Cove athletes qualify for AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines

Cove Leader-Press

CONVERSE – Several Copperas Cove athletes recently punched their tickets to the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Games to be held at Drake University’s Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on July 30 through Aug. 4
Eighth-grader Kyra Gaston qualified for the 14-and-under triple jump with a 33 feet, 10 inch mark at the AAU Region V meet held at Converse Judson Stadium in Converse. She finished first in front of Reagan Wright of the Javelina Country Stars (32 feet, 1 inch). Gaston also just missed the cut in the 800-meter run where she finished eighth with a time of two minutes, 44.75 seconds. Anastacia Gonzales of the Texas Havoc team won the event with a mark of 2:27.24.
Also moving on was senior speedster Shontez Simmons. Despite a hamstring injury that limited his ability, Simmons finished sixth in the 18-and-under 200-meter dash with a time of 22.87 seconds. Amir Paris of the Central Texas Cruisers Track Club took the top spot with a time of 21.74 seconds.
Senior Kyle Stifflemire took the top spot in the boy’s 18-and-under pole vault to qualify for the Junior Games. His vault of 15-feet even tied Cole Newman but Stifflemire took less attampts to win gold.
Kellen Avritt also leaped his way to a first-place finish in the boys’ 16-and-under pole vault. He cleared 14-feet even to edge Drew Henson (13-feet-6) and Anthony Meachum (13-feet-6) for the gold. 
Gaston will compete in the girls’ 14-and-under triple jump at noon on July 30.
Simmons will compete in the 200-meter dash qualifiers at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 31. The semifinal will be held at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2 and the finals will be held at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4
Avritt will compete in the boys’ 14-and-under pole vault at 1 p.m. and Stifflemire will compete in the boys’ 18-and-under pole vault at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4.
For more information or for live results visit

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