LISLE, Ill. — Lynna Irby used to collect Barbie dolls and dream about, well, what young girls dream about. Representing the United States on track and field’s world stage might have been beyond those dreams.
But the Indianapolis teenager will be wearing a USA uniform when she is in Cali, Colombia, later this month for the under-17 World Youth Championships. She secured her spot by finishing second in both the 100 and 400 meters Wednesday in the World Youth Track & Field Trials at Benedictine University.
“I think it’s really unbelievable,” said Irby, 16. “I was 9 when I first started track. I would have never thought I would come this far.”
Irby is 6-for-6 in winning state sprint titles in two years at Pike High School. She capped that June 6 by running an anchor leg of the 1,600-meter relay in 53.2 seconds, allowing Pike to win the team championship.
Irby was not seeded to finish as high as second here in either sprint.
Candace Hill of Conyers, Ga., easily won the 100 in 11.48 into a slight headwind. She set a world youth (ages 16-17) record of 10.98 on June 20 at Shoreline, Wash.
Irby’s time was 11.73, or .03 ahead of third-place Jayla Kirkland of Woodlawn, Ala. (Irby’s best is 11.47.) Symone Mason of Miami, Fla., won the 400 in 52.80, followed by Irby in 53.36.
Excluding relay splits, Irby became the third Indiana girl to run sub-54, following North Central’s Maicel Malone, 52.42 in 1986, and Fort Wayne Northrop’s Shauntel Elcock, 53.23 in 2003.
Irby said this 400 was more strenuous than her relay anchor, which was her sixth race in less than four hours.
“At state, it was a team thing, so if we don’t win, it’s not completely my fault,” she said. “This, this is a whole other level.”
The youth worlds, a biennial championship introduced in 1999, are from July 15-19. Irby has chosen to run only the 400 because the timetable makes a double impractical — all three rounds of the 100, plus semifinals of the 400, are July 16. She would be a medal contender in either.
Elsewhere, two local athletes narrowly missed the world team by finishing third.
Brownsburg’s Hari Sathyamurthy was third in the 800 in 1:52.38, or .16 behind second. He led the first lap in 54.30, was overtaken, regrouped and had his kick fall short.
“Being in traffic, that helps me stay humble so I know that someone is better than me,” he said. “And I can get better, and there’s someone I need to catch.”
Connor Dunne of San Clemente, Calif., was first in 1:51.71, followed by Cameron Cooper of Oak Park, Mich., in 1:52.22.
Sathyamurthy capped his junior season by winning at state in 1:51.50. The defeat was his first on the track in 13 months, dating to the 2014 state meet.
Rahman Minor, another Pike athlete, was third in the boys high jump with a personal best of 6 feet, 9 3/4 inches.
Call Star reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.