Arizona doesn’t just send high school athletes to the big track meets. It sends families.
Erwin Jones Jr. and his brother, Jamaal, nearly swept the decathlon events in the Young Men’s and Intermediate Boys competition at the USATF Youth Outdoor National Championships at Benedictine University in Illinois.
Erwin, who is a senior at Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix, took third place in the decathlon at the 2009 Youth Championships and this year won it all by scoring 5,768 points. He won the Young Men’s 110m hurdles (15.35), the pole vault (11’01.75″) and threw the javelin 169 feet , three inches.
Jamaal, a year behind his brother at Shadow Mountain, won the Intermediate Boys javelin with a throw of 163’02” and took first place in the 110m hurdles in a time of 16.41. His total of 5,222 points earned him a second-place finish, after leading on the first day. He finished just 27 points behind the winner, George Wayda from Pleasant Plains, Ill.
Meanwhile the Dyson sisters, three this time, waged an assault on a single event. All three finished in the top 10 of the Intermediate Girls javelin competition.
Renee Dyson, a sophomore at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, won the event with a throw of 117’11”. Her sister, Taylor, placed sixth with a heave of 96’02” and Lizabeth came in at eighth place with a throw of 94’01”.
Renee is a multi-event competitor. She won the 5,000m run at the Pinnacle Invitational last fall with a time of 22:26 and came in third in the 400m prelims at the 5A Desert Valley Regionals, posting a time of 1:03.69.
Other local participants at the national competition included Timothy Duckworth, a freshman at Arcadia High School; Christian Shaver from North Canyon High School; and Melissa Hernandez from Apache Junction High School.
Duckworth competed in the Young Boys Pentathlon, where he picked up 464 points in the high jump with a three-way tie for first place (5’03″0 and earned another 476 points for a third-place finish in the 1,500 meters (4:53). His total of 2,426 points was good enough for a second-place finish overall.
Shaver cleaned up in the field events, with a third in the discus, a fourth in the javelin, and a fifth in the shot put. Hernandez came in 21st in the Young Women 100m hurdles.
Some of these same athletes followed up with impressive performances at the Region X Jr. Olympic Championships in Pueblo, Colo.
Duckworth placed first in the Youth Boys pentathlon, posting personal records in the hurdles, long jump, and shot put. Jamaal Jones won the Intermediate Boys Decathlon won the Intermediate Boys Decathlon going away, winning by 817 points, and brother Erwin brought home a second-place in the Young Mens decathlon.