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CTA’s Les Miner named Cross Country All-American

Les Miner, a sophomore at Creative Technologies Academy was named All-American last weekend. He is shown here at a meet earlier this year.

Les Miner, a sophomore at Creative Technologies Academy was named All-American last weekend. He is shown here at a meet earlier this year.

Creative Technologies Academy’s sophomore Les Miner was named All-American last weekend at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, with a time of 17:53. The meet took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday, December 13.

More than 3,000 youth athletes journeyed for the championship and competed at Balloon Fiesta Park. The youth competition took place in two-year age divisions—236 of whom were in Miner’s 15-16 year-old age group. These age divisions provide young athletes the opportunity to compete with other athletes of similar ability. Entry for the national championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association and Regional levels and Miner qualified two weeks ago at a Detroit meet. He also set two new school records this season and was the runner up for the Class D Championships.

In order to be named All-American, he needed to finish in the top 25 at nationals.

“I knew I wanted All-American, but seeing the times of all the great athletes at this race made me doubt that goal,” said Miner. “But my family, friends and coaches believed in me. When the gun went off I didn’t think about anything but running.” While the course proved to be challenging, Miner never thought he couldn’t do it and remembered the encouragement and advice of his family, friends and coaches.

At the first mile, he was in 28th place and put an extra surge in his step to move him up to 18th place by mile two. Two runners passed him in the final mile putting him in 20th place. “The speed up drained my energy and the altitude made it hard to breath,” commented Miner. “The race was well set up and located on a difficult course,” he added.

“Les did very well this past cross country season,” praised Coach Danielle Davies. “He knew what he wanted and he pursued it. As he competed in the Junior Olympics, he had his mind set on being an All-American from the start and worked hard and pushed forward to reach his goal. We are very proud of Les and all he has accomplished.”

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Balczak earns All-American title

Balczak took first place in hgh jump.

Justin Balczak, a 2011 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, and freshman this year at Lake Superior State University, earned the title of All-American for finishing third in the men’s decathlon at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Colorado State-Pueblo last weekend.

Balczak competed in 10 events over a two-day period, setting six personal records. On day one he placed first in the high jump (6-08.25 – a personal record); placed third in the shot put (42-04.25 – a personal record); fourth in the 400-meter dash (50.33); fifth in the 100m dash (11.30 – a personal record) and seventh in the long jump (21-06.75).

He finished day one in third place overall, with 5 events to go on Friday, and stayed consistently strong.

On day two, Balczak finished second in the high hurdles (14.54 – a personal record); third in the discus (129-4 – a personal record); third in the javelin (172.07 – a personal record); ninth in the 1500m run (5.09:21); and tenth in the pole vault (12-.05.5).

Patrick Smith of Chico State won the decathlon with 7,366 points, followed by Darius Walker of Central Missouri State with 7,185 and Balczak with 7,072.

While in high school, Balczak was a state champion in the 110m high hurdles and holds school records in the high hurdles, 300m low hurdles, and the 800m relay. He is the son of Mark and Ann Balczak of Cedar Springs.

Congratulations, Justin!

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