The boys’ cross-country and track programs at Astoria High School are about to get very, very good.

After dominating every 1,500- and 3,000-meter race during the regular season, Astoria Middle School’s John Clement finished his eighth-grade year by winning districts in the 3,000 and placing second in the 1,500.

He also took first in both the 800 and 3,200 meters in the “We Run Oregon Distance Bash,” March 9 in Tualatin.

Clement simultaneously competed in all the USATF (Oregon association) meets, running with the best in the state and placing between second and fourth each time.

In Oregon’s middle school Meet of Champions, he placed 11th in the 3,000 with a personal best of 10 minutes, 5 seconds.

Clement placed eighth at the Portland Track Festival youth meet and was invited to run the middle school high performance mile at the Portland Track Festival high performance meet, alongside NCAA athletes from across the country, including Olympic and professional runners. He placed 17th out of 39 runners.

More recently, at Oregon’s USATF Junior Olympic championships in Newberg, Clement finished sixth in the 3,000 (10:07.27) and the 2,000-meter steeplechase. He will run the steeple and the 3,000 July 6-7 at the Regional Championships at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma, Washington, looking to qualify for the Junior Olympic nationals in Sacramento, California.

Clement spent the last week of June at the Great Northwest running camp in Sisters, and will head to the Steens Mountain camp this month.

He placed first in the 1,500 and the long jump at a recent TrackTown local youth meet, advancing to the TrackTown Championships, held June 29 at Lane Community College in Eugene. He took sixth in the 1,500 (age 13-14) in 4:53.34, and jumped 15 feet, 11 inches for third in the long jump.

Currently ranked 22nd in Oregon and 29th nationally, Clement is hoping to run a sub-10-minute 3,000 at the Junior Olympic regionals, which would secure his place as one of the best in the state and the nation.

“He’s running well,” said John’s mother, Lisa Clement, who also happened to be his head coach at Astoria Middle School. “I am not one to toot my children’s horn, and encourage them to enjoy running under the radar, but I felt his running really is deserving of praise in the community.”

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or ghenley@dailyastorian.com.

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