Neeley Clears Barriers for Columbia

Bethany Neeley (Greentown, Ind.) ran the 3rd fastest time ever by a high schooler in the 3000m steeplechase to take second place at the USA Junior Track & Field Championships on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa. Des Moines is hosting both the Junior (ages 19 & under) and the Open (elite/professional) championships this week.

Neeley in only her second steeplechase ever, and first at the 3000m distance, ran 10:19.83 to finish 4 seconds behind defending champion Brianna Nerud, a freshmen at Syracuse University.  By finishing in the top 2 places, Neeley earned a spot on the U.S. national junior team that will compete at the Pam Am Junior Championships in Medillin, Columbia August 23-25.  "I feel extremely blessed to know I'll be representing team USA later in the summer. As of right now, I'm just trying to let everything sink in and really enjoy this unforgettable experience," offered Neeley.

Just missing a spot on the national team in the 800m was Bethany's twin sister, Brittany Neeley. Brittany ran 2:06.68 to finish just .18 seconds out of 2nd place. Her time did break her own Indiana high school state record of 2:07.91 that she ran to win the Indiana state championships earlier in the month. Both Neeley sisters will run for Indiana University next year.

Jake Poyner (Winnona Lake, Ind.) and Laura Bess (Brownsburg, Ind.) both qualifed for the junior 1500m finals. Poyner ran ran 3:51.75 to finish 4th in his semi-final heat and Bess ran 4:37.11 to finish 3rd her her heat. The finals for both are on Saturday (see times below). Other junior athletes who competed on Friday in qualifying rounds but did not advance to the finals were Alex Hess (Fort Wayne) in the 1500m, Hannah Acton (Bloomington, Ind.) in the Pole Vault, and Kimyanne Rudolph (Indianapolis, Ind.) in the Pole Vault.

In the Open championships the only athlete who competed in a final on Friday was Mark Hollis (Mishawaka, Ind.) who finished 9th in the Pole Vault with a height of 17-6.5.

Athletes advancing to the finals were De'Sean Turner (Bloomington, Ind.) and Andrew Poore (Bloomington, Ind.) in the 3000m Steeplechase. Turner ran 8:46.62 and Poore ran 8:49.84 to finish 5th and 6th in their semi-final heat. The 3000m steeplechase final is on Sunday.

Indiana athletes not advancing to the finals were Michael Jordan (Indianapolis, Ind.) in the 3000m Steeplechase and Kind Butler III (Indianapolis, Ind.) in the 100m.

Below are the Indiana athletes scheduled to compete on Saturday in Des Moines (note: times are Central Time).






Time (central time)

Felisha Johnson

Indianapolis, Ind.

Indiana State Univ.

Shot Put

1:00 PM

Elizabeth Evans

Bicknell, Ind.


High Jump

2:45 PM

Laura Bess

Brownsburg, Ind.


1500m (Junior)

2:02 PM

Jake Poyner

Winona Lake, Ind.


1500m (Junior)

2:14 PM

Kind Butler III

Indianapolis, Ind.

Indiana University


3:40 PM

Stephanie Garcia

Bloomington, Ind.

New Balance

3,000m SC

4:20 PM

Morgan Uceny

Plymouth, Ind.



4:46 PM


The meet is being webcast via the new USATF.TV outlet and broadcast on Universal Sports and the NBC Sports Network today and tomorrow. For a complete broadcast schedule click here. Live results are available on the USATF website.