Josh was the only returning High School Junior competing in the 200 at the USA Junior.
Galesburg High School’s Josh Eiker didn’t qualify for the finals of the 200-meter dash at the 2014 United States Track Federation Junior Outdoor Championships on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday.
But the sprinter, who will be a junior this fall, wasn’t disappointed in his performance at Hayward Field, which has a rich history of track and field including numerous NCAA championship meets and U.S. Olympic Trials.
“I feel pretty good knowing the competition would be the best I’ve faced before,” said Eiker, whose time of 21.54 gave him sixth place in the first of two heats in the 200 prelims, via phone from Eugene on Sunday. “I’m not really disappointed at all. I just think the opportunity to run out here at Hayward Field was amazing. My goal was to just come out and represent Galesburg the best I could and run the race I know I could run. I’m not disappointed in how I did.
“The facilities are amazing. It blew my mind coming out here. Watching it on TV and being able to step on the track was just amazing. All the fans were cheering everyone on in every event.”
The top two from each heat plus the next four best times each advanced to the final. Trentavis Friday, a Cherryville, North Carolina native, won Eiker’s heat in 20.39 and went on to take the 200 title in 20.03. Kendal Williams took second place in the 200 finals (20.46).
“(Josh) just missed getting into the final,” GHS head boys track and field coach Craig Hillier said Sunday via phone from Eugene. “He ended up being ninth in the nation and was .07 from qualifying for the final. The thing was for Josh to see he can run against that kind of competition.”
Both Friday and Williams will be freshmen at Florida State University, located in Tallahassee, Florida, and will run for the Seminoles track and field team.
According to the USATF’s website, fans were treated to a glimpse of the future of USA Track & Field as the best athletes under the age of 20, including high school standouts and the nation’s most promising college freshmen, faced off at the outdoor championships, which served as a qualifier for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships.
“I was the only returning high schooler to be competing in the 200,” Eiker said. “It feels pretty great just being able to run and be in the same atmosphere - a glimpse of what college is like. It was a great feeling being able to compete with some of the top athletes and talk with them.”
“We couldn’t be more proud of Josh. It’s been an amazing experience for him,” Hillier said. “The guy in his heat holds the national junior record. That’s the kind of competition Josh was running against. I’m just so proud of him. He is bringing back competing against world class competition to Galesburg. It’s been an amazing experience.”