DES MOINES, IOWA – Jake Poyner proved he belonged among the nation’s best runners Friday.
The former Warsaw star turned in an impressive performance in the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake University.
Poyner, competing against some of the top 19-under runners in the country, used a fantastic finish to place fourth in the first of two qualifying races of the 1,500.
Poyner, who had run this race just one time before, earns a spot in the finals on Saturday.
Poyner competed in heat one Friday with a field of 16 runners. He hit the finish line in a time of 3:51.75. His previous time in a 1,500 ran last year was 3:55 and his seed time for Friday’s qualifying race was 4:09.36. Poyner was 16th at the 300 split in his race at 49.71 before moving up to ninth at the 700 split in 1:52.43 and then seventh at the 1,100 split in 2:53.36. He finished with a flourish, clocking a 58.39 over the final 400 meters to move up to a fourth place finish.
Justin Brinkley of Stanford University was first in a time of 3:49.90. Sean McGarty was second in 3:51.16 with Darren Fahy of Georgetown University third in 3:51.54 and Poyner fourth.
Poyner, who is headed to Wake Forest, led the Warsaw track team to a fifth place finish in the State Finals on May 31. He placed third in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200. Poyner then won the 3,200 as a member of the Indiana All-Star team at the Midwest Meet of Champions June 15 in Fort Wayne.
Poyner is scheduled to compete in the finals of the 1,500 Saturday starting at 3:14 p.m. (EST).
The USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships concludes Sunday.