USA Track and Field Junior Olympic medals are tough to come by.
Each year, thousands of young athletes compete at local and regional meets to qualify for the Junior Olympic Nationals. This year, 8,000 athletes survived the qualifying rounds and advanced to the national championship meet held July 25-31 at Sacramento State University, and the Napa Track Club had 15 athletes qualify in 23 different events.
Over the previous 21 years, only 13 athletes from the Napa Track Club have been able to earn a spot on the Junior Olympics awards podium and have the honor of being named All-American.
Sophia Tinnon qualified in three different events (shot put, javelin and discus) for the big meet. She has competed at a very high level this year, winning most of her local and regional meets. It took a personal record in the shot put of 35 feet, 5.98 inches for her to make it back to the podium, recording a seventh-place finish in the girls 11-12 age group.
Ainsley Adams is the newest member of the NTC to have the honor of making the podium in the Junior Olympics. She had an outstanding season and was undefeated going into the national meet. On a very hot day, she competed well and scored a fourth-place finish in the 11-12 girls 1500-meter race walk. In that same race, Cassi Richardson gutted out an 11th place finish with over 30 girls competing in the event.
Kevin Tunnell was the second athlete to qualify in three different events, the hammer, shot put and discus, for the Junior Olympics. On the first day of competition, he went out and recorded a personal record in the hammer, 160 feet, 8.74 inches, to move up to a 16th-place finish, after coming into the meet rank in the 30s. Tunnell had a good summer with the NTC and goes back to Southern Oregon University with a NTC record of 52 feet, 0.02 inch in the shot put and a mark of 160 feet, 8.74 in the hammer throw.
The Junior Olympics is a great experience, as everything is bigger; the venue, the level of competition and the number of athletes. The NTC had several athletes record personal records on the big stage.
Carly Johnson had a personal best in the 13-14 girls javelin (100 feet, 2.36 inches) and just missed the podium with a ninth-place finish. Mia Oggenfuss recorded a personal best in the 13-14 girls triple jump (31 feet, 11.46 inches) and also competed in the high jump. Maddie Klungel had a good performance in the 13-14 girls triple jump (31 feet, 7.53 inches). Cooper Stewart had his best effort of the season in the 13-14 boys discus (108 feet, 7.15 inches) and also competed in the javelin throw.
Casey Potrebic recorded a personal best in the 13-14 boys javelin (112 feet, 1.28 inches) and also competed in the 3000-meter run. Mitchell Martin competed in the 17-18 boys javelin and recorded a lifetime best (141 feet, 7.61 inches). Quentin Dervin competed in the 15-16 boys hammer throw and came away with a personal best and club record (112 feet, 3.24 inches).
Also competing for the club were Bella Oggenfuss (17-18 girls) in the high jump, Kendall Martin (15-16 girls) in the javelin, Jared Kenney (15-16 boys) in the discus, and Liam Wallace-Harper (11-12) in the high jump, also making the semifinals in the 80-meter hurdles.
The Junior Olympics were the final meet of the season for the Napa Track Club. Tryouts for the 2017 season will take place in the spring.