Florida's Fastest Ready To Rumble At Pan Am Junior Championships

The Sunshine State will be well represented at the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships in Trujillo, Peru. Eight athletes who currently run or ran their high school track in Florida, two who attend the University of Florida, and one who trains in Clermont. Keep it locked on FLRunners.com with the latest updates on all our athletes competing.

Team USA

Symone Mason

Mason pictured on the far left finished her senior year at Southridge High School with state titles in the 100, 200, and 400m dash. She was the Dream 100 champion, New Balance Nationals 100m champion. She earned her spot on Team USA after finishing first in the 200 at USA Juniors and runner-up in the 100 behind Candace Hill. The incoming University of Miami freshman also could run the 4x100m relay. Mason owns personal bests of 11.24, 23.00, and 52.42. She was 8th in the 400 at the World Youth Championships in 2015 in Colombia.

Tyrese Cooper

All Tyrese Cooper has done in his high school career is set records. Cooper won New Balance Nationals in both the 2 and the 4 and opted to run the quarter-mile against the pros at the USA Championships. He won the 200m at USA Juniors earning his first international team. According to Coach Darius Lawshea, Cooper who has bests of 20.46 and 40.53 could also run on the 4x400m relay.

Anthony Schwartz 

Schwartz ran 10.15 at the Florida Relays and was destined to do great things and chase that sub 10s barrier all season long. The American Heritage rising senior cruised through the season, but injury struck at the worse time at state. Instead of shutting it down he went to the drawing board and rehabbed his injured hamstring and came back to finish runner-up at the Dream 100, win New Balance Nationals in the 100, and finish runner-up in the 200 to Cooper. He was 4th at USA Juniors in the 100 placing him on the 4x1 relay.

Caitlin Collier

High school runners, college, pro, it doesn't matter who it is for Caitlin Collier. The Bolles rising senior has gone undefeated in every competition she's competed in including the Nike Festival of Miles and USA Juniors where she ran a pair of 2:03's. She contemplated not competing after a long season, but the opportunity to compete in her first international competition was just too much to pass up. She's as fearless as they come and as one heck of a kick.

Steven Cross 

It's hard to believe less than two years ago Steven Cross was ruling the distance landscape as a senior at Merritt Island High School. Now the FSU standout is a USA Junior Champion in the 10k and will be wearing the red,white, and blue in Peru before he heads back to Tallahassee for the cross country season.

Other Countries

While members of the Team USA Florida contingent are making their first international teams, Khalifa St. Fort (Trinidad & Tobago), Jamal Walton (Cayman Islands), and Damion Thomas (Jamaica) are representing their countries for yet another time and have more to prove with experience under their belts.

Khalifa St. Fort (Trinidad & Tobago)

St. Fort is the defending Pan Am Junior Champion in the 100m dash having run 11.31 to win in 2015. The Trinidad & Tobago was third at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships with a time of 11.18 and recently ran 11.06s making her the favorite in a speedy race and a viable threat to break the meet record of 11.22 set by Chalonda Goodman in 2009.

Jamal Walton (Cayman Islands)

Walton, a rising senior at Miramar High School is the defending Pan Am Junior Champion in the 400 meters. He will compete for the Cayman Islands and brings a personal best of 45.70 from the 4A Region 4 Championships. In a loaded field that includes Cooper, Zach Shinnik of California (US#1 45.20) and Christopher Taylor of Calabar, don't be surprised if sub 45s wins this one. He will also compete in the 200m dash as well. He ran 20.57 at that same 4A Region 4 Championship. Walton has been go go go the last couple weeks after competing at Brooks PR in the middle of June, then a trip to Switzerland where he competed for the Caymans, and most recently the AAU National Club Championships where he was a part of that all star MGX 4x400m relay. 

Damion Thomas (Jamaica)

Thomas' season ended last year after falling the finals at World Juniors. The incoming LSU freshman was first after the prelims and looked to be a sure fire bet to medal. That sour taste is still in his mouth as he represents Jamaica in Peru and also has his eyes set on the national record of 13.08 set by fellow countrymen Wayne Davis in 2009.

Florida Ties

Also competing for team USA are Florida Gators Brandee Johnson and Corey Pool in the 400m hurdles. Former Virginia high school star and current Adidas professional Josephus Lyles who trains at the National Training Center in Clermont will be competing in a loaded 400m dash.

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