DES MOINES, Iowa – Miami University rising sophomore Laura Bess had a strong showing Saturday at Drake Stadium in the 1500m final of the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships, as she narrowly missed medaling at the national showcase meet.
Bess (Brownsburg, Ind.), who was the lone female RedHawk at the meet, finished in fourth in the 1500m junior championship, clocking 4:31.32, which is the second-best time of her freshman season. She lost a shoe midway through the race, but still battled to take fourth on one shoe. Villanova’s Kelsey Margey won the 12-woman final in 4:25.45, while BYU’s Rachel Stewart was second in 4:28.92 and N.C. State’s Megan Moye just edged out Bess in 4:30.19.
Bess qualified third for the final in Friday’s first round when she ran 4:37.11, behind only Anna Holdiman, who placed 10th in the final, and Stewart. Margey and Stewart will represent Team USA at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships Aug. 23-25 in Medellin, Colombia, as the U.S. Junior Championships served as the qualifying meet.
Bess clinched her spot at the U.S. Junior Championships with her qualifying time of 4:29.72, which she clocked at the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships May 11 in Akron, Ohio. To qualify for the U.S. Junior Championships, runners had to record a time under 4:36.14 in the 1500m during the past year. Bess entered the meet seeded sixth.
Participants in any of the Junior Championships must be at least 16 years old, but under the age of 20, as of Dec. 31, 2013. The 2013 U.S. Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships are held in conjunction with the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships from June 19-23 and are hosted by Drake University.