Two Redbirds compete in AAU Junior Olympics

Drew Veskauf TimesNewspapers
MTHS senior Will Moore, left, and junior Gillian Urycki stand with their medals earned at the 2013 AAU Junior Olympics.

Two Metamora Township High School students made the trip to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, to compete with the country’s best track and field athletes.

The Amateur Athletics Union Junior Olympic Games was held July 26-Aug. 2.

MTHS soon-to-be senior Will Moore and junior Gillian Urycki qualified for the event.

Urycki, who has qualified for the Junior Olympics since seventh grade, placed for her first time to earn two medals and broke a personal record.

In the high jump, Urycki placed fourth at 5-feet-6-inches and earned a third-place medal in the long jump after an 18-5 performance to set a personal record.

Urycki jumped 17-5 in the Illinois state meet.

“State was really kind of disappointing I guess because I obviously didn’t jump as well as I thought,” Urycki said. “I could have but it was a fun experience to set a personal record at 

nationals and to get third.”

In the 2013 Junior Olympics, Urycki was 11th in the high jump at 5-02 and eighth in the long jump at 17-08.5.

First-time competitor in the Junior Olympics Moore qualified for four events, three individuals and one relay.

In the 200-meter, Moore was 42nd at 22.46 and 69th in the 100 at 11.47.

Moore said the 400 has been his main focus in this past year and was able to get 31st after a 49.55 time.

“I actually enjoy it. For some people, it’s a drag to run. It’s really hard but I like it,” Moore said.

“It’s a sprint, especially at nationals.”

Moore was able to join the Aurora Sundowners 4x200 relay team for the event. A week before the races at Drake University, the Sundowners came to Moore to have him run on the relay team after one of the original four was out on vacation.

Moore said he was excited about joining the team.

“Especially since I was on the relay with three other really fast guys,” Moore said. “In the other individual events I don’t really have that good of a chance at the national level, but in the relay I thought we really had a chance at winning it but we came in second, so we were happy.”

The relay team was able to pull through for a second-place finish after a 3:13.61 run time.

Moore ran the third leg with a 47-second split. Also running for the Sundowners were Naperville residents Zac Espinoza, Nick Rayfaz and Ty Moss.

Moore said he would like to attend either Illinois State University or St. Louis University after he graduates from MTHS in 2015.

“When I get to college, I’ll look at myself as a 200 and 400 kind of guy,” Moore said. “The 400 especially. I think that’s why I love it, is because a lot of people don’t so I just kind of sneak in there.”

After Moore’s first appearance at the Junior Olympics, he said that the Illinois state meet will be a lot less nerve wrecking.

“I think now, the state meet is going to seem like a cake walk compared to this. Because at this meet, the AAU nationals, all of those guys are state champions,” Moore said.