Four qualify for Junior Olympics

Saige Peterson starts her practice session Wednesday at the Jennie Jaynes Complex. Peterson is one of four Sedalia Speed team members who qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics in Norfolk, Virginia.

From left: Brent Katzing, Saige Peterson, Drake Peterson, Charlise Perez, Chance Johnson and Brandon Katzing. Saige, Drake, Perez and Johnson will compete in the AAU Junior Olympics during the first week of August in Norfolk, Virginia.

Four members of the Sedalia Speed track and field team are headed east to compete in the AAU Junior Olympics during the first week of August in Norfolk, Virginia.

Charlise Perez, Saige Peterson, Drake Peterson and Chance Johnson all qualified in at least one event.

Perez will be in the triathlon in the 10-year-old age group, which includes shot put, high jump and the 200, after taking fourth in the event at the regional meet in Joplin this past weekend. She also took second in the 1500 to qualify in that event.

“Charlise has been a big improvement,” said coach Brent Katzing. “The running events have been a lot better. Her jogging is getting a lot better and she’s getting a lot better feel for the bar.”

Saige ran the 800 with a time of 2:28.91 at the regional meet, which earned her the win and a spot at the Junior Olympics to compete in the 15-16-year-old age group.

“I’m excited to prepared and train even better than I was during track season,” Saige said. “I’m really excited just to be able to go and experience the race.”

With the race being about a month away, Saige said she wants to get her mind right before the trip.

“I’m going to start upping my workouts a little bit more and kind of just preparing myself mentally,” she said. “A lot of it’s mental because my body is ready for that race but you have to convince your mind to do it.”

Drake cleared 6-06 in the pole vault and will compete in Norfolk. He was the only competitor in the 13-year-old age group.

Johnson will take on three events, including the high jump, triple jump and long jump.

He took second in the high jump, clearing 6-02. His triple jump of 41-09 was good enough for second place and he reached 20-11 in the long jump to take third.

“I’ve been in the weight room a lot,” Johnson said. “We’ve been going every morning trying to get stronger all around. I’m trying to get stronger all around and I’ve been trying to perfect my technique.”

Johnson has been juggling basketball and track this summer, but said he’s been able to focus more on track and it’s gotten him to the Junior Olympics in three events.

“Like last track meet, I had six basketball games in two days and then I had to jump three days in a row so I was pretty tired,” he said.

Johnson’s personal best in the high jump is 6-05, but he said he wants to clear 6-06. In the long jump and triple jump, he said he wants to jump 22 and 43 feet, respectively.

Sedalia Democrat
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