Bowie rising senior Maxwell Willis is competing this week at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia in the 200 meter dash. The Maryland 4A state champion from this spring in 100, 200, and 400 qualified by winning the 200 meter dash World Youth Trials in Lisle, Illinois earlier this month.
In his first round of competition on Friday, Willis ran the second fastest time among all qualifiers for the semifinals with a wind legal personal best clocking of 20.99 (+1.2). His PR of 20.55 from the Great Southwest Classic in Albuquerque last month was a wind-aided time, while his preliminary race at World Youths was his first time under 21 seconds with a wind legal time.
Despite the fast time, Willis was actually runner-up in his heat as South Africa's Tlotliso Gift Leotlela won the final heat of the boys 200 meter dash with best time of the day in 20.82. Both Willis and another DC Metro star in Josephus Lyles from T.C. WIlliams High School in Alexandria, Virginia will look to challenge the South African in the finals and have America earn two medals in the events.
Willis races in the semifinals today at 6:45 PM ET. He is not in the same heat with Leotlela or Lyles, but will after to deal with Leotlela's teammate Kyle Appel of South Africa with a 20.72 PR as well as two others with personal bests under 21 seconds in Great Britain's Cameron Tindle (20.92 PR) and Brazil's Derick Silva (20.94 PR). Top two from each of the three semifinal heats along with the next two fastest times will move on Sunday's finals of the boys 200 meter dash.