North Carolina sends 1 current high school athlete and 4 alumni to compete at the Pan American Junior Championships in Peru representing 3 different countries. Dylan Peebles (Wakefield, NC State), Gabriele Cunningham (Mallard Creek, NC State) and Cravont Charleston (Mallard Creek, NC State) will all represent Team USA. Chantz Sawyers (Platinum Sports) qualified for Team Jamaica while Daniel Estrada (Northwest Guilford, Platinum Sports) will represent Puerto Rico.
After a strong freshman year at NC State following an injury plagued senior season at Wakefield, Peebles took 2nd place at USATF Junior Nationals in the 200m Dash edging teammate Cravont Charleston to earn his spot on Team USA. We luckily were able to catch up with Peebles at the USATF Region 3 Qualifiers as he talks about his excitement for Pam Am's and talks about his freshman year at NC State.
Gabrielle Cunningham took second place in the 200 after Junior Nationals securing her spot on Team USA. Cunningham has been a great sprinter and hurdler for NC State the last two years. Cunningham ran 11.26 in the 100m Dash Prelims at the national meet, but failed to make the team in that event after taking 6th in the finals. Cunningham was able to double back to take 2nd in the 200 with a time of 23.26.
Cravont Charleston will cap off a very impressive freshman year at NC State as he went from being the NCHSAA 4A 100m State Champion to ACC Champion in the 100 & 200 after just one year. Charleston took 3rd in both the 100 and 200 at USATF Junior Nationals. This puts him in the 4x100 relay pool which will run both a prelim and a final round in Peru.
Chantz Sawyers qualified for Team Jamaica PUMA/JAAA National Junior/Senior Trials where he broke his own 400m state record running 46.31 and also took 3rd place in the 100m dash running a PR of 10.55. Sawyers said he will definitely run the open 400 and 4x400 and possibly the 4x100 as well. Sawyers will be on the biggest stage of his career so far and I think has a very strong chance to break 46 seconds on the big stage.
Daniel Estrada was invited to be on Puerto Rico's Junior team for the second year in a row. They don't have a junior national championship or qualifying meet, but based on his performances this season he will race the 100m Dash and 200m Dash at Pan Am Juniors.
Be sure to follow us on snapchat (@NCRunners) to follow these athletes trip to Peru. We'll be handing off the account to Dylan Peebles who will give you a glimpse of what it's like to attend a meet like this and represent Team USA. You can find the full Team USA roster heading to Peru here. We'll keep you updated with these athletes results through our Twitter (@NCRunners)