Cal Striders shine in AAU track meet
By Josh Lichtenfeld Post-Tribune correspondent June 16, 2012 11:10PM
Updated: June 16, 2012 11:20PM
VALPARAISO — Cameron Zimmerman may be only 8 years old, but he already has quite a sports accumen.
If the Crown Point native isn’t swimming, biking or running, he’s fusing all three activities into triathlon races. Not to mention, he also plays soccer.
So, while Saturday’s opening round of the AAU District Track and Field Qualifier Meet at Wheeler High School ran in temperatures in the high 90s, the heat wasn’t enough to halt him. Thanks to sub-bantam 9-year-old division wins in the 800 run (3:15.08), the 1,500 (6:17.26) and the 1,600 relay, Zimmerman is one of many locals that will be advancing to national qualifier meet at Illinois State University on June 28.
For Zimmerman, a good meal fueled things.
“I ate a good breakfast and I just focused on the race,” said Zimmerman, who has previously competed in the national championship for Iron Kids.
Pointing to his calf muscles, he explained what he likes about this particular sport.
“I like (running) and it feels good on my legs,” he said.
Much like their fellow Calumet Region Striders teammates, Valparaiso sisters Hannah (9) and Emma (11) Fitzgerald have also proven that they can switch gears and go into different sports. This marks the duo of swimmers’ first go at AAU running and both came out victorious in their respective age groups. Hannah won the bantam 10-year-old 800 run (3:08.88), 1,500 (6:16.78) and the 1,600 relay. And in the 11-years sub-midget 1,500 (6:17.27) and the midget 12-year-old 3,200 relay, Emma snagged a pair of firsts.
“It’s kind of cool that we both win stuff,” Hannah said.
Emma points to stamina as a factor.
“I have the endurance to run very fast,” she said.
While the Striders enter today’s final round with a large group of advancers — including Reilly Boyer, who the 800 and 1,500 in the girls’ 8-and-under group and Alexander Zavala who replicated those feats in same age group for the boys — Merrillville native Gabrielle Pearson won the girls’ midget 12-year-old 400 and long jump events, and Hammond native James Devon and Gary native Nasir Biddings both won the 100 and 200 dashes in the 8-and-under and bantam 10-year-old boys’ groups as members from other local teams moving on.