Haddonfield resident Dylan Hosty competed at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Jr. Olympic Games track event for the first time earlier this month in the 800- and 1,500-meter runs.
The 10-year-old placed fifth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds against 75 runners, and fourth place in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 5 minutes and 10 seconds against 65 runners. Her previous personal records were 2 minutes and 34 seconds for the 800 and 5 minutes and 11 seconds for the 1,500.
Though Hosty also qualified for the national meet last year, this is the first year she attended.
“Last year I just didn’t feel like I was prepared,” she recalled. “This year, I had that goal to go because I missed something. I prepared months in advance (for) and was doing training like splits and … running long distances.”
In addition to track, Hosty also plays soccer during the year with the Real Jersey Football Club in Medford.
“I love both of the sports, so as long as I’m having fun, I think that’s the most important thing,” she remarked.
Craig Strimel, founder, owner and coach for South Jersey Track and Field, acknowledged that many of the kids on the team play multiple sports.
“We love track and field,” he said. “We’re track-and-field coaches, but we know that a lot of kids are going to join our club and end up doing other sports and that’s totally fine. At this age, it’s all the same – just be as active as you possibly can.
“If you have athletic talent, you’re probably going to be able to turn that on in all different contexts.”
That attitude was something Hosty appreciated; the thing she loves most about the South Jersey Track and Field Club is that the coaches don’t put too much pressure on her.
“As long as you’re doing the best you can do, that’s enough for (Coach Strimel),” she explained, “as long as you’re going as hard as you can. It’s really nice to know that he’s always there for me if I need to talk to him or if I have any questions.”
Hosty was one of two girls from the track and field club to attend the AAU Olympic Games, the other being Peyton Barger of Cherry Hill.
“It’s really nice (to have another fast runner my age), because when I’m not at nationals or sometimes even regionals, I don’t have anyone to push me, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up the pace or keep going,” Hosty acknowledged. “But I have someone like Peyton, who is someone who keeps pushing me.
“She helps me improve and I think I help her improve, so I think we really help each other,” Hosty added. “I really like having her as a teammate.”
Hosty hopes to attend the national meet again next year and continue to improve on her personal records. This fall, she plans to continue playing soccer and join cross country.
To learn more about South Jersey Track and Field Club’s cross-country program, visit https://southjerseytfc.com/cross-country/.