Springers’ track athletes take competition to the next level
Special to the Post Independent
Seven Glenwood Springers track athletes competed at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Lawrence, Kansas, July 24-30.
Glenwood Springs High School senior AJ Crowley started the meet off with a personal record of 5,332 points in the 17-18 men’s decathlon, besting his previous score by over 300 points and earning him a 19th-place finish. Throughout the two days of events, he ran a PR [personal record] in the 400 meter dash in a time of 53.25 seconds, threw a PR in the shot put with a mark of 37 feet, 6.5 inches, and finished the event by shaving off over 17 seconds in the 1500 meter run with a time of 4:59.33.
“That was the greatest feeling knowing that despite some troubles with my best events, I left everything out there, and it paid off,” Crowley said following the 1500 meter run.
Overall, Crowley described the Junior Olympics National Meet as “an incredible experience and full of value. It was amazing to see athletes perform very well at the events that I’m just picking up.”
Crowley plans to compete in the decathlon again next summer.
GSHS sophomore Kuba Bartnik competed in two events in the 15-16 boys’ division: the 100 meter sprint and the 400 meter dash. During the meet, Bartnik ran PRs in both the 100 meter sprint (11.55 seconds) and in the 400 meter dash (52.33 seconds).
“It was an amazing experience,” Bartnik said. “The opportunity was great, and the competition was very tough. It was an enormous event, and to be part of it was very fun.”
Fourteen-year-old incoming GSHS freshman Sophia Vigil ran two incredible PRs in the 15-16 girls’ 800 meter dash and in the 1500 meter run. In the 800 meter dash, Vigil shaved off over three seconds running a time of 2:24.38.
In the 1500 meter run, Vigil shattered her previous best by nearly 15 seconds running a time of 5:02.85.
“I’m excited I was able to PR in both races, and I look forward to improving even more in the future,” Vigil said.
Glenwood Springs eighth-grader Ella Johnson and fifth-grader Benny Swanson both competed in the 3000 meter run. Johnson ran a six-second PR in the 3000 meter run with a time of 11:20.9. Throughout the course of the summer track season, Johnson has improved her 3000 meter time by over 19 seconds.
Benny Swanson ran 11 seconds faster than his best with a time of 10:27.92, which earned him a 12th-place finish.
Eight-year-old Calvin “The Crusher” Swanson competed in the 8U boys division of the 1500 meter and ran an excellent time of 6:21.21.
“I was very nervous,” Swanson said. “There were so many strong-looking athletes. The stadium seemed so big, but, when I got on the track, all my butterflies went away.”
Calvin’s older brother, Benny, also competed in the 1500 meter where he ran a PR of 4:54.45.
Glenwood Springers Track Club’s sole podium finish was 12-year-old seventh-grader Sophia Connerton-Nevin. She ran in the second heat of three of the 11-12 girls 1500 meter run, which was not the fastest heat.
“I wasn’t put in the fastest heat so I knew it would be a race against the clock,” Connerton-Nevin said. “On the last lap, I knew I had to pick it up and just went for it.”
“She held a perfect pace for the first one and a half laps, then passed the lead runner and never looked back,” Glenwood Springers’ coach Anne Swanson said. “She finished nearly 100 meters ahead of the second competitor in her heat. It’s so hard to push yourself with no competition, but she did it and got All-American.”
Her blazing-fast time of 5:00.89 earned her a third-place finish overall, and the prestigious All-American title.
Congratulations to all seven of the Glenwood Springers Track Club athletes who competed in the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships.