Camryn Edge understands what it takes to be successful as an athlete. At just 11 years old, he is entering his third season of cross country and recently experienced an opportunity many young runners dream of — racing in the AAU Junior Olympics.
Edge earned his qualification for the competition after winning his Nationals race at the end of last year. As the year progressed, the AAU Junior Olympics had the possibility of being cancelled because the original location in Virginia decided not to host.
“2020 has been hard for everybody, runners included,” Edge’s mom LeeAnn Lewis said. “All track and field in Kentucky was cancelled. With the help of some good friends and coaches, Camryn did his best to stay in race shape.”
Their journey began with delayed flights and the fear of the airlines not being able to get them to their destination by official athlete check-in day. The family finally made it after switching flights to different cities and driving the rest of the way.
Satellite Beach High School in Satellite Beach, Fla., hosted the track and field events, with more than 2,100 athletes competing throughout the week. With each event averaging 30 top athletes, battling high temperatures and humidity, competition was tough.
The top eight finishers make the All-American Team for each event. Medalist qualifications include 1st-place gold, 2nd-place silver and 3rd- to 8th-place bronze.
Edge placed 4th in the 3,000m event, earning his first bronze medal. He went on to earn two more bronze medals, in the 800m and 1,500m events. Athletes received All-American patches and hats with their top finishes.
“His experience in track is pretty limited having only a handful of local meets under his belt,” Edge’s dad Seth said. “To go from that to the Junior Olympics is like going from little league to the world series. He ran against the toughest competition of his life. This week Camryn proved that he can compete with the top track runners in the nation.”
Edge has continued to train off season since his last national races, overcoming obstacles including a severe concussion after taking a fall during a national race in Knoxville, while still making time to train four to five days a week.
“Competing in the Junior Olympics was the hardest thing I have ever done,” he said. “I have never raced against competition like this before.”
As for his parents, they describe Camryn as a hard worker, focused on succeeding. His drive and determination — something that they say makes them proud — shows that he gives 110% at everything he does.
“He still makes running his main focus even though he dabbles in other sports such as basketball,” Lewis said. “His dream is to attend the University of Oregon, running and training to be able to compete in the Olympics in college and beyond.”