Sept. 19, 2012
By Margot Gahan
Competing in the World Junior's Track and Field Championship is an accomplishment for any school or athlete, so when UConn had two members from their team competing it was something special.
UConn sophomore Lindsay Crevoiserat and freshmman Julia Zrinyi both competed this past July in Barcelona taking part in long distance events. Crevoiserat competed for the United States, while Zrinyi competed for her native Canada.
The IAAF, International Association of Athletics Federation, World Junior Championships are held every other year. Athletes who are up to the age of 19 and freshman in college are eligible to compete.
UConn Cross Country and long distance Track and Field coach Andrea Grove-McDonough traveled to Barcelona to coach Crevoiserat and support Zrinyi, who was a high school senior at the time of the competition and had already committed to UConn.
While both the United States and Canada send the top athletes to the World Junior's, each has a different qualifying process. The United States has trials similar to the Olympic qualifying trials held before the games. The athletes with the top two times in the trials are sent to the World Junior's.
Canada sends the top two athletes with the fastest time overall. "This means the fastest times at any official meet," explains Grove-McDonough.
Zrinyi traveled to the United States to compete in official meets in order to qualify. She had the fastest time in the 800 and was named to the Canadian team. "Julia had that international experience before which helped her out," said Grove-McDonough.
Crevoiserat considered competing in two events at the qualifying event in Indiana. She had deliberated running the 3,000 and the 5,000, if she qualified for the 3,000 finals, she would not run the 5,000. In the end it was decided she would only run the 5,000 in anticipation of other athletes having the same plan. This worked out well for her as she advanced to the World Junior's.
"These athletes must have the World Junior standard and she knew she had it," said Grove-McDonough of Crevosierat.
Zrinyi made it to the semi-finals of the World Junior's while Crevoiserat placed 9th. "The girls were competing with Olympic level athletes, some of whom would be moving on to London in the coming weeks to compete for their country" said Grove-McDonough.
"Lindsay had not had that international experience before and I think that made her more determined and more excited about the sport," commented Grove - McDonough.
"For both girls, it is now less nerve racking to compete in an NCAA meet when they were competing against Olympic level athletes at World Junior's", said Grove-McDonough.
Both Crevoiserat and Zrinyi have adjusted well to the UConn Cross Country team. Grove-McDonough describes both girls as very coachable and trusting of the program.
"The last time we had an athlete from UConn compete in World Junior's was about five years ago, Trisha-Ann Hawthorne competed for Jamaica. We are not sure what will come in the future," said Grove-McDonough. Hopefully that will include sending more UConn athletes to one of the top track competitions in the world.