Nothing like starting off Day 6 with a 9am 3000 Meter run (still in HOT and Humid weather) but that is just what Oakley Jackson did today. This was Oakley's first major meet and even though he was a little nervous did an amazing job by PR'ing by 6 seconds in 10:47! Just imagine if he actually ate and hydrated properly the day before….;). I think I need to actually watch them consume the food personally instead of just believing them! Even though he PR'ed, he learned a valuable lesson!
Next, we were able to watch Jaylon Gardner throw the Shot Put around a few times and tie for 23rd of 43 athletes! Coach J (as I like to call him) actually threw his farthest throw on the very 1st attempt so he did a great job coming right out and getting after it. He competes in the Discus tomorrow morning and says he is ready to "pop" a big one!! Go get 'em "Coach J"!!
Our final competitor of the day was Connor Poulsen in the Final of the 13-14 Boys 800 Meters! As I mentioned in a previous post Connor came in ranked 20th after our Region Meet with a 2:09.63. Then in the first round he ran a 2:06.05 PR to make today's Final. In practice the last 4 weeks since our Region Meet I have had Connor running splits that would put him on 2:02 pace (he did not know this BTW until we talked race strategy last night and I told him he was ready to do it!) So today he had specific instructions that he was to stay right behind Derek Thomas (our Region Champion and #2 ranked runner). I told him that after hitting the break line he was to get right behind Derek (who is a much taller athlete) and let him do the work. He did just that, even though he slowed a little bit to get behind him. Derek and Connor came into the first 200 meters in 7 & 8th place in just over 28 second. Conner looked directly at me at the 200 meter mark and had the look of "just like this coach?" (You will have to watch the video because it was absolutely hilarious to me!) He even did it on the next lap! He came through the 400 meters in just over 60 seconds and with 350 meters to go Derek made a move and Connor followed. Now we talked the night before that we thought he would do it with 250 meters but he did it much sooner. Connor was up to the challenge and followed! I told him that I wanted him to do everything Derek was doing, if he moved…you move. If he sneezed…you sneeze, etc. When they came to the 200 meter mark Derek opened up a little over a second advantage on Connor and they still were chasing 3 other runners! Derek caught all of them and won the race but Connor gave it everything he had and in the home stretch caught 2 of the 3 that were ahead of him and it was a dog fight until the finish were Connor finished 5th with a new PR of 2:02.75!! He hit the 2:02 that we were shooting for and took 7 seconds off his time coming into this meet! Connor became our 5th official Jr. Olympic All-American at this meet, which equals our highest output from last year! I love his work ethic and personal desire to do his best every time! Connor has matured so much this year as a racer and I could not be more prouder of how much he trust me to help him be at his best!
Tomorrow is the final day at the Jr. Olympics and we have 4 more athletes that will be competing this year then we get to go HOME! So I probably will not be able to update Day 7 for you until sometime Monday afternoon since we will be getting back to Utah around 3am Monday. So if you want to see how we did you will either have to watch it live or look up the results at usatf.tv. Thank you for all your support for these athletes and I hope you have enjoyed my little write-ups!!
Here is tomorrow's schedule. Again all times are UTAH start times!
Go to usatf.tv to watch live!!
8:00am McKay Wells (under 9 Boys) 1500 Meters
approx.9:00am Sophia Jensen (11-12 Girls) 1500 Meters
11:00am Jaslyn Gardner (13-14 Girls) 100 Meter Final
11:00am Jaylon Gardner (13-14 Boys) Discus