By leaps and bounds: Sequim teen Logan Laxson sees track work pay off at Junior Olympics

The kid didn’t look familiar, B.J. Schade recalled. He might be tall enough to be in high school, but he looked fairly young. And who would be out here doing 200-meter repeats in December and January that Schade, an assistant coach with the Sequim High track team, didn’t know?

After taking young Logan Laxson under their collective wing, however, Schade and SHS tracksters know all about Logan Laxson, a teen who wound up setting new school standards as an eighth-grader at Sequim Middle School.

This summer, and certainly next spring, Laxson looks to take his speed and agility onto bigger stages.

With a background in gymnastics — via his mom Alicia’s program Sequim Acrobatics — Laxson raced to SMS school records in 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 75-meter hurdles and 200-meter hurdles, and nearly added another top mark in the long jump.

“I really like the hurdles. It’s a little different and not as boring (in training),” Laxson says.

Perhaps more impressive is that he didn’t lose an event all season, helping Sequim to take the league title.

Laxson earned regional meet-qualifying efforts in all four events in which he competed at the 2017 USATF Pacific Northwest Junior Olympic Track &Field Championships in Seattle last weekend. He took second in the 200-meter hurldes (27.41), fourth in the long jump (17 feet, 10.2 inches), fifth in the 100-meter hurdles (17.42 seconds) and sixth in the 100-meter sprint (12.17 seconds) — all in the boys 13-14 division.

Laxson now moves on to a regional Junior Olympic event in Spokane, set for July 6-9. The top five in each event there move on to the national meet, set for July 24-30 in Lawrence, Kan.

Flexibilty between athletic pursuits

Laxson says he owes much of his success on the track to his time spent in Sequim Acrobatics, a Carlsborg-based program that encourages and combines the physicality of gymnastics with the artistry and creativity of performance art.

He made his first performance in third grade, Laxson recalls, and has done shows each year since.

“It helps in my flexibility, getting my legs over (the hurdles),” he says. “And it helps with my other sports.”

Laxson has lived in Sequim his whole young life. A strong student — he earned a 3.83 grade-point average at Sequim Middle School last semester — and a football player for several years, he also helps his mom around at work. Laxson coaches 5- and 6-year-olds, some of Sequim Acrobatics’ youngest athletes.

When he became eligible to do track in seventh grade, however, he leaped at the chance.

Mentorship pays off

“I always knew I wanted to try it out,” Laxson says of track. He got encouragement from physical education teacher Jeff Stroh — also SMS’s track coach — and would work on his hurdles form during PE classes.

It and some key mentorship from Sequim High School staff and athletes have paid off for Laxson the past two seasons.

Schade in particular has made a big difference, Laxson says, as the SHS graduate helps the teen develop power and explosiveness in his hurdles and jumps while Jon Fodge, also an SHS assistant coach, helps with his form.

“He’s an amazing coach,” Laxson says of Schade.

After meeting Laxson in the offseason, Schade had the eighth-grader join in on some practices when he could.

“He kind of latched on to us,” Schade recalls, particularly SHS senior Curtis Gorr, a sprinter who missed qualifying for the state 2A meet in the 200 meters by less than 0.2 of a second.

“He really pushed (Curtis),” Schade says.

Prep future in view

Looking toward his high school years, Laxson says he’s unsure about continuing football or adding cross country — both fall sports — or simply training for the spring track season.

“It’s going to be a lot harder,” Laxson says, considering his future high school meets.

Schade projects Laxson to be a strong hurdler who has some untapped potential in the jumps, since the youth is a relative newcomer to the long jump and hasn’t tried the triple jump yet.

“We’ve had a good history of jumps and hurdlers,” Schade says, in particular recalling 2016 Sequim High graduate Oscar Herrera. Now a walk-on for the University of Washington’s track and field squad, Herrera was a four-time state meet competitor, five-time medalist and school record holder in the 300 hurdles.

“(Logan) has lots of talent and the work ethic,” Schade says. “That’s what Oscar had.”

By leaps and bounds: Sequim teen Logan Laxson sees track work pay off at Junior Olympics
By leaps and bounds: Sequim teen Logan Laxson sees track work pay off at Junior Olympics
By leaps and bounds: Sequim teen Logan Laxson sees track work pay off at Junior Olympics