Black, Heffner bring home bronze
Three Baldwin Track Club veterans competed in the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics last week and two of them came home from the meet in Buffalo, New York, as All-Americans.
"The weather was perfect in New York for a track meet," said coach Angie Spielman, who accompanied the athletes on the trip. "There were a lot of records being broken and our kids performed well. It was a fun week."
The meet started on Monday with the first day of multi-events. Eric Black and Angie Heffner, both competing in their fourth consecutive national meet, participated in the multi-events. Black finished third and Heffner 17th.
Black's 5,694 points were well ahead of fourth place and a personal best. Black's top events were the 400-meter dash (52.5) for 703 points, high jump (6-0.75) for 670 points and the 1,500-meter run (4:34.36) for 716 points. In the pole vault the top two finishers in the decathlon earned 500 points ahead of Black and put a silver or gold medal out of reach for him. He wrapped up third place in the final event with a first in the 1,500, winning the event by over 20 seconds
"I went in to the competition ranked second and hoped to win, but the top two finishers surprised us because they weren't entered for some reason," said Black. "I really wanted to break 6,000, but I'll have to learn to throw the javelin, discus and shot put a little better. The 1,500 felt pretty good because nobody else could run it very well."
Black also competed in the high jump, finishing in a tie for 18th. Black went out after clearing 5-10.75. If he would have cleared the next height, Black could have gone from 18th to 10th.
Heffner competed in the pole vault at the end of the week and turned in one of her best efforts of the summer. The future Baker University Wildcat finished third by clearing 11-5.75.
"Angie had two really good attempts at 11-11.75, and that would have been a personal best," said Spielman. "She jumped real well, and probably would have cleared 11-9, which was her previous best."
Corey Martinez, who was also competing in his fourth national meet, placed 17th (7:22.88) in the 2,000 meter steeple chase.
The team mixed competition with fun and did some traveling to Niagara Falls and other attractions.
"We had a lot of fun throughout the week," said Black. "It was good to have coach there at the meet and throughout the week. A lot of kids didn't have their coaches to help."