Bradley 7th, Clark 800 Finalist, Lee 10th/19th @ U20 Champs

Featured in photo above left to right: Skyye Lee, A'Laji Bradley, Makayla Clark

Bradley 7th in 400, earns U20 All-America Status
A'Laji Bradley had one of the best seasons ever for a Missouri sprinter this year. The Pattonville junior ran to 2nd-place state finishes in the Class 5 200 and 400 behind Zaya Akins and a 3rd-place finish in the 100 behind Akins and Aniyah Brown. Brown ran to personal records (PR) in the finals at state of 23.60 in the 200 and 53.33. 

At the moment, six weeks after state, Bradley's 53.33 puts her 13th on the national FAT (Fully Automatic Timing) season performance list. Her 23.60 puts Bradley in a tie for 28th on the U.S. wind-legal/FAT list. After state, Bradley earned New Balance Nationals Outdoor All-America honors with a 4th-place finish in the 400 in 54.48. 

With that all on her resume heading into her senior year, Bradley made the trip to Eugene for the USA Track and Field Under-20 Championships. On Saturday, in the 3rd and final heat of the 400-meter prelims, Iowa State's Rachel Joseph went out hard in lane 8, grabbing a huge lead, that looked even bigger with the stagger. 

Bradley was 3rd most of the race, needing a top-2 finish for an automatic berth to the finals, or one of the two fastest times outside of the top-2 finishers in each of the three preliminary heats. Bradley held strong, keeping a solid pace to the finish. Meanwhile, Joseph faded and Bradley caught her with 10 meters left and finished 2nd in 53.71 to secure a berth to the finals. 

The time put Bradley 9th overall in the prelims, with three non-top-2 finishers running faster than her, including one that didn't advance. 

On Sunday, Bradley was scheduled to run the 1st round of the 200. However, that was just 40 minutes before the 400 final, so Bradley scratched the 200 and focused on a best finish in the 400. 

From lane 4, University of Georgia's Haley Tate quickly made up the stagger and put ground on Bradley, in lane 3. It took 200 meters for Duke freshman Lauren Tolbert to make up the stagger and catch and pass Bradley. 

To Bradley's credit, she didn't throw in the towel and stayed focused on her race. She powered down the homestretch making up ground on most of the field. Bradley past Tolbert and she crossed the finish just a stride behind Tate. Bradley finished in 53.88 to take 7th and earn the widely recognized USA Track and Field Junior/U-20 All-American nod that goes to top-8 finishers.

While the finish likely won't earn her a spot on Team USA for the Pan America Undrer-20 Championships 4x400 or combined 4x400 relay, it was an experience she can take with her into her final year of high school.