Lowell fifth-grader earns two top finishes at AAU Jr. Olympics

Originally published at www.nwitimes.com/sports

Written by: Paul Jankowski

Toeing the starting line in a national track meet didn’t keep Lowell’s Dustin Hudak, 11, from earning a pair of medals the past two days at the AAU Junior Olympic Games at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans.

“I was way more nervous than any other race,” Hudak said.

Representing the Calumet Junior Striders, Hudak earned a silver Monday in the Sub Midget (age 11) division by placing second in the 3,000-meter run in a personal-best time of 10 minutes, 46.83 seconds.

He came back Tuesday morning to place third in the 1,500 in 4:56.16.

Hudak, who will start fifth grade later this month, already is a veteran on the national track scene. Last year he placed sixth in the 1,500 and seventh in the 800 at the AAU Junior Olympics in Norfolk, Va., and competed the year before in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The most miles he ran in one week this summer was 18,” said his father, Adam Hudak.

The entire Hudak clan — including mother Natasha and a younger brother and sister — made the 14-hour drive to New Orleans on Saturday. They’re sticking around until Friday, when Dustin will team with Hunter Boyer (Lowell), Caleb Chapman (Brook) and Carl Frey (Valparaiso) on a 3,200 relay team that is seeded fourth.

“It would be hard for us to find kids that are faster,” Adam Hudak said of the quality of competition. “There are kids from all over the country, and you have to qualify to get here.”

More than 20 region boys and girls already have competed in the meet, which runs through Saturday.

Chapman placed 17th in the midget (age 12) 1,500 while Frey was 36th. Frey also competed in the 3,000, placing 21st in 11:35.40.

Earlier this week, two local athletes competed in the decathlon and one in the pentathlon, trying their hand at several events.

Kouts senior Stephen Keller placed 10th overall in the Young Men’s decathlon with 5,607 points. He won his specialty, the high jump, at 6-6 3/4, and was fourth in the 1,500 in 4:39.02.

Khalil Muhammad of Gary placed 15th overall in the Intermediate (age 15-16) division of the decathlon. His best finishes were a first in the high jump (5-8 3/4) and a third in the 1,500 (5:08.98).

Jarren Thomas of Highland, competing in the Sub Youth (age 13) division, placed 38th in the pentathlon. His best finish was a 17th in the high jump (4-7).