The Pace rising senior track standout earned a spot on the awards podium as he won the bronze medal with a third-place finish in the men’s 400-meter hurdles at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, July 10 through 15.
Selmon ran a time of 51.30 seconds in the finals to place third behind gold medalist Marvin Williams of Jamaica (50.39) and silver medalist Yang Wang of China (50.78).
“It wasn’t my best race, but I’m just glad that my performance was good enough to make me able to win a medal,” Selmon said. “I feel like I had a little more in me, but it was good enough.”
Tired from the first two rounds of competition in the 400 hurdles, Selmon struggled a little bit with his fatigue. But he still managed to stay with the leaders from start to finish.
“It was my first time ever competing in three rounds, back to back to back, and so it was definitely a new experience for my mental aspect and how it’s maintained,” Selmon said. “In the final, I was just exhausted. I was moving up very well at the beginning of the race. I don’t think I ever got to the front, but I was moving up very well and we were all together at the end.”
Selmon earned his place in the finals after finishing third in the first-round heat (52.03) and second in the semifinals (50.95).
He said he learned a lot about what it takes to compete on the international level.
“You have to respect everybody’s talents and go out there with the mindset that anyone can do anything at any given time in competition,” Selmon said. “In a huge stadium, with all those fans, you just have to learn to keep your composure. You have to go out there and run your race and make sure you do what you need to get done. Aside from all the fun, you’ve got to learn it’s business.”
Selmon punched his ticket for the World Youth meet after finishing runner-up with a personal-best time of 50.90 in a qualifying meet in Edwardsville, Ill., June 25 and 26.
For Selmon, it was a memorable first trip overseas.
“It was incredible,” he said. “I saw all the athletes from other countries — from France, from Germany — and to be representing the USA, it was a great honor and an incredible experience.”
It was the summer season finale for Selmon, who also won the 400 hurdles at the Golden South Invitational in Orlando, Fla., May 18 and the 110 hurdles in the Emerging Elite division at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., June 14 through 16.
Now, Selmon looks forward to his senior year at Pace as he attempts to defend his Class A private school state titles in both the 110 and 300 hurdles. He is also a key member of the Knights’ boys’ basketball team.