Perseverance and determination push Pickering to the finish line
KINGMAN – There was no telling where Wyatt Pickering would end up when he started running competitively at 8 years old.
The journey could have been a short one or success could lead him to the top of the mountain.
The 13-year-old White Cliffs Middle Schooler proved the latter to be true after he recently competed during the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic National Meet at Sacramento State University.
“I never thought I’d actually go to Nationals or make it this far,” Wyatt said. “But I started working hard and training a lot more. I started progressing, dropping my time and gaining places. Then I eventually got to where I am now.”
Wyatt opened his Nationals experience with the 1,500-meter run and unfortunately just missed out on qualifying for finals. He needed to finish in the top 12 to advance, but ran a 4:25.37 for 13th while Devon Sibley finished in 12th at 4:25.27.
“It was kind of disappointing, but I knew I did really well just overall,” Wyatt said. “It kind of sucked that I missed it by 1/10 of a second. And it was the kid in my race, too, he beat me at the end of the race. But it was OK because I was really happy with 13th.”
And Wyatt also walked away with a new personal-best time in the 1,500 after trying to reach the mark for quite some time.
“In my very first race of the season I set my record and this whole season I wasn’t able to beat it because I didn’t have any competition,” Wyatt said. “Coming to Nationals I knew there would finally be some kids to push me. I knew I was ready to set a new record and when I ran, I felt good and I set a new record.”
Two days later Wyatt was back on the track for the 3,000, but he was placed in the slower heat and the lack of competition was an issue.
“I really wanted to see if I could get top eight in the 3,000 just to give myself a chance to medal,” Wyatt said. “But running in the slow heat, I started off in first and I never left first. There was nobody to really run with and compete with – so nobody really pushed me. But there was one kid at the end that kind of challenged me. He tried to race with me, but I kind of sped up and left him back there.”
Wyatt admitted that he would have tallied a better time in the 3,000 if he was in the faster heat with tougher competition to push him.
But when it was all said and done Wyatt finished in 16th at 9:55.96, which was about six seconds slower than his previous best.
And just like that, this part of Wyatt’s journey is in the books.
His focus will now shift to running cross country for White Cliffs Middle School, but he won’t soon forget how far he has come.
“Last year I kind of took a break and didn’t go to Nationals – I didn’t go all the way,” Pickering said. “But I kind of regretted that. So this year I decided to push through it and finish the season and goes as far as I could.”