One local track and field group will have athletes representing the Wilmington area through July 31 in Sacramento, California during the 50th USA Track & Field (USATF) National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships.
Cape Fear Flyers, a locally based nonprofit geared towards helping kids 6-18 years old, have sent three standouts to the west coast, including Jayhlen Washington, Russell Corbett and eight-year old Gregor Brock. The trio qualified for the national meet at the USATF Region 3 Championships held earlier this month in Landover, Maryland.
Washington is a rising senior at North Brunswick High School who’s won multiple 2A state championships in both indoor and outdoor track for the Scorpions. He had the top regional qualifying times in the 17-18 age group, with wins in the 110 hurdles (13.83), triple jump (48-feet, 6-inches) and long jump (23-feet, 7-inches).
Corbett graduated from Ashley High School this spring as a multiple-sport athlete in football and field events. He took first place in the shot put (52-feet, 1-inch), runner-up in javelin (133-feet, 8-inches) and third in the discus (141-feet) as the top five in each event punched a ticket to nationals.
While the incredible achievements should be recognized for both athletes, Brock has an incredible story as the son of North Brunswick Football Coach Larry Brock, who competed in the same national championship during his sophomore year in high school.
“Daddy did a lot of track stuff and I’ve been looking to follow his footsteps,” said Gregor Brock. “I’ve made a lot of friends with the kids I’ve competed against and they’re pretty tough. I learned some of their training skills and want to win.”
Brock competes in the 8U division, and finished third in the shot put (18-feet, 6-inches) – the same event as his dad-and fourth in turbo javelin (56-feet, 2-inches).
“This will be a really cool experience for our family,” said Larry Brock, who’s heading into his second full season as the head coach of North Brunswick. “To see him get to go and me being here years ago when they held the championships in San Jose and now he’s going to get a chance to do it.”
During their trip to northern California, Larry Brock will reunite with a former competitor and friend from his time as an athlete in the Scottish Highland Games. They’ll enjoy a day sightseeing in San Francisco before heading to Sacramento for the competition. For the younger Brock, he’s looking forward to his first trip to California and making his dad proud.
Since the mid-1960s, the USATF Junior Olympic program has been the most visible youth athlete developmental program in the world. Nearly 70,000 youth athletes compete each year in the Junior Olympic Track & Field and Cross Country programs.