2011 World Youth Championships: Amy Weissenbach, by Larry Eder

Amy Weissenbach:Wilson Kipketer.JPG
Amy Weissenbach, Wilson Kipketer, photo by PhotoRun.net

The opening press conference on Tuesday, July 5 featured Amy Weissenbach, the phenom from California who ran 2:02.40 to win the CIF his year! I was fortunate enough to take the bus with USATF communications associate Katie Landry and Amy Weissenbach, on her way to her first press conference.

Amy told me that she had injury problems this season and just started racing around mid April. She started out with 400 meters, running a lot of 4 x 400 meter relays. Running for Harvard Westlake, Amy trains with Cami Chapus, the adidas Golden Spikes Mile champion. " I do my distance work with Cami, and then we do some of our fast work with the sprinters!"

Amy really seems to enjoy what she does. One can tell that she was a bit nervous as she raced this spring, noting that her injuries kept her short on mileage. "That is why we focused on the 800 meters this year, I just did not know how I would do over the mile."

The late season has been a blessing for Amy. She won her state meet, and also won her race in the NTN last weekend, in Eugene, Oregon at the famed Hayward Field.

Amy Weissenbach winning the 800 meters at the Nike Team Nationals, photo by PhotoRun.net

She also ran a 1,200 meters in the DMR, where her school (Harvard WestLake) broke the National record for the DMR at the New Balance Outdoors, about two weeks ago.

In the picture we have above, former world record holder, World Champion Wilson Kipketer was astounded at the times of the young athletes at the press conference. Wilson told them to "have fun, use this championships as a learning experience and to stay in touch with their new friends."
1. Tell us about the race at the New Balance Outdoor, where Ajay Wilson won over you in a tactical 800 meters?

Amy: It was  a very tactical race. I think it was hot, we were focused on qualifying. We went out in 67. When Ajae took off, I just followed her, with 300 meters to go! We ran a 62 last lap. We can run much faster.

2. How fast can you go? Running 2:02.05 is amazing!

2. Amy: " I do not know how much faster I can go, it has all happened so fast...I think we can run faster (her and Ajay). "

3. You told me earlier today that you ran alot of 4 x 400 meter relays early in the season. You also ran 800 meters and 1,600 meters. Do you have a favorite race distance?

Amy: " I think, I love the 800 meters, I do like the relays, but the 800 meters is my favorite distance. The most fun I ever have is the relays. I love the team aspect of it, the shared excess. "

4. You ran the 1,200 meters (in 3:24) in the distance medley at the NBO. Tell us about that?

Amy: " I liked running the relay. It is a little strange. I do not run it that oftern. I found the 1,200 meters strange. I ran it like an 800 meters and just hold on (laughing), and kick as long as I can. 

Just how good is Amy Weissenbach? Well, her 2:02.05 makes her faster than the late Ruth Gallagher, Mary Slaney, Suzi Hamilton, all of our past high school greats. In the Worlds, depending on her strength, Amy has a strong shot, if not just to medal, but to be in the fight for the gold medal.

The folks at Gatorade think she is pretty good too, as they gave her the Gatorade Track Athlete of Year for 2011 last weekend in Eugene, Oregon. That is also some pretty rarefied company. 

And remember, she is only a junior in high school!

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