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Four running club members qualify for nationals
The Whidbey Island Running Club qualified four athletes for national competition at the Region 13 Junior Olympic Track and Field meet at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., July 11 and 12.
Competitors from Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska competed, and the top three finishers in each event earned a spot at the national meet in Greensboro, N.C., July 30 through Aug. 1.
The Whidbey Island team took nine athletes to the meet.
Qualifying for the Whidbey Island Running Club were 10-year-old Laura Rodeheffer in the 1,500 meters, 12-year-old Dakota Powers in the 3,000 and the high jump, 12-year-old John Rodeheffer in the 3,000 and 13-year-old Caley Powers in the triple jump.
Laura Rodeheffer crossed the finish line in fourth place by a photo finish and she thought she had missed her chance at the nationals. However, meet officials disqualified another runner interfering with Rodeheffer’s attempt to pass and she placed third. Her run of 5:21.08, a 5:42 mile equivalent and 17-second personal best, vaulted her up the National Youth Rankings for 9 and 10-year-old girls from 34th to 11th.
Dakota Powers, age 12, was the number-one regional seed in the 3,000 meter midget run and showed his talent. He won the event in a time of 10:49.23, nearly a half-lap ahead of his closest competitor.
He will also be competing in a second event, qualifying in the high jump. Powers placed second, setting a personal record of 4:03.25.
John Rodeheffer, also age 12, was the number-one regional seed in the 3,000 meters, but ran in the youth division.
At the start of the race, he found himself in fourth place and the lead established by the two other runners, one a previous national champion in the 3,000, quickly grew. Rodeheffer was able to work with the runner in third place to slowly scramble back. On lap seven, he was able to make a strong surge to the front and held on to first place down the homestretch, establishing a new personal best of 9:47.3 in the process. This puts him 13th in national rankings for 13 and 14-year-olds.
Finally, 13-year-old Caley Powers qualified in the triple jump with a personal record leap of 31-11.50 to finish in third place.
Other Whidbey Island Running Club members competing at the regional meet were Carolynn Wicker, Olivia Meyer, Christina Wicker, Miguel Guzman and Sam Rossen.
Royal qualifies in three events
Running for the Federal Way Track Club, Oak Harbor’s Adrianna Royal qualified for national competition in three events at the regionals.
She won gold medals in the 2,000-meter steeple chase and the 800-meter run, and earned a bronze medal in the 1,500.
Along the way, she set two personal records and tied a third.
In the steeplechase on Saturday, she finished 40 seconds ahead of her closest competitor in a PR time of 7:35, just 5 seconds off the Junior Olympic Regional record.
Royal also also raced the 1,500m the same day, got a bronze medal, and set another PR with a time of with 4:58. In that race, she broke the 5-minute mark for the first time.
Seeded fourth in Sunday’s 800, she came away with the gold medal with a time of 2:21.