Celebration honors athletes
Story Originally posted at knoxnews.com
The 2007 AAU Junior Olympic Games will take a respite from the competition tonight and host the Celebration of Athletes at Chilhowee Park.
Gates open at 6 for the festival-like celebration, which features a litany of entertainment options ranging from paddleboat rides to bands to bungee jumping.
At 7, Gloria Ray, president and CEO of the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation, will headline a group of speakers who will welcome the athletes and their families.
The celebration will end with the lighting of the AAU Junior Olympics Games torch. The torch will be passed among 22 athletes, representing all 22 sports being contested.
World Record: Reese Bulmash, a 15-year-old powerlifter from Alpharetta, Ga., set a world record Sunday in the squat. Bulmash, competing in the 242-pound division, squatted 657 pounds.
Bulmash has career-best lifts of 705 pounds in the squat, 370 in the bench and 600 in the dead-lift.
"I was blessed by God with incredible strength. This sport means so much to me," said Bulmash.
Chip Off The Old Block: Eight-year-old Tripp Piperi, a shot-putter from Spring, Texas, probably has heard an old war story or two from his father, Adrian.
Piperi played linebacker for the Houston Cougars in 1984 in the old Southwest Conference.
"We beat Texas, won the conference championship and played Doug Flutie and Boston College in the Cotton Bowl," said Piperi.
Young Tripp had the third-best shot put mark in his age division in qualifying, with a toss of 22 feet, 3 inches.
Late Start: While many AAU athletes get started in their respective sport at an early age, not so for Bailey Johnson, 14, of Austin, Texas.
Johnson, who long jumped for the first time in June, went 16 feet, 6 inches in the tough Dallas/Houston regional to finish third. She is seeded No. 7 in the 14-Youth Division.
Johnson also is seeded seventh in the 200 hurdles after posting a regional qualifying time of 29.47 seconds.
Big Numbers: The Lake Erie Wrestling Club of Oregon, Ohio, has 50 athletes and 10 coaches on hand for the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
Cody Magrum, who was a silver medalist in his last AAU Nationals, will be going for gold. Magrum, of Oak Harber High School, is a 215-pounder who is the two-time defending Ohio high school champion in his weight class. He is headed to Ohio State on a wrestling scholarship in 2008.
Tracking The Locals: Three area athletes are the No. 1 seeds in the track and field competition, which gears up for a full docket of action today at Tom Black Track.
Jackie Coward has top qualifying times in both the 100 and 400 hurdles in the Young Women's (17-18) Division.
Coward, who will be a senior at West High School this fall, could challenge the AAU record of 13.38 seconds in the 100 hurdles. Coward's qualifying time was 13.45.
In the 400 hurdles, Coward had a qualifying mark of 1:00.55. The longstanding AAU record of 58.7 was set in 1980.
In the Youth Girls (14) Division, Knoxville's Marjorie Butler is the No. 1 seed in the high jump (5 feet) and pentathlon (3,135 points).
Also, New Market's Tyler Stepp has the top incoming mark in the high jump (6-6) for the Intermediate Boys (15-16) Division.