July 9, 2012
• IAAF World Junior Championships
MADISON, Wis. -- For a few days at least, the world is Austin Mudd's stage.
After an extremely successful debut season for the Badgers, the Wisconsin freshman is set to wrap up his first collegiate campaign by competing for the United States this week at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
Mudd will wear the Red, White and Blue as one of two Americans competing in the men's 1500 meters, with the preliminary round of competition set for 3:05 a.m. (CT) on Tuesday.
With a personal-best time of 3 minutes, 40.87 seconds, Mudd enters the competition ranked No. 8 among the 35 athletes schedule to race in the opening round. He holds the third-fastest seed time in his heat, but trails the No. 2 seed by just one hundredth of a second.
The top three finishers in each of the three preliminary heats, as well as the next three fastest overall times, will advance to the 12-man final set for 2:30 p.m. (CT) on Thursday.
The top seed in Mudd's heat is also the fastest man in the field, Hamza Driouch of Qatar. He holds a personal-best time of 3:33.69 that ranks No. 16 in the world this year. Driouch also has a world-class effort of 3:50.90 in the mile under his belt from last month's Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway, where he finished eighth in the Diamond League event.
Mudd ran his personal-best time to win his heat of the 1500 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in April. He then recorded a time of 1:47.59 -- which ranks No. 3 in UW history -- to finish 11th at the NCAA championships and earn second-team All-America honors in June. Mudd followed that performance a week later by claiming his second-consecutive U.S. junior title to secure his spot on the world junior team.
Now, Mudd looks to become the Americans' first-ever medalist in the 1500 meters. The U.S. has twice placed an athlete fifth in the event -- Jason Pyrah in 1988 and Gabe Jennings in 1998 -- but has never cracked the top three.
Mudd is the fifth athlete from the Wisconsin men's program to compete at an IAAF world junior championships and gives the Badgers a representative for the third-consecutive event. Former Badger Evan Jager claimed an eighth-place finish in the 1500 in 2008, while current UW junior Mohammed Ahmed was fourth in the 10,000 meters during his freshman season.
Both Ahmed and Jager will compete in this summer's Olympic Games in London.
Demi Omole is the only UW athlete to medal at a world junior meet, scoring silver in the 100 meters and contributing to the U.S.'s gold-medal effort in the 4x100 relay in 2004. That relay effort of 38.66 seconds still stands as the American junior record.
The IAAF world junior championships features the top athletes from around the world under the age of 20. A total of 180 nations will be represented in Barcelona, with competition running Tuesday through Sunday.
|Wisconsin at the IAAF World Junior Championships
|2004 - Grosseto, Italy
|2008 - Bydgoszcz, Poland
|2010 - Moncton, Canada
|2012 - Barcelona, Spain
|*American junior record