Craig Places 18th, Whitaker Advances At World U20 Meet

Bryanna Craig placed 18th in the women's heptathlon and Floyd Whitaker came up with a clutch performance to advance in the men's triple jump at the World Under 20 Championships at Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium in Cali, Colombia.  

Craig, who starred at Millville High in NJ for two years and recently graduated from Ruston High in Louisiana, scored 5,192 points in the two-day competition to finish 18th in the field of 24. Craig, who was third at the USATF Under-20 Championships, finished just 20 points behind JaiCieonna Gero-Holt of Emerald Ridge High School in Washington, who was second at the USATF Championships.

The Purdue-bound Craig, who was named Louisiana's Girls Athlete of the Year by Gatorade, had marks of 14.65 in the 100 hurdles, 5-6 in the high jump, 30-1.50 in the shot put, 25.72 in the 200, 18-2 in the long jump, 118-5 in the javelin, and she ran 2:20.41 to place third in the 800.

Craig, the Nike National pentathlon champion this past indoor season, qualified for the U.S. U20 Team after putting together a sensational meet at the USATF U20 National Championships in June at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. At the  Craig recorded PR's in four of the seven events, the shot put (34-7), the 200 (25.11), the javelin (118-0), and the 800 (2:19.42). In the three other events, she ran 14.55 in the 100 hurdles, cleared 5-7-75 in the high jump, and soared 18-6.25 in long jump to finish third with 5,388 points

Since just the top two finishers in each event make the U.S. national team, it looked like Craig had come up just agonizingly short of making the team. But she was elevated from first alternate to a member of the US National Team because Blakelee Winn of Pittsburg State University in Kansas, who won with 5,473 points, couldn't compete at the World Championships because she didn't t have a passport prepared.

Whitaker, a 2021 graduate of NJ's Highland Regional who just finished his freshman year at the University of Minnesota, soared 50-11.75 on his final attempt in Thursday's qualifying round. Whitaker, seeded 14th, had the 10th best mark of the 13 athletes who advanced to the final on Friday at 5:55 p.m.    

Whitaker's 50-11.75 is his best legal jump ever outdoors, and is less than six inches from his all-time PR of 51-5.25 that he achieved this past indoor season.
During his days at Highland, Whitaker established himself as one of the best horizontal jumpers in NJ high school history by winning four Meet of Champions titles, and a capturing a national title. 

In June of 2021, Whitaker soared 49-11.75 on his second attempt to edge Solomon Washington of Texas (49-9.75) to win the Outdoor National title in the triple jump. He also won the TJ at the 2019 Outdoor Meet of Champions with a meet record 50-2.50, and repeated as champion as a senior in 2021. Whitaker also won the TJ and LJ at the 2020 Indoor M of C.