In today’s column in the Post Register, I followed up with Stetson and Jessica Moss (whom I wrote about in June) and how they did at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships. Stetson, an incoming Bonneville sophomore, took home two medals and Jessica ran a PR for the 1500.
The Medal Stand: Mosses end big summer at Junior Olympics
By MARLOWE HEREFORD
An eventful outdoor track season came to an end in record fashion for Iona siblings and High Five Flyers track club runners Stetson and Jessica Moss last week at the National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Lawrence, Kan.
Stetson, an incoming Bonneville High School sophomore, won two medals in finishes that came down to fractions of a second. Last Friday, he won the 15-16 boys 3,000 final in eight minutes, 39.97 seconds and edged second place finisher Evan “EJ” Holland by 0.08 seconds. The time shattered Moss’s previous best of 9:09.61 from the Region 11 Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in June in Meridian.
“Going into that race, I just thought I’d better go out and run the best I can, I guess,” Moss said. “That bell lap, I just thought I’d stick with EJ and give it all I had the last 200.”
Sunday’s 15-16 boys 1,500 finals also came down to the same two athletes. This time, Holland claimed first in 4:05.46 to edge Stetson by 0.24 seconds. Stetson had another personal best time of 4:05.70, bettering his 4:14.48 from June.
National Junior Olympics was the first national meet for both Mosses. Stetson said he shut out everything before he raced, but taking everything in after finishing was eye-opening.
“Afterwards, I was like dang,” he said. “That was definitely the biggest meet I’ve ever been to.”
Stetson not only gained personal bests, but new friends and more motivation from Junior Olympics Nationals. He’s had Idaho State student Stephone Jordan as his personal coach since November, and Jessica started training with Jordan in April. After a summer of youth track meets, completing workouts for cross-country season and following Jordan’s workout schedules, Stetson said he is already thinking about his goals for next outdoor track season: a sub-9 minute time in the 3,200 and a 4:05 in the 1,600.
“I want to put in a lot of time,” Stetson said. “We already have my workouts planned clear into next year.”
Jessica, an incoming Rocky Mountain Middle School eighth grader, ran 5:05.46 in her 13-14 girls 1,500 heat last Thursday to place 36th of 56 runners. The top 12 advanced to finals. Although she said her goal time was 4:58, she was glad for a 15-second PR and to compete at a national meet.
“I just felt honored to be there,” Jessica said. “I knew that even if I didn’t win, I’d still do good. It was still the best of the best there.”
Watching her brother in both of his finals proved to be nervewracking. The close finishes left Jessica in suspense.
“It was really scary for me to watch him because at the end, I wasn’t sure if he was gonna get first or second,” Jessica said. “I was yelling and screaming the whole time.”
Like Stetson, Jessica feels prepared and motivated her for the upcoming year thanks to this summer. While cross-country is the immediate focus, she said she is looking forward to returning to the 13-14 age division in 2018 with more personal bests.
“Hopefully, they’ll get way faster,” she said.
Another track athlete with local ties competed over the weekend on the international stage.
Chari Hawkins, a 2010 Madison grad and five-time All-American at Utah State who is now a professional heptathlete with the Santa Barbara Track Club, helped Team USA win the heptathlon 17,461-16,280 over Germany at the Thorpe Cup, an annual heptathlon and decathlon only event between Germany and the U.S., in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Sunday. Hawkins placed third in the heptathlon individual standings with 5,781 points, one point back of second place. Germany won the decathlon 38,642-37,321 over the U.S.
Coming up locally
The Great Snake River triathlon and duathlon takes place Saturday at 7:30 a.m. The swimming portion begins at the Pancheri Bridge and ends at South Tourist Park, the biking portion goes from South Tourist Park to the New Sweden area and the running portion begins and ends at Snake River Landing.
The Choose Respect 5k fun run/walk takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday at Jensen Grove Park in Blackfoot. Proceeds benefit the Bingham Crisis Center.