Sports

Fast feet, big dreams: Young Valley runner, Joe Waskom, wins a national cross country title

 Snoqualmie runner Joe Waskom, bib no. 2405, starts the Junior Olympic championship race in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 14.  Waskom broke out of the pack and ran smart to win the title. Below, Waskom meets Leo Manzano, silver medalist in the 1500 meters of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, while in San Antonio. - Courtesy photo
Snoqualmie runner Joe Waskom, bib no. 2405, starts the Junior Olympic championship race in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 14. Waskom broke out of the pack and ran smart to win the title. Below, Waskom meets Leo Manzano, silver medalist in the 1500 meters of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, while in San Antonio.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Goal one is done.

Goal two is bigger, but a 12-year-old Snoqualmie boy may have the fast feet to do it.

Joe Waskom took a national title on Saturday, Dec. 14, in the 2013 USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships.

Running in San Antonio, Texas, he finished first in the age 11-12 group’s three-kilometer division with a time of 9:41.49.

Waskom averaged about 5:11 per mile, finishing 11 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor and nearly 40 seconds faster than boy in third place.

He qualified the weekend before Thanksgiving at regionals in Salem, Ore. Waskom ran with a teammate from his youth club, Speed Unlimited of Bellevue. Waskom is coached by Anthony Joseph and Lyuda Vasilyeva.

Joe is the younger brother to Mount Si High School freshman Hannah Waskom, who went to state after breaking the Wildcat girls.

Hannah set the five-kilometer cross country record this season.

“I love running,” says Joe Waskom. “I probably started when I was 6. I wanted to run home every day from school.”

He started running seriously in the sixth grade, ran track at Snoqualmie Middle School, and plans to run distance this spring for Chief Kanim Middle School.

Running comes naturally. “I train and work hard every day,” said Waskom. “So does my sister. We love running as a family. We just go out on Sundays and run for fun, usually five miles.”

The competition draws him in.

“I like getting faster times, and beating fast people,” Waskom said.

Racing against 400 other runners in the Junior Olympics, Waskom had to burst out of the gate. He rushed to the front and stayed with the leader.

In San Antonio, conditions were very windy. Waskom strategized and let the other boy lead and take the brunt of the wind.

“About 800 meters to go, I had to really turn it on,” he said. “My sister taught me how to kick—she usually has a kick at the end.”

A three-kilometer race is 1.86 miles.

Besides school events, Waskom has run four Snoqualmie Ridge Turkey Trots, three Saint Patty’s Day and three Railroad Days five-K runs.

Outside of running, he hustles as a forward on his Eastside FC soccer team.

A national title was his first goal, and he’s met it. His second goal is to one day make it to the Olympic Games.

“I’m going to work hard, train hard and eat healthy,” Waskom said. “As my times improve, so will I.”

• You can see the full event results at http://www.usatf.org/Events---Calendar/2013/USATF-National-Junior-Olympic-Cross-Country-Champi/Athlete-Info.aspx.

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