Evanston Township High School’s Brad Garron capped off a very successful year on the track with a strong showing at the 2016 USA Track and Field Junior National Championships, which took place July 25 to July 31 at California State University in Sacramento, Calif.
As a junior, Brad finished 8th in the IHSA Class 3A State meet in the 400-meter dash this past May. He was also a member of the 4X400 meter relay team that took 7th in State. But his season did not end there, as he joined the TNT Track and Field Academy this summer and qualified for Nationals.
At Nationals, Brad took fourth place in the 400 meter dash in the 17-18-year-old division with a time of 48.47 seconds. In the preliminaries, he finished with a time of 48.07 seconds, which qualified him for the finals. Brad also qualified for the 200-meter dash but did not advance past the preliminaries, finishing 10th.
Regarding Brad’s performance, ETHS track coach Don Michelin said, “Any time you do extra [events] like these summer meets, qualifying for that higher level and getting in there and going through the rounds, and then getting to the finals and doing well in the finals, really sets himself up to do really, really well this school year.”
Coach Michelin added, “It is a good feeling [to see one of our athletes doing so well]. We realized that the 400 would be his race in the past.” The Coach said, “We had him in the 100, 200, and 400 not knowing if the 200 or the 400 would be his most productive race, but I think that was answered after Nationals. So knowing that, going into this year, the 400 will be the emphasis.”
According to Coach Michelin, having this experience and success during an off-season meet has the potential to do wonders for Brad’s confidence and preparation as he heads into his senior season. “It gives you confidence to know that you can do it at that high level,” he explained. “[Brad] feels good about himself and what he can do. It is going to help his training and he is going to have that experience to push him more, his mental preparation is going to be better, and he is going to want to improve on his time. So he should go into this year thinking [of reaching a time in the] low 47s or high 46.”
When asked how excited he is knowing he has a National competitor in Brad, along with a second National qualifier in junior Jonathan Wilburn [who qualified for Nationals in the 17-18 year-old division in the triple jump but did not advance past preliminarieswith a jump of 44 feet and four inches] coming back, he feels it can only help the Wildkits’ chances.
Coach Michelin said, he thinks “Brad and Jonathan and the other guys who were involved with USA Track and Field are really going to boost our chances this season during the championship part of the season.”