June 22, 2006
SAN DIEGO - San Diego State's Shana Watson (Oakland, Calif.) captured a silver medal in the long jump Thursday at the USA Track and Field Junior Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. With her performance, Watson qualified for the 2006 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championships, scheduled for Aug. 15-20 in Beijing, China.
"We're very proud of Shana's effort," said SDSU assistant coach Jennifer Nanista. "She has been training very hard for this event since the (NCAA) regional meet, and she definitely rose to the occasion today."
On her final attempt of the afternoon, Watson leaped 21 feet, 0 inches to tie first-place finisher Natasha Harvey of Jacksonville University. However, Harvey was awarded the gold medal because she outdistanced Watson in her second-best jump, 20-8.50 to 19-9. Still, the Aztec freshman established a new personal best and secured a berth in the world junior championships later this summer.
Meanwhile, fellow classmate Leanne Taylor (Porterville, Calif.) also competed on Thursday, finishing eighth in the junior division of the shot put with a toss of 46-6.75. Taylor is slated to appear in the discus on Friday as well.
The USA Junior Championships and its companion event, the USA Outdoor Championships, are being held June 21-25 at the IU Michael A. Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. The outdoor championships will feature SDSU indoor All-American Erin Asay (San Diego, Calif.), who is scheduled to compete in the pole vault on Sunday. Former Aztecs Melinda Smedley (100, 200) and Tonette Dyer (200) are also expected to race this weekend.