AAU JO Games Day Three Recap: More Records Fall
AAU JO Games Day Three Recap: More Records Fall
A recap of the third day of action at the 2022 AAU Junior Olympic Games.
Recap written by Ashley Tysiac, Olivia Ekpone and Cory Mull
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- At the AAU Junior Olympics, there's perhaps nothing more special than the exhilaration felt when garnering an elusive national age group title.
But capturing a first-ever title win and setting a national record in the process? That's a whole other level of exciting.
Just ask Patricio Pardo of Bethesda, Maryland.
The 11-year-old entered the 11yo boys 3,000m competition at the 2022 AAU Junior Olympic Games having only raced the 3,000m a handful of times. On the AAU Junior Olympic Games stage, he didn't let that lack of experience at the distance deter him from pursuing records.
Pardo went out hard with multi-time AAU national record-setter Victor Jaimez-Solorio (Apple Valley, CA), running just off his hip for the first few laps of the race.
But come 400m to go, Pardo made the definitive move.
He surged around Jaimez-Solorio and kicked to the finish, splitting a rather impressive 1:13.47 concluding lap to the delight of the roaring crowd.
The spectators filling the stands at Truist Stadium erupted in cheers as they saw Pardo's time flash on the video board -- 9:48.26.
That broke the previous 11yo AAU national record of 9:55.22, held for 19 years by Ramses Duke.
A national championship win in record-setting fashion made for the perfect start to Pardo's Junior Olympic campaign, and it's a feat he never doubted he could accomplish.
Pardo and Jaimez-Solorio will toe the line together again in the 800m and 1,500m later on in the week. But for now, Pardo can celebrate and add that AAU Junior Olympic Games gold medal to his collection, a medal earned with quite the memorable performance.
"It's my first win in AAU nationals and first record, so I'm happy," Pardo said.
Other athletes also had impressive performances across events on the track and in the field on Monday. Scroll below to view more coverage from the third day of action at the 2022 AAU Junior Olympics.
Day 2 recap: We have our first record
Day 1 recap: Racewalkers take center stage
17-18yo Men's Decathlon: The final two events -- the javelin and 1,500m -- were postponed until Monday morning, but the delay didn't phase Brayden Richards of Perry, OH. Richards won the event last year in the 15-16yo division at the Junior Olympics, and this year proved no different as he moved up to the 17-18yo group and came out as an AAU champion yet again with 6,745 points. Benjamin Blomqvist (Boerne, TX) finished behind Richards with 6,618 points, including an impressive 49.99 400m win on day one of competition that produced 815 points.
11yo Girls 3,000m: Sarah Foad (Bettendorf, IA) made a statement on the track to kick off 3,000m action, leading from start to finish to win in 10:50.44. Lilah Flores of Sunderland, MD in second place came close to dipping under 11 minutes with a time of 11:04.35, followed by Kadence Thomas of Evans, GA running 11:15.76 for third.
11yo Boys 3,000m: It was a two-man battle between young distance stars Victor Jaimez-Solorio (Apple Valley, CA) and Patricio Pardo (Bethesda, MD), but it was Pardo who broke away over the final two laps to win in 9:48.26, smashing the long-standing AAU national record of 9:55.22 held for 19 years by Ramses Duke. Pardo split an impressive 2:31 over the last 800m, including a 1:13.47 final lap, to push for the record-breaking win. Jaimez-Solorio clocked 10:14.53 for second, followed in third by Thomas Kim (Lorton, VA) in 10:25.73.
12yo Girls 3,000m: Hazel Vowell and Tahlya King ran side-by-side for the entire race, and the two 12-year-olds broke out into a mad sprint over the final lap to make for quite the entertaining competition. However, it was Vowell who pulled out in front ever so slightly down the final straightaway to earn the title over King in 10:36.67. King crossed for second in 10:38.43, and it was Julisa Derry who had a strong final lap to take third in 10:42.06.
12yo Boys 3,000m: Ruel Newberry held a slight advantage over John Tindall and Christopher Yue going into the final half mile, and the 12-year-old from Denton, TX managed to keep that lead behind a 1:18 final lap to win in 10:13.30. Tindall and Yue battled to the line to determine second and third, but Tindall pulled ahead to finish in 10:15.65, followed by Yue in 10:17.90.
14yo Girls Long Jump: Less than an inch separated gold and silver, but Ehi Aigbomian's 17-11.5 lifted the Millington, TN talent to the national title win ahead of Rayna Raglin of St. Louis, MO. Raglin jumped 17-10.75 -- just short of Aigbomian's winning mark -- and Arianna Montgomery of Middletown, DE marked 17-7 into a significant headwind to earn third place.
14yo Boys Long Jump: Thee crowd gasped when Kendrick Jones Jr. (Temple, TX) hit the pit on his final jump, and his mark certainly lived up to the spectators' enthusiasm. 23-3.25 made for not only a dominant event win, but a new AAU age group national record for Jones. Graylen Houston (Sugar Land, TX) and Travon Griffin (Midland, NC) finished 2-3 with jumps of 20-10.75 and 20-5.
13yo Boys Discus: Ja'Don Lillie from Durham, NC soared the implement out 153-10 on his second attempt to win the national title in commanding fashion. Oswald Jacquet (Baytown, TX) threw 136-4 the earn the silver medal, and D'Juan Bivens (Arlington, TX) finished close behind in third with a 134-11 mark.
14yo Girls Shot Put: J'Nia Simpson (Tampa, FL) threw 48-0.75 on her second attempt, and that stood through the end of the competition to win the event ahead of Jayden Kimble (Houston, TX) in second with a 43-9.25 mark.
14yo Boys Shot Put: The sole competitor in the field to throw over 50 feet, K'Lyn Curtis (Lees Summit, MO) recorded a 51-5.75 mark to win the age group title. Noah Blomqvist from Boerne, TX and Xavier Perkins of Durham, NC earned the silver and bronze medals with marks of 49-3.75 and 48-6.25.
13yo Girls Javelin: Both Keylee Baker (Orange, CA) and Milan Moriniere (Norristown, PA) both launched the javelin over 100 feet, but it was Baker who threw the best mark of the morning of 105-8 to win the gold. Moriniere's mark of 103-7 solidly earned her second place, and a throw of 92-9 from Bethany Preusse earned the Thorndale, TX athlete the bronze.
15-16yo Girls High Jump: It came down to a missed attempts tiebreaker to determine whether Kya Crooke (Fishers, IN) or Ej Brown (Omaha, NE) won the AAU title, and it was Crooke who had fewer misses at 5-7 to win the gold. Behind Crooke and Brown in third was Kiara Wesseh (Newark, IL) with a 5-5 bar clearance.
13yo Boys Pole Vault: In the small, three-man field, it was Emisael Escalona from Puerto Rico who came out on top with a 10-4 clearance. Joshua Bergkamp (Waukee, IA) and Sam Irish (McCordsville, IN) finished 2-3, clearing 8-0.5 and 7-0.5, respectively.
12yo Boys High Jump: A 4-11.75 clearance from Hovan Jasmine of Kenner, LA narrowly earned him the Junior Olympic title over Jonathan Greene in second and Trindon Flenoury in third. Greene came the closest to Jasmine's winning 4-11.75 mark by clearing 4-11, and Flenoury jumped 4-9 for his bronze medal performance.
9yo Girls Shot Put: Savannah Davis' (Miami, FL) final throw of 25-10.25 proved to be the winning mark in the event, ahead of Kyrie Foster's (Cameron, TX) second-place throw of 24-3.5 that also happened to come on her last attempt. Not far behind in third was Aubree Dunigan (Olathe, KS), who threw 22-9.25.
9yo Boys Shot Put: Seth Saldivar threw 31-6.75 en route to the AAU title and was the sole competitor to eclipse 30 feet. Both Matthew Williams Jr. and Brody Reed threw over 27 feet to place second and third, with Williams marking 27-10 and Reed recording a throw of 27-5.25.
11yo Girls Discus: Magdalena Kandt had a stellar second-attempt throw of 92-7 to make her the lone athlete in the field to throw over 90 feet and win a national title. Silease James of Woodbridge, VA also had a strong showing in the discus with a throw of 80-0.75 to commandingly take second place.
15-16yo Boys Javelin: Behind a jaw-dropping personal best-setting performance of 174-0, Theodore Grace (Kearney, MO) came out of nowhere to win the national title and beat his previous all-time javelin best by nearly 15 feet. Also joining Grace as one of a couple competitors to soar the javelin out over 160 feet was Teegan Simmons (Monroe, MI), marking 165-3 for the silver medal.
17-18yo Women's Long Jump: Stanford signee Alaysia Oakes (Lynchburg, VA) certainly went out with a bang in her final youth competition, jumping 20-2 to take the win in impressive fashion.
17-18yo Men's Long Jump: Jonathan Richardson could not be stopped in the entertaining long jump final, jumping a wind-aided 24-0.25 to win over Yougendy Mauricette who finished close behind with a 23-10.25 jump. Sterling Weldon placed just outside of silver medal position, jumping 23-10 for third place.
14yo Boys Pole Vault: Wesley Turner (Ramona, OK) significantly exceed his seed mark of 11-7, clearing a the bar set at 12-5.5 to finish out the event as both a national champion and the only vaulter to clear over 12 feet. Austin Sweet (Mocksville, NC) came close to the 12-foot mark with a second-place clearance of 11-11.75, and like Turner also bested his seed height of 11-0.
10yo Girls High Jump: Brielle Hudson of Cornwall, NY doubled back from her triathlon win on Sunday to take the individual high jump win with a 4-5 clearance -- a personal best mark by nearly two inches. Aliyah Gamble, Leeah Combest and Addison Turner all cleared the bar set at 4-3.25, but based on a missed attempts tie-breaker, Gamble and Combest earned second and third place ahead of Turner.
8yo Girls Shot Put: It was a close competition between the young Kensley Reams (Antioch, TX) and Destiny Nicholson (Harvey, LA), and Reams' best throw of 23-4.75 put her just ahead of Nicholson's 23-4 to win her first AAU national title. Kylie Ferguson (Miami, FL) threw 22-4.25 on her second to last attempt to capture the bronze medal.
8yo Boys Shot Put: Zion Lancaster (Blacklick, OH) improved upon his seed mark by over seven feet to win the youngest shot put age division with a 31-1 throw. In a close second was Gregory Yeldell Jr. (Abilene, TX) with a strong throw of 29-6.5, and Cameron Crouch (Thomasville, NC) earned the bronze medal with his mark of 28-7.75.
STAT OF THE DAY
Kendrick Jones Jr.'s improvement from his 2021 Junior Olympic long jump performance to this year's event, jumping 23-3.25 to set the AAU national record in the 14yo boys division.
MVP OF THE DAY
Kendrick Jones Jr., Young Runners (Temple, TX)
In the 14-year-old boys long jump, Jones jumped 23-3.25 to not only make for a significant personal best and event win, but also a new age group AAU national record, smashing the previous all-time best of 22-5 set in 2003.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I was just on a PR train. It almost felt weird if I didn't PR. That's how nice it was."
Brayden Richards (Perry, OH) on setting seven lifetime personal bests in the 10 decathlon events en route to a win in the 17-18 age division.
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