Vancouver youth storm to national titles

Keller, Fuller win events at Junior Olympic nationals

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

The final day of the U.S. Track and Field Junior Olympics turned into championship day for Vancouver’s Evergreen Storm Track Club.

Sean Keller won the javelin for boys ages 17-18, and Alexis Fuller won the 1,500 meters for girls ages 13-14 on Sunday at the national meet in Wichita, Kan.

Fuller’s victory was dramatic. She edged out Jordyn Colter from Zoom Track Club of Colorado to win the 1,500 in a time of 4 minutes, 40.70 seconds. Colter’s time was 4:40.75.

“I was happy” about how that race played out, Fuller said.

She was in a group of four runners out front, passed two of them with about 200 meters remaining then surged to the lead with about 100 meters to go.

Fuller, 14, said she knew Colter was right with her to the finish line.

“I couldn’t see her. I just heard people yelling for her, calling her name, so I knew she was close,” Fuller said.

The time was Fuller’s fastest 1,500 meters by one second. She ran 4:41.97 to finish second in the 1,500 at the 2010 Junior Olympics.

She said the conditions in Wichita reminded her of the 2010 national meet at Sacramento, Calif. — only hotter.

The 1,500 was the second personal record (PR) of the meet for Fuller, who placed second to Colter in the 3,000 meters on Saturday with a time of 10:12.96. It was only the third time Fuller has raced the 3,000 on the track. Despite triple-digit temperatures, her time was a PR by 28 seconds.

“It felt long,” Fuller said about the 3,000. “Sometimes a race seems shorter than you think it will be, but this one seemed longer.”

Fuller will be a freshman this at Union High School where she plans to run cross country this fall. She said that she was surprised to run her fastest times in the extreme heat.

Keller won the javelin with a mark of 205 feet, 4 inches.

For Keller, who will be a senior at Heritage High School, the javelin victory at the USATF Junior Olympics capped a busy season that started with a Class 4A high school state javelin title in May. In April, he set a state record for Washington high school javelin competitors with a throw of 232-1.

In June, Keller placed second at the USATF junior nationals in Eugene, Ore. One week before the Junior Olympics, Keller was the top American and placed sixth at the Pan-Am Junior Track and Field Championships in Miramar, Fla., with a throw of 228 feet, 6 inches.

Keller said the Pan-Am Games were his first taste of a true big-time meet.

“It was different,” Keller said of the Pan-Am meet. “Guys were putting some big throws out there.”

The winning throw at the Pan-Am was 250-8 by Argentina’s Brian Toledo.

Keller said he had a lot of fun with Team USA, and enjoyed meeting athletes from other countries. He also said the experience will help him going forward.

“I’m used to the big-meet pressure now,” Keller said. “I’m excited for next year.”

Though his mark at the Junior Olympics was well short of his best — bad throws, he said — Keller led throughout Sunday’s competition.

Sam Ferenchak, a recent Union High School graduate, of the Evergreen Storm placed eighth in the javelin for boys 17-18 with a mark of 175-8.

Six Evergreen Storm Track Club athletes made the trip to Wichita for the national Junior Olympics.

Ethan Tonder competed in the three throws for boys ages 13-14, with his best finish 11th place in the discus. Keaton Spiller competed in the 2,000-meter steeplechase and the 1,500 for boys 15-16, and Dylan Parmeter, a Mountain View senior-to-be, in the long jump for boys 17-18.