DES MOINES – Somewhere in Friendswood, an 11-year-old’s trophy case is starting to get crowded.
After bringing home a seventh-place medal in the USATF Junior Olympic Games in Humble last week, Matthew Kovacevich earned a gold, a silver and a sixth-place medal at the AAU Junior Olympics held at Drake University in Iowa.
“It felt amazing to bring home those medals,” Kovacevich said. “I got a lot of people telling me ‘congratulations.’”
He added that his coaches and support system around him have been an important part of his running success this summer.
On Monday, Kovacevich crossed the finish line in front of 39 other competitors from all across the country in the 3,000-meter run 12-year-old division with a time of 10 minutes, 15.41 seconds — more than nine seconds ahead of the next-closest finisher.
Kovacevich’s 3,000-meter time was also a new personal best, edging the previous best time of 10 minutes, 16.09 seconds recorded at the USATF event last week.
In the 1,500-meter race on Tuesday, Kovacevich picked up a silver medal with a personal best time of 4 minutes, 44.49 seconds.
Unfortunately for Kovacevich, the competitor ahead of him, Brandon Miller of O’Fallon, Mo., set a new national record in the age division at 4 minutes, 22.84 seconds to take the gold.
Kovacevich wrapped up his appearance at the AAU Junior Olympics on Wednesday with a sixth-place medal in the 800-meter run, posting a time of 2 minutes, 19.67 seconds.
With no more competitions planned in the near future, Kovacevich said he will focus on continuing to improve as he’ll be stepping up to the 13 to 14-year-old divisions of competition next year — when he will still be 12.
“I’m just hoping I can get better than I am now, which I know I can,” Kovacevich said.