Kord Ferguson (Ottawa) added a USATF Junior national title to his resume on July 5 in Eugene, Oregon as he won the discus at the USATF National Junior Championships. The USATF Junior meet was also the qualifying meet for the IAAF World Junior Championship which will be held July 22-27 on the same University of Oregon Hayward Field facility.
After throwing 1.6 kg discus during the high school season, this meet saw Ferguson throwing the slightly heavier IAAF junior discus (1.75 kg). Ferguson opened with a throw of 158’9” (48.38m) and found himself in 10th place after the first round. An improvement to 191’1” (58.25m) in round two moved him into second place overall, just five inches (0.12m) off the event lead. Then in round three the Ottawa High graduate nailed his big one as his throw hit the turf of the famed Hayward Field infield beyond the 60-meter line, measuring 201’0” (61.28) and vaulted Ferguson into first place. Leading the event by 9’6” going into the final three rounds, Ferguson fouled all three of his final attempts. Four competitors were able to post improvements in their final three attempts, but no one else was able to break through the 60-meter barrier and Ferguson won the event by 5’1”.
“I started off the first throw was a little shaky, and I got jitters," Ferguson said. "This place is pretty intimidating for a high school kid to come here and throw. I got into little grove in my second throw, my third throw was just about as perfect as I could ask for."
Ferguson’s winning throw also set a new all-time Kansas best for the 1.75 kg discus, bettering the former state record of 195’0” by Luke Bryant (Clearwater), set in 2007 and made Ferguson just the fifth American high school athlete to throw the IAAF “Junior” discus over 200 feet.
Sunday afternoon, throwing second in flight one, Ferguson took the event lead on his first throw with a toss of 59’2”. He didn’t improve on his second throw and dropped into second place. Two high schoolers bettered the 60-foot mark in round three to move into first and second while Kord had a sector foul of approximately 60’ but dropped back into fourth place at the completion of the first flight. Flight two found three competitors bettering Ferguson’s 59’2”. Now seventh overall, Ferguson threw second in the finals, following Kansas State freshman Jason Coon, and improved to 59’7.5” in round four but he remained in seventh place. Ferguson fouled again on both his fifth and sixth attempts to finish seventh, but he still had his World Junior qualifier in the discus.