BATON ROUGE - Four members of the LSU Track & Field program have made the trip to Barcelona, Spain, for the world's premier junior competition as the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships is set to begin Tuesday and run through Sunday at Barcelona's historic Olympic Stadium.
Freshmen Rodney Brown, Quincy Downing and Aaron Ernest will represent the United States throughout the competition after earning their spot on Team USA at the USA Junior Track & Field Championships in June. Fellow freshman Andreas Duplantis will also be competing for Sweden this week.
Brown is a gold-medal contender in the men's discus throw after smashing the USA Junior Championship meet record with a throw of 206 feet, 9 inches on June 17. Brown enters the competition as the world's No. 2-ranked junior performer with the 1.75 kg discus as he trails only the world-leading mark of 210-8 in 2012 posted by gold-medal favorite Wojciech Praczyk of Poland.
Brown will compete in men's discus qualifying on Tuesday at 11:10 a.m. CDT, while the discus final will be held at on Thursday afternoon beginning at 12:55 p.m.
Ernest is a strong medal contender in three events this week as a leader of Team USA. He enters the event as the world's No. 2-ranked junior with a seasonal best of 10.17 seconds in the 100-meter dash and the world's No. 4-ranked junior with a seasonal best of 20.54 in the 200-meter dash. He will also lead the best 4x100-meter relay team in the world as the United States is a gold-medal favorite.
Ernest proved himself as one of the top freshmen in the NCAA while earning three All-America honors in his rookie season in 2012. He scored 7.5 points for the Tigers at the NCAA Outdoor Championship with a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter dash, an eighth-place finish in the 100-meter dash and running second leg for LSU's national champion 4x100-meter relay this season.
Ernest will run the first round of the 100 meters on Tuesday at 5:35 a.m. CT, followed by the semifinal on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. and the championship final at 2:45 p.m.
The first and semifinal rounds of the 200 meters will run Thursday with the preliminary heats at 2:55 a.m. CDT and the semifinal races following at noon. Ernest will also run in the semifinals of the 4x100 relay at 12:05 p.m. CDT on Friday, followed by the relay final on Saturday at 2:50 p.m.
Downing will also look to bring home a gold medal for the United States as a member of the 4x400-meter relay. The 2012 NCAA 400-meter semifinalist will run in relay qualifying on Saturday at 12:35 p.m. CDT before wrapping up this year's IAAF World Junior Championships in Sunday's final at 1:10 p.m.
Duplantis ranks among the Top 10 junior pole vaulters worldwide for the 2012 season as his personal best of 17 feet, 5 ½ inches ranks No. 10 on the world junior list entering the meet. This is the second time that Duplantis will represent Sweden in a major international competition following his appearance in the pole vault at the 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships held in Sudtirol, Italy.
Duplantis will kick off the festivities in Barcelona for the Tigers as pole vault qualifying is slated to begin Tuesday at 3:50 a.m. CDT, followed by the event final on Thursday at 11:45 a.m.
Time Schedule for LSU's Entries at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships
Note: Times are Central and subject to change based on round-by-round qualifying.
Thursday, July 12
2:55 a.m. - Men's 200 Meters First Round (Aaron Ernest)
11:45 a.m. - Men's Pole Vault Final (Andreas Duplantis)
12:00 p.m. - Men's 200 Meters Semifinal (Aaron Ernest)
12:55 p.m. - Men's Discus Throw Final (Rodney Brown)
Saturday, July 14
12:35 p.m. - Men's 4x400 Relay Semifinal (Quincy Downing)
2:50 p.m. - Men's 4x100 Relay Final (Aaron Ernest)
Sunday, July 15
1:10 p.m. - Men's 4x400 Relay Final (Quincy Downing)