Region 6 Junior Olympics begins with decathlon
NATCHEZ — Thursday was the start of the decathlon and heptathlon event of the 2013 USATF Region 6 Junior Olympics track meet at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium at Natchez High School.
Dozens of girls and boys are testing their bodies to the max to complete seven to 10 track and field events in only two days.
Track meet referee Jackie Callender said this event is truly the War of Attrition.
Callender calls the event this because the multi-events will gradually take effect to an athletes’ body little by little, and only the strong will survive by the end of the event.
Callender said the competitors of the multi-events really have to persevere through pain and fatigue.
“How much can you stand?” he said. “If you’re not really conditioned for this event, you can win one or two events, but you’ll get fatigued. But if you’re still standing at the end of seven or 10 events, you’ll succeed.”
The boys started their decathlon at 11 a.m. Thursday with the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter dash.
The girls started their heptathlon at 11:30 a.m., beginning with the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200-meter dash.
The decathletes will finish their events at 8 a.m. today with the 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and the 1500-meter run.
The heptathletes will finish at 10:30 a.m. with the long jump, javelin throw and the 800-meter run.
Callender said the athletes cannot get ahead of themselves on day one of the events. Straining ones body to get first place in one event isn’t always a good thing.
The person with the best time doesn’t always win, but the person with the most overall points will come out victorious.
“They earn points depending on how fast they run or how long or high they jump,” Callender said. “The faster they run or the further their distance, adds more points to their overall total. But you don’t have to win every event to win first place.”
Winning the first event, the 100-meter hurdles, for the 17- and 18-year-old girls was Yasmin Pettway from Mobile, Ala.
Pettway completed the hurdles in 15.02 seconds, which totals out to 839 points.
Pettway said she keeps a clear head about her events and does not pay attention to her current lead.
“I just think about what I’m going to do for the day,” Pettway said. “I don’t focus too hard because then I might mess up. I just relax and do it.”
Winning the first event for the 15- and 16-year old boys 100-meter dash was Austin Nadler from West Monroe, La. He had a time of 11.90 seconds for a total of 671 points.
Nadler said he knows that there is still a long way to go. Nadler is one of many multi-event competitors who will also compete in the track events Saturday.
“I’m still level-headed about the whole event,” Nadler said. “Anything can happen still.”
Today, the decathletes and heptathletes will find out who is the best overall athlete, and only the mentally and physically strong will come out on top and qualify for the National Junior Olympics meet in Greensboro, N.C.
The track events will begin after the opening ceremony starting at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.