It was a good way to end the 2019 summer running campaign.
The Athletics East trio of Friedrich Stelzer, Juan Diego Contreras and Emily Johnson were on the journey of a lifetime at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships from July 22-28 at CSU Sacramento in California.
Contreras and Stelzer each secured top-10 outputs and set personal records, and Johnson recorded 29th place out of 40 in the girls’ 15-16-year-old 3,000-meter race.
“What an amazing week for these three hardworking and dedicated runners,” AE head coach Angela Hanson said. “All three of these young athletes faced strong competition and high temperatures and they each finished their seasons amongst 7,000 other registered athletes, and did it with strength, dedication and sheer will.”
Dealing with solid runners from across the United States is one element to the weeklong event, but another obstacle was the 106-degree heat the athletes had to endure on the Hornets Stadium track.
Stelzer, from Dufur, had his opening race in the 2,000-meter steeplechase, where he set a personal record time of six minutes and 29.31 seconds to take ninth place in the field of 25.
In his attempt at 3,000 meters, Stelzer hit for 28th place out of 36 with a mark of 9:43.63, a time that was 10 seconds off his USATF personal record of 9:33.86.
On Friday, July 26, Contreras wrapped up his solid summer with a personal-record time of 9:01.88 to net ninth place in the boys 15-16-year-old 3,000 meters, less than 14 seconds off the overall winner, Spencer Werner, of TNT Track and Field Academy (8:46.04).
In Saturday’s 15-16-year-old girls 3,000-meter race on Saturday, July 27, Johnson timed out in 11:41.54 to lock down 29th place.
In three summer races, Johnson hovered around the 11:34 region, close to 20 seconds from the personal record she set during the spring high school season (11:14.46).
Runner registration is currently taking place for the fall cross country seasons, so runners are encouraged to contact Hanson at angela.dietz.hanson @gmail.com for more information.