???This is an opportunity for elite competition at the 19-and-under age group,??? head coach Bill Webb said. ???The athletes have to finish in the top two and meet the ???A??? standard to advance to the World Junior Championships. Both guys get the opportunity to compete against some of the best in their age group, and that can really jumpstart a career. We have had athletes go to this meet and be very successful in this past.???
Berry enters the USA???Junior Championships with the second-highest pole vault mark in the competition. The Horsham, Pa., native was named SEC Freshman Field Athlete of the Year following a season that included him becoming the first freshman since 1997 to win the conference pole vault title. Berry also won the Mideast Region pole vault crown and??tied for??10th??last week in his first national championship meet. His personal-best clearance of 17-9 ranks ninth on Tennessee???s all-time performance list.
???Joe???s improvement this year has been outstanding, and a lot of the credit for that goes to volunteer pole vault coach Russ Johnson,??? Webb said. ???Russ has done a phenomenal job developing Joe and the rest of our vaulters.???
Fassino, who sat out the collegiate season as a redshirt, is entered in the 10,000. The Signal Mountain native enters the meet with the 11th-fastest time at that distance after recording his personal-best time of 32:11.19 as an unattached athlete at the Smoky Mountain Twilight in May.
The USA Junior Outdoor Championships serve as the selection meet for the IAAF World Junior Championships, held July 8-13 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and features athletes who are at least 14 years old on the day of competition but do not turn 20 during 2008. Berry contests the pole vault at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday, while Fassino races Saturday at 8:45 p.m. Live results can be found throughout the championships at UTsports.com.