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Track and field: Low takes sixth in junior 800

Canyon graduate and COC freshman named USA Track and Field Junior All-American

Posted: June 26, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 26, 2011 1:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons freshman Chris Low began his track and field career in the spring of 2010, after a hand injury to put a halt to his senior baseball season at Canyon High School.

A year later, he was competing with some of the best athletes in the country.

The 2010 Canyon graduate finished sixth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1 minute, 51.58 seconds at the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Valencia High grad Jasmine Hall placed eighth in the junior heptathlon with a score of 4,795. Hall's events were held on Thursday and Friday. Allison Reaser took first with 5,359 points out of San Diego State University.

By finishing in the top six of the 800, Low also earned 2011 USA Track and Field Junior All-American honors.

"It's unbelievable," he said after Saturday's race. "To be running at Hayward Field in Oregon is just crazy in itself. I was really excited to come out for the finals. I got to see all my favorite athletes run right before. It was pretty cool to be on the same track they were on."

Low won his heat on Friday in 1:52.22 to secure his spot in the finals.

The result marked the second time a COC athlete competed at the junior nationals. Justin Skinner took 13th in the decathlon in 2007. Others have qualified, but chosen not to compete, said Cougars head coach Lindie Kane.

Immanuel Hutchinson, who won the 800 at the CIF state championships on June 4 as a senior at San Jacinto High School, jumped ahead of the pack with 200 meters left in the race. Hutchinson cruised across the finish line in 1:48.56.

"Going into the finals, I just wanted to try my best," Low said. "I got kicked in the calf at the end of the first lap, and my calf kind of tightened up a little bit."

Low took first in the 800 on May 21 at the California Community College Athletic Association Track and Field State Championships at American River College in Sacramento with a time of 1:52.11. It was the fourth state title in COC track and field history.

"I kind of feel like I'm new to the sport," Low said. "Hopefully, if I train hard and do what I've been doing, I can go somewhere in the future."

Hours before Low took to the track, former Olympians, including Santa Clarita Valley resident and 2008 Olympic gold- and silver-medalist Allyson Felix, competed at the senior level.

Felix won the 400 in 50.40 seconds.




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