MONTEGO BAY, St James — High jumper Christoff Bryan and the men's 4x100-m team spared Jamaica some blushes by winning silver medals on Sunday afternoon's final session of the 17th Pan-American Junior track and field championships at the Alfanso Galvis Duque Stadium in Medellin, Colombia.
Bryan, the IAAF World Youth Championships bronze medallist and one of the youngest competitors in the event, cleared 2.16m and was beaten on the countback by American Wally Ellerson, while the men's relay team ran a season's best 39.68 seconds, but were well beaten by an American squad that clocked 39.17 seconds, the fastest time by a junior team in the world this year.
The 17-member Jamaican team that is due in the island today, finished 12th of the 36 countries that turned up for the three-day championships, that were held about six weeks later than usual after it was moved on two occasions.
The USA topped the medals table with 39 medals, 16 gold, 16 silver and seven bronze; Cuba were next with 11 medals -- eight gold and three silver; Canada had 19 medals, with six gold, six silver and seven bronze, while Brazil and Mexico rounded out the top five. Brazil had four gold, six silver and five bronze medals, while Mexico had four gold, one silver and four bronze medals.
The championships were originally set for Lima, Peru, in July, but were moved to Cali, Colombia, before being shifted again to Medellin at a later date to avoid clashes with several other events, including the IAAF World Championships that were held in early August in Moscow, Russia.
Given the date of the championships, the JAAA was forced to name a small and relatively weakened team, as a number of the top juniors had either left the country for US colleges or many had stopped training since the National Junior Championships that were held in mid-June.
On Sunday, the men's 4x100-m team of Jevaughn Minzie, Jazeel Murphy, Antonio Henry and Odail Todd ran the fourth fastest time of the year to beat Brazil 39.96 seconds for the silver.
The 4x400-m relay team of Odane Bernard, Minzie, Oshane Burrell and Herbert Thomas was fifth in the final in 3 minutes 10.96 seconds, while the women's 4x100-m team of Asain Hall, Janelle Kelly, Shanice McPherson and Stacy-Ann Rowe were fifth and last in the final in 47.96 seconds.
Later in the evening, Bryan, who entered the competition at 2.05m, had a shaky series as he failed to get over the bar on the first occasion at any height. He advanced on the second attempt at 2.05m and 2.10m, and only cleared the next two heights 2.13m and 2.16m on the final attempts.
Meanwhile, Ellerson had one failure at 2.10m as both men failed to get over 2.19m as another American Justin Foundren took the bronze with 2.13m.
Also on Sunday, Demar Gayle and Jevaughn Shaw both failed to get to the final in the shot put. Gayle, who represented Jamaica at the World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, finished ninth with a best throw of 15.91m, while Shaw threw 14.54m to finish 12th.
Two days earlier, Shaw finished seventh in the discus throw with 55.19m, while Gayle was 12th overall with 44.70m.
Jamaican athletes just missed medals on the first day when Murphy in the men's 100m, and Hall in the women's 400m, finished fourth in their finals.
Murphy, who had a poor start in the semi-finals last Friday, managed to qualify for the final, then ran 10.46 seconds (1.8m/s wind) to beat Minzie, who was fifth in 10.51 seconds.
CARIFTA Games champion Zharnel Hughes of Anguilla won the event in 10.31 seconds.
In the men's 200m that was contested last Saturday, Minzie placed sixth in 21.11 seconds after running 21.03 seconds to win his morning semi-final, while Todd was seventh in the final in 21.26 seconds after winning his semi-final in 21.00 seconds, the fourth fastest time in the morning.
Hall ran 53.81 seconds to just miss a medal in the women's 400m after her 53.67-second clocking in the heats.
On Sunday morning, Shanice Cannigan failed to get past the first round of the 400-m hurdles after running 1 minute 03.56 seconds for fifth in her heat, while Oshane Burrell was last in the men's 400-m heat after running 51.45 seconds.
No Jamaican woman advanced past the first round of the 100m last Friday, as both finished last in their respective heat; Janell Kelly ran 12.47 seconds, while Shanice McPherson ran 12.48 seconds.
McPherson was 12th in the girls' long jump with a best effort of 5.50m, two places better than Tamara Moncrieff, who jumped 5.11m.