VCU rising sophomore Kiara Porter will represent team USA in Barcelona July 10-15.

RICHMOND, Va. – Before she races, Kiara Porter – VCU’s pint-sized sprinter – has to literally look up to her challengers. But afterwards, Porter’s competitors often find themselves looking up at her on the podium.

A rising sophomore molded from five feet of pure fast-twitch muscle fibers, Porter is soon going to find out if that success will translate internationally.

Last week, the Yorktown, Va. native ran a school-record 53.07 in the 400 meters at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships in Bloomington, Ind. to take fourth. The finish earned Porter a spot on the USA Junior 4×400-meter relay squad at the IAAF World Junior Championships July 10-15 in Barcelona, Spain.

Porter, who has never traveled abroad, will leave for Spain on July 6. In Barcelona, she’ll be one of a pool of six runners that will comprise USA’s 4×400 relay team. The Americans will have to advance through qualifying to reach the finals. Although her relay squad likely won’t run until July 14, she’ll stay busy soaking in the experience.

Porter would be the first Ram to compete at the World Juniors, an accomplishment she hasn’t overlooked.

“That just means so much to me,” she said. “I would’ve never expected to make it this far in track my freshman year. To run on this level, it’s just an honor to be welcomed on the team.”