Jaine Johnson will soon pack her bags for North Carolina.
Not long after finishing her sophomroe year at Ottawa High School, Johnson qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics set for July 27-August 3 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C. She will compete in the girls 15-16 discus event scheduled for the morning of Aug. 2.
“I think it will be a really good experience,” Johnson said. “I really want to go to college for track, so going around the country now and getting an idea of what it will be like to travel is going to be a good experience, especially being in a different environment and being around different people.”
Johnson was a state qualifier this past spring for the Cyclones, placing sixth overall in 4A discus. She punched her ticket for the Junior Olympics at the AAU Region 16 Qualifiers June 27-30 at the University of Tulsa Hurricane Track Stadium. There, she and her fellow competitors had a battle with the elements.
“We had been there since 8 a.m. that morning, and I know one of the other girls I was competing against had also been there since then,” Johnson said. “There wasn’t a lot of shade around, so we were all just kind of squeezed together. It got really hot and we were all just tired. I wasn’t really an ideal day, but we all managed to push through.”
She noted the discus event didn’t throw until about 11 a.m., leading to shorter throws in the competition, but Johnson managed a 105-08 to place third overall. She also competed in the shot put, placing eighth with a throw of 28-07.
“I had a pretty good feeling going in that I was going to qualify,” she said. “It was just great to know that I did it.”
Ottawa’s Midewst Elite Track Club had two Junior Olympic qualifiers at Region 16 in Leah Askins-Diete and Emery Keebaugh. Askins-Diete qualified in the girls age 11 400-meter dash and 800-meter run. Keebaugh will compete in the age 13 girls long jump and triple jump.
Askins-Diete placed sixth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:08.93, and second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:46.08 — less than a second off a regional championship.
Keebaugh tied for second in the long jump with a distance of 15-09. She was the regional champion in the triple jump with a distance of 35-03.