Oak Park’s Christopher Madison hoped to clear 6 feet in the high jump event for the first time during a meet this summer with the Zephyrs Track Club.
Not only did Madison accomplish that, but he also picked the perfect time. And now he’s a national champion.
By clearing 6 feet, ¾ of one inch (1.85 meters) on his first attempt, the incoming freshman at captured first place during the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Championships July 26-31 in Wichita, Kans. in the Youth Boys division for 13- and 14-year-old athletes.
“When I was on the podium, getting the medal, it felt really good,” said Madison, a graduate. “I think the (championship) feeling’s going to come soon, but I don’t really feel it right now. (But) it felt really good. I felt like I accomplished my goal because I said I wanted to be No. 1 and I wanted to jump 6 feet.”
Incoming senior Erin McCoy also by being a part of the fifth-place 3,200-meter relay (10 minutes, 10.67 seconds) in the Young Women’s division (ages 17-18).
For Madison, the nationals trip was his second straight national appearance. Last year, he took 16th (5-5) in Youth Boys high jump in 2010. He also qualified for nationals this year in the 400, taking 29th (55.88).
“It did (help being at nationals before) because last year I didn’t really know what was going to go on and this year I was used to it so I was ready to jump,” Madison said.
Madison had cleared 5-11 during a meet this spring with Percy Julian Middle School, and claims to have cleared 6-4 at a practice prior to a regional meet in Plainfield last month. Now, he credits Zephyrs coach James Conyers with improving the consistency in his approach and technique.
The Zephyrs, a non-profit organization, brought roughly 50 athletes to nationals from its two summer training sites of Hinsdale Central and Proviso East high schools. Volunteer coaches at the Hinsdale Central site were Hinsdale Central girls track assistant coaches Wilson and Conyers and LT girls track head coach Greg Frandsen.