Those plans Kenzo Cotton had to spend more time this summer on the 400-meter dash have been set aside after the Papillion-La Vista senior qualified to represent the United States at the 8th IAAF World Youth Championships.
Cotton will represent Team USA in both the 100- and 200-meter dash at the July 10-14 meet in Donetsk, Ukraine.
After qualifying for the 100 by winning in 10.69 seconds, Cotton ran a personal best time of 21.26 to win the 200 in the meet at Edwardsville, Ill. That 200 time is a Nebraska Association record, and the 10.64 Cotton ran in the prelims ties the association record set by Ronnie Doss in 1993.
Being a member of the world junior team, Cotton earns an automatic berth in the July 22-28 USA Track and Field Junior Olympics national championships in Greensboro, N.C.
On June 22, Cotton ran the 100-200 double at the Bellevue Breeze Invitational at Bellevue East High School to get prepared for the meet. Cotton qualified for the 400 at the Nebraska Association Junior Olympics at Burke Stadium, where he also ran the 200 but not the 100.
Cotton finished second in the 200 at the Nebraska Association meet. He said that while warming up for the race he hurt his ankle, so he was just concerned with finishing the race to qualify for the regional meet that he now doesn't have to attend because he is now a member of Team USA.
“I needed to get used to running the 100 again,” Cotton said. “My ankle is feeling a lot better.”
After he knew he had made the team, Cotton and his parents had to make a late night drive to Chicago. He needed to secure the passport necessary to make the trip to the Ukraine and return to Edwardsville with the documentation before returning to Omaha late Thursday night.
Cotton said he has to be back in Edwardsville Sunday by 9 a.m. for the start of training camp. All 43 members of Team USA will train together until leaving July 4 for Ukraine.