|Griffin advances to USATF Junior Olympics in three events|
|Tuesday, July 10, 2012|
It’s been a good month for Jason Griffin.
The recent Gallatin graduate has signed a scholarship to continue his track career and has advanced to the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships later this month.
The latter happened on Sunday when he qualified for the Junior Olympics in three events in in the USATF Region 6 Championships at MTSU. Griffin qualified in the 400-meter hurdles as well as the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays. The top five finishers advance to the July 23-29 Junior Olympics meet at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.
Griffin, a member of the Nashville Illusionists track team, finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles (57.64) and it was a much better turn out than the last time Griffin visited MTSU. In May, he qualified for the 300-meter hurdles at the TSSAA Class AAA meet. However, he battled strep throat the week leading up to the preliminaries, finished 12th after the two heats ran and missed out on making a spot in the top eight.
“I haven’t been individually in a while, so this is a good opportunity,” said Griffin, adding he has competed in the Junior Olympics since he was six. “I’m prepared for it. I will just go out there and hopefully nerves won’t get to me because I’ve been there before. I will be able to go out there and run like I know how to. This is my last year and then college. You just want to go out with a bang one more time and you want to make the most of it.”
The 1,600-meter relay team of Griffin, Quamel Prince, Jalon McCutcheon and Perry Stokes finished first (3:20.77) and the 3,200-meter team of Griffin, Daniel Stegall, Eugene Lockett and Cedrick Washington was third (8:43.74).
Griffin advance to the Region 6 Championships after placing well at the USATF Tennessee Association Championships at Brentwood High less than three week ago. He finished third in the 400-meter hurdles (58.86) and fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.66) and was part of the winning team in the 1,600-meter relay (3:26.29) and second place in the 3,200-meter relay (9:21.39).
“I expected to get out of the first meet,” Griffin said of the meet at Brentwood. “I can’t explain it. I guess I’m used to getting through the first one in all my events. Making it to nationals is always just a big opportunity for everybody or for me anyways. You just look forward to running against everybody in the nation.”
Before the run toward his final Junior Olympics began, Griffin secured a scholarship that will keep him running for another four years. He will attend Tennessee State University, a school with a deep tradition in track. And he will be there with familiar faces from his Nashville Illusionists squad.
“I think it’s going to be real fun,” Griffin said. “A lot of my team is going there. I’ll go up there and still have people I know and people I ran with already. There were a couple others (schools offering) but (TSU) was more hands with me and all my teammates were going there and there wasn’t any stopping me if they were going.”
— Corby A. Yarbrough, Sports Editor