Watson & Orie Sisters Shine at National Junior Olympics in Florida

The USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships concluded on Sunday in Jacksonville, Florida with 70 Niagara athletes from 12 clubs competing in the championships during the seven day competition held on the campus of the University of North Florida.  The Niagara athletes competed in a total of 115 events in tough weather conditions that included a mixture of heat, wind and rain.  

Flower City TC, God’s Speed Track, Rochester Running Rebels all had 10 or more athletes compete in Jacksonville.

Winning national titles from the Niagara Association were Samantha Watson (Rochester, N.Y. / Rochester Running Rebels) and Danielle Orie (Orchard Park, N.Y. / Just Blaze TC) with another nine earning all-American status by finishing in the top eight in their event.  All-Americans received a trip to the awards podium where they were presented with a national championship medal and a Junior Olympic All-American hat.

Sister Act x 2
Watson, coming off winning the 800m at the World Youth Championships 2 weeks earlier in Columbia, won both the 400m and 800m (15-16 girls) in Jacksonville to earn all-American recognition in both events.  Her winning times were 53.55 in the 400m and 2:08.73 in the 800m.

Orie matched the two podium visits by Watson as she won the 3000m and finished third in the 1500m.  Her times were 10:23.56 and 4:41.72.

videos:      400m (Watson)        800m (Watson)       3000m (Orie)

Watson and Orie both had the pleasure of sharing the spotlight with their sisters. Ceara Watson, Samantha’s older sister and Rochester Running Rebels teammate, finished fourth in the 17-18 800m (2:15.07) and 10th in the 400m (55.94).  Gabrielle Orie, Danielle’s twin sister and Just Blaze TC teammate, finished sixth in the 15-16 girls 800m running 2:17.28.  Between the two sets of sisters they garnered six visits to the awards podium and six all-American honors.

Ellis Soars to Silver
Erica Ellis (Rochester, N.Y. / Rochester Running Rebels) cleared 3.25m (10-08) to finish second in the 13-14 girls pole vault.

Auble is More Than Able
Matthew Auble (Warsaw, N.Y.) joined Watson and Orie as a double all-American as he climbed to the fifth place level of the awards podium on two occasions during the championships.  Competing in the 9-10 boys division he earned his fifth place medals in the Javelin and Shot Put.  His best mark in the Javelin was 33.96m (111-06) and his best heave in the shot put was 9.22m (30-3).
Going The Distance In The Heat
Penfield Athletic Club teammates Melissa Tylock and McKenzie Angus and Brenton Baker (Williamsville, N.Y. / God’s Speed Track) all earned hard fought trips to the awards podium in the distance events.

Tylock (Rochester, N.Y.) finished fourth in the 17-18 girls 3000m race walk in 16:59.65.  Angus (Penfield, N.Y.) ran 7:54.35 to finish seventh in the 17-18 girls 2000m steeplechase.  Baker placed eighth in the 8 & under boys 1500m running 5:37.39.

Rhoan Kaulder (Rochester, N.Y. / Flower City TC) and Olivia Muse (Vestal, N.Y. / Triple Cities TC) rounded out the all-American performances for the Niagara athletes.  Kaulder ripped down the blue track in 14.41 to finish seventh in the 8 & under boys 100m.  

Muse leaped 1.40m (4-7) to finish eighth in the 11-12 girls high jump competition. Based on fewer misses during the competition, Muse was able to leap ahead of three other girls who also cleared 1.40m to earn the last spot on the podium.

The complete list of performances by all Niagara members as well as photos and videos can be found here.

The 2016 National Championships will be held in Sacramento, California.

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