Frankie Irizarry of Wilmington qualified for the 2012 USA Track and Field (USATF) Junior Olympics in the 80 Meter High Hurdles.
Irizarry, competing in the sweltering heat this past weekend in Uniondale, New York, ran a personal best of 15.24 seconds in the event finals to secure his spot in the upcoming Junior Olympics. The event will be contested in Baltimore, Maryland, July 23-29 at Morgan State University.
This is Irizarry’s third time qualifying for the event and his second straight year that he qualified in the hurdles.
Irizarry competes in Region 1 which is comprised of New York City, Long Island, Adirondack, New England, Connecticut, and Maine. In all, seven states comprise the region, one of 16 regions nationally. The top five competitors from each association qualified for the regional championship which made it a very competitive event. Irizarry had to make it through an initial preliminary round with multiple heats before the top nine competitors took to the track to compete for the five junior Olympic spots.
In his opening heat, Irizarry ran a 16.3, good for third in the heat and a trip to the finals. It wasn’t his best time of the season but competing in almost 100 degree temperatures, Irizarry wanted to save something for the finals. In the finals of the event, Irizarry lined up with the eight best 11-12 year old hurdlers in the northeast and he ran the race of his life clocking in at 15.24 seconds, shaving more than a half second off his best time of 15.81, the time he ran to win the New England championship two weeks ago.
He finished fourth in the race trailing only the defending national indoor champion and national indoor runner-up as well as the Connecticut state champion. Additionally, only Irizarry and defending national indoor champion Aron Cruickshank ran better times in the finals than they did in the preliminary heats.
The 2012 USATF Junior Olympics will be held from July 25 through July 31 in Baltimore, Maryland on the campus of Morgan State University. This will be the second time that the Junior Olympics have been held in Charm City. Irizarry’s opening heat in the 80 Meter Hurdles is scheduled to be run on July 25th and if he makes it to the finals, they will be contested on July 29th.
According to the National Elite Youth Ranking System for youth track and field, there are 683 Midget age (11-12) boys who have competed this season in the 80 Meter High Hurdles. The top 136 made it through the association level to qualify to run in one of 16 regional championships. Irizarry is ranked 67th nationally out of that group, ranking him in the top 10% of all midget age hurdlers nationally. Additionally, Irizarry is the top rated hurdler in his age group in the New England region.