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Redwood Bark

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Track athletes Antonio Bayon and Holden Turner power their way to the Junior Olympics

Track is a notoriously competitive sport, with an average of 185 people competing on Redwood’s team every year. Nevertheless, junior athletes Holden Turner and Antonio Bayon have managed to set themselves apart in the javelin throw and decathlon and even competed in the Junior Olympics this summer in Rancho Cordova, California and Eugene, Oregon. Bayon successfully placed third in the nation for decathlon while Turner placed 29th in the nation for javelin, both extremely impressive accomplishments. Their success derives from year-round dedication to improving at their respective events, whether on the Redwood track team or during club track season.

“[The Junior Olympics] were an awesome experience [because we got] to compete with great athletes,” Antonio Bayon said. (Photo courtesy of Antonio Bayon)

While the Junior Olympics and high school seasons have been very important to Bayon’s track career, Bayon found his love for the sport in elementary school. 

“I started track when I was [around] eight and I [threw] javelin. Javelin was my only event because I wasn’t fast and I couldn’t jump high until freshman year. I slowly got into decathlon afterward,” Bayon said. 

Bayon’s years of hard work with the sport shined through during his freshman year and continues to shine today. Redwood track and field coach Nicole Graydon has been able to observe Bayon over the past few years and has noticed his dedication and commitment.

“[Bayon] came out of the gate really, really strong. I remember him trying out for a bunch of events. I knew he had come in with javelin and discus experience,” Graydon said. “When he came over to the high jump, I remember we went over technique and had him jump, and I just instantly assumed that he had high jumped before because his technique was really good.”

Unlike Bayon, Turner joined the track team his sophomore year. He rowed at Marin Rowing for several years until he ultimately decided to try something different. 

In Rancho Cordova for the Junior Olympics, Holden Turner competes in the javelin throw event. (Photo courtesy of Holden Turner)

“I only started [rowing] because my brother got a scholarship. He was really good and I was basically living in his shadow. I was never passionate about it and there was practice year-round, every day, so it was really hard [to commit] to,” Turner said.

During the beginning of Turner’s search for a new sport, he was a teacher’s assistant for  Graydon’s physical education class. It was her suggestion that his next attempt at a sport be track.

“[Turner] started doing track and he just instantly got really into it. He was [someone] who was staying after [practice] and doing more work. He was always looking for more feedback, more coaching,” Graydon said.

Since then, Turner has developed his throwing skills and power and has become a true leader on the team. As throwing captain, he is constantly providing help and feedback to his teammates. Although this past season was his first year, with support from Bayon and Graydon, Turner was able to compete in the Junior Olympics in Rancho Cordova.

Holden Turner works on his shot put technique at the track while receiving feedback from Antonio Bayon.

“[Bayon] told me I had the potential to go far in the Junior Olympics and I believed him. He taught me basically everything I know about [throwing] events,” Turner said. 

Both Turner and Bayon have certainly taken off, but they don’t plan on ending their success anytime soon. They have both set goals to make it to the Marin County Athletic League championship and states, as well as return to the Junior Olympics next year. With the dedication and hard work they have put into their sport, Bayon and Turner seem to be set up for success. 

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About the Contributor
Emily Garcia
Emily Garcia, News Editor
Emily Garcia is a junior at Redwood High School and is a news editor for the Redwood Bark. She enjoys listening to music and spending time with friends and family.