Henry Seabrook, 14, of Sykesville, will be competing beginning today at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex in Landover at the USA Track and Field Region III Junior Olympics championship meet, trying to qualify for nationals.
Kyle Bryant and Henry Seabrook are relatively new to the Eldersburg Rogue Runners track and field club teams, so they just wanted to get familiar with their events and have some fun.
The fun has become a little more than that.
The 14-year-old Sykesville residents are bound for the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex in Landover today to compete in a USA Track & Field Region III Junior Olympics championship meet.
Seabrook is going after he finished first in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump at a qualifying meet in Landover last month; Bryant is set to compete in the pentathlon and the javelin, in which he placed third at the qualifying meet.
Bryant and Seabrook have events today and Friday, and they have a shot at competing at the USATF Junior Olympics national meet in Greensboro, N.C., at the end of the month if they place in the top five of their events.
“I think their chances are very, very high to advance,” said John Bryant, Kyle’s father and part-time coach.
Seabrook is the newest track athlete, having joined ERR in the past year after enjoying the sport at Sykesville Middle School. His pedigree is strong, however - his mother, Beverly, ran track at Eleanor Roosevelt and said she ran a leg on the school’s 3,200-meter relay team that won at the Penn Relays in 1978.
Henry Seabrook took to the jumps, he said, because they seemed fun. And that’s what he intends to do this week at the regional meet.
“My mindset is just to have fun right now,” said Seabrook. “I don’t really care if I qualify or not, if I get to go it’s a great opportunity.”
The pair has actually already qualified for a different national meet. Their performance at a qualifier in mid-June in Hagerstown gained them entry to the AAU nationals in Michigan, but they won’t be making that trip.
Bryant finished second in the javelin throw and third in the 100-meter hurdles while Seabrook took first in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump. (Additionally, Ethan Werner, of Eldersburg, placed first in the high jump and Sam Rothstein, of Sykesville, placed third in shot put and fourth in discus to qualify.)
Seabrook credits Bryant and Century High School track coach Tony Griner for teaching him the fundamentals of jumping. Griner has attended ERR practices, Seabrook said, as has Times Track Athlete of the Year Julian Woods, to offer his advice and tips.
It’s about exposing younger athletes to track and field, Beverly Seabrook said, and giving them a chance to experiment with different events.
“You see it in their eyes, the wanting to win and wanting to do well, by how hard they practice,” said Seabrook, whose older son Parris is a member of Century’s track team. “They want to learn the next step to get them to the next level.”
Henry Seabrook and Kyle Bryant will be freshmen at Century in the fall, and they understand they’ll have a chance to join a successful high school team next year. But there are plenty of goals to achieve before then, and for Bryant that means improving on his javelin performance from last year’s national meet.
Bryant took 14th and said he eclipsed 107 feet at nationals.
“I’m trying to advance, but my main goal is 115 right now,” Bryant said.
Bryant said his dad taught him the javelin, and he has increased his distance by about 20 feet in a short time period. This is Bryant’s second year with the ERR club team.
The USATF Junior Olympics national meet runs from July 22-28 at North Carolina A&T University. A top-five finish this week will mean a trip down south for Bryant and Seabrook, and a chance to represent their Eldersburg Rogue Runners team and its coaches.
“I love Coach Griner. I think he really has a knack with the kids, and it comes across in the coaching,” Beverly Seabrook said. “That’s one of the reasons why he’s able to push them and get the best out of them. You see it from the little ones all the way up to the big ones.”
Reach staff writer Pat Stoetzer at 410-857-7894 or email@example.com.