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Top Washington steeplechase stars to finally face off in France

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In the state of Washington, two girls track and field athletes emerged as national contenders: Seattle (Wash.) Northwest School star Maddie Meyers and sophomore Amy-Eliose Neale, her counterpart at Snohomish (Wash.) High, in the steeplechase. Throughout the spring, both went after national records nearly every time they stepped on the track, though they never raced against each other directly.

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Snohomish runner Amy-Eloise Neal

Snohomish runner Amy-Eloise Neal

Now that's about to change, though they will have to put on different uniforms and travel nearly 5,000 miles to do so.

Meyers and Neale will both be competing in the 2,000 meter steeplechase at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France. According to the Seattle Times, the event's final is scheduled for Sunday, and both Meyers, who runs for the U.S. national team, and Neale, who runs for Great Britain, are expected to contend for the event title.

"It is really exciting, because we know each other pretty well and I enjoy running with her," Neale told the Times. "Although Maddie will be in a different uniform, it should be a fun experience for the both of us, especially because we have not raced in the steeplechase together yet."

That the two Washington starlets haven't met on a steeplechase track is a bit surprising, given both their geographic proximity to one another and their impressive performances in the past few months. Neale, who is pictured above and was recently named the 2011 Gatorade Washington Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, set a national high school sophomore record for the steeplechase when she ran a 6:42.48 at the New Balance Nationals.

Meanwhile, Meyers (who is seen clocking an early season mile best time in the video above) went one step better, setting an overall high school steeplechase record with a 6:32.02 clocking at the World Youth Track & Field Trials. Both the New Balance Nationals and World Youth Trials were held in June.
That means that both Washington athletes should be peaking for a big face off against one another, even if it comes in a rather unlikely European setting, where the results are announced first in a different language.

"The conditions should be the best I've had all season for the steeplechase, so I definitely want to get a personal best," said Neale, who was born in Great Britain. "I hope to place as high as I can, and feel satisfied with my race when I have finished."

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