EUGENE, Ore. – Freshman All-American Morgane Gay and freshman Sean Keveren finished runner-up in their respective events on the final day of the 2009 USA Junior National Championships at Hayward Field to claim a spot on Team USA and will head to the 2009 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, which will be held at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad on July 21st - Aug. 2nd. Gay finished second in the 1500m finals at the USA Junior Championships, while Keveren took second in the 5000m finals.
Gay jumped out to an early lead in her race before relinquishing it to defending champion Jordan Hasay. The duo ran together, a comfortable distance ahead of the rest of the pack, for the remaining three laps, with Hasay crossing first to win the title in 4:18.99, before Gay finished runner-up in 4:20.81.
In the 5000m, Keveren stayed with the lead pack early in the race before it thinned out and he was able to stay with the front five runners. Defending national champion Colby Lowe started to break away late in the race and held on to a dominating lead before claiming the title in 14:31.27. Meanwhile, Keveren worked his way into second place and held on to finish second in 14:38.30. This marks the second-straight year that the Cavaliers have advanced a competitor to the Pan American Junior Championships in the 5000m, as sophomore Ryan Collins finished 16th in last year’s competition.
In other events, senior Andrew Jesien, the Cavaliers top 1500m runner since John Hinton was an All-American in the event in 1985, is believed to be the first-ever performer to compete in the finals of the 1500m at the USA Senior Championships while still donning a Virginia uniform. Jesien claimed seventh place in the finals of the event today with a time of 3:45.39. Professional athletes Lopez Lomong and Leonel Manzano swept the top-two places with times of 3:41.68 and 3:41.82, respectively, and will be joined by Arkansas’ Dorian Ulrey, the third-place finisher, as a part of Team USA at the world championships in Berlin, Germany this summer. Jesien was the second collegiate competitor across the line.
Wrapping up his career on the track, Jesien became the first UVa competitor to advance to the finals of the 1500m at the NCAA Championships, as he did so a year ago, since Hinton competed in 1985. He was the 2008 ACC Champion in the event, a two-time all-region performer and a two-time All-ACC performer in the 1500m. He holds the third-fastest time in program history in the event and also broke the school record and earned All-America honors in the distance medley relay this indoor season – running the 1600m leg.
In the shot put, Virginia’s volunteer assistant coach Adam Nelson, a three-time Olympian, used a final throw of 68’ 11.25” to secure a fourth-place finish and punch his ticket to the world championships in Berlin, Germany this summer. He will be joined by 2009 USA National Champion and Olympic silver medalist Christian Cantwell, Dan Taylor and 2007 World Champion Reese Hoffa on Team USA. Cantwell won the national title with a throw of 71’ 7.25”.
The 12th IAAF World Championships, the first major international track and field event in the Olympic stadium since the 1936 Olympic Games, will be held in Berlin, Germany on Aug. 15-23.