EUGENE, Ore. - The world's best junior-aged track and field athletes are currently just down south in Eugene, competing in the IAAF World Junior Championships at Hayward Field. Thursday, one current Husky and one soon-to-be Dawg had strong showings wearing their respective national team jerseys.
Rising sophomore Amy-Eloise Neale, competing for her native Great Britain, advanced into the final of the 3,000-meter steeplechase today, while Italy's Jacopo Spano, coming to Washington this fall, ran a pair of personal-bests in the 200-meter dash.
In the steeple semifinals, Neale was just a couple seconds off her PR in the first heat, finishing fifth out of 17 runners in 10:17.88. That earned her automatic advancement into Saturday's final. Neale was one of UW's top-seven runners during her freshman cross country season, then had a solid indoor track campaign before redshirting the outdoor year.
Spano gained attention and familiarity with America during a year as an exchange student in Utah, where he won state track titles in the sprints and the long jump in 2013. An Italian junior national champion, Spano was back in the States today to run at 200-meters. In the first round, he auto advanced to the semis with a personal-best time of 21.04 seconds. The semifinals were held this evening, and Spano broke the 21-second mark for the first time, going 20.98 seconds, good for 14th-place out of the 24 semifinalists.
"I feel good, because I was tired after the heat, but I ran my PR," Spano said after the semifinals. "There was a 1.8 (tailwind), so I could have run faster, but I am happy."
Spano also was waiting to find out if he would be running on Italy's 4x100-meter relay, heats of which are Friday evening.
Friday will see U.S. Junior 5,000-meter Champion Colby Gilbert running for Team USA at 8:45 p.m.