Seven Springers qualify for national track meet
Nine Glenwood Springers track athletes competed at the USATF Region 10 Junior Olympic Championships July 6-9 in Mesa, Arizona.
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 stellar performance by Glenwood Springs High School senior AJ Crowley, who scored 5,027 points in the decathlon. The senior took first in the 1500m, 110m hurdles and 400m events and ran a personal best in both the 100m and 400m distance races.
Crowley finished second overall and will advance to the national meet.
“I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to compete and move on, as well,” Crowley said. “When I decided to try a decathlon this summer, I didn’t picture the national meet, so I am super happy to be able to continue on and compete. There is a lot of potential and I’m excited to work on it for two more weeks.”
Glenwood Springs Middle School track star Ella Johnson placed second in the 3000m run, shaving off an incredible 13 seconds and finishing in 11:26.63. Also competing in the 3000m were local running phenoms, Reid and Benny Swanson. Reid placed sixth in the highly-competitive 13-14 age group with a grueling time of 10:36.33, while Benny placed fourth in the 11-12 age group with a time of 10:39.18 and will advance to the national meet.
Five athletes represented the Springers in the 1500m run. Eight-year-old Calvin “The Crusher” Swanson had a dream last school year to run in the national Junior Olympic track meet, and he set himself up to do just that. After deciding to scratch the 800m run due to excruciating heat, the pressure was on for him to place in the top five for the 1500m. Throughout the race, Calvin was in fifth place, neck-and-neck with a Colorado Parker Panther athlete. In the last turn, he turned up the heat and dropped his opponent. Calvin explained that, during the last 200m, he told himself, “I know he’s on a really good track team, so I’m going to beat him.”
Calvin also competed in the mini javelin throw immediately after his 1500m run. Calvin threw a stunning 51’3”, improving his best throw by nearly six feet and earning himself a sixth-place finish.
Sophian Connerton-Nevin (12) decided last minute to make the trek to Arizona for her 1500m run, and it paid off. Connerton-Nevin bested her time by a striking 17 seconds, earning her a second-place finish in the 11-12 age group.
“She went out harder than she’s ever run,” Glenwood assistant coach Anne Swanson said. “She was in second place through the last curve, where a pack of four competitors from the same team were closing in on her. You could tell she was not going to give up, and she surged through the finish. It’s clear that she has figured out her potential.”
Both Benny and Reid Swanson improved their 1500m times by four seconds.
Benny placed fourth in 4:56.19 and Reid placed seventh in 4:52.49. Incoming freshman Sophia Vigil placed third in the 1500m run with a time of 5:17.7. Vigil also competed in the 800m run where she shaved off four seconds for a remarkable personal record in the 800m with a time of 2:27.4 for the 15-16 age group.
In the sprints, GSHS sophomore Kuba Bartnik took his talent to the next level, qualifying in both the 400m dash and the 100m sprint.
He ran a 53.39 in the 400m earning him a fourth-place finish. In the 100m dash, Bartnick qualified with a fifth-place finish in the incredible time of 11.68.
Patrick Moravek (14) represented the Springers well in the high jump and long jump events. In the high jump, Moravek jumped an incredible four-inch personal best of 5’1” coming in seventh place. In the long jump, Moravek place eighth with a mark of 17’2 ¾”.
All seven of the qualifying athletes plan to compete at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Lawrence, Kansas, from July 24-30.
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As the heat of the summer gives way to cooler mornings, summer trail race opportunities are slowly coming to an end.