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FWTC wins three golds at Junior Olympics
By CASEY OLSON
The Federal Way Track Club fared well at last months Junior Olympics Track and Field National Championship Meet. The club sent 14 athletes to Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., July 24-29.
Over 5,500 of the countrys top youth track and field athletes (ages 9 to 18) competed for top honors in the hot, dry air of Southern California. Despite the 100-degree temperatures during the week-long competition, FWTC athletes brought home three gold medals, one silver and two bronzes and also broke one national age group record.
During my 15 years as head coach for FWTC, we have had Junior Olympic National champions, said Darryl Genest. However, this is our first season to have multiple national event winners three in one season. This is the first time that we have had multiple medal winners in the same race, in two different events. It is also the first time that any club member has ever broken a national age group record. These athletes have the talent and the work ethic to achieve the highest honors at this level becoming national champions in their events. I am very proud of their accomplishments.
The first of FWTCs three national champions was Federal Way resident David Goldstone. He brought home gold in the 11-12 boys 3000 meters in a blistering time of 9:55.59. Goldstone, who now attends Charles Wright Academy, finished a full 14 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor.
Teammate Ruben Riordan ran the strongest race of the season to capture the bronze medal in the 3000 meters in 10:21.39.
The following day, Goldstone earned his second medal of the championships after finishing third in the 1500 in a time of 4:42.07.
Federal Ways second double medal winner was Jonathan Phillips, a junior at South Kitsap High School. Phillips ran a personal best time to win the very strenuous 15-16 boys 2000-meter steeple chase. Phillips broke the field on the final lap, putting six seconds on the runner up. His time of 6:13.5 beat his previous personal best by 19 seconds. He also finished second in the 1500 meters.
Phillips had a goal all season to break the national age group record in the 1500 (3:56.84 set at the national meet in 2000). This meant that he would have to drop 6.5 seconds off of his best time. The final went out at a record-setting pace. Phillips ran the final lap in 63 seconds and finished what would have been a national-record time of 3:56.43. But Kevin Mathabane finished first in 3:54.02. No other runners broke the four-minute mark.
Ryan Prentice, a senior at Mount Rainer High School, earned the clubs third gold medal in the 17-18 5000 meters with a time of 15:01.31, outdistancing himself by 16 seconds form the field of national level runners.
Decatur High School senior Justin Englund turned in his best performance to capture eighth place in 15:50.7. Englund also ran a leg of the 4x800 relay (team finished ninth) and competed on the 4x400 relay.
Jesse Goldstone, 8, competed against 9- and 10-year-old boys and finished 17th in the 800 (2:45) and 18th in the 1500 (5:29).
Outstanding performances were also made in the field events. Walker Williams, freshman at Tacoma Baptist HS, placed ninth in the discus. Nathan Jowett, a Federal Way High School freshman, tied four other competitors for 10th in the high jump competition, clearing 5-feet-5.
A large portion of the national travel expenses was made possible by a grant received through the Weyerhaeuser Foundations W.A.V.E program (Weyerhaeuser Actice Volunteer Employees). A volunteer coaching staff, made up of several Weyerhaeuser employees and their spouses, helped FWTC qualify for this opportunity.
Along with their summer track and field program, FWTC has a fall cross county running program. Starting in mid-September, the 10-week youth program begins (ages 9- 14) with three practices per week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday) and races on Saturdays. A five-week high school cross country program starts after the high school state meet, Nov. 3 with two practices per week (Monday and Wednesday) with races on Saturdays. The team participates in the Junior Olympic Cross Country series. For more information, visit www.fwtrack.com or contact Genest at email@example.com or (253) 839-4964.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org