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Federal Way Track Club will send 13 to national meet
By CASEY OLSON
The Federal Way Track Club will be well-represented at the prestigious USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships.
The club is sending 13 of its members to Hughes Stadium on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore from July 25-30.
The kids just did an outstanding job, said FWTC head coach Darryl Genest. There were some great performances, and we are looking forward to nationals.
The 13 members of the Federal Way Track Club qualified for the national meet by placing in the top three in their respective events at the Region 13 Championship Track and Field Meet, held July 6-7 at Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
The regional meet included athletes from Alaska, Oregon and Washington. In total, 16 regional meets are held throughout the United States, combining to qualify up to 48 athletes in each of the 18 events per age group (9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16 and 17-18).
The USATF Junior Olympic Championships is the most visible youth athletic development program in the world. More than 6,000 athletes are expected to converge on Baltimore.
Competition takes place in five two-year age divisions, with athletes falling between the ages of 8 and 18.
At the Region 13 meet, the Federal Way Track Club had 18 athletes competing in Oregon and won six gold medals, nine silver medals and four bronze medals during the meet.
Decatur High Schools Justin Englund earned a hard-fought third-place finish in the boys intermediate 3,000-meter run in a time of 9:01.2 to qualify for nationals.
Englunds FWTC teammates, Ryan Prentice (Rainier High School) and Colby Peters (Rogers HS), finished first and second, respectively, to complete the medal sweep in the 3,000 meters.
Englund, Prentice, Peters and Chris Pokerny (Bonney Lake High School) also won the gold in the 4x800 relay in a top-10 national time of 8:29.7. Peters won his third medal by finishing in first place in the 2,000-meter steeple chase in 6:37.4.
Another Decatur junior, Justin Helm, will also compete at nationals in the intermediate (15-16) division by finishing in second place in the 2,000-meter steeple chase in a time of 7:10.9. It was the first time this year Helm has competed in the steeple chase.
One of the best performances during the regional meet came from 11-year-old David Goldstone from Federal Ways Spring Valley Montessori school.
Goldstone ran a pair of personal-best times to qualify for nationals in two events. Goldstone won the 1,500-meter run in a time of 4:47.5, which shattered the best time of his career by 7 seconds.
He also finished second in the 3,000 meters in 10:09.3 13 seconds better than his previous best time.
Camelot Elementary 12-year-old Majerae Gates qualified for her second national-level track meet by winning a gold medal in the 100-meter dash in a time of 13.12. Gates also qualified for the Hershey National Track and Field Championships the weekend prior by winning the 100 and anchoring the winning 4x100 relay team. The Hershey national meet will take place Aug. 5 in Pennsylvania.
Its just an incredible start for this young athletes first year in track, Genest said.
Sports editor Casey Olson: (253) 925-5565, email@example.com