AAU JO Games Recap: Records Continue To Fall On Day 4

* Aroson Randle after winning the 200mH on Tuesday

Photo Credit: David Nguyen/MileSplit

* Recap written by William Grundy

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Tuesday was the next step in the 2023 AAU Junior Olympic Games expedition.

The field events continued to crown national champions as did another distance event (1,500m). We also saw more sprint action as some of the fastest youth battled for the semi-finals and finals in their respective events.

It was another day of the stands packed with parents, coaches, and athletes. 

MileSplit was there again to soak it all in; here is our breakdown of day four.

The boys 17-18yo 400m hurdle final was all over the place on Tuesday. 

The race itself came down to the line, with Lake Minneola's Kai Evans overcoming Jayden Douglas in the very last moments to win in 51.18. Douglas was second in 51.22. 

But then a flag was raised. Evans was DQ'ed and Douglas was granted the win. Minutes later, Douglas was up on podium receiving his gold medal. 

But then an appeal came down and reversed the decision again. Evans was declared the winner .

It was a wild set of events. But few would argued it wasn't thrilling. 

Evans will return to high school next fall as one of the country's top hurdlers, and one capable of breaking 51 seconds in the 400mH. Douglas, meanwhile, is off to Texas Christian University. 

As one of the top hurdlers nationally, he could have easily chosen to go to one of the top programs or an established setting. However, he chose TCU, he said, to help restart that program's legacy.

The program's desire to turn their recent history around impressed Douglas.

"They offered a change; they're trying to turn the program into something like what it's supposed to be like. It's about turning every program around and just working on getting on top and getting track to where track is supposed to be at."


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* The amount of Anderson family members from Salado, Texas to reach the awards podium over the last two days. Luke Anderson won the 15-16 boys 1,500m on Tuesday in new AAU meet record. His brother Daniel was third, his other brother Seth was fifth in the 13yo boys division, and the brother's sister Abby won the 11yo girls 3,000m on Monday.


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    Gunner Hammett (Williamsburg, Virginia)


    Hammett laid down the hammer and a new AAU Junior Olympic record in the 11yo boys 400m. 

    His display was either a lack of patience to wait for the final or him exhibiting what is still in store the next time he hits the track.

    Hammett powered through the first 300m in just over 40.5 seconds meaning he ran under 15 seconds for the final 100m. Not many 400m records are broken in the prelims with almost a six second lead, but that's what this Virginia native accomplished to eclipse the two year old mark set by Prentice Jones Jr. from Long Beach, California.


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    On Tuesday: The 15-16 y o boys 1500m mark went down (3:57.14) along with the 8 and under boys 400m (1:03.34) and the 11 yo boys 400m record (55.35). A total of six national records have been achieved over three days thus far. 


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    Indya Mayberry saw her teammate Laila Hackett set the 17-18 y o girls 100m Junior Olympic record last year. Hackett is out of the country this year to handle her duties on the United States U20 4x100 relay team and unable to defend her Junior Olympic title. Mayberry may take advantage of her absence and may take her record as well. She ran 11.57 into a -1.8 head wind to come just 0.11 behind Hackett's record mark in the 100m prelims today.


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    "The Track Gods aren't going to let you win if you mess around all year; you're not going to be on top."

    Jayden Douglas after finishing second in the 17-18 boys 400-meter hurdles


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    Photo Credit: David Nguyen

    Photo Credit: David Nguyen/MileSplit

    Photo Credit: Corbb Production/AAU