Tyrese Cooper Shines At AAU Club Nationals, Day 4

Day four of the 2018 AAU National Club Championships was quite the show, highlighted by two record-breaking performances in the field events.

In the 9-year old boys high jump, Sean Leighton of E.C.A Track Club cleared a height of 4-04.5 to take the title. Leighton took down MGX's Jailen Sinclair-Bergin's record of 4-03 (2014). On the girls side, 13-year old Jasmine Hampton (GA) won the javelin with a throw of 104-09. Hampton's mark broke Juleika Torres-O'Neil's record set in 2014 (104-03) and qualified her for both the AAU and USATF Junior Olympics.

The two main events on the track were the 800m finals, semifinals and 200m prelims. With more than 100 heats across all age groups in the 200m prelims, two records went down before the semifinals even began.

In the 9-year old girls sprints, two broke Aleia Hobbs' record of 28.37 set back in 2005. In heat six of the prelims, Jasmyn Ezell of 478 Elite (GA) ran 28.20. Following that record-setting performance, Destyni Devine of Olympia Track Club (FL) ran a convincing 27.85 in heat 9 to take the record. This is Devine's third club championship record in two days, and the semifinals of both the 100m and 200m are still to come.

In the boys 11-year old 200m, Evan Boykin of Charlotte Heat (NC) set the precedent very early, breaking the record with his time of 24.60. However, in the following heats, Da'Vekio Ruffin of Louisiana Kream Elite (current 100m record holder) ran 25.33 and Chris Singleton (Down South Xpess) ran 25.35, which both broke the previous record of 25.41 set in 2017.

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Tyrese Cooper of MGX finished the 17-18-year old 200m with the top qualifying spot heading into the semifinals, running 20.94. He'll be chasing his record of 20.74 that he set last year.

There were three age group records broken in the 800m, but with the finals for ages 12-18 on Saturday, I'm sure more records are on their way down.

Grant Reynolds of Mark Trail Flying Eagles (GA) is the new record-holder in the 9-year old boys 800m with a time of 2:21.27. After winning this event last year in 2:26.74, Reynolds has shown big improvement. Reynolds is the reigning AAU and USATF Junior Olympic champion in this event. In the 11-year-old boys 800m, Deshawn Seymour (Full Stride Track Club, CA) broke Terry Simuel's record from 2011 (2:15.29), running 2:15.19.

Meanwhile, Cha'iel Johnson is continuing her middle-distance reign. Johnson added another record to her collection by qualifying for Saturday's final of the 13-year-old girls 800m. She broke Miami's own Daesha Rodgers' record of 2:12.65 by running 2:12.27. Following Johnson's performance, Daniel Jean-Charles (Miami Pal Chiefs) is the fastest qualifier in 2:05.65. Jean-Charles has five seconds on the second qualifier, and he won his heat by a six second margin. The age group record is 2:02.77, and with the right push from the field, Jean-Charles could rewrite it.

In the 15-16-year old girls 800m, current U.S. No. 2 and reigning Junior Olympic champion, Athing Mu (Trenton Track Club) cruised to a top qualifying spot. She ran a convincing 2:04.51 to win the New Balance Outdoor Championships this year. Mu ran 2:13.58 in her prelim today, but with her ability to push the pace from the start, Mu will chase her current record of 2:07.18 in the finals.

In the 17-18 age group, it looks like it's going to be a tight race for the title for both genders. Jasmine Douglas Grant and Daishon Spann are the top two qualifiers heading into Saturday. Both in two separate heats running 2:15 should lead to a great final. Douglas Grant ran 2:15.74 with 2 seconds on second place in her heat, while Spann ran 2:15.85 with the next-closest competitor 4 seconds behind.

As for the boys, last year's standouts and twin brothers Colin and Keaton Jones (Memphis Jaguars, TN) are sitting in the top spots going into the final. Keaton ran 1:54.81, Colin ran 1:55.22, the brothers placed second and third at last year's Junior Olympics. In the third qualifying spot is Sukeil Foucha of Elite Speed (FL), who won the 4A State title in the 800m. Foucha is definitely a challenger who can split the Jones twins' 1-2 finish (his season best is 1:53.85).

There are three days left of competition so, be prepared for some record setting performances! Remember you can watch this event live from flotrack.org.

For all things AAU Club Championships, be sure to follow FloTrack and MileSplit on Twitter (@FloTrack @Milesplit).

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