July 16, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State Assistant Track and Field Coach Steve Fritz was on the world stage last week in Barcelona, Spain, as he served as the men's head coach for Team USA at the IAAF World Junior Championships. Team USA was the heavy favorite in a number of events heading into the competition and did not disappoint winning four gold medals and 10 total as the meet concluded Sunday.
The men's team swept the relays again in 2012 posting the fastest time in the world this year for the age division in the 4x100. With the win in the 4x400, Team USA has won six straight at the World Junior Championships.
Gold medals also came for the men's team in the decathlon as Arkansas freshman Gunnar Nixon scored 8,018 points setting a new American junior record. Eric Futch won the men's 400 meter hurdles in 50.24 seconds for a junior world leading time this year.
Three silver medals were won by the team with Aaron Ernest finishing second in the 100 and 200 meters. Arman Hall took home silver in the 400 for Team USA. The men's team also claimed three bronze medals. Tyreek Hill gave USA a pair on the medal stand in the 200, and Aldrich Bailey did the same for the 400 meters. Jarrion Lawson finished third in the long jump.
"It was a great experience," Fritz said in a statement to USA Track and Field. "We had great kids, and I think we had a heck of a meet. They handled the expectations very well in representing Team USA. I was really happy by the way we competed and represented ourselves. We asked a lot of some of the individuals in terms of rounds and relays, but they all came through and did a fantastic job. The team came together and supported each other well. I think at first they didn't know what to expect, but in a short time they came through and it was good to see them experience the atmosphere."
Combined the men's and women's teams tallied 20 medals and scored a total of 188 points. Kenya finished second on both fronts with 13 total medals and 112 points.
K-State signee and incoming freshman for the 2012-13 academic year Akela Jones was competing at the World Junior Championships for Barbados in the long jump. She leapt 6.09 meters (19-11.75) to finish 18th overall.