The team gets three All-American performances at the national meet

by: DAVID BLAIR - UP AND OVER -- Tigard Youth Track's Julian Body races through a heat of the high hurdles at the Junior Olympics National Championships in Baltimore, MD.BALTIMORE, Md. — Tigard Youth Track was just flat hot this summer.

TYT qualified 45 young athletes for the Junior Olympic National Championships, took 25 of its best on the cross-country trip to Baltimore, and produced a ton of great performances and memories there. The Junior Olympic meet was held July 23-29 at Hughes Stadium on the Morgan State University campus.

“This was one of the club’s most successful seasons to date, if not the most successful,” said TYT coach David Blair, noting that Tigard won a total of three All-American medals at nationals as well as several other top-20 finishes.

TYT’s top two performers — both of whom won Junior Olympic All-American offers — were Spencer Kuffel and Julian Body. Their honors came as a result of their top-eight finishes at the national KENNAN KUFFEL - MEDALIST -- Spencer Kuffel earned an All-American medal.

Kuffel earned his spot by taking seventh place in the Bantam Boys High Jump with a height of 1.30 meters (4 feet, 03.25 inches), while Body was a double All-American after placing sixth in the Youth Boys 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.36 seconds, and fifth in the Youth Boys 200 hurdles at 26.17.

Body “was quickly challenged right out of the blocks by faster runners in the preliminaries,” Blair said. “But Julian did a fantastic job pushing himself harder than he has had to all year to get into the finals of both races. This season, Julian has shown much greater focus in training than he did last year, and we were all very thrilled to see his dedication pay off in the form of two All-American medals.”

Other notable TYT performances came from Maya Loudd, Skyler Blair, Andrew McDade and Lauren Paven. Loudd took 11th in the Sub-Bantam girls long jump with a mark of 3.01 meters (9-10.5). Skyler Blair made it to the semifinals in the Midget girls 80 hurdles with a preliminary time of 13.82 (that despite running with a broken arm in a cast as well as a case of poison oak which caused her right eye to swell shut) and eventually finished 20th.

McDade, running in the Bantam boys 800, shaved two seconds off his PR in his preliminary, and another two seconds in his semifinal to run 2:33.13 and finish 17th. And Paven topped a fantastic season by placing 19th in the highly competitive Midget girls 400 with a time of 1:02.52 DAVID BLAIR - NO STOPPING HER -- Skyler Blair (left) competed in the 80-meter hurdles event despite having a broken arm.

Loudd “came into the meet as a strong possible All-American favorite after … breaking the Junior Olympic national record in the long jump earlier this month,” David Blair said. “But Maya did not have her best performance and missed a medal by a mere three spots.”

The team’s other top performances came from the boys 4-by-800 relay team of Peyton Kuffel, Derek Leneve, Steven Long and Rene Cole which finished 15th at 10:51.28; and Lincoln Woodhouse, who placed 16th in the Bantam boys 1,500 with a time of 5:18.74.

In total, the National Championships included a record number of 8,000 participants (besting last year’s record number of 6,862) competing in blistering 90-degree heat and miserable humidity, conditions that most definitely played a part in the performances of many of the athletes.

“The meet was also plagued with excessive delays, which on several days led to falling more than three hours behind schedule,” David Blair said. That “played havoc with check-in and warm-up routines. But despite the heat wave and scheduling issues, many national records fell during the seven-day meet.”

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