2018 Tampere, Finland Diary: Piperi claims shot put American Junior Record of IAAF U20 Championships, Day one! Report by Josh Gurnick, USATF communications

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The first day got off to a strong start for Team USA with the silver medal in the shot put from Adam Piperi, who came back from a scary start, to take the silver medal. Here are a couple of his deep thoughts:

On keeping it together after a rough start in the final:

"I just had to stay calm today and I managed to do that which I'm proud of myself for. This sport is very mental and I just kept telling myself I got this, I can do this, I can throw farther and I did."

On breaking the American U20 record:

"It feels great. I didn't know I had that, so it makes me feel a little better about taking a loss but I did my best today and I can't complain about how I did because I come through and did what I needed to do. He [Kyle Blignaut] competed today, I competed today. We made this thing very exciting."

Piperi claims shot put American Junior record on Day 1 of IAAF U20 World Championships

TAMPERE, Finland -- Team USATF represented well on the first day of 2018 IAAF U20 World Championships at Tampere Stadium, locking in USA's first medal and 14 athletes qualify on to the next round.

Complete results for Day 1 found here: https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-u20-championships/iaaf-world-u20-championships-tampere-2018-6082/timetable/byday

Men's Shot Put
The top two junior throwers in the world went head-to-head in the first field event final of the Championships, and the matchup produced drama, an American junior record and the fifth and sixth farthest U20 throws all-time. After pre-meet favorite Kyle Blignaut of South Africa took the early lead at the end of round one with a 20.89m/68-6.5 toss, Adrian Piperi (Spring, Texas) steadily improved over the next two rounds to sit third at 21.01m/68-11.25 as the field was cut to eight competitors.

Nothing changed in the next round, but in the fifth, Piperi blasted the sixth best all-time throw, 22.06m/72-4.5, to break Jordan Geist's American junior record by four centimeters and move into gold medal position. Two throws later, Blignaut went one centimeter better, uncorking a 22.07m/72-5 throw that moved him to No. 5 on the all-time world junior list. Piperi's sixth-round 21.58m/70-9.75 was his second-best ever, but he couldn't overtake Blignaut and claimed silver for Team USATF's first medal of the meet.

Jordan West (Rahway, New Jersey) finished sixth with his opening effort of 19.86m/65-2, and had four straight fouls to close out the competition.

Women's 3000m Steeplechase
In only her second career outing in the steeplechase, Michigan's Alice Hill (Ann Arbor, Michigan) ran more than a 20 second personal best of 10:09.15 to finish sixth in the first heat and earn one of the time qualifier spots for the final. Kristlin Gear (Ft. Myers, Florida) of Furman clocked 10:09.08 on her way to qualifying for Friday's final, battling Australia's Brielle Erbacher for third place in heat two to earn the automatic qualifying spot.

Women's Javelin
Only one woman met the automatic qualifying standard of 53.50m/175-6, but Kansas high schooler Dana Baker (Olathe, Kansas) easily advanced with a throw of 51.09m/167-7 on her second attempt in the second flight. Maura Fiamoncini (Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania) of Bucknell ended up 14th overall with a best of 48.91m/160-5 in the first flight and did not advance.

Men's 1500m
One of the toughest fields of the championships saw one of two Americans advance to Thursday's final. Cooper Teare (Alameda, California), an NCAA finalist in the 5,000m for Oregon, had the fastest final lap in heat two with a 55.01 to grab the third automatic qualifying berth in 3:45.06. Notre Dame's Yared Nuguse (Louisville, Kentucky) was eighth in heat three in 3:49.68 to finish 16th overall and miss out on the final.

Women's 800m
Knowing that the top four in each heat would move on automatically to the semifinal, reigning World U20 champion Sammy Watson (College Station, Texas) of Texas A&M cruised to a 2:06.34 in the first heat to take third. Caitlin Collier (Jacksonville, Florida), owner of the fastest time in the field this year, won the fourth heat easily in 2:11.30 to join Watson in the semis.

Men's 100m
Both Americans automatically moved on to the semifinals, led by Ohio State's Eric Harrison (Waldorf, Maryland), who won heat four in 10.39. Anthony Schwartz (Miami, Florida), the world U20 leader this year with a 10.09 best, finished third in heat six in 10.40 to join Harrison in Wednesday's semis.

Decathlon
Kyle Garland (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) tallied 3,939 points across the first five events to move into fifth place on day one of competition. Garland stood out in the shot put with a second place toss of 15.11m/49-7 on his third attempt. In the high jump, Garland confidently scissored his first two heights and went on to clear 2.01m/6-7 for fourth place. He had strong showings across the board with a 100m time of 10.97, long jump of 6.40m/21-0, and 400m time of 50.59.

Women's 400m
Running the second-fastest time of the day overall, Florida's Taylor Manson (Gainesville, Florida) won the opening heat in 52.68 to assure her spot in Wednesday's semifinal. Symone Mason of Miami sprinted to the lead through 200m in heat five, but couldn't hold on and was fifth in 55.66 and did not advance.

Women's Discus
UCLA's Alyssa Wilson, competing in the first of her throws tripleheader, made quick work of the automatic qualifying in the second flight, throwing 53.32m/174-11 on her first attempt. In the first flight, Princeton's Obiageri Amaechi (San Francisco, California) fouled on her first two attempts before she threw 48.94m/160-7 on her third and final throw. Amaechi did not qualify for the final.

Women's Pole Vault
Virginia Tech's Rachel Baxter (Orange, California) and Julia Fixsen (Shoreview, Minnesota) both qualified for finals on day three. Baxter cleared 4.20m/13-9.3 with ease in group A and Fixsen later went on to vault 4.10m/13-5.4 in group B. The pole vault duo is seeded 10th and 11th moving into the final.

Men's 10,000m
Will Merritt (Smithsburg, Maryland) was in the top 20 through 1K of the final, but dropped back to 26th through 5K in 15:23.84. Merritt moved up one spot over the final kilometer to place 25th in 31:58.71.

Women's 5,000m
Emily Venters (Lawrence, Kansas) of Boise State stayed near the front of the pack through 2,000m in 6:21.39 and was still in contention at 3,000m in 9:35.76. Iowa State's Cailie Logue (Erie, Kansas) lurked in 10th, and the U.S. duo were 8-9 with 1K to go as the leaders started to pull away. Logue had the better finish, recording a PR 15:56.00 to claim eighth, with Venters three seconds back at 15:59.05 for ninth.

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