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News

 

Is the process for selecting the U.S. junior team fair? - DyeStat

Published by
DyeStat   on Jul 9 2014, 12:20 AM

Will the most deserving go to World Jrs?

 

By Doug Binder, DyeStat Editor

 

Note: The US team has been selected for World Juniors and includes 89 athletes -- including 40 from high schools -- and the news was released Wednesday. In almost all cases the selection process has been clear and fair.


We're sorry, Sydney McLaughlin, but you're too young to go to World Juniors. Thanks for playing. You almost beat the NCAA champion in the 400-meter hurdles and you would almost certainly earn a medal with that type of performance at the IAAF World Junior Championships.

 
Please come back when you're older. (The concept behind a "Juniors" program is that it involves teenagers, but not really, really good young teenagers).

 
We're sorry, Nate Moore, but it was too windy when you connected everything brilliantly on your triple jump and went farther than any high school athlete in 10 years. We're going to make you wait while we sort this out. We might have a spot. We'll discuss it first and get back to you. But maybe not.


We're sorry, Audrey Belf. But you didn't run your 5,000 meters race fast enough. We have standards, you see, and even though it was 88 degrees when you ran and you have very few chances to run 5,000-meter races on a track, you should have run faster. You won. By 22 seconds. But we're going to select the college runner who was fifth, and had no incentive to push the pace, because she ran our standard this spring when the conditions were nicer.


There were a few others at the U.S. Junior Championships who got caught in the gears of rules -- some would say arbitrary rules -- governing how the national team is selected for World Juniors.


Don't get me wrong. Rules are important and the participants certainly know what they are going in. That doesn't mean that all of the rules are fair, or understandable to the public, or immune to criticism.


Trentavis Friday false-started in the 100 meters final. I get that one. That was his mistake, although with a little more awareness I wonder if he should have opted to run under protest. I wonder if he knew he had the option.


Friday was awesome over the weekend. Kaylin Whitney was a revelation as well. And U.S. Juniors, by and large, was just as interesting -- if not more so -- than the senior championships in Sacramento a week earlier. It was the greatest display of high school sprinting -- ever.


Most of the slots for the U.S. team have been filled. Fifteen of the 40 (or so) high school athletes who will represent the country in two weeks were on the 2013 World Youth team last summer in Ukraine.


USATF has yet to reveal the final roster for the team, so there are some athletes still out there hoping for an opportunity. Most of the spots are cut and dried with a top-two finish at U.S. Juniors and an IAAF qualifying standard. Because the U.S. is hosting, it was allowed to select the winners of every event if they were within five percent of the performance standard and nobody else in the event was qualified. That meant that the racewalk winners got in. The same criteria left Belf on the outside. 


My opinion of how a team should be selected doesn't matter and I know that. It's meant to operate the same way it does when the U.S. Olympic Trials spit out an Olympic team. But that's a laborious process, too.


Why don't the top two finishers in each event qualify automatically? Period. Hasn't the U.S. performed well enough in global events that it deserves two representatives in every event? (Of course it has.). 


What I don't like is that too often in meets such as this it is high school kids getting the short end of a rulebook's stick.


College freshmen show up to U.S. Juniors with professional advocates (college track coaches) and elaborate support systems. And the events on the schedule are tilted in their favor as well, closely matching the NCAA lineup while asking high school athletes to throw heavier implements and run longer distance events.


The high school athletes, over and over, rose up to meet those extra challenges last weekend at Hayward Field.


Sometimes the process seems to betray them. John Nizich of Portland's Central Catholic High School was second in the men's javelin. He's two feet short of the standard (less than half of one percent) and won't make it. Nevermind that he donated a pair of javelin boots to another high school kid who didn't arrive with his luggage (Curtis Thompson, the winner, and IAAF qualifier by one inch), demonstrating a true act of sportsmanship.


Moore, of Castro Valley, Calif., came through the mixed zone interview area thinking he was safely on the team. It took reporters to warn him there could be a hitch and that his wind-aided jump might not count toward making the team. (The IAAF world junior standard is 51-4, but only wind-legal jumps count). Moore is headed to the University of Oregon in the fall and would have had a big fan following at World Juniors. But he doesn't have a wind-legal qualifying jump and so he is out.


Everyone who watched the meet knows that Moore could medal at World Juniors. So why should he be left off the team over something that was out of his control?


If late July comes, and the wind is blowing at 3 meters per second during the finals of the World Juniors triple jump, I'm going to want Nate Moore taking jumps for the U.S. I'm thinking the team -- and the country -- could use a 53-7.

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24 comment(s)  
DrBob
The initial relay pool in 2011 was whittled down from 8 to 6 and submitted as the official Team Roster. They weren't on the official 4x400 Team Roster (but they were on the initial roster submitted a month earlier) once competition started but were called in for duty once the finals rolled around for one reason or another (if I remember correctly, injuries etc).

That was then.

I guess we'll see what management decides for the dance.
lagsun

MatthewXCountry, on , said:

So would you recommend, anyone who wins the event is allowed to chase the standard. This isn't about USATF its about the IAAF, and most countries probably give their youngsters more 5k opportunities. The IAAF would need to change how standards are met. (with the exception of this year) The USA doesn't have the option to send someone who doesn't meet the standard, I think. Perhaps I am wrong.


Actually, IAAF allows the chasing of marks but it's USATF that elected to submit the team based on results up to and including the US Juniors:

All performances must be achieved during the period 1 October 2013 to 14 July 2014. Please note that the Final Entries deadline remains three Mondays before the first day of competition, i.e. 7 July 2014.

https://iaafmedia.s3...9ecb0c62dab.pdf
MatthewXCountry

watchout, on , said:

Just because high schoolers rarely find 5k opportunities, doesn't mean they can't be competitive in a 5k (which is essentially what the rule becomes - if the championship race isn't fast enough for you to get the time there, you aren't allowed to compete). That's very different from almost every other event, where kids have had the opportunity to chase the time before they come to the meet (as the NCAA athletes always do).

Belf is probably capable of a sub-16:30. And she beat a 16:18 girl (who will be repping the US at World Jrs) by almost 43 seconds. I'm not debating whether or not she should be on the team, but rather whether or not, in the future, Team USA should be decided strictly by standards for events where the high school athletes don't have nearly the same opportunities as collegiates (5k, 10k, steeple, race walking, etc.) in the case of a high school athlete actually winning the event at nationals. Imagine if, instead of Belf, it was Cranny or Efraimson that tried for the 5k, and they won, but were left off the team because a collegiate who they beat by 40+ seconds at nationals had the opportunity to run the 5k during the season?


So would you recommend, anyone who wins the event is allowed to chase the standard. This isn't about USATF its about the IAAF, and most countries probably give their youngsters more 5k opportunities. The IAAF would need to change how standards are met. (with the exception of this year) The USA doesn't have the option to send someone who doesn't meet the standard, I think. Perhaps I am wrong.
MatthewXCountry

DontStopPre, on , said:

But the majority of those other girls opted not to race and try to qualify. Therefore for the sake of making a US team they don't "exist".


I'm confused, I never said they did. I just said the field was weak, had it been strong enough the standard would have been met. My post absolutely did not imply any of these girls should go to worlds.
gmstats
Jackson and Taylor were in the initial 4x400 relay pool for Daegu (Tony McQuay, Jeremy Wariner, Angelo Taylor, Bershawn Jackson, Greg Nixon, Jamaal Torrance, Michael Berry, Kerron Clement, Jeshua Anderson).

From the 2013 Moscow selection procedures (1.j.) -- "Being entered as one of the six (6) relay team members does not guarantee that an athlete will participate in the relay. USATF may also designate any athlete who is a member of the 2013 World Championship team to compete in the relay events or to replace an athlete(s) that may become injured, or have other issues that would keep them from being able to compete on the relay team."

In other words, quite simply, if you're in another event already at the Championships, you're eligible for relay duty.
watchout

DrBob, on , said:

I agree it's somewhat confusing. From what I've been told though, anyone can run the relay. Now whether they decide to use Trentavis in the 4x100 at some point will be interesting. They could, but at a cost.

The rules are the same at all IAAF levels. For example, here was the Relay pool for the USA team in the 4x400 team for the 2011 World Championships:

Merritt, McQuay, Nixon, Torrence, Berry, Smith.

The Finals line-up was changed though with "Batman" Jackson, and Angelo Taylor inserted (400mH team members). They were eligible to run because they were on the team.

It wasn't looking like that good of a move for awhile, but in the end, Merritt found his way and the USA won Gold.

I believe the same circumstances could come into play at World Juniors in a few weeks.


I'm sure they were included in the relay pool, though. That's not the case with Friday.

Again, this is the relay pool for the Mens 4x100m: Bromell, Williams, Miller, Jernigan, Wells, Carlton Anumnu (the top 6 finishes in the 100m Finals).

While it makes sense to simply use the top 6 finishes as a relay pool, it makes MORE sense to include a faster guy in the pool that is still on the team (as he qualified in the 200m, obviously). As it stands, they can't simply throw Friday into the race, because he isn't included in the relay pool.
watchout
Just because high schoolers rarely find 5k opportunities, doesn't mean they can't be competitive in a 5k (which is essentially what the rule becomes - if the championship race isn't fast enough for you to get the time there, you aren't allowed to compete). That's very different from almost every other event, where kids have had the opportunity to chase the time before they come to the meet (as the NCAA athletes always do).

Belf is probably capable of a sub-16:30. And she beat a 16:18 girl (who will be repping the US at World Jrs) by almost 43 seconds. I'm not debating whether or not she should be on the team, but rather whether or not, in the future, Team USA should be decided strictly by standards for events where the high school athletes don't have nearly the same opportunities as collegiates (5k, 10k, steeple, race walking, etc.) in the case of a high school athlete actually winning the event at nationals. Imagine if, instead of Belf, it was Cranny or Efraimson that tried for the 5k, and they won, but were left off the team because a collegiate who they beat by 40+ seconds at nationals had the opportunity to run the 5k during the season?
DrBob

Joe Lanzalotto, on , said:

That would appear to be incorrect - also from a good source, the IAAF quoted above. Here it is again: "There are no entry standards for the Relays so every Member may enter one team for each relay race, composed by a maximum of six athletes. Any four athletes among those entered for the competition (i.e. WJC, in this case), whether for the relay or for any other event, may then be used in the composition of the team for the first round."

Bolding is mine - those six athletes would appear to be the relay pool for each relay.


I agree it's somewhat confusing. From what I've been told though, anyone can run the relay. Now whether they decide to use Trentavis in the 4x100 at some point will be interesting. They could, but at a cost.

The rules are the same at all IAAF levels. For example, here was the Relay pool for the USA team in the 4x400 team for the 2011 World Championships:

Merritt, McQuay, Nixon, Torrence, Berry, Smith.

The Finals line-up was changed though with "Batman" Jackson, and Angelo Taylor inserted (400mH team members). They were eligible to run because they were on the team.

It wasn't looking like that good of a move for awhile, but in the end, Merritt found his way and the USA won Gold.

I believe the same circumstances could come into play at World Juniors in a few weeks.
DontStopPre

MatthewXCountry, on , said:

In my opinion, for distance events the 1500, 3000, and 5000 should have standards for similar distances. For example the 1500 should also include standards for the 1600 and the mile, and the 3000 and 5000 should also allow 3200 and 2 mile marks. That said, while Belf did great, she probably isn't even in the top 10 high school distance runners right now. If all the top high schoolers ran that race, the standard would have been achieved.

1. 9:39.7c Efraimson, Alexa (2015) (Camas, WA) -- 9:00.16m indoors
2. 9:50.10 Knights, Bethan (2014) (Northwood, CA)
3. 9:51.60c Debalsi, Hannah (2016) (Staples, CT) -- 10:09.08 2mile
4. 10:00.42 Paladino, Amelia (2014) (University, WV)
5. 10:00.4a Feeny, Sarah (2014) (Ogden, UT) - 10:13.86 at 4,000+ft altitude
6. 10:00.5a Cranny, Elise (2014) (Niwot, CO) - 10:17.48 at 5,000+ft altitude
7. 10:03.02 Jenks, Stephanie (2016) (Linn-Mar, IA)
8. 10:03.66 Ostrander, Allie (2015) (Kenai Central, AK)
9. 10:04.2c Barrett, Tessa (2014) (Abington Heights, PA) - 10:08.05 2mile indoor
10. 10:04.81 Maxwell, Anna (2014) (San Lorenzo Valley, CA)
11. 10:06.3c Donaghu, Ella (2016) (Grant, OR) - 9:24.86 3000m
12. 10:07.36 Belf, Audrey (2015) (Ernest W. Seaholm, MI) - 10:10.90 2mile indoor
13. 10:07.52 Baxter, Sarah (2014) (Simi Valley, CA)
14. 10:08.16 Alcorta, Caroline (2014) (West Springfield, VA)
15. 10:08.2c Heffernan, Annie (2015) (St. Ursula Academy, OH) - 10:12.02 2mile indoor

As for Friday. I don't understand why he isn't eligible for the relay given his win in the 200m.


But the majority of those other girls opted not to race and try to qualify. Therefore for the sake of making a US team they don't "exist".
Joe Lanzalotto

DrBob, on , said:

From a good source, if you are on the team, irregardless of event, you can run a relay. Period.

Now the strategy? When and where do we put the best team forward for a medal.


That would appear to be incorrect - also from a good source, the IAAF quoted above. Here it is again: "There are no entry standards for the Relays so every Member may enter one team for each relay race, composed by a maximum of six athletes. Any four athletes among those entered for the competition (i.e. WJC, in this case), whether for the relay or for any other event, may then be used in the composition of the team for the first round."

Bolding is mine - those six athletes would appear to be the relay pool for each relay.
DrBob
From a good source, if you are on the team, irregardless of event, you can run a relay. Period.

Now the strategy? When and where do we put the best team forward for a medal.
MatthewXCountry
In my opinion, for distance events the 1500, 3000, and 5000 should have standards for similar distances. For example the 1500 should also include standards for the 1600 and the mile, and the 3000 and 5000 should also allow 3200 and 2 mile marks. That said, while Belf did great, she probably isn't even in the top 10 high school distance runners right now. If all the top high schoolers ran that race, the standard would have been achieved.

1. 9:39.7c Efraimson, Alexa (2015) (Camas, WA) -- 9:00.16m indoors
2. 9:50.10 Knights, Bethan (2014) (Northwood, CA)
3. 9:51.60c Debalsi, Hannah (2016) (Staples, CT) -- 10:09.08 2mile
4. 10:00.42 Paladino, Amelia (2014) (University, WV)
5. 10:00.4a Feeny, Sarah (2014) (Ogden, UT) - 10:13.86 at 4,000+ft altitude
6. 10:00.5a Cranny, Elise (2014) (Niwot, CO) - 10:17.48 at 5,000+ft altitude
7. 10:03.02 Jenks, Stephanie (2016) (Linn-Mar, IA)
8. 10:03.66 Ostrander, Allie (2015) (Kenai Central, AK)
9. 10:04.2c Barrett, Tessa (2014) (Abington Heights, PA) - 10:08.05 2mile indoor
10. 10:04.81 Maxwell, Anna (2014) (San Lorenzo Valley, CA)
11. 10:06.3c Donaghu, Ella (2016) (Grant, OR) - 9:24.86 3000m
12. 10:07.36 Belf, Audrey (2015) (Ernest W. Seaholm, MI) - 10:10.90 2mile indoor
13. 10:07.52 Baxter, Sarah (2014) (Simi Valley, CA)
14. 10:08.16 Alcorta, Caroline (2014) (West Springfield, VA)
15. 10:08.2c Heffernan, Annie (2015) (St. Ursula Academy, OH) - 10:12.02 2mile indoor

As for Friday. I don't understand why he isn't eligible for the relay given his win in the 200m.
Joe Lanzalotto

DrBob, on , said:

The wording "first round"worries me Joe. Doesn't make much sense to have a relay team unless they practice together, compete together and feel like they are part of the team. It's one of the things we saw at the World Relays. Just not enough preparation during the given time-frame to really be at our best.


Agreed. If they can't practice together they won't get the stick around the track and they'll be like...the senior 4x100s!
DrBob
The wording "first round"worries me Joe. Doesn't make much sense to have a relay team unless they practice together, compete together and feel like they are part of the team. It's one of the things we saw at the World Relays. Just not enough preparation during the given time-frame to really be at our best.
TrackCoachMJR
from the IAAF manual -- "There are no entry standards for the Relays so every Member may enter one team for each relay race, composed by a maximum of six athletes. Any four athletes among those entered for the competition (i.e. WJC, in this case), whether for the relay or for any other event, may then be used in the composition of the team for the first round."
Joe Lanzalotto

DrBob, on , said:

So is it still possible he could line and race on the 4x100 team or is it a done deal seeing he's not listed in the pool of athletes?


If you're not in the pool I don't think you can be on the relay. Maybe someone can confirm.

I was at the Juniors. I get it that he false started - his fault - but he's the fastest or second fastest guy on the team.
DrBob
So is it still possible he could line and race on the 4x100 team or is it a done deal seeing he's not listed in the pool of athletes?
Joe Lanzalotto

DrBob, on , said:

Although I had heard talk of Trentavis not being eligible for the 4x100 team seeing he false started, it's now been confirmed he's not on the 4x100 team. So now the question is what would have happened if he had run under protest? would he have been eligible?


Anyone on the team is eligible for the relay pools. Not having him in the 4x100 pool is crazy.
TrackCoachMJR
No athletes are selected to this meet, in this year, based upon event preference. Its not like what happens for World Youth, where events have been played against one another based upon a selection committee's preferences. The reaction where the RW athletes are always paired off against athlete in other events is common place in discussions about "worthiness" and it gets annoying to have to hear it from all manner of websites almost every year.
DrBob
Although I had heard talk of Trentavis not being eligible for the 4x100 team seeing he false started, it's now been confirmed he's not on the 4x100 team. So now the question is what would have happened if he had run under protest? would he have been eligible?

7/11Post-edit...even though he is not listed in the pool of athletes for the 4x100 or 4x400, any team member can be placed on the relay team.
DrBob
Very pleased both winners are on TEAM USA !!!!
DougB
Nobody is disrespecting racewalkers. But I do think it's fair to ask, do the racewalk athletes deserve a spot on the team any more than high jumpers? Or any other event?
DrBob
Coach Roth,

Will you be surprised if neither 10K Race Walk winners are on the team when released by the USATF?

DB
TrackCoachMJR
The host nation is able to have 1 person per event. USATF has an unwritten guideline (more great management!) that says anyone within 5% of the IAAF standard can be that person. 4 RWers came into the meet w/in that standard. Both race winners were from that group of 4. They will be going. They deserve to go and deserve to be treated w/ the same respect as athletes in any other event.
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