The track and field season continues for Northwestern High School’s Xander Polkoski.
With a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter dash at the USATF Region 8 Junior Olympic Championships July 4-7, in Fargo, N.D., Polkoski advanced to the USATF Hershey Junior Olympic National Championships July 22-28, in Sacramento, Calif.
Competing in the 15- to 16-year-old division, Polkoski finished with a time of 53.36 seconds. Antwain King (Boys and Girls of Midlands) won the race in 51.77.
Polkoski’s time in the final was more than a second faster than his heat time of 54.74, which was also his winning team at the Wisconsin championships June 13-16 at Carroll University in Waukesha.
“Region 8 kids are so fast,” Polkoski said. “I had a really bad day in my 100 and 200 events, but I was really excited when I realized I made nationals in the 400. I’m going to keep training and hopefully PR (personal record) again in Sacramento.”
Polkoski failed to advance to the finals in the 100 and 200. He finished 11th in his heat in the 100 with a time of 12.57, and just missed qualifying in the 200 with a ninth-place time of 24.92. Makuey Foneag (North Omaha Bengals Track Club) was the final qualifier in the 200 with an eighth-place time of 24.62.
Sawyer Seidl (Minnesota Sprint Factory) won the 100 final in 11.30, and Devon Jackson (Boys and Girls of Midlands) was the 200 winner in 22.46.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone for their support, including coaches (Philip) McGrath and (Darrell) Nelson, who did my workout schedule for the Fargo meet,” Polkoski said.
McGrath is the head coach at NHS and Nelson is the sprint coach.
The national championships will take place at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium. First-round heats in the 400 are scheduled for noon July 26.
TIGER TALES: The Region 8 meet in Fargo consisted of eight top qualifiers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. … Polkoski, who will be a sophomore at NHS this fall, qualified for the regional after winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter sprints at the Wisconsin championships.