Rockford F.I.R.E. Track & Field gets ready for AAU Junior Olympics

Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 3:51 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Whether it’s running, jumping or throwing, the Rockford area will be well represented at the highest level. A couple of high school athletes will also get to try something for the first time.

“It’s really just like the best of the best.”

Rockford F.I.R.E. Track & Field will compete in the AAU Junior Olympic Games. The program will send ten athletes to the event. This is the sixth time the F.I.R.E. will be represented at the games, including a relay team made up of 10-year-olds for the first time.

“This year, we have more field event athletes who are competing,” said Athletics Operation Coordinator Marshalee Gordon. “In the past, we’ve had mostly running events.”

This may be a new experience competing on the big stage for some, while others like Winnebago’s Brandon Wiggan is a seasoned vet.

“High school competition is there sometimes, but it’s not always there,” said Wiggan. “With AAU, it’s definitely always there. It just makes you push yourself a lot harder.”

Sydni Badertscher is new to the Rockford F.I.R.E. This past high school season, the Forreston junior qualified for state in discus and shot put. She’ll be competing in those events at the Junior Olympics as well as another throwing event.

“I haven’t really tried javelin and they offered it to me this year and that was a great experience for me,” said Badertscher.

She’s not the only one throwing the javelin for the fire. Wiggan also added the event to his repertoire.

“I kind of just tried on a whim kind of thing. I did really good on it. I threw pretty far for my first time ever.”

Badertscher has a chance to be the first Rockford F.I.R.E. athlete to medal at the Junior Olympics. But regardless, she’s going there to have fun.

“I’m expecting to do my best and basically just get a new PR.”

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