Aug 26, 2013
Medellin, Colombia - University of Alabama sophomore Justin Fondren earned a bronze medal for the United States team on Sunday evening with a third-place finish in the high jump at the 2013 Pan Am Junior Championships.
Fondren (Oxford, Miss.) had a best clearance of 6 feet, 11 3/4 inches (2.13 meters) to take the bronze medal. The USA's Wally Ellenson, a track and basketball athlete from the University of Minnesota, won the competition with a clearance of 7-1 (2.16m).
"Obviously, I came to win and surpass my personal best, but that didn't happen, said Fondren. "I was still excited to medal for the US team. The experience I gained from jumping in bad weather conditions and in such a competitive field will be something I take forward with me in my career at Alabama and beyond."
Competing on a wet runway after an afternoon downpour, Fondren cleared the opening height of 6-6 3/4 (2.00m) on his first attempt and cleared the next height, 6-8 3/4 (2.05m) on his first try. He cleared 6-10 3/4 (2.10m) on his second attempt and then cleared 6-11 3/4 (2.13m) on his second try as well. Fondren bowed out after missing three attempts at 7-1 (2.16m), the eventual winning height cleared by Ellenson.
Fondren, who earned second-team All-American honors at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this summer after finishing 13th in the high jump at the NCAA Championships, won the USA Junior National title in June to earn a spot on the team that competed in Colombia over the weekend.
A three-time state high jump champion in Mississippi, Fondren was the state's 2012 Gatorade Athlete of the Year. The Pan American Junior Athletics Championship showcases many top international junior athletes and is open to athletes aged 16 to 19 as of December 31, 2013.