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Starr, Vernon-Reynolds to compete at nationals

By: Matt Long
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The 2008 National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships will have a Folsom flavor to it, as Folsom athletes Mike Starr and Gianni Vernon-Reynolds will be competing. Starr, who will be a senior at Folsom High this fall, will compete in the pole vault and the 4-x-100-meter relay, while Vernon-Reynolds, who is a 2008 Folsom High graduate, will compete in the 100- and 200-meter runs, the long jump and the 4-x-100-meter relay. Starr and Vernon-Reynolds qualified for the meet at the Region 14 Junior Olympic Championships held July 11-13 at Granada High School in Livermore. The top-three finishers in each event qualified for the national event, which begins Tuesday and goes through July 27 in Omaha, Neb. Starr, 17, placed second in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 14-feet, 5 ¼-inches. He and Vernon-Reynolds made up half of the Roseville Express Track and Field Club’s 4-x-100-meter relay team, which placed third in 43.62 seconds. Also running on the team were Matthew Hughes and Blair Wallingford. Vernon-Reynolds, also 17, won the 200-meter-run in 21.68, while placing second in both the 100 meters in 11.07 and the long jump in 22-11 ¼. Both Starr and Vernon-Reynolds are in their second year of competing with the Roseville Express Track and Field Club and began training as soon as the high school season ended. Both runners practice with the club four days a week and do other workouts on their own as well. “Everyone on the club is there to get better and it’s nice being around people that have the same goal as me,” Vernon-Reynolds said of the track and field club. “I also train with Kevin Morning once or twice a week and have also trained with Mike Reid at American River College. I just want to keep getting better. This is going to be my last meet as a high school athlete and I want to do my best.” Vernon-Reynolds is hoping to run a 10-6 in the 100 meters and a 21.3 or 21.4 in the 200. In the long jump, he’d like to set a personal-best mark by jumping 23 feet. Starr said he’s hoping for a top-three finish, which would earn him a medal. “I’m not sure how many people are coming out, but I’m hoping for a top-three finish,” Starr said.