They hail from three different regions, but they keep meeting in the same place--the 400-meter final of major track meets.
Obea Moore of South Pasadena, Jerome Young of Hartford, Conn., and Desmond Johnson of New Orleans are the country's top three juniors in the event. They combined to make it the highlight of Saturday's U.S. Junior Track and Field Championships.
Running in the middle three lanes at Mt. San Antonio College's Hilmer Lodge Memorial Stadium, Young pulled ahead after the final turn to win in a meet record 45:01, the fifth-fastest by a U.S. junior. Moore finished second at 45.63 and Johnson finished third at 46.37.
The three runners have begun a rivalry. Moore edged Young and Johnson at the recent Golden West Invitational. Johnson won the 1994 U.S. junior championship and placed fifth at the 1994 junior world meet.
The top two finishers in each event qualify for the Junior Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, Sept. 1-3.
Meanwhile, Melissa Price became the first American woman to clear 13 feet in the pole vault--a new event for women--when she cleared 13-1 3/4 to win, breaking her own American record of 12-9. The new mark is the seventh best in history.
In other events, UCLA-bound Joanna Hayes of Riverside won the women's 100 hurdles in a wind-aided 13.06, the second-fastest time in high school history and the fourth-fastest by a U.S. junior.
Julia Stamps of Santa Rosa won the women's 3,000 meters in 9:21.99, breaking by .69 the previous record for 16-year-olds and sophomores set by Aileen O'Connor in 1977.