Pan-Am Juniors is coming this weekend!
Seven athletes that hail from Pennsylvania were selected to represent Team USA at the Pan-American U20 Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica this coming weekend. They each qualified by finishing inside the top two at the USATF U20 Championships last month in Florida. Pan-Ams brings together some of the best from North, Central, and South America along with the Caribbean.
Here's a look at the Pennsylvania high schoolers and alums entered in Pan-Ams, along with competition date and time (note that San Jose operates on Central Standard Time and is two hours behind Eastern Standard Time):
Skylar Ciccolini - Javelin Throw
Event Time - Sunday, July 21 at 9:25 p.m. EST
Ciccolini, a Mifflin County graduate and University of Missouri signee, was second at USA U20s with a toss of 158-00. It wasn't her best throw, so expect Ciccolini, who is US No. 2 all-time in the javelin, to be motivated for a big effort at Pan-Ams. She's also no stranger to international competition, something that can't go overlooked. Last fall at the Youth Olympics, Ciccolini broke the national high school record with the 500-gram javelin at 180-08. She'll be using the standard 600-gram javelin this weekend, but we will look for Ciccolini to close out her high school career on a high note.
Ciccolini will face competition from the top seed, Yuleisy Anahi Angulo Bonilla from Ecuador, who has thrown over 190 feet this season, among a few others.
Thelma Davies - 100 Meters & 4x100m Relay
Event Times - Friday, July 19 at 11:30 a.m. EST (100m semi) & Saturday, July 20 at 6:00 p.m EST (4x100m semi)
Davies has had a busy and successful summer that has seen her really turn on the jets. The NBNO 200 meter champ went on to run a PR and state record of 11.25 in the 100 meters to take second at USATF U20s. She also took third at the Pre Classic at Stanford. Davies, who graduated from Girard College and is headed to LSU in the fall, is fit and should be a major factor for a very high finish in Costa Rica in the 100, the event she chose to focus on for Pan-Ams. Her top competition will come from Jamaican Briana Williams, who broke the national high school record earlier this season and Ole Miss freshman Brandee Presley.
Davies is also part of a loaded Team USA 4x100-meter relay, which will likely be the strong favorites to earn gold.
Treyvon Ferguson - Triple Jump
Event Time - Sunday, July 21 at 9:10 p.m. EST
Ferguson (Milton Hershey '18) has been on a roll this season as a freshman at the University of Kansas, coming into his potential. The Jayhawk jumper leapt 53-1 at the NCAA Championships, a PR of about a foot and a half. He followed that up with a jump of 52-11 at UA U20s, not far off that big personal best. So he has a lot of momentum as he heads to Costa Rica and Ferguson could be looking at popping another big jump.
Ariana Gardizy - 3,000 Meters
Event Time - Friday, July 19 at 8:45 p.m. EST
The North Penn ('18) graduate who just finished up her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania, was second to Marlee Starliper in the 3K at USA U20s. Gardizy clocked a nice 9:41.15 in the Florida heat last month to book her trip to Costa Rica. Gradizy, Starliper and a Canadian runner are the only girls with seeds under 10 minutes, so Gardizy will have a great shot at a medal.
Zach Gehm - Discus Throw
Event Time - Friday, July 19 at 8:20 p.m. EST
Gehm, who just finished up his freshman season at Youngstown State University, captured the win in the discus at USA U20s by tossing a massive PR of 197-10 (60.31 meters). That throw launched him into a pretty elite status and makes him a contender in Costa Rica. He's one of three men in the field with seed performances over 60 meters, so Gehm should expect to be in the conversation for a medal on Friday.
Marc Minichello - Javelin Throw
Event Time - Saturday, July 20 at 8:40 p.m. EST
The Wyoming Area graduate and University of Pennsylvania thrower unleashed a big throw of 253-1 (77.15 meters), a big PR that won him the USA U20 title. The 2018 PIAA Class AAA will be looking to ride this momentum into the weekend, where he should expect to be a major factor. Minichello will be one of the favorites for the title along with his USA teammate Tzuriel Pedigo and Trinidad and Tobago's Tyriq Horsford
Marlee Starliper - 3,000 Meters
Event Time - Friday, July 19 at 8:45 p.m. EST
The rising senior at Northern will look to cap off her terrific outdoor track season with one last big race. Expect Starliper to compete for the win here. The top seed is Brogan MacDougall of Canada, who ran a 9:08 this season for 3K. It should be a battle up front between Starliper and MacDougall, along with Gardizy.
Starliper went 9:29.39 to win the USA U20 title last month in some intense Florida heat and humidity. That is a Pennsylvania state record. She'll look to improve on that and move up on the all-time national list.
READ MORE: One Last Race For Marlee Starliper's Electric Junior Season (By Cory Mull)