2017 World Para Athletics Junior Champions

Nottwil, Switzerland   July 27- August 7th

Team USA won the overall medal count at the first ever World Para Athletics Junior Championships with 36 medals.   Iran was second with 22and it was a tie between Great Britain and Australia for third each having 20 medals.  In the U18 category, we dominated in Golds (9), but the Aussies got us by one in the total medals.  In the U20 category, we dominated again in Golds (9) and won the total medal count by five.
 The team consisted of 20 under 20 athletes, with an equal split between Under 20 and Under 18 and an almost equal split of women (9) to men (11).  This team was truly a team, as they supported each other and helped each other during the duration of the trip.  It was a pleasure to watch them come together from all over the USA and work toward a common goal.
The event was structured differently than a traditional World Championships. For example, entries were limited to three athletes for the T51-54 classes and the competition was done in those classes.  The winner of the event would be determined by points.  The classes were 11-13, 20, 33-34, 35-38, 40-47 and 51-57.
Team USA produced some outstanding performances.  This group had some performance that would have done very well at the World Para Athletics Championships in London.
Athlete Performances
Phillip Croft (54) Silver in 200 (28.49 – 9th in London), 800 (1:50.67), 1500 (3:38.57) and Bronze in 100
(16.35) and 400 (55.60).   Had personal records (PR) in 100, 200, 400 and 800 (9 sec. drop from 2016). Well known for his Phillipism’s. 
Michelle Cross (37) 8th in 100 (15.66) and 6th in 200 (33.57- 8th in London). Had a season best in 100 and
200m. This was a value experience for Michelle as she will continue to improve.
Hannah Dederick (54) Gold in 100(16.94-5th in London), 200 (30.74- 5th in London), 400 (60.67), 800
(2:06.33) and 2nd in 1500 (4:16.33).  Had a 14 sec. PR in the 800 and 11 sec. in 1500.Definitely a break through event for Hannah
Abby Farrell (54) Abby was the only U20 in her events.  The IPC followed the Minus 1 rule, so
unfortunately she was not able to medal.  100 (18.47- 9th in London), 200 (33.90), 400 (65.21) and 800 (2:11.80).  Had an 11 sec. PR in 800.  Amazing improvements from her 2016 best times. Abby starts her freshman year at University of Illinois.
Elizabeth Floch (54) Bronze in 100 (18.38), 200 (32.78- 7th in London), 400 (64.63), 800 (2:07.58) and
1500 (4:23.90).  PR in 200, 400, 800 and 1500.  Had an amazing 18 sec. PR in 800 and 11 sec in 1500. Elizabeth was the youngest member of the team and a fearless competitor.
Norris Foster (34) Silver in 100 (16.35- 6th in London) and a new American Record, 200 (29.03- 6th in
London) and 400 (58.00).  A great talent for the 34 class. This is his first season of racing. Norris will be starting his freshman year at Parkland College.
Beatriz Hatz (44) Gold in the 100 (13.46- 5th in London), 200 (28.06- 5th in London) and Silver in LJ
(4.45m/ 14’5”- 6th in London).  She will be a force to reckon with in the future.
Garrison Hayes (42) Gold in Discus (34.85m/ 114.3”- 5th in London), Shot (10.95m/35’9”), 5th in Javelin
(37.98m/124’6”) and 8th in 100m (13.95).  Had a meter PR in the Javelin and a 2m season best in the Discus. Garrison dominated in his two dominate throws – discus and shot. Garrison will be entering Colorado State this fall.
Jessica Heims (44) Gold in Discus (27.47m/90’1”- 7th in London) 3rd in 200 (29.89) and 4th in 100 (14.75).
Her discus was a 2m increase from 2016.  Jessica starts her freshman year at Northern Iowa.
Miguel Jimenez-Vergara (54) Gold in 200 (27.33), 400 (51.76), Silver in 1500 (3:27.06) 4th in 100 (15.94)
5th in 800 (2:06.66).   In a year’s time, Miguel has dropped 20 sec in his 800m time and he had a two sec. PR in the 400m. Miguel has great potential.  This class is the deepest in Paralympics and it takes a level of athletic maturity and experience to be successful.
Spencer Kimbro (53) Gold in 100 (16.21), Bronze in 200 (29.05) and 400 (54.97), 4th in 1500 (4:01.05) and
6th in 800 (2:11.60). He had a big PR in the 100m. Glad to have Spencer on this trip as he had experienced an injury prior to departing.
Alex Klein (44) 5th in 200 (27.19), 400 (62.43- 9th in London) and 6th in 100 (13.36). Alex PR in the 100 and
400m.  His 2016 best in the 100 was 14.46.  That is a huge drop in a one year period.
Derek Mondt (38) Gold in 800 (2:12.33- 11th in London) and a new American Record, 7th in 200 (26.19)
and 8th in 100 (12.83).  From 2016 to World’s, Derek dropped 11 sec. in the 800 and a sec. in the 100.Had a very aggressive race in the 800m.
Sophie Munter (34) Sophie was the only U18 33/34 female athlete. She fell under the Minus 1 rule for
medals as did Abby Farrell. Sophie had PR’s in the 100 and 400 (3 sec.).   100m (20.45- 8th in
London), 200 (36.34) 400 (67.47- 4th in London).
Isaiah Rigo (52) Gold in 100 (17.98- 4th in London), 200 (31.83) and 400 (61.99—3rd in London). Look at
that again, Isaiah would won a medal in London. Only one PR for Isaiah in the 200m.
Nelya Schasfoort (45) Gold in 400 (72.08), 5th in 100 (14.75), 200 (30.66) and LJ (3.89m/12’7”) Nelya
established American records in the 100,200 and Long Jump. She had a nine sec. improvement in the 400 and a new PR in the LJ.
Noah Scherf (13) Gold in 1500 (4:16.19) and Bronze in 800 (2:05.66). Noah had a race plan for the
1500m and ran it to a “T”. He took the lead early on and never looked back.  In 2016, Noah’s best 1500 had been 4:27.64, an 11 sec. improvement.
Erica Silvey (44) 4th in 100 (14.75), 200 (31.15) and LJ (3.89m/12’7”). Big improvements for Erica from
2016- 15.44 in the 100, 32.27 in the 200 and 3.48m in the LJ.  She is still learning to trust jumping of her prosthetic side.  We will see big jumps this upcoming year.
Tim Tanner (13) 2nd in 200 (23.29 -10th in London), and 5th in 100 (11.43). Tim had a great meet.  Last
year, Tim’s best was 11.61 in the 100 and 23.69 in the 200m.  He shows he has the speed.  Now to get him to run the 400m…
Branden Walton (13) Gold in 800 (2:03.10) and Silver in 1500 (4:24.01) He had an exciting race in the
800m as he was challenged and held the man off and then pulled away in the last 150m. His 800m was a PR by three seconds.
The importance of a World Junior event
Having the opportunity to learn how to travel internationally, to adapt to different cultures and to see how different parts of the World operates is important to our growth as people.  To realize that people are not really that much different.  For an athlete, it is the ability to test yourself against the best from other countries, to see what you can do it tougher competitions than you may have ever faced. You can see from the number and the significant increase in performance that these athletes took the task very seriously.   Here’s to a job well-done!