Grass Laker Competes In USA Track & Field Junior Olympics
The 50th USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships was held in Sacramento, California this past weekend. The USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships is the most visible youth athletic development program in the world. Many of today’s Olympic stars began their track and field careers competing in the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships.Entry for this championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association, and Regional levels of the 2016 USATF Junior Olympic Program.
Fourteen year old Grass Laker Drew Allen was one of the participants. Just qualifying for one of these races is quite the accomplishment. The Grass Lake Times spoke with Drew and his mom, Tonya Quinn about the recent experience.
Drew competed in the 1500 meter 13-14 year old boys division this past Friday. Drew has only been running the past two years, at Grass Lake Middle School. His mom says he has a “gift for running. He’s very competitive, very goal driven.” His qualifying time of 4:31.18 earned him the trip to Sacramento. His 4:30.44 24th place finish (out of 49) in the preliminaries was not strong enough to take him to the finals. Unfortunately for Drew, just before flying out, he came down with strep throat and tonsillitis. “He was just miserably sick” his mom indicated. He started out strong and led for a bit before running out of steam. “he gave it all he had with how he was feeling”.
While being disappointed, Drew seemed upbeat for the future. “I am going to try and get faster” and hope to “get under 4 minites”. When asked about the experience, the typical teenager response of “pretty sweet” with an upbeat tone in his voice and smile on his face. “It was different, but really cool to be there” he responded. Not being a runner, I asked what he thought about when running a race, he said “Going faster, winning the race, going faster.” There is not much time to think about anything else.
For those not as familiar with track distances, or the metric system, a mile is 1609.34 meters.
Drew is eager to “get another shot”. Until then he will keep practicing. He will be attending Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor this fall.
Drew wantedto thank Evan Browne, for helping him train for the race. Evan is a Grass Lake graduate, played college basketball overseas in Australia, then was Drew’s 7th and 8th grade basketball coach at Grass Lake. He is a personal trainer in Dexter. His mom added “He has been a wonderful mentor and biggest supporter of Drew over the last couple years.”