July 9, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Before the London Olympic Games get underway later this month there are some more high profile meets to be held, and one Kansas State coach is leading the American charge. K-State Assistant Track and Field Coach Steve Fritz will serve as the men's head coach for Team USA at the 14th IAAF Junior World Championships this week in Barcelona, Spain.
Fritz will lead the group of budding track and field stars over six days of competition from Montjuic Olympic Stadium where Team USA will take on athletes from 179 other countries. The meet will feature the best in the world in their respective events and sports all under the age of 20.
One area to highlight for the Americans will be the sprint relays where the men's team is again heavy favorites this year. The men's 4x400 relay has won the last five Junior World championships and been denied the gold only twice in the 13 previous championships. In the 4x100 the USA has won the last two world championships and four of the last five.
The Wildcats will have one incoming signee competing at the Junior World Championships as well. Akela Jones is set to take on the field in the high jump and long jump. She enters the meet fresh off her wins in the events at the Central American and Caribbean Games Junior Championship.
Other incoming Wildcats have had some success recently at other high profile meets. The North America-Central America and Caribbean Under 23 Championships were held this weekend in Mexico City with Jahryl Bowry finishing fourth for Canada in the long jump. Bowry leapt 7.46 meters (24-05.75) into a headwind. He also recently finished second at the Canadian Olympic Trials but did not qualify for the Olympic Games.
More meets are on the slate later this summer as well. Incoming freshman Jasmine Gibbs will compete in the long jump and 100 meters along with Tia Gamble in the 400 meter hurdles at the USA Track and Field Junior Championships on July 23-29, and the pair of Tyris Jefferson and Jordan Oakry will be at the AAU Junior Olympics set for July 25 through August 4.