FRIENDSWOOD – Ever since taking up long-distance running as a third-grader, Friendswood’s Matthew Kovacevich has been on the fast track to success.
Running the mile race as a fifth-grader earlier this year, Kovacevich broke the school record at Westwood-Bales Elementary with a time of 5 minutes, 45 seconds.
Now, the 11-year-old incoming sixth-grader will run in three events at a competition he’s had his sights set on for some time — the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics Championships
“It’s been constantly in my mind ever since I started running,” Kovacevich said of the upcoming event.
At separate preliminary meets at Barnett Stadium in Houston, Kovacevich qualified for the Junior Olympics in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4 minutes, 56.74 seconds on Saturday and qualified in the 3,000-meter run and 800-meter run the previous week.
“I’m very excited, and I feel like I made my family proud and did the best I could do,” Kovacevich said.
Kovacevich said he still gets nervous before big races, but when it’s time to perform, he said he thinks positively and pushes himself past the nerves.
When it comes to Kovacevich’s three events, it’s the longest run that he enjoys the most.
“I personally like the 3,000 because I feel I do better in that one because I have a lot of stamina,” Kovacevich said.
When thinking about his future in track, Kovacevich has aspirations that go for miles.
“I just hope that I can actually make it to the real Olympics when I get older,” Kovacevich said. “I just want to do my best, and, I don’t know, break some world records.”
In the shorter term, Kovacevich will compete next week in a meet in hopes for qualifying that national AAU track and field meet, to be held July 28-Aug. 2 in Des Moines, Iowa.
The USATF Junior Olympics meet will be held July 21 at Turner Stadium in Humble.