BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Although they just recently finished the 2012 track season with their teams, Miami rising sophomore Sam Chester and incoming freshman Peter Stefanski put their talents to the test over the weekend, participating in the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Indiana University.
The U.S. Junior Outdoor Championships gives the best high school and college athletes from ages 14-19 a chance to compete against fellow track and field athletes from around the country, while also serving as the qualifying meet for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain July 10-15. Athletes must meet a certain mark or time in their respective event during the season to qualify for the Junior Championships while the top finisher(s) in each event advance to the World Championships.
Chester (Medina, Ohio), who recently completed a strong freshman campaign as a RedHawk, placed seventh in a field of 26 in the decathlon with a personal-best 6,721 points. Five of the six finishers ahead of him are also college athletes, led by Arkansas' Gunnar Nixon, who won with 7,760 points. Chester beat out both Akron decathletes in the field (one was 11th and the other did not finish), as they were the only other Mid-American Conference representatives in the 10-event competition.
In his first season in Oxford, Chester placed sixth in the decathlon at the MAC Outdoor Championships with a then personal-best 6,663 points, which ranks him 10th in school history and was well above the 6,250 points needed to qualify. This weekend at the U.S. Junior Championships, he posted personal bests in half of the events in the decathlon, doing so in the 400m (50.23), 1500m (4:50.17), 100m hurdles (14.31), shot put (12.91m/42-4.25) and javelin (43.25m/141-11).
Joining Chester in the fall at Miami will be Stefanski, who graduated from Marmion Academy in Aurora, Ill. this spring. He competed in the high jump at the Junior Championships and placed fifth, clearing 1.99m/6-6.25 on his second attempt. He beat out athletes from Stanford and Ohio State while Albany's Alexander Bowen took first, topping 2.09m/6-10.25. Stefanksi qualified with his jump of 2.13m/7-0 at the Illinois State Sectionals in May, as the qualifying mark for the Junior Championships was 2.09m/6-10.25.
For complete results from the U.S. Junior Championships, click here.