at the IAAF World Junior Championships.

Villarreal was positioned in second place for the final lap, which he covered in 56.15, behind winner Patrick Joseph of Virginia Tech (3:49.76). With 80m left in the race Grant Fisher passed Villarreal to claim second place in 3:50.51.

Splits for Villarreal included 46.83 (300m), 1:52.50 (700m), 2:55.61 (1100m). After being in the back of the pack on the first lap, Villarreal was among the top three for the remainder of the race.

Finishing behind Villarreal’s 3:51.75 were Thomas Coyle of Stanford and Indiana’s Eric Claxton, who were both timed in 3:52.94 and separated by 0.004 when extending the time to thousands of a second.

Wells led the 10,000m race from 3200 to 8000 meters. Leading a crew of six runners over the latter half of the race, Wells slid back to fifth place when a move was made with four laps remaining. Georgetown’s Jonathan Green won the race in 30:54.62 with Brendan Shearn of Penn second at 30:55.52.

Prothro was just a quarter of an inch out of eighth place when the field of 13 jumpers was trimmed to the top eight who would compete in three more rounds. Prothro opened with a foul and then had a 48-6.75 (14.80) in round two. His third round mark of 48-11.5 (14.92) was aided by a 2.2 wind.

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