Watson Wins 2 Golds at World Youth Championships Wins 800m in 14th Fastest High School Time Ever
With an inspiring display of grit, tactical prowess and sheer determination, Samantha Watson of Rochester captured the gold in the girls' 800m at the IAAF World Youth Championships, on Sunday in Cali, Columbia and then returned to the track just 75 minutes later to earn her second gold medal of the championships as she ran helped the USA to victory in the inaugural mixed-sex 4x400m relay.
In the 800m Watson ran comfortably through the first 400 meters, content to position herself in third place as the leader went through at 1:03.36. On the backstretch she moved up gradually before making a strong move with 200m to go to take the lead going into the final curve. Watson came into the home straight with a small lead and managed to keep that lead to the line, winning the gold, in a lifetime best 2:03.54. As she crossed the line she dropped to her knees in a moment of celebration and exhaustion.
She is the second American to win the event (Ajee’ Wilson in 2011). Her time makes here the second fastest high school New York performer ever behind Mary Cain and #14 on the all-time U.S. high school performer list.
Following the 800m victory, Watson had to quickly recompose herself in preparation of the mixed 4x400m relay that took to the track just over an hour afterwards. The teams were made up of two boys and two girls with teams allowed to decide the running order. Watson was teamed with Lynna Irby (Indianapolis), Keshun Reed (Arlington, Texa), and Norman Grimes (Canyon, Texas). Running the anchor leg, Watson received the baton with a large lead and ran a 53.1 spilt to bring Team USA across the line in 3:19.54. South Africa finished second just edging Canada as both teams stopped the clock at 3:23.60.
QUOTES FROM WATSON On her race and strategy “I went in really nervous and scared, but I was doing what I needed to do to win and hoping to get a personal best. I did both, so I’m really happy with how the race went.”
On her last lap when she made the move and the battle to the finish “I just tried to remain calm and not try to tense up to try to speed up and accelerate. I just tried to relax and keep pumping my arms, and just hold on and hope that I would finish.”
On strategy for time with her coach “We’ve been trying to race to win and hope that the time will take care of itself. I like being on the outside of lane 1, so I would be able to react to anything and not get boxed in.”
Duke Track and Field student athlete Madeline Kopp was able to be a part of the U.S. Women’s 4×400 spring relay team that recently finished 3rd in the 2015 World University Games earning the bronze medal in the international competition.
Junior Madeline Kopp was invited to represent the U.S. at the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea after an outstanding year with the Blue Devils. At Duke, she had a record-breaking 2015 season after topping school records in the individual indoor and outdoor 400 meters in addition to being a key part of the program’s best 4×400 relay team ever.
Kopp also competed in the individual 400 m race and advanced all the way to the semifinals before failing to qualify for the final round. Congrats Madeline on earning a bronze medal in her very first international track meet competition and hopefully the great off-season will help her to excel with the Blue Devils for the upcoming year.
We are a group of caring professionals that work in education, coaching, business, finance, and technology professions. With our different skill sets we decided to form the Rochester Running Rebels Track Club. Our club focuses on assisting young men and women from ages 8-18 in developing, and enhancing basic fundamentals in track and field. Also we look to assist the few that wish to compete nationally in USA Track and Field competition and the Jr. Olympics.
Our youth program runs during the summer months typically starting around the middle of May through late July. For those that sign up for traveling you can potentially travel to (3) events. The Association Championship is normally a one day event that happens in the Niagara Region. This is typically held within the Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse area. It's a small event but nonetheless it's competitive. Most will advance to the Region 2 Championship which is hosted in N.Y., N.J., or PA. The top 5 athletes in their event will advance to Nationals. The Region 2 Championship is over a 4 day period, but most will compete over the weekend staying overnight. For those athletes advancing to Nationals this is a week-long event that can be held anywhere in the United States. We have taken kids to Greensboro NC, Sacramento CA, Wichita KS, and Baltimore MD. This year’s goal is to go back to Greensboro North Carolina .
Our goals are committed to provide a positive environment where our youth athletes can grow, enhance their track skills, learn teamwork, respect, and discipline. Some of our older high school athletes will look to gain some collegiate exposure while competing with some top athletes throughout the country. This will surely improve their confidence and give them the ability to gauge their skills and see what they would have to improve upon. Also with national exposure kids tend to pick-up on some very good techniques and skills from other youth throughout the country which ultimately improves their overall abilities making them stronger athletes.
The Running Rebels is a Non Profit 501(c)3 program, we are a volunteered organization that does not have any paid members. We are always looking for volunteer’s coaches, and board members to assist with our youth program. If you have any experience as a throwing coach in shot, discus, and javelin we need you. Please look on our contact link, call or email us we’ll be sure to answer all your questions. For more information about joining the Running Rebels Track Club click on the information link. For registration either complete the (preferable) online registration form, or print the printable registration form and mail it to us.