Eight Glenwood Springers qualify for national meet
Special to the Post Independent
Thirteen Glenwood Springers track athletes competed at the USATF Region 10 Junior Olympic Championships July 5-8 at Legacy Stadium in Aurora. An athlete must score in the top five in an open event and in the top two in the multi events to advance to the national meet.
The meet started off with a strong showing by incoming Colorado Mesa University athlete AJ Crowley, who scored 5,731 points in the decathlon, a 50-point improvement. Incredibly, Crowley earned a first-place finish in nine of the 10 events of the 17-18 men’s decathlon division.
Amanda Madden also competed in multiple events, including the 11-12 girl’s pentathlon, where she finished fourth with 1,847 points, a 215-point improvement over her best score. Madden competed in the shot put (6th, 22 feet 7.25 inches) and ran and qualified in the 80M hurdles (5th, 15.79).
Incoming Glenwood Springs High School freshman Ella Johnson qualified in both the 1500M (5th, 5:21.14) and the 3000M (2nd, 11:31.25) for the 13-14 age group. She shaved five seconds off of her 1500M time, finishing in 5:21.14. Also competing in the ultra-competitive girl’s 13-14 1500M run was local running star Sophia Connerton-Nevin, who finished in seventh place with a time of 5:26.29.
Emma Barsness excelled in the 15-16 girl’s 2000M steeplechase, where she improved her time by six seconds and earned a third-place finish, running 8:28.7.
“It was super hot, so it was hard running in such heat going against amazing other athletes, but the best part was being able to jump into the water every lap to cool down,” Barsness said following the race.
Benjamin Swanson dominated both the 1500M (1st, 4:53.42) and the 3000M (1st, 10:31.89) for the 11-12 age group. Swanson ran the 80M hurdles as well, placing sixth with a time of 15.56.
“It makes me really happy to be at a big meet like that surrounded by family and supportive fellow teammates, all while getting to compete at a high level and getting a chance to do your best,” Swanson said.
Taia Nykerk and Burgandy DeHerrera competed in the 11-12 girl’s 80M Hurdles. Nykerk placed sixth with a time of 17.43, and DeHerrera was ninth with a time of 18.61.
Cameron Steen scored a fourth-place finish in the 11-12 boys high jump with a mark of 4 feet 3.25 inches, improving his best jump by four feet.
For the girl’s 9-10 age group, Daxton DeHerrera improved her 800M time by 13 seconds, earning herself a national meet qualification. She placed fifth with a time of 2:46.82.
“I really wanted to qualify, so I pushed fear aside and gave it all I’ve got,” DeHerrera said. “Even though it hurt, I gave 100 percent.”
DeHerrera also competed in the 400M (11th, 1:18.76) and long jump (9th, 10 feet 4.5 inches). Also competing in the 9-10 age group were Aidan Riciputi and Calvin Swanson. Both boys threw javelin, as Swanson seventh place with a mark of 48 feet 2 inches, and Riciputi placed eighth with a mark of 38 feet 5.75 inches.
Riciputi also ran the 800M and was eighth with a time of 2:48.24.
“It’s a great experience,” Calvin Swanson said. “It’s fun hanging out and getting to do your best.”
GSHS track star Sophia Vigil competed in the 15-16 girls age group, where she qualified in both of her events. In the 400M dash, she qualified for finals with a fifth-place finish in a time of 1:01.78, and the 400M hurdles, where she was fourth with a personal best of 1:11.12.
Four of the qualifying athletes plan to compete at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, NC July 23-29.