27 Zoom athletes qualify for Junior Olympic nationals

Posted 8/6/10

The Zoom Track Club, based in Highlands Ranch, competed in the Region X Junior Olympic Championships from July 8-10 at Colorado State University at …

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27 Zoom athletes qualify for Junior Olympic nationals


The Zoom Track Club, based in Highlands Ranch, competed in the Region X Junior Olympic Championships from July 8-10 at Colorado State University at Pueblo.

The regional championship meet draws the top youth track athletes ages 8-18 from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and the Border Association of Texas. To compete at the Junior Olympic regional level, each athlete placed in the top three in their respective State Junior Olympic championship events.

Fifty-eight Zoom athletes qualified to compete in the Region X Championships in 95 events, more than any other Junior Olympic team from Colorado.

Fifty-four Zoom athletes took center stage at the championships, earning 15 gold medals, 15 silver medals and eight bronze medals in 18 individual events, in addition to five relay teams.

The Zoom team set a Region X record, broke 39 Zoom team performance records and accomplished 55 personal-best performances at the championships.

Connie Williams, head coach and Zoom program director, attributes the success of the program to top-notch track coaches, a proven program, driven athletes, supportive families and a positive team environment, she said.

“With determined athletes like ours, records will fall,” Williams said prior to nationals.

Twenty-seven Zoom athletes placed in the top three in the region, qualifying them for the National Junior Olympic Championships from July 27 to Aug. 1 in Sacramento. The Zoom Track Club qualified in 18 individual events and five relay teams, qualifying more athletes to the national championships than any time in the club’s nine-year history.

Since the program’s inception in 2002 by Williams, the club has coached 511 USA Track and Field Region X qualifiers, 149 national qualifiers and prepared athletes to compete in international competition. The Zoom set a record for the highest number of USA Track and Field Region X and national qualifiers with the same sized team as previous years.

Among Zoom’s 2010 Region X champions and national qualifiers in their respective age divisions were Jordyn Colter in the 3,000-meter run; Dominique Gerard in the 1,500; Taylor Gerard in the 800; Max Ornelas in the 100 and 200; and Emily Sloan in the 100 and 200. The 3,200 relay athletes to nab gold included Colter, Taylor Gerard, Annecy Olson, Aubrey Till, Daniel Book, Keenan Ferguson, Jackson Nichols and John O’Hagan.

Winning silver and heading to nationals, in their respective divisions, from the Zoom program were Mackenna Balman in the 3,000, Colter in the 1,500, Devan Foster in the 800, Dominique Gerard in the 2,000-meter steeple, Taylor Gerard in the 1,500, Kori Hazel in the 800 and Till in the 3,000. Taking silver in the 400 relay included Jayla Balman, Julia Hall, Kathryn Hall, Jamie Williams, Lindsay Clark, Stephanie Dexter, Sydney Hudson and Erika Kemman.

Bringing home bronze and a spot at the national meet were Balman in the 1,500, Taylor Gerard in the 3,000, Anna Hall in the high jump, Ornelas in the long jump, and 3,200 relay athletes Blake Williams, Dimitry Svistun, Parker Churchill and Luke Pousma.

Zooming through nationals

Mackenna Balman had a 14-second, personal-best performance in the 3,000 meters, running 11 minutes, 8.63 seconds. Ranked 13th out of the top 25 of the nation’s best, Balman's new personal best jumped her up four spots to place ninth at nationals.

Jordyn Colter smashed her own Zoom 3,000-meter youth girls record, set at the 2010 state meet by nearly 31 seconds. Jordyn's 10:11.73 performance placed her fourth in the country and earned her a spot on the award podium at nationals. Colter competes in the same age division next season.

Aubrey Till pushed the pace with a huge 10 second personal best performance in the youth girls 3,000 finals. Till ran 10:42.98 and placed 10th at nationals. She competed in the fast heat in a race among 31 of the nations best. Till competes in the same age division next season as well.

Devan Foster, competing in the 800 meter intermediate girls final, broke another Zoom record running 2:19.75. Foster set the new 800-meter record just two days prior in the preliminary round. In ninth place on the final 100 meter stretch, Foster sprinted passed three competitors and nearly caught the fourth, as she dove over the finish line to finish in fifth. This is Devan's first national championship and her first time on the awards stand at the USATF national stage.

With 28 jumpers in the field, Anna Hall was one of four bantam girl high jumpers who did not negotiate the starting height of 3 feet, 3 inch. Hall has a personal best of 4-0 and easily clears 3-3 every day in practice. She is 9 years old and will be a Bantam again next season and is expected to be at the national level several more times.

Taylor Gerard, qualifying in four events at the championships, did not run her 3,000-meter and instead prepared to run the final in the 1,500 the day after.


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