Lashawn Merritt named Verizon Youth Athlete of the Year

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    INDIANAPOLIS – Triple World Junior Championships gold medalist Lashawn Merritt of Portsmouth, Virgina, has been named the 2004 Verizon Youth Athlete of the Year by USA Track & Field. Merritt will be honored December 3 at the Jesse Owens Awards Dinner and Xerox Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with USATF’s 2004 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

    Merritt was a star throughout the summer of 2004 and in the Verizon Youth Series. The 17-year-old was named Verizon Outstanding Athlete of the Meet at the 2004 USA Junior Championships after he completed a double in the 200 (20.72) and 400 meters (46.80) where his wins set him up for success at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Grosseto, Italy. There, Merritt won gold in the men’s 400m (45.25 seconds), 4x100m relay (38.66) and 4x400m relay (3:01.09), with the relays breaking world junior records.

    “It is a great honor that I was chosen out everyone male and female,” said Merritt, who this fall entered East Carolina University. “I am proud of the hard work that I put in early in the season, which has paid off in the end receiving great awards like this one.”

    “The future of Team USA is bright with athletes such as Lashawn,” said USATF Youth Chair Bob Flint. “His accomplishments have proven the benefit of USATF’s Youth and Junior programs within the U.S. as well as on the world stage.”

    With track & field as the top-rated participatory sport at the junior and senior high-school levels, Verizon provides continuing support for USA Track & Field’s Youth Programs. As part of that commitment, Verizon established the Verizon Youth Athlete of the Year Award to recognize outstanding achievements by a high-school track & field athlete.

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