Harvard rising sophomore Jade Miller is one step away from representing the United States at the World Junior Championships. Okay, more like 10 hurdles away after qualifying for the 400-meter hurdle finals at the U.S. Junior Nationals in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday.
Miller — the Temecula, Calif., native who won the Heps title in the event — ran 58.40 in her heat, the second-fastest time of the day behind high school freshman Sydney McLaughlin of Union Catholic High in New Jersey. McLaughlin, who is actually too young to make Team USA, ran 57.61. Miller’s main rival for a spot on the roster will come from NCAA champion Shamier Little of Texas A&M, who won her heat in 59.44, several seconds slower than her capabilities. Little was a finalist in the event at the 2012 World Juniors in Barcelona.
Harvard nearly had two finalists in the event as another rising sophomore, Jackie Modesett, was the fastest non-qualifier in both hurdle events. The Houston native — who ran 1:00.34 in the full lap — ran 13.77 in the 100 highs, missing a finals berth by .01.
Speaking of close, Cornell soon-to-be-sophomore Grant Sisserson was third in the pole vault and only the top two make the team. But it would be difficult for the Scottsdale, Ariz., native too feel too much disappointed as he soared 5.30 meters (17-4 1/2), a personal best by more than three inches.
Several other Ivy Leaguers qualified for 1,500-meter finals on Saturday. For the men it was Brown’s Martin Martinez of Waukegan, Ill., who advanced with the day’s fourth-best time of 3:52.79, and his future teammate Michael Wyman, a Marion, Mass., native who ran 3:54.41 to grab the final at-large spot in the final.
For the women, both Kieran Gallagher of Harvard and Lucy Vankleunen of Brown qualified. Gallagher, a rising junior from Los Altos Hills, Calif., who has run mostly 800 meters for the Crimson, posted a 4:37.34 to move forward while Vankleunen, a rising sophomore from Philadelphia, ran 4:41.20. Without high school standouts Elise Cranny and Alexa Efraimson in the field, making Team USA will be difficult, but the pace should be fast.
Saturday’s final competitor was Penn rising sophomore Lyle Wistar, who was 15th in the 5,000-meter run in 15:24.38. He is one of three Quakers competing in the distance events as Brendan Shearn (10k) and Nick Tuck (steeplechase) both run on Sunday. The League also has two hammer throwers — Dartmouth’s Tim Brennan and Harvard’s Josh Whitener — in action tomorrow.
The World Junior Championships will also take place in Eugene, Ore., with the six-day event beginning July 22.