Name: Danny Katz
School: Deerfield High School
As a junior, Danny Katz qualified for state in Illinois, which is one of the most competitive track states in the country, Katz told Patch. Little did he know that while at state, he would set his season-best distance and place third in the state in triple jump, another huge achievment.
"I strive to be the best I can be, taking advice and instruction from all of my coaches,” the incoming DHS senior said. “I inspire myself to become better. If I know it's possible to run a certain time or jump a certain mark, I work to get that."
After moving up through a 3 meet qualifier, state, and regional (6 states) level in each of his three events, Katz competed in New Orleans earlier this month at the AAU Junior Olympics. "When I found out that I qualified for the AAU National Jr. Olympics I was thrilled, especially because I qualified in all three of my events," Katz said.
He'd already made plans to spend the three weeks prior to the competition living on a boat to earn his dive-master certification for scuba diving, so instead of constantly running, he was only able to prepare by doing bodyweight exercises.
After flying to New Orleans, Katz arrived at the event and was astonished by the many talented athletes that surrounded him. "After talking to a few of the guys, I soon realized that I was in a field of champions from all over the country. I met athletes from over 30 states."
While Katz says he didn't meet any of his personal goals at the Junior Olympics he did place 34th (of 87 competitors) in the triple jump event, which was one of his biggest accomplishments.
Katz wants to taste more complete victories, but still understands how important his experience at the national level is. What he gained will help him out greatly in the future, and when he returns to the Junior Olympics next year.
"I learned what true competition is like. I learned that preparation is everything, and I learned that there is always room for improvement," Katz said about his experience at the event in New Orleans. "I will continue to work hard during the rest of the summer and fall, and I am looking forward to competing for Deerfield once the season starts."