Junior AJ Green completed a busy schedule of competitions this weekend with a 4th place finish at the USA U20 Track & Field championships in Miramar, FL. Green was racing against both collegiate and high school athletes for a place at the U20 Pan American games. On Saturday he ran his preliminary heat of the 800m. As the top two finishers in each heat would qualify for finals Green chose to run a tactical race, running off the leader’s outside shoulder for the majority of the competition to keep anyone from passing him. As the runners came through the 600m mark the leader started to put on a move that AJ was able to match, however, the field quickly recovered from the jolt in pace and closed back in on the pair. With 100m left in the race there was a pack of 4 runners vying for the top two spots. Due to AJ’s smart positioning he was able to stay one step ahead of the chase pack, and even outlean the leader to win his heat and qualify for the finals with the fastest prelim time.
In the finals AJ started the race with a similar strategy to the prelims where he ran on the outside shoulder of the leader. However, as the field came through 300m Green took over the lead and tried to outlast the field. He pushed pace for the entire second lap, maintaining his lead until there was just under 100m to go. Unfortunately, the busy schedule of racing and traveling prevented him from being able to close the final 100m as quickly as the other competitors and he finished in 4th place. Still a terrific accomplishment for the 16 year-old.
Green’s season saw him set multiple records (school, conference, & section), win multiple conference & section titles, defend his state 800m crown en route to receiving multiple All-State honors, running the fastest high school only 800m in the nation, being crowned the high school national champion at the event, and finishing 4th at the U20 track & field championships at the age of 16. The final cherry on his season was having all of these accomplishments recognized nationally as he was named the Gatorade Boys Track Athlete of the Year for the state of Minnesota. You can read more about this honor here: https://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com/winner/state.
Congratulations on a historic season!