AF youths among the best in U.S. for javelin event - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

AF youths among the best in U.S. for javelin event

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Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 8:00 am | Updated: 3:40 pm, Sat Dec 22, 2012.

Juan Ramirez only stopped to appease his son, Aaron, on the way back to the car.

They had just spent a long day at a track meet and they were finally heading home, only his middle son of three wouldn't budge.

"I kept telling him, "Let's go, let's go,'" the father said. "But he wanted to stay and watch the javelin throwers. I was thinking, ‘Why?' But he was insistent and said he wanted to do it. I told him he was already doing well at the jumping and running events. Little did I know what we were about to do."

That was about four years ago when Aaron was 10. He is now 14, an incoming freshman at Mountain Pointe and the national champion in the javelin for his age group (13-14).

He has won five state javelin titles and two national titles. He qualified last weekend for the Jr. Olympics championships, which are July 26-31 in Wichita, Kan., but the family is still deciding whether or not they will attend.

The field will basically be the same one he has dominated the last two weekends when they traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Albuquerque, N.M. Additionally, the travel costs have been mounting and Aaron's body has seen some wear and tear.

"We will leave it up to him but he is tired and football starts after we get back," Ramirez said. "He said he really hasn't had a break so we will see."

The decision also involves the youngest Ramirez, Alex, who also is making a name for himself nationally in the javelin.

Alex, 9, finished third in the nation at the U.S. Youth National Track & Field Championship in Myrtle Beach for his age group (9-10) and finished second in the Jr. Olympic regional in Albuquerque to qualify for nationals.

"He has the best coach in the world, his brother," the proud father said. "Like all younger brothers he wants to do everything his brother does and he emulates his technique perfectly."

Alex's effort in Albuquerque was a throw of 108 feet, 2 inches while Aaron went 164-03. In Myrtle Beach, Alex threw 101-03 and Aaron 181-03.

"I really like it and I'm good at it," Alex said. "It's like throwing a baseball and I just try to do what my brother does."

While their technique might come as natural as a baseball throw, the tandem has had quality coaching as well. Their father is a former Scottsdale Community College distance running coach and he solicited the help of SCC's throwing coach, Mike Chapman.

"When I called him up and said I had someone for him to coach he expected an 18-year-old so when I got there with Aaron he was asking where the kid was," the elder Ramirez said. "He couldn't believe it was Aaron because he remembered when he was a baby. But then he worked with him, saw how Aaron watched every detail and told me we could have something special.

"It has really taken off since then."

The next step is the question because Arizona track and field doesn't offer javelin as a high school event. He will concentrate on football and lacrosse at Mountain Pointe while working on his javelin on the side.

Lucky for Alexa Homewood she won't have to worry about her specialty at the high school level.

The Desert Vista freshman will be heading to Wichita for the Jr. Olympics in the 400 meters after finishing third in the regional in New Mexico with a time of 59.05 seconds, the first time she has ever done sub-one minute.

"I don't know if it was adrenaline or what, but it felt great to be at my best in a final," said Homewood, who started running at Altadeña Middle School two years ago. "I've knocked five seconds off my PR since last year. I don't know how I did it other than working hard."

The Thunder's school record in the 400 isn't too far off as she is just a little more than a second off the time of 57.73 set in 2010 by Sydnee Freeman.

"It means a lot to me and something to shoot for," she said. "I can't wait to start working out and competing in high school."

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com

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