QUINCY — Of the elements needed for Jettason Rose to excel at the AAU Region 13 track and field qualifier last Sunday in Joliet, Ill., one took priority.
He had to find shade.
“It was a hot day, but the sun was the worst part of it,” Rose said. “Keeping in the shade was a necessity to keep my strength up.”
The Quincy High School sprinter competed in the 100- and 200-meter dashes in the boys 17-18 division, which proved taxing in 84-degree heat with relatively high humidity at Joliet Memorial Stadium. He found a tent and the needed shade during his limited down time.
“There was about an hour between the two races, which gave me time to rest and re-warmup,” Rose said.
It produced incredible results.
Rose won the 200 dash in 21.86 seconds, setting a personal record. He also eclipsed the school-record time he set in the spring. He finished third in the 100 in 10.98 seconds to earn a spot in both events in the AAU Junior Olympic Games on July 31-Aug. 7 in Humble, Texas.
The 200 dash is scheduled for Aug. 2, with the 100 to be contested Aug. 3. The events will be streamed live at flotrack.org.
“I’m really excited to be able to qualify and go to nationals. I will be competing against the fastest high schoolers in the country,” said Rose, who will be a senior at QHS in the fall.
Rose was the first sprinter in QHS boys track history to earn a state medal in either the 100 or 200 dash since 1941 with his sixth-place finish at the Class 3A state meet in June. Therefore, he figured to be in the mix in both events in Joliet.
Still, he assumed he would have to post a personal record or close to it to advance.
“I knew it was going to be hard to qualify. There were many fast sprinters there, and I had to run as fast as I can to make it,” Rose said.
He said his time in the 100 was slightly disappointing, but he found a positive in it.
“It shows that I can consistently run under 11 seconds,” Rose said.
Champaign Centennial’s Daniel Lacy edged Rose in the 200 preliminaries. In the finals, Rose beat his personal record by two-tenths of a second, beating Lacy by nearly three-tenths of a second.
“I knew I had to beat him,” Rose said.
Running against sprinters of Lacy’s caliber — Lacy won the 400 dash at the regional qualifier and competed in multiple events at the Class 3A state meet — seems to bring out the best in Rose.
“Definitely,” he said. “Without those fast runners there, there is no way I would have been able to (personal record).”
With two weeks to prepare for the Junior Olympics, Rose already has a plan in place.
“My current goal is to fully recuperate my muscles from the previous meets and season so I can be fully healthy when it’s time for nationals,” he said.
Does that mean a vacation is looming?
“Not exactly,” Rose said. “My practices will focus on recovery rather than improvement.”
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