(From left), Alex Schwartz, Rebecca Jerina, Emma Schwartz and Camryn Larsen won the 4x800 relay in the 13-14 girls division of the USATF Youth Nationals in Collinsville, IL.
A relay team representing the Lincoln Youth Track Club struck gold at the USA Youth Outdoor National Track & Field Championships in Collinsville, Ill.
A team consisting of twins Alex and Emma Schwartz, Rebecca Jerina and Camryn Larsen put together a season-best 10:22.65 and won the 13-14 girls division of the 4x800 relay. The LYTC relay team finished 30 seconds ahead of their nearest challengers.
The Schwartz twins and Rebecca Jerina have known each other since they were 9 years old and began running with the Lincoln Youth Track Club under coaches Greg Christ and “Jett” and Travis Neemann. They started training together last winter at the Bob Devaney Sports Center indoor track under the guidance of Husker intern coach Joe Eby.
Camryn Larsen, whom the girls knew through previous competitions, was added to the mix last spring. The addition of Larsen gave the relay four good middle- and long-distance runners with previous qualifying times at national Junior Olympic events in the 800-, 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs.
When spring arrived they trained from 6 to 8 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday under the direction of Coach Eby, who decided to donate his time to LYTC.
Competing in their first official 4x800 race, the LYTC relay team qualified for USATF Youth Nationals with 9 seconds to spare by posting a 10:49 on a cold, rainy day. Two weeks later, they ran 10:38 and won a Nebraska Junior Olympics championship.
They proceeded to set their sights on nationals in Illinois, facing a field that included three teams they’d never faced in the past.
The national stage brought out the best in the LYTC relay team, winning the title with plenty of room to spare.
The Schwartz twins, who turned 14 on July 8, will begin their 8th-grade year at Scott Middle School next month. Becca and Camryn are also 14,
Becca and Camryn, also 14, will be incoming high school freshmen at Crete and Millard West, respectively.