The competition was as hot as the weather, but a handful of local track and field athletes survived both during the Region 16 Junior Olympics last weekend at Modesto Junior College. For those who finished among the top three in their respective events, their reward is a trip to the upcoming 44th annual USATF National Junior Olympics in Sacramento.
Five local athletes and a handful of relay teams made the grade in Modesto, and next will compete at the National JOs on July 27-Aug. 1 at Hughes Stadium on the campus of Sacramento City College.
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 at this meet.
Entry for this championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association, and Regional levels of the 2010 USATF Junior Olympic Program. Competition takes place in five two-year age divisions, with athletes generally falling between the ages of 8 and 18.
Heading for Sacramento will be Aishah Ahmad of the East Palo Alto Greyhounds, Madeline Price of the Menlo IGreyhounds Track Club of Menlo Park, Brandon Bains and Dijohn Williams of the East Palo Alto Greyhounds and Menlo-Atherton High senior Jason McGhee of the ISC International Empire TC.
Also qualifying was the East Palo Alto Greyhounds' Midget Girls' 400 relay team, the Greyhounds' 4x800 relay team for Midget Boys, the Palo Alto Lightning Youth Girls' 4x800 relay and the ISC International 400 and 4x400 relays in Young Men.
Ahmad earned a trip to Sacramento in a pair of events after she placed second in the Midget Girls' 200 in 26.59 and ran on 400 relay team that finished second in 52.06 and included Rashawn Ford, Jenae Pennywell and Nalani Williams.
Price finished third in the Intermediate Girls' 400 in 58.55 to earn her ticket to the National JOs.
In Midget Boys, Bains cleared 4-2 to finish third in the high jump. Also qualifying was the East Palo Alto Greyhounds' 4x800 relay team that finished second and featured Samir Arora, Jordan Bains, Jovon Johnson and Jordan Mims.
In Intermediate Boys, Williams clocked 54.09 to finish third in the 400 meters to qualify for Sacramento.
In the Young Men's division, McGhee clocked a fast 1:54.19 to finish second in the 800, an event where he competed at the CIF State Meet last month for the Bears. McGhee also ran on leg on the winning 4x400 relay that clocked 3:23.47 and ran on the third-place 400 relay squad that finished in 43.50. The mile relay team included Jesse Arenas, Andrew Chapman, Jason McGhee and Juquelle Thompson.
In other Midget Girls' events, Ahmad was fourth in the 100 in 13.07; Ford took fourth in the 200 in 27.11 and fifth in the 400 in 1:02.84. Caice Lanovaz of Joy's Jackrabbits was seventh in the long jump at 13-8 3/4.
In Youth Girls, Alexandria Cell of the Palo Alto Lightning TC was seventh in the 400 (1:03.85), seventh in the 800 (2:27.72) and ran a leg on the 4x800 team that qualified for JOS in 11:12.23 and included sister Olivia Cell, Kastania Dahlen and Sion Walls.
In Bantam Boys, Nicholas Anderson of the EPA Greyhounds was fourth in the long jump at 12-8.
In Midget Boys, Dennis Mandudzo of the Palo Alto Lightning was fourth in the 3,000 in 11:21.38 and eighth in the 1,500 in 5:23.37 while the EPA Greyhounds' 400 relay team finished fourth in 55.22 and included Brandon Bains, Jordan Bains, Jovon Johnson and Jordan Mims. The team's 4x400 relay also was fourth, with Arora replacing Brandon Bains on the opening leg.
In Youth Boys, Keaton Shiveley of the Menlo IGreyhounds was sixth in the 3,000 in 10:41.83.
In Intermediate Boys, Dijohn Williams was fourth in the 200 (23.54) and Max Parker of the Menlo IGreyhounds was fourth in the 400 in 54.87.