Two BYU freshman will compete at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships in Bloomington, Ind., this weekend, June 15 to 17. Shaquille Walker will compete in the 800 meters and Kevin Nielsen will compete in the decathlon.
The meet will include the nation’s best high school standouts and college freshmen and will be held at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University.
This weekend’s meet will serve as a qualifier for the IAAF World Junior Championships. Top performers will be part of the American team that will compete in Barcelona, Spain, from July 10 to July 15.
During the indoor season Walker was a member of the distance medley relay team that won the MPSF Championship and set the all-time BYU record with a time of 9:29.00. He also posted his best indoor 800 meter time of 1:49.41 at the UW Qualifier in March.
Outdoors, Walker earned second-team All-America honors as a member of BYU’s 4x400 meter relay team. He also advanced to the NCAA Division I West Preliminary in the 800 meters. Walker’s best outdoor 800 meter time of 1:49.84 came at the Rafer/JJK UCLA Invitational.
Nielsen posted decathlon scores of 6,588 at the Robison Invitational and 7,030 at the SDSU Aztec Track & Field Invitational. He is ranked No. 61 in the nation and No. 7 among all freshmen.
BYU athletes have acheived great success at the Junior Championships. In 2006, Chris Carter won the USA Junior Championships in the 400 meter hurdles and went on to win the World Junior Championships. That same year Amy Fowler took second at the USA meet and eighth at the World meet.
More recently, Chase Dalton and Curtis Carr competed in the USA and World junior meets in 2008 in the decathlon and 3,000 meter steeplechase, respectively. Dalton won the U.S. title with a score of 7,202 while Carr won the steeplechase in 8:55.64. At Worlds, Carr finished 10th (8:53.79) and Dalton took 11th (7,174).