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Young track athletes star at USA Track & Field regionals
Two Arlington track stars excelled at the recent USA Track & Field regional held in Seattle. Held at Sealth High School, the regional meet consisted of qualifiers from all over Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.
Twelve-year-old Ken English and 16-year-old Kjirsten Jensen competed in their age brackets at the meet. Both are coached by Kens mother Andrea English, a former thrower for the University of Oregon and now a teacher at Post Middle School.
In the midget boys division, Ken placed third in both the shot put and discuss. He threw a distance of 34 2 in the six pound shot and 89 3 in the one kilogram discus. English has been competing in USA Track & Field sanctioned events for the past three years. His throws placed him in third position in both events, good enough to qualify for Nationals. At nationals, he will appear along with 44 other young throwers in each event.
It went pretty well, said English. I wasnt totally thrilled with my throws but I managed to not fall out of the ring, which has been a problem lately.
English studied his technique intensely this summer at Ironwood Throwers Camp, held in Spokane, Wash. Ironwood is an invitation only camp, set up for the top young throwers in the country to train with former Olympians and other star performers. Coaches at the camp include Lance Deal, former hammer thrower from University of Oregon, past U.S. record holder in the shot put Ramona Pagel, four-time Olympic javelin qualifier Karen Smith, and Mack Wilkins, former Olympic gold medal winner in discus.
Working on technique with such top athletes gave Ken the solid base of knowledge he needed to compete well.
I was using my upper body as opposed to using my hips, said English.
English expects big things at the upcoming national meet held at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. He currently rates between 11th and 13th in the United States for shot put and 15th for discus.
I tried to throw the javelin too, said English, but I kept throwing it illegally so I decided to stick with shot and discus.
Kjirsten Jensens accomplishments on the field have been equally impressive. She won state in both shot put and discus this past track season at Arlington High School.
One thing that helps to separate Kjirsten, said coach Andrea English, is that she continues to throw with USA Track & Field after the high school season is over. She continues to train and compete through the summer.
At the regional meet she finished second in the shot put with a throw of 38 9 3/4. She also claimed third in the discus at 119. As a qualifier in both events, Jensen will get a chance to show her skills against the top throwers nationwide July 25-29.
Kjirsten threw a PR 135 in the discus during the high school season, so shes capable of getting back to that number, said coach English. If she does that, shell fare well at nationals.