The Youth Athlete of the Year award was established in 2001 to recognize the outstanding performance by an athlete under the age of 19 during the previous twelve months.
2011 Aje? Wilson
The highlight of Wilson?s year came in winning the girl?s 800 meters at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France. Wilson unleashed her kick with 200m remaining and separated herself from the field to win in 2:02.64. Wilson?s victory marked the first time Team USA medaled in the event at the Youth Championships.
Wilson?s championship win not only netted her a new personal best, but also rewrote the New Jersey scholastic record books. Wilson bettered Hall of Famer Joetta Clark?s previous record of 2:03.67 in both the semi-finals and finals.
After winning both the 800m (2:09.73) and 1600m (4:54.31) at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Group Championships in her school?s division, Wilson missed out on the New Jersey Meet of Champions and other post-season meets due to a sprained ankle.
But the time off did nothing to hamper Wilson?s season as she came back to win the World Youth Track & Field Trials in 2:09.39 to punch her ticket to the France.
2010 Trevor Barron
Five American junior records in one year helped to make the 18 year-old the new face of race walking in the United States. Barron's re-writing of the record books began on February 7 in Surprise, Ariz., when he won the men's 20 km Open and USATF 20 km Western Regional Race Walk Championship in 1:31:51. Barron then set a U.S. Junior men's 10 km road record on April 11 when he crossed the finish line first in 43:05 at the 2010 IAAF World Race Walk Cup Trials in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. On June 13, Barron walked a U.S. Junior Record with his winning time of 20:06 at the San Diego 5,000m race walk competition at Cuyamaca College. The following month he smashed his own American Junior record (AJR) in the 10,000m race walk, stopping the clock at 41:50.29 to place seventh at the 13th IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada, the best finish ever by an American at World Juniors. Saving the best result for last, Barron posted an eye-popping performance at the Nordic 20 km Championships in Finland, covering 20 km in a blistering 1:23:49.39, which is the fastest time by any American since 2007. His performance was the second-fastest in the world for the year and bettered the U.S. Junior record by 18:31. His time was just nine seconds off the American record and 10 seconds under the Olympic qualifying standard.
2009 Bryce Love
Love posted a phenomenal 2009 Track & Field season which culminated at the 2009 USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships. Love set national record breaking times of 11.64 in the 100m, 23.37 in the 200m and 50.75 in the 400m dash. It was the first time a midget boy has set three national records in one year.
2008 Jordan Hasay
As the youngest competitor in the women's 1,500m at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field, Hasay broke the national high school record by running 4 minutes 14.50 seconds to place fifth in the semifinal and qualify for the final. Her performance broke the previous record of 4:16.42, held for just under three weeks by Christine Babcock, by nearly two seconds. Slated to leave almost immediately for the World Junior Championships in Poland, Hasay delayed her trip to run in the final, where she finished 10th in 4:17.36. Hasay began her year by winning the USA Junior Cross Country Championships on February 16, in San Diego, Calif. She covered the 6 km course in 20:32 and was 13 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. At the 2008 USA Junior Track & Field Championships, Hasay repeated her performance from last year and won the women's 1,500m, outkicking Oregon's Alex Kosinksi (Eugene, Ore.) down the final stretch to win in 4:18.44. It was that performance that qualified her for the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships. On Friday, July 11, just one week removed from her national record-setting performance, Hasay competed in the first round of the women's 1,500m at the World Junior Championships. Taking fourth place in heat three of the prelims in 4:20.82, she qualified for the final on time. In the final, Hasay placed fourth, crossing the line in 4:19.02. It was the best ever finish for an American woman in the 1,500m at World Juniors. Hasay dominated on the high school level as well. At the CIF Finals, she held off Davis Senior High School senior Laurynne Chetelat down the home stretch to win the 3,200m state title in a meet record 9:52.13, the second fastest 3,200m time ever run by a high school girl. On October 23, Track & Field News named Hasay the 2008 Girls High School Athlete of the Year.
2007 William Wynne
Wynne was the most accomplished athlete of any nationality at the 2007 IAAF World Youth Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic, winning three medals and setting a world youth record. In his first event of the competition, he brought home the silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing in 13.44 seconds. In his next event, Wynne smashed the world youth best in winning the 400m hurdles. He sprinted to the front down the backstretch and never relinquished his lead on the way to a stunning 49.01, almost seven meters ahead of the runner-up and .85 seconds under the previous record set by South Africa's Marnus Kritzinger in 1999. Wynne returned to the track less than two hours later to run the third leg of the boys' medley relay that won gold in a world youth leading 1:51.34. Wynne began his summer in June at the 2007 Finish Line USA Junior Track & Field Championships, where he won the men's 400m hurdles in 49.70, placing him second on the all-time U.S. Junior list. After getting back from the World Youth Championships in July, he won the young men's 400m hurdles at the 2007 USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in 50.89.
2006 Gabrielle Mayo
This phenomenal Raleigh, North Carolina, resident was a member of the USA junior team competing at the IAAF Championships in Beijing, where she anchored the USA gold medal 4x100-meter relay after finishing second individually in the 100-meters and fifth in the 200-meters. She earned her Team USA slots with a win at 200-meters in a met record 22.88, and a runner-up finish in the 100-meters at the Finish Line USA Junior Championships. But her most notable achievement during 2006 was had a busy year, capped off by anchoring the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team to a World Junior record (43.29) in Eugene, Ore. She won the 200m dash at the USATF Junior Olympic Championships, setting a national youth record of 23.27. She also won seven North Carolina high school state titles (3 indoors, 4 outdoors) and won the 100 and placed third in the 200 at the Nike Outdoor Nationals.
2005 Ebony Collins
The 16-year-old Wilson High School junior from Long Beach, Collins had a stellar outdoor season in 2005. Her first record of the season was 57.87 seconds in the 400m hurdles at the USA Youth Championships in Knoxville -- the fastest youth time ever run by a female in all age divisions. She also was the 100m runner-up, clocking 11.82 seconds. At the IAAF World Youth Championships in Marrakech, Morocco, Collins cruised to a championship record time of 55.96 seconds in winning a gold medal in the girls'400m hurdles. Earlier at World Youth Championships, Collins helped Team USA give a 1-2 punch in the girls 100m finals after winning silver. She capped the season winning the Junior Olympics intermediate girls'400m hurdles with a championships record of 58.26 seconds.
2004 Lashawn Merritt
Triple World Junior champion Merritt was a star throughout the summer of 2004. He was Verizon Outstanding Athlete of the Meet at the 2004 Junior Championships after completing the double 200m (20.72) and 400m (46.80) victories. He traded his 200m slot for two relay events at Worlds, winning the 400m (45.25) and two relay golds: 4x100m (38.66) and 4x400m (3:01.09).
2003 Jason Richardson
Double World Youth gold medalist Richardson, 17 years old, was the star for Team USA at the 2003 IAAF World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada. He nabbed titles in both hurdles, winning the 110-meter event in 13.29 seconds and the 400-meter event in 49.91 seconds. Both times were personal bests for the Cedar Hill High School (Texas) senior, who was also a double winner at the 2003 Youth Athletics Championships in Buffalo.
2002 Sanya Richards
A long-time participant in Junior Olympics, Sanya's domination at the 400-meters was made complete when she set a new American junior record of 50.69 in winning the event at the Junior Championships in June, and followed that with the 200-meters title. She then medaled in both events at the World Juniors in Jamaica, earning silver in the 400 and bronze in the 200.
2001 Alan Webb
Webb became the first American high-schooler to run a sub-4:00 mile indoors, 3:59.86 at the New Balance Games in New York in January. Four months later, Webb ran the outdoor mile in 3:53.43 at the Prefontaine Classic, breaking the national high-school record of 3:55.3 set by Jim Ryun in 1965, and setting a prep record of 3:38:26 for the 1,500 meters en route.