CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Tar Heel sophomore Avana Story will compete in the hammer throw for Team USA at the 2013 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships in Medellin, Colombia, this Sunday.
The 2013 Pan American Junior Athletics Championship will showcase many of the top international junior athletes, August 23-25. Medellin is a modern progressive city that has hosted numerous athletic events in the last few years. The Pan Am Junior Athletics Championships are open to athletes age 16 to 19 as of December 31, 2013. The United States junior team brought home 72 medals from the 2011 Pan Am games.
Story made the junior national team after finishing second in the hammer throw at the 2013 USA Junior National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, in June. She threw 187-4 (57.11 meters) on her fourth attempt and is her longest while sporting the Tar Heel uniform.
Story qualified for the NCAA first round as a freshman and scored at the ACC Outdoor Championships. She was also named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll for the 2012-13 school year.
The women's hammer throw begins at 10:30 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, August 25th.
Story talked with GoHeels.com while traveling to Colombia this week about her summer competing and the start of her sophomore year at Carolina:
GoHeels: What was it like to compete at the USA Junior Championships?
Story: It was a great experience to be apart of, especially while competing with my former teammates and friends from back home. Any meet where you're surrounded by the best athletes in the country is going to be a memorable one, so I couldn't have asked for a better environment.
What went through your mind when you threw your lifetime best in the hammer and realized you were going to maker he junior national team?
My lifetime best in the hammer is actually two meters farther than what I threw at Junior Nationals, but once I realized that my third throw was a meter over the qualifying mark & further than almost all of the other competitors personal best I was very relieved. I was able to relax and just enjoy the rest of my time at my first and last junior national championship.
What are you looking forward to most about representing the USA at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships?
I'm really looking forward to competing against so many great hammer throwers and rocking my USA crop top for the first time.
Making a national team is an emphatic way to kick off your sophomore year at Carolina - what do you hope to get out of the experience?
Since this is my first international meet I hope the experience teaches me how to be a better competitor when having to throw under more strenuous conditions.
Not many people understand the year-long commitment track and field can be to young student-athletes - how do you manage the training, competition, and everything else it takes to be a stellar student on and off the field?
At times, it can be a little overwhelming, but I just keep my faith in God and remind myself that he has a plan for me. Regardless of whether I'm dealing with pressure of managing my academics, pushing through an intense Saturday morning workout, or competing in the biggest meet of my career in Colombia, I simply put my trust in God and continue to persevere through it all.