“I’m excited and nervous,” said Blackwell, a Sun Valley resident who will attend Holy Redeemer School in Montrose in the fall. “It will be exciting and fun to meet different people.”
Many of the current stars in the sport have used the outdoor championship, which is expected to bring in close to 6,000 participants and will features athletes 8-18, as a springboard.
Blackwell, 9, will compete in the Bantam girls’ 1,500-meter run and the high jump. Carlos, 14, will take part in the Youth boys’ 1,500. Maturan, 14, will partake in the Youth boys’ 400.
The trio advanced after turning in impressive performances at the USATF Region 15 Championships, which were held June 21-22 in Escondido. All are members of the L.A. Falcons, a La Crescenta Valley-based youth cross-country and track and field youth organization, and needed a top-three performance to qualify for the Junior Olympics.
Blackwell will compete in the high jump at 10 a.m. PDT Thursday and in the 1,500 at 8:15 a.m. Sunday. She had a leap of 3 feet 7 inches and clocked 5 minutes 31.49 seconds in the 1,500 at Escondido.
“I’ll be nervous because there will be a lot of kids there,” Blackwell said, “and a lot of top runners in the nation.”
Blackwell predicted that participating in the 1,500 will be easier than the high jump.
“I like the 1,500 a lot better because it’s a longer distance,” she said. Blackwell will earn medals in both events if she finishes in the top eight.
Carlos, who recently graduated from Rosemont Middle School and will be a freshman at Crescenta Valley High in the fall, will race at 9 a.m. Friday.
He notched a personal-best time of 4:34.29 in Escondido, perhaps raising his confidence.
“It was 98 degrees in Escondido when I ran the 1,500,” Carlos said. “I didn’t want to get out too fast, so I had to run my race by staying patient.