Off to the Junior Olympics
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. With construction at Glenwood, Roaring Fork and Rifle High Schools, finding a place to throw the discus and shot put this summer hasn’t been easy for Greg and Rachel Orosz.It didn’t hinder the Glenwood brother and sister combo too much however, as both found ways to qualify for the 2007 USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships Thursday through Sunday in Walnut, Calif.Greg, 16, and Rachel, 12, earned spots in the meet with top finishes at the Region 10 Track and Field meet in Albuquerque, N.M., July 12-15. Competitors had to finish in the top three of their events to make it to nationals. Rachel made it in the shot put and discus, while Greg qualified in the discus.
The duo have made the best of the lack of a place to practice situation in the valley.”Finding a place to practice is impossible,” said Fran Orosz, Rachel and Greg’s father and coach, who used to run track for Roaring Fork High School. “You can’t get anywhere near Carbondale school (Roaring Fork’s track), Glenwood’s, Rifle and Coal Ridge doesn’t have a concrete pad.” The Oroszes have competed in meets around Colorado each weekend, attended two camps and even drawn circles in their driveway to practice on. They can’t throw from them due to the great risk of shattering neighbors windows, but at least they can practice their form and technique.In the midget division at regionals, which is for 11- to 12-year-olds, Rachel took first in the 6-pound shot put with a toss of 33-012, and placed second in the discus, which weighs a little over 2.2 pounds, with a throw of 60-11.
“It’s fun to watch because she is probably the smallest one there,” said Fran. “It’s fun to watch her throw.”Rachel, who is skinny and stands at 5-foot-2, is the opposite of the typical thrower, who normally has a bigger build. The Glenwood Springs seventh-grader has experience on her side in the discuss, having thrown it for four years. “She’s got a really good chance there, too (in discus). If everything goes right, she’s got a really good chance to be national champion in the shot put,” Fran said of Rachel, who just picked up shot put last year. “Last weekend, she threw a 75 to beat Amber Sutherland’s record (for Glenwood Middle School.)” In intermediate competition, 15- to 16-year-olds, Greg threw the 3.5-pound discus 129-4 for a second-place finish. The Glenwood Springs High School junior also took sixth in the javelin and 12-pound shot put, with throws of 116-7 and 39-214 respectively. While he missed qualifying for nationals in the javelin and shot put, Greg made it in his favorite event.
“The velocity is so much faster in discus,” said Greg, who holds the freshman discus record at GSHS with a 121-5 throw.The Region 10 track meet featured competitors from five states, but now the Oroszes will take on the country in the national championships, which will host more than 6,000 athletes ages 8-18.Greg will take the National Junior Olympics stage on Thursday, while Rachel will compete in the shot put on Saturday and the discus on Sunday.The Orosz family loaded up in their motor home on Tuesday to head out to California, hoping to seeing Rachel and Greg earn top-three finishes again. If that happens, they will qualify for the International Association of Athletics Federations World Youth Championships in 2008 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
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They came. They skated. They conquered.