Glenwood Springers compete at Junior Olympic regionals
Post Independent Intern
Three local athletes competed at the USATF Junior Olympic Region 10 Championship in Mesa, Ariz., during the weekend, representing the Glenwood Springers track program in a variety of events.
Justin Thompson, 13, Bryce Risner, 12, and Reid Swanson, 9, qualified for the Region 10 meet by placing in the top four at the USATF Colorado State Championship, which was held June 19-23 in the Denver area.
At the end of the weekend, Thompson, who competed in the pentathlon, triple jump, shot put and 100-meter hurdles, advanced to the USATF Junior Olympic National Championship after finishing fourth in triple jump with a personal record (PR) of 11.13 meters.
“My PR before was 10.67 meters,” Thompson said. “Before my last jump, I was already in fifth, which qualified me for nationals. I was at 11.03 meters, and the kid ahead of me was at 11.07, and I really wanted to beat him and get fourth, so I knew I had to go all out.”
Thompson also set a PR in the pentathlon, ranking fourth with 1,767 points. He finished ninth in the hurdles (17.29 seconds) and 11th in the shot put (6.84 meters).
“He’s been working on his form and his speed, and he’s been getting stronger and stronger,” said Springers coach Christine Smalley. “Justin is just solid overall, and he loves the sport.”
Later this month, Thompson will travel with his family to Greensboro, N.C., to compete in the national championship on July 24.
Now in his fourth year with the Springers program, Thompson also attended the national meet in 2012, finishing 10th in high jump, 24th in long jump and 30th in the 80-meter hurdles in the 11-12 age division. Now 13, he was able to add triple jump to his repertoire, since it isn’t offered until the 13-14 age division in USATF competitions.
“My brother has always done triple jump, and he was a state champion [in 2008], so it’s something I’ve always been around,” Thompson explained. “It was super competitive [at regionals], because this year I’m younger in the age division. Our division — Region 10 — is also one of the harder divisions, so you have to work hard to be able to qualify.”
Leading up to nationals, Thompson plans to continue training with his brother, Tyler, now 22. He said basketball camp the week before will serve as his conditioning, and he’ll continue to work with Smalley on speed training.
Also representing the Springers was Swanson, who cut 30 seconds off his PR at the state championship last month to finish second with a time of 5 minutes, 36.75 seconds. This past weekend, he knocked another five seconds off to finish sixth at 5:31.49.
“Reid is so young, and he’s really just getting started in terms of his potential,” Smalley said. “His natural talent is incredible, and he’s going to do great things. He’s one of the most natural athletes I’ve ever seen.”
Risner, who was competing at the regional meet for the fourth year in a row, finished 12th in the high jump with a mark of 4 feet, 7 inches.
Smalley said Risner bruised his heel at the state meet last month, which impacted his training abilities leading up to the regional championship.
“That definitely affected what he was able to do in his training leading up to the competition,” Smalley said. “But he has proven over and over that he’s talented and willing to work hard, and he had so many PRs this season.”
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