Two YMCA athletes brought home seventh place finishes at the AAU Olympics competition in Missouri this year.
Janessa Leonard placed seventh in the long jump, also competing in shot put and the 400 meter race. Levi Saltsman placed seventh in the javelin. He also competed in shot put.
The competition, which was held at the end of July/beginning of August, wrapped up the track club’s season, which begins competing in mid-April.
The youth qualified for the meet by being in the top 16 to go on to Regionals, from which they qualified for Nationals. El Dorado had 16 youth qualify for Regionals and six who qualified for Nationals.
“They performed really well there,” said Jameson Fay, YMCA head track coach.
Fay, who is on the track team at Butler Community College, just took over as head coach part way through this season, starting out as a volunteer coming to practices. When the head coach left to take another job, Fay stepped up as head coach.
At the AAU competition, the youth had to deal with not only the strong competition, but also the 100+ degree temperatures every day.
Others who competed at the AAU Olympics were Andrew Brown in javelin, and three members of the Pfeiffer family, David, Josiah and Julianna.
There were about 60 youth in each event, with thousands attending the AAU Olympics.
“For these kids to place as high as they did was phenomenal,” Fay said.
Last year was the first year for the team at the Y and they only had two qualify that year.
This year, the team has a lot more kids participating, with the club being twice as big.
“It was amazing to see some of the improvement these kids made,” Fay said of the kids throughout the season.
They practiced three nights a week as a team.
“The fact they all improved a lot was the most amazing,” Fay said.