DES MOINES, Iowa -Isiah Young is headed back to the international track & field stage.
Young, who graduated from Ole Miss last month, captured a silver medal in the men's 200 meters at the USA Championships on Sunday to propel him to the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia (Aug. 10-18).
After shattering most of the school sprinting records during his phenomenal two-plus year Rebel career, Young took it to another level against the elite American sprinting field at Drake Stadium. Young clocked a personal-best 19.86 to finish second behind Tyson Gay (19.74) and ahead of third-place Curtis Mitchell (19.99). He also beat out three-time USA Champion Wallace Spearmon (20.10), 2013 NCAA Champion Ameer Webb (20.20) and Olympian Maurice Mitchell (20.32).
To put Young's 19.86 in perspective, it was the third-best time in the world as of Sunday afternoon behind Gay and Usain Bolt (19.79). Young now shares the distinction of being the 12th-best American ever over 200 meters. And it shattered his previous best times of 20.12 from last year's U.S. Olympic Trials and 20.09 from Saturday's prelims.
"Technically, I thought it was good," said Young of his breakthrough performance. "But the last 10, I kind of broke down, looking over at Tyson instead of just pumping through and keeping my form. I still think it's a great day. I made the team, second place. It's been a long year for me and I think that's pretty good."
The Junction City, Kan., native returns to the world stage after he also made Team USA in the 200 for last year's London Olympics, where he advanced to the semifinals.
It continues an impressive season for Young, which included him placing second in the 200 and third in the 100 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He also claimed his second straight SEC outdoor title in the 200 and was SEC runner-up in the 100. He was named the 2013 SEC Runner of the Year and 2013 South Region Track Athlete of the Year.
Young credited Ole Miss head coach Brian O'Neal's encouragement for his successful day.
"It feels good," he said. "My coach was telling me all year long that I was ready to do something special and he told me that, first of all, I needed to believe in myself to make that happen. I just came out here today, ran my race once again, got to the final. It was pretty impressive, but Coach (O'Neal) was calling it all year."
Young also made the final of the 100 meters in Des Moines and placed seventh with a 10.12 on Friday. He clocked a school-record and personal-best 9.93 during the semifinals.
Fellow Rebel and NCAA Champion Sam Kendricks competed in the pole vault on Friday and placed eighth with a mark of 17-10.5. He entered the national championships as the No. 2 seed with a season-best 19-0.75.
Former Rebels Brittney Reese and Antwon Hicks competed in the women's long jump and men's 110-meter hurdles, respectively. Neither placed in the top three, but Reese will still be a member of Team USA in Moscow by virtue of being the reigning World Champion in her event.
Three current Ole Miss athletes took part in the USA Junior Championships that were held in conjunction with the senior events this week.
Rising sophomore Onyi Afoaku produced a pair of personal bests in the junior division shot put and discus. The Bloomington, Ind., native placed fifth in the shot put with a 59-0.75 and seventh in the discus with a 183-5. He remains second-best in school history in both events after a strong freshman season.
Rising sophomore Hunter Harrison came in 15th place in the discus (164-5), and rising sophomore Ian Carter placed ninth in the 10,000 meters (33:01.92).
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